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15 Best Private Search Engines That Don’t Track and Monitor Your Activities

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Private Search Engines

Quick List

Here’s a quick list of the best private search engines besides Google and Bing that keep your searches private and don’t track or keep your logs.

  1. DuckDuckGo: A reliable search engine that uses on-site encryption and doesn’t log nor share users’ data.
  2. Qwant: It gives a similar user experience to Google and doesn’t track your IP address and search terms. 
  3. Startpage: It uses SSL encryption and follows a no-log policy and a wide range of privacy-focused features.
  4. Searx.me: A metasearch engine that obtains search results from other search engines, uses a proxy feature to protect your online identity.
  5. Yandex: A search engine similar to Bing and Google, it offers excellent features but is headquartered in Russia.
  6. MetaGer: It uses a proxy server and protects your IP address and search keywords from getting tracked.
  7. Disconnect Search: It uses HTTPS encryption and even offers a premium VPN feature to boost your online security and privacy.
  8. Search Encrypt: It uses AES-256 bit encryption and SSL encryption and deletes your search queries after 30 mins of inactivity.
  9. Swisscows: It has a modern interface and uses on-site encryption that hides your IP address, location, and search data. 
  10. Yippy.com: A search that’s best for companies having complex IT networks.
  11. Wolfram Alpha: Have a user-friendly interface and impressive search results.
  12. Discrete Search: It is a metasearch engine that uses SSL encryption and perfect forward secrecy to keep your searches private.
  13. Ecosia:  It donates some portion of its earnings towards tree plantation, your data isn’t recorded nor shared with anyone.
  14. Infinity Search: A metasearch engine that doesn’t save users’ search data or other identifiable information and does offer a paid plan with more features.
  15. Gibiru.com uses a proxy IP address, a mobile app, and a VPN feature for added protection.

Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo risk your digital privacy by tracking and recording everything you do on the web. Thus, it has become crucial to use the best private search engines. 

The most significant reason to use a private search engine is to enjoy increased privacy and anonymity over the web. Google knows everything from your search queries to the websites you visit, your interests, likes, preferences, and with whom you communicate. It is famous for tracking users, creating their profiles, attaching their IP addresses with it, and sharing their data with third parties.

A private search engine ensures a safe and secure environment where you can surf the web without being traced back. It doesn’t keep your logs and browsing history and ensures you get relevant search results. 

How do Private Browsers Deal with Security and Privacy?

You might find several options while looking for the best private search engine. They all promise to provide maximum privacy, but a few will stick to their words. Ensure that you opt for a search engine that possesses the following features:

The search engine should deliver authentic search results in less time. 
They should offer comprehensive settings options that guarantee a customized user experience. 
Be aware of the information that the search engine records. 
The best search engine also provides features for enhancing your security and privacy, so do check them. 
Always use a search engine that belongs to a jurisdiction that doesn’t follow strict internet privacy laws. 
The search engine should have a simple interface that is easy to use and understand. 
Also, check who is behind the company and whether the company has a shady history or not. 

15 Best Private Browsers That You Can Trust!

The above-mentioned search engines offer more benefits than those listed above. Now, let’s take a deeper insight into the best private search engines. So, let’s begin:

1. DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo is the best private search engine that keeps users’ searches private by not tracking and logging their data. The search engine offers a handful of features and customizable settings options that you can trailer according to your needs. It comes with a clean and simple user interface that is easy to use. 

DuckDuckGo is the safest and the most reliable search engine to use. Besides this, it also offers a private browser that prevents browser fingerprinting, scripts and third parties cookies from tracking your browsing activities. Here are some of the reasons why DuckDuckGo is the best private search engine:

  • The Qualys SSL labs report rated DuckDuckGo in the A+ category for providing users with robust online privacy. 
  • It uses a ! Bang feature that commands your searches from other search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
  • DuckDuckGo doesn’t collect your IP address, cookies, and browser information and thus ensures that it won’t track your searches. 
  • The search engine provides on-site encryption by using the Tor proxy feature. It routes your searches via a deeper layer of encryption and adds a protective layer when you browse any unprotected site. 
  •  The burn bar feature allows the users to delete the browsing data when they close the tabs after every session. 
  • It automatically activates the Privacy Grade feature that scans the website for potential risks and grades it on a scale from A to F. 

The search engine earns money via affiliate marketing. The biggest drawback of DuckDuckGo is that it’s owned by a company based in the US, a prominent member of the global surveillance alliance. However, there has been no incident in the past where DuckDuckGo has been named for violating users’ privacy. 

