Using Google is convenient because it’s undoubtedly the best search engine but comes with downsides. It’s no secret that Google is collecting detailed information on users. Then, they sell it to third-parties and use it to rake in cash with their products and services. And that’s not limited to the homepage or services, since the tech giant also deploys cookies and trackers that follow you elsewhere. You’ll also encounter Google on smartphones, tablets, Smart TVs, and devices such as Chromecast. So, there’s no escaping them unless you pick a Google alternative, which requires a habit adjustment. Determined to do it? Let’s get into the best private search engines.
DuckDuckGo is a privacy-oriented search engine that doesn’t log or store your data. As proof, they don’t even know how many users they have. The search engine shows private ads, but only as sponsored links, unlike most search engines. Also, there are no built-in trackers and the results are only based on the topic you’re searching for. Yes, search results aren’t as precise as Google’s, but at least no one is manipulating them. DuckDuckGo also offers a Chrome extension to aid your privacy and offers apps for Android and iOS that can block Google’s trackers.
If you’re a news lover but don’t want to compromise your privacy, use Qwant. It’s one of the high-grade private search engines and mixes fun with functionality. On the home page, you can spot the latest news alongside sponsored links (with banners) from the get-go. The user experience is almost as rich as Google’s too. That’s because search results will web resources such as links, social media feeds, news sites, videos, maps, music, and images. And, like DuckDuckGo, you can select a country to show results for, pick main sources, and use the relevance filters.
Swisscows is one of the leading private search engines that’s also ad-free and funded by user donations. Obviously, it’s based in Switzerland, but displays result in 8 languages thanks to its partnership with Bing. Don’t let that scare you – the country is renowned for strict privacy laws after all. Also, the service uses semantic technology to predict the best-suited results instead of user data, which it never stores nor tracks its users. Finally, Swisscows is known as one of the best child-friendly search engines thanks to their advanced adult content filters.
SearchEncrypt wins the “best search engine for privacy with encryption“ title. And not only that, but it utilizes local encryption with Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFC), which is present when using a VPN. SearchEncrypt combines results from multiple other search engines. Luckily, it promises to delete search queries after you’re done and not to keep tabs or store logs. You can also search for ad-free videos and look at maps, images, and news. Besides the home page, you can also use SearchEncrypt through their Chrome extension.
SearX is a non-profit metasearch engine, shows no ads, allows you to remove trackers, and generally, among the best privacy-focused search engines overall. The main site also allows you to enable proxy on an on-need basis, and it would be wise to enable HTTPS rewrite addon in the Plugins tab. Also, it’d be smart to install a SearX app for Android or an add-on for Firefox. Some people also choose to run their own instance of SearX. This is effective but lacks the privacy of clustering your search results with hundreds of thousands of others.
MetaGer is an open-source search engine designed for privacy, operated by SuMa-eV, a non-profit organization. It serves results in 3 languages, English, German, and Spanish, and uses its own crawlers and indexers, but mainly combines results for Yahoo and Bing. The search engine also comes with a built-in proxy service, allowing you to easily switch to anonymous browsing. For TOR users, MetaGer also operates a .onion site, and you can filter searches by date, language, or presence of adult content. MetaGer also has an Android app and a Firefox add-on.
Mojeek is an independent privacy-based search engine funded by investors who believe in the cause. Unlike the rest of the engines for searching privately, Mojeek does not rely on any other search engines and uses its own crawlers and indexers. So, there’s no worry about trackers or even seeing ads, and you get to avoid the Big Tech altogether. Additionally, they store no logs, whether IP address, location, or search history. Perhaps most importantly, Mojeek is possibly the oldest search engine with a no-tracking policy, dating back to March 2006.
Disconnect Search is a top private search engine that uses DuckDuckGo, Yahoo, and Bing for assistance with results. This is a win-win situation because while it fetches search results from other search engines, you get to submit each query anonymously. After all, they don’t log or keep any data logs. Furthermore, the results are listed in the same order and appearance of the native search engine, so time for adjustment is unnecessary. Disconnect Search also has a Virtual Private Network (VPN) app for Mac and iOS with built-in anti-tracking and hacking features.
Ecosia is the top privacy-tailored search engine that works toward a good cause. By using it, you help Ecosia plant more trees in third-world countries. They also publish their financial reports regularly making it clear they’re funding other organizations/charities. Moreover, they run their servers on 100% renewable energy. Ecosia does this through sponsored ads and by combining Bing’s search results. We didn’t observe any trackers, Ecosia encrypts all searches, and doesn’t sell data to advertisers. However, they logged a little bit of data, but only for the improvement of service.
Gibiru is among the longest-running search engines alongside Mojeek – it was founded in 2009. Nonetheless, it’s a service people are very reluctant to use. This is mainly due to an outdated interface, and its connections to Google. Let us assure you, Gibiru only uses Google’s algorithm for the speed and precision of search results. While doing so, it eliminates the tracking and privacy-invading parts while adding encryption. They also offer apps for Android and iOS and a 14-day free trial for Ambit VPN. This lets you stay incognito on all devices.