The 10 Best Search Engines for Protecting Your Privacy

best search engines for privacy

The 10 Best Search Engines for Protecting Your Privacy

Key Points

  • MetaGer is a completely private search engine that doesn’t track any of your searches, and also doesn’t use your computer’s IP address to associate your searches with you personally.
  • The European search engine Qwant states that to avoid trapping consumers in a filter bubble, it does not use user monitoring or tailor search results.
  • To offer quick answers to inquiries, DuckDuckGo employs multiple APIs from other sites, and for traditional links, it relies on its partners (primarily Bing), as well as its own crawler.

Search engines are essential to our lives these days. They make it easy to find the information you’re looking for, since they’re often more comprehensive and accurate than online directories. What’s more, they can save you time and energy by allowing you to skip past irrelevant results.

Unfortunately, many of these search engines require you to log in with your real name and other personal details before you can use them. Others track your search history and collect data about you to better target advertisements. Some even sell your personal data to third parties without your consent.

Protecting your privacy online is important. But with so much information floating around the web, it’s easy to fall victim to companies and individuals who want to exploit you and your information. So, to make sure you’re doing everything possible to keep your information safe, here are ten search engines that are worth considering for privacy protection.

#10: Wolfram Alpha

best search engines for privacy
Wolfram Alpha answers factual queries by computing answers from externally sourced data.

©Postmodern Studio/Shutterstock.com

This is a search engine that specializes in data analysis, computational knowledge, and discovery. Users simply enter their queries and computation requests into a text area. WolframAlpha then computes answers and appropriate visuals based on a knowledge base of curated, structured data from other websites and books. In fact, it can react to naturally phrased language regarding fact-based, sophisticated questions.

It also uses predefined wording to indicate its “Input interpretation.” To help you specify your query, the search criterion is divided into four major sections, with minor subdivisions within these sections. Wolfram Alpha can answer questions about mathematics, science and technology, society and culture, and daily life.

What’s more, you can also upload photographs to discover results based on those images. Wolfram Alpha also includes a browser extension and a mobile app with customized settings.

#9: Ecosia

best search engines for privacy
Ecosia claims to be CO₂-negative.

©DANIEL CONSTANTE/Shutterstock.com

Ecosia is a non-profit search engine that plants trees and cleans the air. It’s one of the best search engines for protecting your privacy because it encrypts searches and does not sell data to third-party advertisers. According to the company’s privacy policy, it neither builds user profiles based on search history nor makes use of third-party tracking programs like Google Analytics.

Ecosia’s design is clean and simple, with no ads or tracking cookies. In addition to being a private alternative to search engines, Ecosia offers itself as a green option. Many people are unaware that frequent use of search engines can result in higher CO2 emissions. Ecosia offers a private search engine that is powered by Bing and donates the money it makes to planting trees.

Beyond this original notion, it excels as a robust anonymous search engine. It’s also available as a browser extension and a mobile app, both of which act in a similar way to protect user privacy.

#8: Disconnect Search

Even a simple search can result in your data being captured, analyzed, and stored. Disconnect protects you from this by blocking the tracking scripts that would otherwise leak your IP address. Disconnect Search connects users to search engines such as DuckDuckGo, Yahoo, and Bing. Importantly, it offers a more secure search experience by obtaining search results from third-party search engines.

As a result, you can browse the Internet safely and anonymously. There’s also no data tracking or sharing of your data with advertising. What’s more, the engine is quite simple, with no extra filters or configuration options. Disconnect Search also includes a browser extension that helps prevent tracking sites and speed up page loading. All of these features make it easy for you to find what you’re looking for without sacrificing your privacy or security.

#7: Mojeek

best search engines for privacy
Mojeek is a search engine based in the United Kingdom.

©Pizzawithdirt, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons – License

Mojeek is a search engine that’s designed to protect your privacy. This search engine doesn’t store your personal data, like your IP address, location data, or browsing history. It also doesn’t allow advertisers to serve ads based on your profile and interests. All of this adds up to the perfect Web experience for users who want to remain anonymous and protected from cyber-criminals.

Mojeek does not implement any form of specific user monitoring, either during the visit or later, via regular logs, which Mojeek does keep. Some of the things contained in these logs include the time of your visit, the page requested, referral data, and browser info which is stored in a separate log. Instead of recording your IP address, it substitutes it with a simple two-letter code signifying your country. By doing so, Mojeek eliminates any potential of tracking or identifying a specific user.

