Use a search engine that doesn't build an advertising profile based on your searches.
Consider using a VPN or Tor if your threat model requires hiding your IP address from the search provider.
Brave Search is developed by Brave and serves results primarily from its own, independent index. The index is optimized against Google Search and therefore may provide more contextually accurate results compared to other alternatives.
Brave Search includes unique features such as Discussions, which highlights conversation-focused results—such as forum posts.
We recommend you disable Anonymous usage metrics as it is enabled by default and can be disabled within settings.
DuckDuckGo is one of the more mainstream private search engine options. Notable DuckDuckGo search features include bangs and many instant answers. The search engine relies on a commercial Bing API to serve most results, but it does use numerous other sources for instant answers and other non-primary results.
DuckDuckGo is the default search engine for the Tor Browser and is one of the few available options on Apple’s Safari browser.
SearXNG is an open-source, self-hostable, metasearch engine, aggregating the results of other search engines while not storing any information itself. It is an actively maintained fork of SearX.
SearXNG is a proxy between you and the search engines it aggregates from. Your search queries will still be sent to the search engines that SearXNG gets its results from.
When self-hosting, it is important that you have other people using your instance so that the queries would blend in. You should be careful with where and how you are hosting SearXNG, as people looking up illegal content on your instance could draw unwanted attention from authorities.
Startpage is a private search engine known for serving Google search results. One of Startpage's unique features is the Anonymous View, which puts forth efforts to standardize user activity to make it more difficult to be uniquely identified. The feature can be useful for hiding some network and browser properties. Unlike the name suggests, the feature should not be relied upon for anonymity. If you are looking for anonymity, use the Tor Browser instead.
Startpage regularly limits service access to certain IP addresses, such as IPs reserved for VPNs or Tor. DuckDuckGo and Brave Search are friendlier options if your threat model requires hiding your IP address from the search provider.
Please note we are not affiliated with any of the projects we recommend. In addition to our standard criteria, we have developed a clear set of requirements to allow us to provide objective recommendations. We suggest you familiarize yourself with this list before choosing to use a project, and conduct your own research to ensure it's the right choice for you.
This section is new
We are working on establishing defined criteria for every section of our site, and this may be subject to change. If you have any questions about our criteria, please ask on our forum and don't assume we didn't consider something when making our recommendations if it is not listed here. There are many factors considered and discussed when we recommend a project, and documenting every single one is a work-in-progress.
- Must not allow users to create an account with them.
Our best-case criteria represents what we would like to see from the perfect project in this category. Our recommendations may not include any or all of this functionality, but those which do may rank higher than others on this page.
- Should be based on open-source software.
- Should not block Tor exit node IP addresses.