Google and Bing are both great search engines. They excel at providing a convenient and decent user experience. Sad to say, they are data collection magnets that gather every possible piece of information you can imagine. Hence, from a security standpoint, both are horrible choices.
Fortunately, many safer alternatives exist. Each of them does not invade your privacy by tracking then collecting all kinds of info. On top of that, all of them are free to use, making them ideal for individuals with tight budgets. If anything, nothing is preventing you from utilizing them.
What Are The Most Private Search Engines in 2021?
Countless private search engines are available. Due to that, settling on the right one isn’t as easy as it seems. We have tried every major option and narrowed down our top picks to five wonderful search engines.
As with everything, each of our choices has its pros and cons. Therefore, it’s necessary to dwell on the details to know what’s right for you.
DuckDuckGo is by far the most famous private search engine. It’s the favorite of many because of its solid transparency policy. Although it keeps tabs on search histories, it doesn’t store any logs. Furthermore, it also doesn’t flood you with annoying unwanted advertisements, unlike several of its competitors.
Convenience wasn’t forgotten during the development of DuckDuckGo. The search engine has an array of unique features that make using it easy. An example is !bang, which lets you safely search websites like Wikipedia, Yahoo, and Amazon directly.
You should know that DuckDuckGo’s owners maintain a close relationship with sites like Yahoo, eBay, and Amazon. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to find promotions for them on the search engine. However, these aren’t intrusive, and thus, won’t spoil your user experience.
A wonderful option for anyone looking to replace Google is Startpage. How come? It provides identical search results but doesn’t compromise your privacy. Moreover, it also doesn’t share anything with third-parties. Thus, nobody will get to steal your personal data.
Besides websites, it’s possible to search for images and videos on Startpage. That’s because it boasts a sophisticated filtering option that allows you to do so. Due to that, you can say that the search engine indeed doesn’t have any limits.
Startpage has HTTPS support, a URL generator, and proxy servers. As a result, parties such as hackers, government monitors, and ISPs won’t be able to use it to gain your information. You’ll be able to truly experience what private browsing is like.
Qwant is a French private search engine that’s ideal for those who aim to benefit from the EU’s data and privacy laws. When using it, you’re guaranteed to not become a target of non-consensual data collection and unwanted personalized advertisements.
As you might’ve expected, no payment and registration are needed to use Qwant. That said, you can register to save searches as well as create favorites. But, when that’s done, it’s necessary to provide a name and email address that’ll be used to create logs.
Something important to know is that Qwant’s main source of revenue is advertising. Also, its ads are created with the help of Microsoft's Bing Ad Network. For many, this can be a final dealbreaker. Be that as it may, we are certain that the search engine is safe to use on the daily.
As its name alludes, Swisscows is based in Switzerland. If anything, this is great because the country has some of the best privacy laws in the world. These laws allow the tool to have a zero-logging policy that’s very firm. It certainly won’t track and collect your private data.
Most of Swisscows’ results come from Bing as it has a partnership with the search engine. What makes it stand out is the fact that it employs semantic technology. This lets it deliver a great out-of-the-box searching experience.
Swisscows is child-friendly since it blocks adult content by default. You’ll also be glad to know it has many useful features, including a language translator. In addition, there’s also a “digest”, which makes quick searing beyond easy. It’s especially useful for students in a rush.
Gibiru is a go-to for those looking for an alternative to Google. Its creators have strived to make it as similar to the search engine as possible. Even the search results are almost identical, be it without all the breaches in privacy and security. After all, the search engine uses the very same algorithm as the one it’s based upon.
You can use Gibiru for free. Like all private search engines, it doesn’t track, collect, or store log information. Moreover, it’s extremely user-friendly, making it perfect for children and adults alike.
Metager is a very well-known metasearch engine. From Germany, it’s operated by a non-profit organization called SuMa-eV. The tool’s foundation is open-source, meaning that anyone can view then assess it for weaknesses. For people who emphasize security, this is great.
Unlike most competitors, MetaGer does keep some data. It stores your IP address for exactly four days. The search engine maintains this practice to provide an optimized user experience rather than to sell private data.
At present, the interface of MetaGer is rather outdated. Because of that, it’s a bit clunky to use, especially for first-timers. That said, we’ve found that even those who aren’t tech-savvy can learn to use and master it relatively quickly. As such, it’s still worthy of recommendation.
Yippy shines as it allows you to manually filter results by category. Furthermore, the search engine also allows you to tag anything inappropriate. On top of that, it lets you search for specific things like images, videos, job listings, news, and blogs.
SearchEncyrpt is unique since it uses localized encryptions with Perfect Forward Secrecy or PFS. Thanks to that, your data and session key will remain safe even if your private key gets imperiled. If anything, this makes its default settings better than DuckDuckGo’s.
Like other private search engines, this one obtains results from partners then deletes the terms after your browsing session. Also, it refrains from showing targeted and keeping sensitive data.
You’ll find SearchEncrypt useful for seeking out news and maps. Besides that, the search engine lets you watch videos directly without needing to enter a specific website.
Like Metager, Searx.me is an open-source metasearch engine. It’s run by a non-profit org that keeps it free from advertisements. A great thing about it is that it offers a proxy option, which lets you remain anonymous when browsing through a certain webpage.
Searx.me’s interface is a joy to use because it’s easy to navigate and highly configurable. When using it, you can expect to receive results from the competitors of Google like Bing or Yahoo.
10. Discrete Search
Discrete Search is a great private search engine solution for those who value simplicity. While it doesn’t rock all the necessary bells and whistles, it gets the job done. You’ll be able to remain hidden whenever using it. Moreover, there’ll be no intrusive ads bothering you.
The results of Discrete Search come from a variety of partners. During our testing, we’ve found it most similar to Bing. Hence, it’s a great alternative to that particular search engine.
Putting It All Together
As you can see, there are many awesome private search engines available. However, it’s very important to remember that using one is only the first step to remain secure. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since the world wide web is a very dangerous place.
Besides employing a good private search engine, we recommend using a secure web browser and VPN. To know what to select when choosing either, I suggest that you read our other articles, VPNs: What, Why, How, Etc. and Online Privacy Guide.