2. Qwant

Qwant

Qwant is a European-based private search engine that emphasizes respecting users’ privacy. Their privacy policy has mentioned that they forgo collecting any personal data. The search engine uses algorithms to guarantee neutral and unfiltered results, precisely what you need. It also offers unique customization options and allows users to adjust filters for adult content, change the display mode, languages, and more. 

It has an appealing interface and gives a similar user experience to Google. You can find all the options at the top, including images, videos, news, maps, and more. Here are some more reasons why Qwant is the best private search engine to consider using today:

  • It offers a Qwant Junior search engine specially designed for children aged 6-12. Young people can use the internet in a secure and ad-free environment while their parents enjoy peace of mind. 
  • It deletes your search data when you close your browser. 
  • You can filter the search results according to different categories like images, videos, news, web, and more.
  • The search engine doesn’t track your IP address and search terms. 
  • It neither uses cookies nor other tracking technology to track your digital footprints.

The thing that concerns the users about Qwant is that it’s headquartered in France, so it can be subject to data retention laws. But you can always boost your security by using a legitimate VPN provider. Besides this, Qwant also launches their map service to enhance your browsing experience further. 

3. StartPage

StartPage

Startpage is another best private search engines that keep your searches anonymous and safe from snooping eyes. It is a reliable search engine that doesn’t save sensitive information like your search data on its servers. Startpage has received the European Privacy Seal Award for providing users maximum online protection for four years. 

You get unpersonalized and unprofiled search results when you enter a search query. The top three search results are contextualized ads meaning ads related to the search term, but no need to worry as it has nothing to do with your browsing history. 

It is a user-friendly search engine compatible with all major operating systems and devices. Also, it offers browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. The search engine also offers excellent security and privacy-centric features such as:

  • It uses SSL encryption to provide partial on-site encryption to the users. Encrypting the data leaves no room for the prying eyes and the ISPs to monitor and track your searches. 
  • The search engine uses an impressive Anonymous View feature that acts as a VPN and prevents the website from knowing your IP address, location, and other vital data. 
  • It also follows a strict no-log policy and keeps zero user data. The search engine also underwent a third-party log audit report to prove its stance on a further zero-logging policy.

Startpage earns money via advertisements, and this might concern users. A Netherlands-based company owns the search engine. The Netherlands is a member state of the nine eyes alliance that logs and shares user data. There is no record of Startpage misusing users’ data and violating their privacy. 

4. Searx.me

Searx.me

Searx is a metasearch engine that obtains search results from other popular search engines like Google and Yahoo. It is managed and run by volunteers and earns revenue via donations, so your browsing experience won’t be interrupted by intrusive pop-up ads. It has a simple user interface that is easy to use and navigate. The search engine isn’t compatible with mobile phones but offers browser extensions on Firefox to enhance your digital security. 

The search engine comes with a handful of features and thus ranks in the list for the best private search engine. Some of its unique features are as follows: 

  • It uses a proxy feature that safeguards your online identity when you visit a website. 
  • The search engine doesn’t create user profiles nor share the data with third parties. 
  • Since it is open-source, it helps prevent online tracking and targeted advertising. 
  • You can set up your Searx on a server and control it any way you want. By doing so, you can have some peace of mind that your searches are not logged. 
  • It allows the users to tweak the settings, including removing tracker arguments from the URL and rewriting HTTP to HTTPS. 

Users don’t like the only thing about this search engine is that it doesn’t show its own search results and hosts it from Google and other search engines. 

5. Yandex

Yandex

The next best private search engine is none other than Yandex. It is a leading search engine that gives similar user experiences like Bing and Google. The interface is identical, and the homepage has a search bar for user queries. Upon entering your queries, it shows the best authentic results you are looking for. 

Here’s how Yandex ensures a safe browsing experience and protects your privacy while you surf the internet:

  • The company has clarified that they don’t share user data in their privacy policy. But, it collects little information about you as you use their various services like maps, mails, and others. 
  • The search engine also allows the users to customize the settings as they want by scrolling to the button of the search result page and tapping on the settings options. 

However, Yandex has been a victim of government surveillance in the past, raising concerns about its credibility. Moreover, the company is headquartered in Russia, raising concerns about users’ privacy. 

