Search Engines

Use a search engine that doesn't build an advertising profile based on your searches. The recommendations here are based on the merits of each service's privacy policy. There is no guarantee that these privacy policies are honored. Consider using a VPN or Tor if your threat model requires hiding your IP address from the search provider.

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DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo is a popular search engine and is the default for the Tor Browser.

DuckDuckGo has a lite and html only version, both of which do not require JavaScript and can be used with their Tor onion address (append /lite or /html for the respective version).

DuckDuckGo uses its own crawler and various other sources to provide its search data.

Notes

The company is based in the USA.

Their Privacy Policy states they do log your search query, but not your IP or any other identifying information.

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Startpage

Startpage is a search engine that provides Google search results. It is a very convenient way to get Google search results without experiencing dark patterns such as difficult captchas or being refused access because you used a VPN or Tor.

Notes

Startpage’s majority shareholder is System1 who is an adtech company. We don’t think that is an issue as they have their own Privacy Policy.

The Privacy Guides team reached out to Startpage back in 2020 for clarification and was satisfied by the answers we received.

Startpage is based in the Netherlands.

According to their Privacy Policy, they only log details such as: operating system, type of browser and language. They do not log your IP address, search queries or other identifying information.

Startpage proxies Google Search so Google does have access to your search queries.

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Mojeek

Mojeek is another privacy friendly search engine. They use their own crawler to provide search data.

Notes

The company is based in the UK.

According to their Privacy Policy, they log the originating country, time, page requested, and referral data of each query. IP addresses are not logged.

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Searx

Searx is an open-source, self-hostable, metasearch engine, aggregating the results of other search engines while not storing information about its users. There is a list of public instances.

Notes

Searx is a proxy between the user and the search engines it aggregates from. Your search queries will still be sent to the search engines that Searx gets its results from.

When self-hosting, it is important that you have other people using your instance as well in order for you to blend in. You should be careful with where and how you are hosting Searx, as other people looking up illegal content on your instance could draw unwanted attention from authorities.

When you are using a Searx instance, be sure to go read the Privacy Policy of that specific instance. Searx instances can be modified by their owners and therefore may not reflect their associated privacy policy. Some instances have Tor .onion addresses which may grant some privacy as long as your search queries don’t contain PII (Personally Identifiable Information).


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