While you can only acquire death certificates from state governments for a fee, sites such as DOB Search offer free online tools for finding death records. DOB Search does not require a membership and features death records from the United States from as recently as a year ago.
DOB Search offers a number of search and filtering tools that distinguish it from similar services. The most basic searches on DOB Search can be done using the name, date of birth and date of death information. However, the site also offers the ability to use Social Security numbers to find death records. The website also offers a tool called "Soundex," which searches names that sound like a keyword. This helps users that don't know the exact spelling of the name on a death certificate.
Another useful source for finding death certificates is the DeathIndexes.com. While the site doesn't host death certificates, it aggregates links to the government agencies that keep vital records such as death certificates. Death Indexes breaks its listings into states, but users can also search via Social Security numbers or through its listing of obituaries.
Black Book Online offers a similar service to DeathIndexes.com, but with a broader scope. In addition to providing links to death records, Black Book Online also features obituaries, cemetery notices, vital records and other official documentation related to death.