6. MetaGer

MetaGer

MetaGer is another private search engine that works like a metasearch engine. It hosts search results from other popular search engines and its web crawler, but the search results are pretty authentic. The best thing about the MetaGer search engine is that it also indicates the source from where it came from when it shows the search results. The interface is also good and doesn’t trouble the users. Here’s how MetaGer maintains your privacy and doesn’t track you back:

  • It follows a no-log policy and ensures not to log or share users browsing data. 
  • The search engine protects your IP address and search keywords from getting tracked and recorded when you visit any website.
  • It even protects you from unwanted ads. 
  • It uses a proxy server that makes you more anonymous and private over the web. 
  • You can filter the search results according to the date, language, and safe search. 

The search engine belongs to a company that’s based in Germany. The country is famous for respecting users’ privacy and has strong data protection laws, so, by means, users’ data can be used in the wrong way. There are no prominent drawbacks of using the MetaGer search engine, but still, it’s better to use it along with a VPN. 

Disconnect Search

Disconnect Search is yet another best private search engine that neither tracks nor targets the users with pop-up ads. The search engine offers an impressive user interface, and the result pages are much more attractive than others. It generates revenue from selling its premium VPN service provider. It is the only search engine with a VPN functionality and enhances users’ digital security and privacy. 

The search engine is ranked as a secure and safe search engine to use because: 

  • It doesn’t collect your IP address and other sensitive data while using their service.
  • It offers a premium VPN and security app as its privacy products. Using these products along with the search engine can prevent anyone from spying on your search data. 
  • Disconnect Search uses HTTPS encryption to route your search results and increases online privacy.
  • It blocks malicious ads and content. 
  • It offers a browser extension called the Disconnect Search add-on for Firefox and Chrome that blocks online trackers and further increases your digital security. 

The biggest drawback of using Disconnect Search is that it shows the search results from other search engines. The users are given three options, i.e., Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo, and can obtain the search results.

8. Search Encrypt

Search Encrypt

 Search Encrypt is also a private search engine that is reliable to use. It protects your search terms and other relevant data from all prying eyes. The search engine comes with an impressive interface that beginners and advanced users can easily use. Apart from it, it also offers excellent customizable features that further enhance your experience. 

Because of the features Search Encrypt offers, it ranks in the list for the best private search engine. Here are some of the features that the search engine provides to make your browsing experience worth amazing:

  • It uses AES-256 bit encryption and SSL encryption, and perfect forward secrecy to avoid any privacy invader from invading your search history. 
  • After 30 minutes of inactivity, the search results expire and can’t be viewed again. Thus, in this way, no one can ever know what you have searched online. 
  • The Search Encrypt extensions protect your privacy by identifying the searches that can be tracked. It intercepts between such searches and redirects them to the Search Encrypt privacy-enhanced search engine that will be set to your default search engine. 

Besides this, the search engine also offers a Maps Search feature that allows the users to access maps without risking their privacy. Your location won’t be recorded as you use this product.

 However, despite offering such amazing benefits, the private search engine comes with disadvantages. There are speculations on the company’s headquarter and privacy policy. It logs and shares your data and thus makes it an unreliable option to use. But, there aren’t any occasions that show that Search Encrypt leaks users’ data. 

9. Swisscows

Swisscows

Swisscows is a reliable search engine for all your family members that focuses on maintaining your web privacy. Instead of showing search results from its database, it takes results from other mainstream search engines. It belongs to Switzerland, a privacy-friendly jurisdiction, and follows strict data protection laws that don’t violate users’ privacy. The search engine is among the best private search engines, and here are the reasons why:

  • It uses on-site encryption that hides your IP address, location, and search data. 
  • It filters out adult content and even allows children to safely browse the web. 
  • The search engine uses AI and ML technology to protect the search engine from man-in-the-middle attacks. 
  • It offers a modern and innovative interface that makes your search experience better. 

There are a few concerns while using the Swisscows search engine. It has a shady privacy policy. Despite claiming not to keep users’ logs, the search engine stores the data until they permanently delete their account. Besides this, Swisscows generate money via advertising. The ads are placed next to the search results, and upon clicking on the search results, the company earns money. Using a VPN and the best ad-blocker is recommended to maintain your privacy on Swisscows.

10. Yippy.com

Yippy is also a private search engine that provides excellent search results and even helps in bypassing ISP and government surveillance. The company doesn’t collect any data that can expose the users’ real identity and thus is ranked as the best private search engine. 

 It offers incredible customization features that boost your user experience. Other than that, the search engine also comes with excellent features like:

  • You can filter results according to different categories and even mark inappropriate results. 
  • It wipes out ads and ensures that no one can track your browsing activities. 
  • The search platform helps companies find and lock abandoned files to improve their document security. 
  • You can even search for restricted content at a fast browsing speed. 
  • It also offers field-level security for companies with IT networks and keeps their searches confidential.
  • It uses content connectors to find relevant search results.