The search engine also categorizes the search choices of its users. Search results are divided into the Web, photos, and news. There is a fourth category that truly distinguishes this engine. Namely, tt enables you to narrow down your search results based on emotions. You can do searches by clicking on an icon representing a different feeling. Based on these icons, you can browse for results that emphasize laughing, despair, rage, love, and amazement.

#6: MetaGer

MetaGer is a completely private search engine that doesn’t track you, target ads or sell your information to third parties. This means that it doesn’t track any of your searches, and it doesn’t use your computer’s IP address to associate your searches with you personally. Searches are also encrypted to protect your privacy. The Germany-based company was launched in 1996.

MetaGer turns search inquiries into anonymous searches via a proxy server, and all results are available with the “open anonymously” viewing option. To preserve your privacy, the service truncates your IP address before it passes on user agent information to its search partners. MetaGer does not use cookies or any other form of tracking.

While MetaGer does maintain some logs on its servers for the stability and security of its operations, this data is only retained for 96 hours before it is automatically deleted. Both user donations and adverts delivered by partner networks like Bing help to support MetaGer’s operations. These advertisements are displayed above the search results. However, by becoming a member of MetaGer, you can receive completely ad-free search results.

#5: Swisscows

This search engine has been around since 2014, and it’s one of the best options for those who want to keep their browsing habits private. One distinguishing feature of Swisscows is its passion for family-friendly content. It works perfectly with your browser and is simple to set as your default browser page.

The engine does not track or sell your online searches to marketers. It also filters out all pornographic and sexual content, making it an excellent family search engine. While some individuals would object to Swisscows’ censorship of some adult material, others might find it to be a useful feature, especially parents of young children.

Because Swisscows does not share user data from search inquiries, it is unable to efficiently monetize its service through ad partners. Hence, they rely heavily on donations and sponsorships.

#4: Qwant

best search engines for privacy
Qwant is one of the few EU-based meta-search engines.

©Sharaf Maksumov/Shutterstock.com

This European search engine is one of the best sources for protecting your privacy. It uses non-personal data to create a user’s profile and doesn’t track or store personal information like IP addresses or cookies. It states that to avoid trapping consumers in a filter bubble, it does not use user monitoring or tailor search results.

Qwant has been using Bing since its inception, and Bing Ads since mid-2016. In doing so, it provides information to Bing, such as the user’s IP/24, the browser’s User-agent, and search phrases. Because of external APIs, the meta-search engine is available in 26 languages.

Qwant’s major entrance points include the regular homepage, a “light” version, and a “Qwant Junior” portal for children that filters results. The engine categorizes your results into three primary groups: news, social, and Web. Additionally, it leverages AI to offer its customers access to a music section created specifically to assist music fans in finding new songs and lyrics.

Since 2019, Qwant searches have been mostly powered by Bing and its indexing capabilities. Qwant has also confirmed the use of Bing ads. The company says that it earns money via commissions it receives when visitors click over from its search results to advertiser websites like eBay and Tripadvisor.

#3: searX

best search engines for privacy
Searx does not share users’ IP addresses or search history.

©Adam Tauber, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons – License

SearX is an open-source metasearch engine that combines search results from a variety of other search engines to help you find what you’re looking for. It’s designed to protect your privacy by not storing or collecting any personal information, and all searches are anonymous. You can use it on the Web or through their mobile app.

Instead of using a tracked redirect link like Google, each search result provides a direct link to the relevant website. In addition, these direct connections, when accessible, are complemented by cached or proxied links that enable viewing the results pages without going to the relevant websites.

The proxied links allow accessing the current live page using a searX-based Web proxy, while the cached links refer to stored copies of a page on the Wayback Machine. The search engine offers tabs for searching inside several domains besides the standard search: files, pictures, IT, maps, music, news, science, social media, and videos. The engine also has a number of user preferences and configuration options, making it more adaptable.

#2: DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo web browser search engine
DuckDuckGo emphasizes avoiding the filter bubble of personalized search results.

©Eliseu Geisler/Shutterstock.com

DuckDuckGo is an excellent search engine among the ten best search engines for protecting your privacy. The site was founded in 2008 by Gabriel Weinberg and offers users a clean and unobtrusive search experience. DuckDuckGo’s mission is to give users more control over their online privacy, but it can do so in a way that doesn’t annoy them.

