Free People Search Sites: The Best on the Web

Find anyone online with these search tips

best free people search sites

What you need to know about finding people on the Web

If you've done even the most rudimentary of web searches for a specific person online, you know that there are (unfortunately) a lot of websites out there that promise you everything for "just a small fee." The problem is that the same information they're promising to deliver to you as soon as you pony up a credit card number can be found online with just a little bit of digging and a little bit of patience.

If you're like most people, you'd rather keep your hard-earned money in your pocket where it belongs, right? This article is for you. While the majority of the resources mentioned in this article will definitely not give you everything you might be looking for at once, with patience and persistence, you'll be able to find what you're looking for. 

If you're ready to do some research, the following sites can greatly aid you in your quest to find information about someone online. If the person you are looking for has left some sort of digital trace, these websites will help you find it. 

"None of these sites are free!"

The following websites have all been vetted for quality and consistency. All of them are completely free at the time of this writing, and all of them offer up information found in the public domain. Still not sure if you should look through these free websites and do it yourself or, instead, choose to pay a fee to find someone?

Read Should I Pay to Find Someone Online? for more information on why we don't recommend this option. 

"I went to this site and didn't find anything!"

It is highly recommended that readers use more than one site for searches; in other words, it is highly improbable you will find everything you are looking for in just one or two searches.

If someone has left a trace online – whether that be via public records, postings online, or other content – at least one of the resources mentioned in this article will help you track that down. 

In addition, while the Internet is an amazing resource, if the person you are looking for has not been active online in some way, then it follows that their information will not be available online. Unfortunately there is no "magic bullet" search that will help readers to find who they are looking for if that person has not left any traces of activity in the public domain.  

Resources that will help you find information

Learning how to use search engines and search tools effectively can help you find information more efficiently. Here are information resources to help you track down what you're looking for:

Phone Directories

Most of the time, simply typing a phone number into your favorite search engine (area code included) can turn up accurate results, whether it be for a business or residential phone number.

However, sometimes a phone directory – a specialized site that offers vast indexes of published phone numbers with accompanying information – can really come in handy.

  • Switchboard: Allows readers to initially search for name, address, etc.; will find limited information and then ask for a fee to find more. 
  • WhitePages.com: Search by both first and last names to find a phone number.
  • DexOnline: Search for residential, business, and government phone listings.
  • Anywho.com: Find a business or person via phone number.
  • Find a Cell Phone Number: Cell phone numbers are notoriously hard to find, simply because they're not typically listed in traditional phone directories. Here's how to get around that.

Business Information

Most businesses offer an amazing amount of information online; that is if you know where and how to find it. All sorts of information is available, from phone numbers to addresses to board member biographies.

  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn is an online network of more than 6 million experienced professionals from around the world, representing 130 industries.
  • inter800.com: Find 1-800 numbers with the Internet 800 Directory.
  • BigBook.com: Search for U.S. businesses in the online yellow pages.
  • Chamber of Commerce Locator: Find a chamber of commerce in the states or overseas.
  • US Securities and Exchange: Find lots of good information about individual businesses here, including salaries and stockholding information.

Death and Obituary Information

Finding an obituary online can sometimes be a little tricky, simply because newspapers publish obits and they don't always get posted on the Web. However, with a little bit of sleuthing, the following websites can potentially help you track down exactly who or what you're looking for.

  • Obituary Searches: Learn how to find obituaries both on and off the Web.
  • Ancestry.com- Social Security Master Death Index Start your basic research here, but this site does require paid access for more detailed information. An excellent place to begin, since this site has one of the largest family history databases on the Web.
  • The Obituary Daily Times: A searchable database of obituaries; also available in a free emailed newsletter format (over 2500 entries a day is typical).
  • ObitCentral: Obituary Central is an obituary database for finding obituaries and performing cemetery searches.
  • New York Times Obituaries Page: Obituaries here go back to the 1800's, very interesting archives.

General Information

Most free people search sites offer a quick grab of the most easily accessible information they can find; this can potentially include addresses, phone numbers, first and last names, and email (depending on what the person you are looking for has shared publicly online).  

  • Family Tree Now: A free site launched in 2014 that requires no registration. It offers free access to census records, birth records, death records and living people information.
  • Your Family: Online since 1996; enables you to find missing family members and start genealogy research.
  • Census Finder: Almost 30,000 free census records available online. Search both locally and internationally.
  • FamilySearch.org: An extremely comprehensive site put out by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their family records database is one of the largest on the Web.
  • Facebook: a great way to find and connect with other people.

What you should keep in mind when trying to find people online

P.T. Barnum said that there was a "sucker born every minute." There are many, many websites out there that play on our innate tendency to trust, causing more and more people to be played for "suckers" every year. This is especially true when it comes to sites that promise to find information about a certain someone since the drive to find that person can sometimes overtake our common sense.

Here are three things to remember when looking for people online:

  • There's no magic bullet. While there certainly does exist a wide variety of information on the Web, there's no one site that is going to deliver it to you, nor is one simple search query going to (usually) do it. Finding someone online, especially someone who you've lost touch with or doesn't leave much of a trace on the Web, requires patience, diligence, and persistence in order to be successful.
  • Public information is public. Any information found online is inherently public, simply because it has been found in public databases, directories, blogs, forums, message boards, websites, etc. Small tidbits put together can add up to quite an impressive whole.
  • If they can find it, so can you. Websites that promise to deliver detailed background checks for a "one time fee" are good at one thing and one thing only: taking your money. The information they find is found for free online; all they do is put all the little bits and pieces found in a hundred different places into one cohesive package. The resources shared in this article can help you do all of this.