11. Wolfram Alpha

Wolfram Alpha

Wolfram Alpha is the best private search engine that provides authentic search results to users. It uses a customary search engine, calculator, and an encyclopedia to provide short answers to various questions. The search topics are categorized into four categories, i.e., Society and Culture, Science and Technology, and Everyday Life, and cover subtopics and related searches. 

The search engine is popular among users for having a user-friendly interface and impressive search results. Other reasons why Wolfram Alpha is the best search engine include: 

  •  It gives direct and more specific answers. 
  • It can compute mathematical formulas to provide graphical and textual answers. 
  • Dedicated apps and mobile versions are also available. 
  •  The search engine provides fast search results. 

However, Wolfram Alpha comes with significant drawbacks. It provides answers to factual and phrased questions. Moreover, the search engine belongs from the US jurisdiction and tracks users’ activities that drift users away from using it. It also uses cookies, but you can tweak your browser settings and block cookies.

Discrete Search

Discrete Search is a privacy-based search engine that helps hide your search history and improves your digital privacy. It works like a metasearch engine that grabs results from other search engines instead of showing its own results. It has a clean interface and offers quick search results, making it the best choice among the users. 

The search engine offers the following features and thus emerges in the list for the best private search engines: 

  • It uses SSL encryption and perfect forward secrecy to keep your searches private and maintain your privacy. 
  • Your IP address and other uniquely identifiable information are never stored. 
  • Discrete Search results expire after every 30 minutes of inactivity. 
  • It doesn’t use cookies to record users’ data or site settings.

However, the search engine is supported by sponsored ads that you can see on the search result page. Also, it keeps aggregated search data error log data to improve product performance.

13. Ecosia

Ecosia

Ecosia is a famous private search engine that 15 million people use in more than 30 countries. It gives a familiar user experience of Bing and Google. The best thing about the company is that instead of giving all the revenue to the company, it donates the profits towards tree plantation initiatives across the globe.

It is the best private search engine to use because: 

  •  It anonymizes your searches and doesn’t create user profiles. 
  • It is a German-based search engine that favors users’ privacy and thus doesn’t log or share the data with anyone.
  • The search engine uses encryption to protect your searches and make you more anonymous on the web.
  •  The company doesn’t sell data to advertisers or third parties to earn money.
  •  Ecosia doesn’t use any external tracking tools to track the users and their browsing activities. 

However, according to the company’s privacy policy page, they collect some data to improve their searches. But if you’re not satisfied with it, you can configure your browser settings and enable the Do Not Track feature to prevent tracking. 

You can use the search engine on all popular devices. It is compatible with Linux, MacOS, and Windows. Moreover, it also comes with a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari to enhance your security while you browse the web.

Infinity Search

The next best private search engine is Infinity Search, which focuses on increasing your privacy. It is a reliable search engine because it doesn’t save users’ search data or other identifiable information. It obtains search results from its own indexes and other search engines and thus ensures quick delivery of results. 

Besides this, the search engine offers great customization options. The interface is similar to Google. You can even filter out the search results according to your need. Infinity Search belongs to Oklahoma, a privacy-friendly jurisdiction, so there is no need to worry about your recorded or shared data.

It also offers a pro and business plan with added benefits and further enhances your browsing experience. If you subscribe to the premium plan, no trackers or ads will disturb you. But since it charges $5 per month, users stay away from using it.

15. Gibiru.com

Gibiru

Gibiru is among the best private search engines with a tagline of unfiltered private search. It uses a proxy IP address that ensures more privacy and unbiased search results. The most impressive thing about Gibiru is that your search queries aren’t saved, unlike other search engines. Once you finish the search, your queries and other related data are removed permanently. 

Moreover, the search engine doesn’t store nor sell your information to anyone. It also offers a mobile app and a VPN feature for added protection. The company is headquartered in the USA, so many people fear their data is logged. But since it follows a strict no-log policy, there’s nothing to worry about. Also, there are no past events where Gibiru is accused of leaking users’ data.

The search engine is a part of affiliate marketing and earns money via commission. It doesn’t protect cookies, malware, and other related online threats. Thus, using this search engine is better than using a VPN provider.

Why Use a Private Search Engine Instead of Google? 

A private search engine is the need of the hour. Unlike mainstream search engines, private search engines don’t track and collect your search queries, location, source IP address, and unique identifier. They ensure a private browsing experience where you are not bombarded with unlimited intrusive pop-up ads. Moreover, your search results are not influenced by your previous search history. 