To offer quick answers to inquiries, DuckDuckGo employs multiple APIs from other sites, and for traditional links, it relies on its partners (primarily Bing), as well as its own crawler. It is hard to determine how many people use DuckDuckGo because of its anonymity. That’s because the engine includes a browser extension that you can use to keep your Internet behavior hidden.

Its most intriguing feature is termed ‘Bangs.’ By typing a prefix, you can instantly search for a specific question on another website within DuckDuckGo. It makes money through affiliate programs and adverts. Ads will appear at the top of your search on DuckDuckGo, just like on Google and other search engines. DDG also has affiliate relationships with Amazon and eBay.

#1: Startpage

best search engines for privacy
Startpage claims to allow users to obtain Google Search results while protecting their privacy.


StartPage is a Dutch company that provides Internet search engines and metasearch tools. It’s been around since 1998. The website claims to preserve users’ privacy by eliminating all trackers and not keeping any personal information or search data while still enabling users to get Google Search results.

Additionally, Startpage allows users to open search results using a proxy to increase their privacy. Because the corporation is domiciled in the Netherlands, it is protected by Dutch and European Union privacy regulations. Therefore, it’s legally inaccessible to US monitoring programs like PRISM.

Startpage is privacy-friendly while still being easy to use. With this search engine, your data is protected behind strong encryption and end-to-end encrypted forums. Startpage also has a streamlined UI and aesthetically pleasing customization options. What’s more, it gives you a great anonymous browsing experience without tracking or disclosing your data.

What to Know Before Choosing the Best Search Engine for Privacy

The Internet is a valuable resource. However, it can also be confusing if you don’t know where to look. Many people prefer to hide from ads and other distractions that are inherently part of their search results. This is what makes private search engines so attractive. The good news is that choosing a private search engine doesn’t have to be as complex or challenging as it seems. Here are some things to consider when choosing one.

Search results

The results page is your first impression of a search engine. If the results are not what you were looking for, you may not be interested in using that particular search engine. The quality of the search results can vary greatly depending on the type of content being searched and how relevant it is to your query. Some search engines may use algorithms to determine which websites should be listed first in their results, but this does not mean that they are automatically better than others.


Users’ privacy is one of the most important factors when choosing a private search engine. Some search engines have been found to track users’ searches and sell information about them to third-party sites. Choosing a private search engine ensures that your data will remain safe.


In some cases, certain countries ban private search engines completely, while others impose restrictions on them based on how much authority they have over other businesses operating within their borders. For instance, services operating in the US may be required to collect user data without being permitted to disclose anything due to the Patriot Act and National Security Letters (due to gag orders).


Search engines have many different features. Some provide helpful features like search result filtering, plugins, extensions, and anonymous viewing (through proxy servers).

Bottom Line: Best Search Engine For Protecting Your Privacy

While it’s nearly impossible to completely avoid the prying eyes of advertisers and hackers, these search engines offer some peace of mind when it comes to your privacy. Whether you’re looking for a search engine with a built-in ad blocker or one that does not collect data about your browsing habits, there is an engine for everyone.

You have a lot of options, so don’t be afraid to experiment until you find the best one for you. Some people might like DuckDuckGo because it doesn’t store personal information and has acquired a large user base over time. Others may prefer Startpage’s customized user experience with the added benefits of private Internet surfing. The list goes on, but at least now you know where to start looking!

Up Next…

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a private search engine?

Private Search Engines are search engines that do not store your queries or track your steps on the Internet. There are quite a number of them, with a range of features and methods to keep your searches safe.

What is the best search engine for privacy?

There is no one “best private search engine” that works for everyone, so choosing the search engine that best suits your needs is a personal decision. To find the right fit for you, read our reviews and test drive a few different options. However, if you’re looking for a search engine with a large number of dedicated users, DuckDuckGo is the best.

What is the most secure search engine?

DuckDuckGo is a well-known and secure search engine. It is a useful metasearch tool that aggregates results from over 400 different sources, including Yahoo, Bing, and Wikipedia.

Which is better, DuckDuckGo or Startpage?

The way these apps handle your search queries varies slightly. For example, DuckDuckGo logs search queries without associating them with you in an effort to enhance results and monitor broad trends. Startpage receives a significantly higher rating in terms of privacy because it does not gather any data at all.

Is DuckDuckGo owned by Google?

No, DuckDuckGo’s website owners are independent and not affiliated with Google, Bing, or any other major search engine.

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