How to Find Someone Online For Free

Are you looking for a long-lost friend, seeking an out-of-touch relative, or doing a background check on someone to see if they're a good fit for your company? There are a lot of search directories out there. However, most of them charge a lot of money for little return on your investment. Understanding how to use search tools yourself saves you money and stress.  The following article will teach you how to find someone online for free, whether you have their name, their phone numbers, social media usernames, or email address.

How do I find someone online with their name?

It's hard to know where to start when you're trying to find someone without a lot of personal information. It's even harder when you try to find someone for free, as this rules out pricy search services or a private investigator. You might consider looking someone's name up on Facebook or checking a telephone book if they live nearby.

However, if you're looking for people, search engines will be your best bet. They have access to the most information across the Internet. Therefore, they'll have the highest chance of returning the results you're looking for.

You can often find a person online by name. If you know or find someone's name, it can help you find more about them online. Follow these steps to perform a free search for someone using only their name:

1. Open a search engine and type in their name. Enter it in quotes; for example, if your friend is named John Doe, type it as "John Doe."  Using the quotes forces the search engine to return exact matching results first.

Find Someone Online With Name

2. If you know other amount of information, put that in the search engine as well. Perhaps you have the city in which they live or a former address. Enter it in the same format that you did previously with the individual's name. Type it as "John Doe" "city," or, alternatively, "John Doe" "city, state." The more information you have, the more detailed your results will be. This makes the process easier and less tedious for you.

3. When you find a potentially viable result, right click the link and open it in a new tab. Do this before you click on the link as normal. Searching for someone can be a rather in-depth process; for this reason, it's best to open several tabs so you don't lose your place. This also allows you to figure out whether or not you're following the right trail. Right-clicking and opening the link in a new tab means you'll easily be able to go back a few steps if you reach a dead end.

Note that you can remove unwanted search results by putting a '-' minus sign in front of a word. If the person you're searching for has a rather common name, like John Doe, finding them will be a more difficult process. If you search for "John Doe," you may receive a large number of results that you don't want.

However, if the John Doe you're looking for never lived in Florida, you can search "John Doe" -Florida. Then, all results with Florida in them will be removed.

Find Someone Online With Name And State

Search engines are a good way for you to search for people free of charge. You'll find public records and likely their current address. Sometimes, you'll even get criminal records, criminal history, voter registration, or birth records, all from the search bar. You can also search for an obituary online if you believe the person may have passed by adding 'obituary' to the search terms. If you know they're alive and want to clear out obituaries coming up in search terms, add '-obituary' instead.

Find Someone Online By State Minus Obituaries

How do I find someone online with their email address?

In some instances, you may only have someone's email address and not their real name. However, finding them shouldn't be a problem. You can find someone free of charge in the same way you would if you had their name. Just substitute their name for their email address online in your search. If you want to figure out how to find someone's social media without knowing their name, or if you just need to know how to find someone's name online, using an email address is a good step.

1. Proceed to a search engine and enter their email address in quotation marks. Structure it as "[email protected]." Using the quotes forces the search engine to return exact matching results first.

Find Someone Online With Email Address

2. Look up the first part of their email if you don't get any results. Sometimes people will use the first part of their email address as a username on other online forums or websites. Searching for "johndoe" could return results that their email address did not.

Searching for an email address only turns up results if the person has used that address to log in to a website or join a forum. However, in the age of social media, it's unlikely that their email address has never been used to sign up for any accounts. You can also try to trace an email to get more information about a person.

If you only have their first name and the company for which they work, you can search "john" "company" and go through the results.

Find Someone Online With Name And Company

If it's a large company with lots of doctors with the first name of John, and the John you're looking for is not a doctor, you can search "john" "company" -dr -doctor to narrow your results. Furthermore, if you know what department the person isn't in, you can also add that after the company name and a minus sign.

Find Someone Online With Name And Company Department

How do I find someone with their IP address?

Unfortunately, you can't find someone for free with their IP address unless you have a subpoena. Additionally, if you're wondering how to get someone's IP address indirectly, like through Facebook, you can't. However, if you already have their IP address, you can use it to get more information on them. Do an IP Address Lookup to get locational information on the individual, such as their state of residence and the town they live in. Look up your own IP address on the WhatIsMyIP homepage - you'll see that though it likely gives you a general location, it doesn't break down your street address. However, note that using an IP to look up someone's location is not always accurate, even if they're not using a VPN or Proxy. If they are using one of those methods to change their IP address, finding an accurate IP will be a struggle.

Furthermore, though you may get the city, this will not help you know how to find someone's address exactly. You'll only have a general idea of where they live. This information can be used in conjunction with other search terms - for example, if you know someone's name and IP address, you can use the IP to get their name and location to search - but it's not helpful on its own.

How do I find someone online with their phone number?

To find someone online with just their phone number, you can do a reverse phone number lookup. Follow these steps:

1. Go to the search engine of your choice.

2. Enter the phone number into the search bar. 

Find Someone Online With Phone Number

3. Make sure to include the area code in parentheses in your search. This provides the most accurate results.

Find Someone Online With Phone Number

When you do the search, you'll likely find many websites offering reverse phone lookup tools or services. These are an option; however, they typically require some form of payment in order to give extensive information. By just looking up the phone number in a search engine, it's possible to find the person you're looking for on a social media account or website account that they signed up for with their number.

How do I find someone online with their username?

Often times when you do a search online for “first name last name,” social media results will show. You can open those links in a new tab. See if any of them guide you to your person of interest. However, people can get very creative in hiding their real name on social media platforms. Therefore, having someone's username may give you a better chance at finding them if you're searching on social media.

To find someone online via their username:

1. Go to your preferred search engine. If you know the social media site that the username is from, you can search on that site specifically. However, if you don't, going to a search engine is your next best bet.

2. Enter the person's username into your search bar. Be mindful of adding extra spaces or characters; usernames are more case-sensitive than someone's actual name.

Find Someone Online With Username

3. If you know what social media sites the person is on, include those in the search terms. You may not know exactly what site the username is on. However, if you know that the user is active on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, you can add the names of those sites in your search.

Username searches can be beneficial even if you know the person. Some users keep their accounts private; if you want to see someone's social media page, but they have a private account, doing a search for their username could bring up results in an image search regardless. You wouldn't need to follow the person's account with this method. However, you'd still be able to see what's on their page.


There's no foolproof method you can use to find someone for free online. Hiring a private detective is one option if you're serious about it, though they won't find anybody for free. But doing a digital search makes the process far easier.

Keep in mind that if you can find someone for free with this information, someone else can do the same to you. It's important to analyze your own online habits and make sure that you're being as private and secure online as possible. If you want to be even more cautious, consider adjusting your browser settings; search engines collect a lot of user data that could be used against you in a search. Regardless, taking the proper precautions and being aware of your own online presence is a wise decision.