Wikipedia:External search engines

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Besides Wikipedia internal search engine, there are various search engines that can provide domain-specific searches, which let you search Wikipedia specifically. Searches are based on the text as shown by the browser, so wiki markup is irrelevant. Depending on your browser, you may also be able to use tools that allow you to search Wikipedia using bookmarklets.

In general, external search engines are faster than a Wikipedia search. However, because the search engine's cache is based on when the site was indexed, the search may not return newly created pages. Similarly, the search engine's cached version of the page will not be as up-to-date as the link to Wikipedia itself. Also, when returning Wikipedia articles in a regular search, mirrors and forks of Wikipedia content frequently rank higher than the actual Wikipedia articles because of search engine optimization techniques.

These issues may be less of a problem when using certain search engines that process Wikipedia differently:

  • Google tends to include Wikipedia as part of its normal search, and it comes up fairly accurately.
  • Yahoo! includes Wikipedia as part of its content acquisition program and gets a regular datafeed.

Comparison with Wikipedia's search engine[edit]

The internal search can handle all the logical combinations Google and other major search websites can, using logical combinations of AND, OR and "()". It can search in page titles or with page title prefixes, and in specific categories and namespaces, or limit a search to pages with specific words in the title or in specific categories or namespaces.

It can also handle parameters an order of magnitude more sophisticated than most external search engines, including user-specified words with variable endings and similar spellings.

The internal search is also able to search all pages for project purposes, whereas external search engines cannot be used on any talk page, a large part of projectspace, and any page tagged as noindex.

Finally when presenting results, the internal search understands and will link to relevant sections of a page (although to a limited degree some other search engines may do this as well).

Wikimedia Global Search[edit]


By following the links below, you can use the Google search engine to search Wikipedia – either all languages, or English-only. Google indexes all namespaces except user talk.

How to provide a link to a specific Google Search[edit]

Wikipedia markup allows you to insert links to Google searches by including google: as the prefix for the link. This can sometimes be useful on talk pages. It is done like this:


Which looks like this:


Note: It is important not to use spaces in the search. To add more parameters to the search, separate them by a plus sign, +. For a phrase search, use a hyphen (minus sign), -, between each word. E.g. to search for "Tip of the day", use Tip-of-the-day.

User's comment: It can't really work, other than by accident, as in Google:overselling+-wikipedia (even when typed in as [[Google:overselling%2B-wikipedia]]—at the very least in Opera version 8.54, 2005, if not in all browsers). This is because the plus (+) is not meant as white-space character replacement in Google queries, even if it is used in this role in URL encoding. The plus is meant merely as a prefix, in addition to a white-space character. (Cf. "The minus sign should appear immediately before the word and should be preceded with a space" [1]—for a similar issue with the minus.) If the defect I'm talking about turns out to be browser-dependent, just click on this to see what I mean.

To provide a link to a Wikipedia-specific search, include in the Google link (no spaces before or after), like this:


Which looks like this:

To clean up the link so that only the part you want to show is presented, use the pipe, like this:

[[|"Tip of the day"]]

Which makes it look like this:

"Tip of the day"

Google templates[edit]

Several templates are available for creating links to various kinds of Google searches and services. These templates allow more options, such as to search for specific keywords, to link to initially blank search forms, and to search on a specific Web site or on a subdirectory within a site. These templates also allow spaces to separate multiple search keywords, so you don't need to use unusual punctuation. Since these templates create links to Google searches, they cannot search on Wikipedia's Talk: namespace (i.e., article talk pages). These searches should work on non-article talk pages. See the documentation for each template for usage details and examples:

In most cases you should not use these templates in articles because they violate WP:EL#Links normally to be avoided. They are appropriate for pages in other namespaces, such as talk pages, the Help desk, project pages, and so on. If you just want to run some searches without necessarily creating links to them, see the template pages which provide some example search links.


By following the links below, you can use the Yahoo! search engine to search Wikipedia – either all languages or English-only.[edit] is a geographical search engine allowing users to search places and information from Wikipedia on a map. Users can leave the search bar empty to see all pages within an area or type a query to get subject specific information.

Some useful examples can be found at:

The main search page is at:


Here are more Wikipedia:Tools which make searching more convenient.