Another exciting thing about the private search engine is that you’re served with a few ads, but it’s unrelated to anything you searched for a while ago. Besides this, there are some more benefits of using a private search engine like:

  1. It delivers authentic search results. 
  2. They offer an easy-to-use interface with customizable setting options. 
  3. It maintains your digital privacy by not tracking your searches and online data. 
  4. Reliable companies own them. 
  5. They don’t use any cookies to gather your data. 

As a whole, using a private search engine is an excellent idea over other search engines. They provide enhanced security and privacy and make your overall experience worth amazing. 

Are Private Search Engines Private?

Private search engines maintain privacy by not tracking your search queries and other data via browser fingerprinting. They offer excellent customization features and user experience. The best thing about these search engines is that they don’t log or share your browsing activities. Moreover, most offer on-site encryption, but this isn’t enough to make you ‘completely private.’ 

The encryption provided by these search engines is limited, so you are still vulnerable to online spying. Besides this, some search engines might belong to a jurisdiction subject to mandatory data retention laws, so; they won’t make you wholly private. 

However, you can get maximum anonymity over the web by using a VPN and these private search engines. A VPN’s encryption feature wholly encrypts the data traffic and makes it impossible for anyone to track back your activities. Also, a legitimate VPN provider doesn’t log or share your online data, strengthening your digital privacy. Hence, use a VPN with a private search engine and get completely private over the internet.

What If Someone Wants to Use Google Search Engine?

Despite collecting and sharing users ‘ data with third parties, Google remains one of the most popular search engines. More than four million people prefer to use Google as their default search engine because of its impressive search intent and personalization features. The Google server stores many users’ data on its servers and shows relevant results per users’ demand. 

However, it is undeniable that Google collects your sensitive data like your IP address browsing history and even sells it to advertisers without your consent. After knowing if you still want to use Google Chrome, it’s suggested to use it in combination with a VPN provider. It will change your IP address and encrypt the data traffic before redirecting it via a remote server. You can also prevent ISP tracking and boost your digital security by using a VPN. 

Can You Use Incognito Mode For privacy?

The simple answer is no. Browsing in incognito mode won’t protect your data because your ISP, websites, and search engines can still see your IP address and what you’re doing on the web. When you use the private/incognito mode, it doesn’t store cookies, autofill information, and session and browsing history. But your IP address is still visible, so you’re close to online tracking. 

Tips to Keep Your Searches Private?

You can search everything on search engines like Google and Bing, but you have to compromise your digital privacy. Since the mainstream search engines work as a data collection tool, they keep records of your searches and browsing activities. It is a clear violation of your privacy to keep your data secure and to browse the web privately; here are a few tips that you should follow:

  1. Use private search engines. By using any of the best private search engines, you can protect your data and searches from online tracking and won’t let third parties target you with personalized ads.
  2. Use a secure browser. Like you need to use a private search engine; similarly, it’s better if you use a secure web browser. It increases your privacy by not logging your browsing activities and even helps get rid of trackers, cookies, and browser fingerprinting attempts. 
  3. Subscribe to a VPN. The next important measure you need to take is to start using a VPN along with the private search engines. A VPN encrypts your data traffic and hides your online identity leaving no room for the snoopers to spy on your activities. 
  4. Use a reliable ad-blocker. Pop-up ads are the most frustrating thing that you experience while browsing. However, these ads are displayed because advertising companies have your data that includes your likes, dislikes, and preferences. Most of the time, these ads can be malicious and harm your device with malware and viruses. Using an ad-blocker can stop such ads from ruining your browsing experience. 

By following the tips mentioned above, you can keep your searches and online identity private and browse the web in the way you want. 

Final Thoughts

Considering the risks posed by Google and other common search engines, it has become imperative to start using private search engines. These search engines keep your search data private and don’t track you back. They also come with privacy and security-centric features that make your browsing experience worth amazing. 

Since the private search engine doesn’t encrypt the data, you can still get tracked. But, by using a reliable VPN provider you can overcome this problem. A VPN provides end-to-end encryption; when you use it with a private search engine, no one can spy on your activities. So, consider using the above-mentioned search engine and enhance your digital privacy.

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Zehra Ali is a Tech Reporter and Journalist. She has done her Masters in Mass Communication. Topics related to cybersecurity, IoT, AI, Big Data and other privacy matters are extensively covered by her on various platforms. You can follow her on twitter.

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