“Private Search Engine? Who needs that when we can search for anything and everything on Google, Yahoo, and Bing.”
Google tracks everything you do while being online. From your search terms to the sites you visit, what credentials you used to sign-up, whom you communicate with, and your interests in purchasing and from which e-commerce platform. By storing this information, Google creates a profile. It attaches it to your IP address and shares it with third-party advertising agencies. This is why you see specialized ads on Google and different websites.
While this feature allows Google to provide you with more specific search results, it feels like a violation of many users’ privacy.
After Wikileaks and Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing, people are looking for ways to secure their online data. One of the ways to feel secure on the internet is using a Private Search Engine.
Are Private Search Engines Really Private?
Private Search Engines is the same as the Giants from the same industry like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. But what Private Search Engines offer is privacy; they won’t log your usage while being online.
Many organizations have recognized a need for a Search Engine that does not track their data but give accurate search results. You can find several Private Search Engines, but not all of them are on par with one another.
What to expect from a Private Search Engine?
- User-friendly Interface
- Provide customization as per the user’s needs.
- Deliver relevant search results.
- Provide No-log services.
Some search engines provide better security by not interacting with Google, Bing, and Yahoo. But they don’t provide accurate search results. Others are called “Metasearch Engines.” They act as a middleman between Google, Bing, and Yahoo, and by encrypting your IP address, they provide results from those search engines.
Should You Use a VPN with A Private Search Engine?
Browsing through a Private search Engine may hide your IP address and search history from the website. But your ISP can still track you when you are on a Private Search Engine. Your search history remains under the cover, but you are not protected while using any website or application on the device.
A VPN provides encryption over the device. It means whatever you are browsing or using while being online undergoes encryption. As a result, the ISP can not track your IP address, and your data remains safe.
A VPN also lets you bypass location restrictions, like using DuckDuckGo in China. The country follows strict censorship and has banned many websites, including banned DuckDuckGo.
If you want to guarantee the privacy and data security, you should use a VPN with the Private Search Engine mentioned below.
6 Best Private Search Engines
Our List of the Best Private Search Engines you can use in 2020 instead of Google.
DuckDuckGo is one of the most prominent and best-known Private Search Engines. DuckDuckGo is a metasearch tool that relies on the data gathered from over 400 resources. This includes Yahoo, Bing, Wikipedia, and its crawlers. It receives about 85Million search queries a day, making it the most preferred choice among the users.
Also, DuckDuckGo earns from ad revenues. But they also make money from commissions paid by affiliate e-commerce sites like Amazon and eBay. They might not be selling your data to third-party advertising agencies, but if you prefer 100% anonymity, you should look at other options.
Remember, 100% anonymity comes at the expense of getting relevant search results.
Startpage is the oldest and one of the most popular private search engines. The Netherlands-based private search engine uses Google’s search result without logging any user data. Moreover, it doesn’t share your data with any third-party advertising organization.
To make searching simpler, Startpage offers a variety of tweaking in its advanced filtering option. You can use it to view images and videos by enabling the proxy mode known as “Anonymous view.”
While using “Anonymous View,” you can surf entire websites with no tracking or trace as this mode hides your IP Address and user agents to other sites, so you remain protected.
SearX.me is a “Meta Search Engine,” it gathers data from different search engines and combines them. SearX removes any personal data from your request so that other search engines receive your searches as an anonymous request.
Unlike DuckDuckGo and Startpage, SearX does not include any Ads on its search page. Instead, they provide a link to their donation page to support the service on all its search pages.
SearX is an open-source program, and they also have their code on GitHub. SearX recommends that people use the code and change it to their personal needs. For the less tech-savvy guys, they provide customizable advanced settings on the web’s main page.
But, if you run the code from your device, the search results from different search engines might backtrack your IP Address. And it will cost you your anonymity.
The Germany-based startup is trendy in its own country and is now attracting users worldwide. MetaGer converts your search request into an anonymous query that it transmits to other search engines.
Using a proxy server to hide your digital footprint on the Web, MetaGer allows the user to be completely anonymous on the search engine and their websites.
User’s contributions also support MetaGer; you will see a prominent Donate button on its homepage.
5- Disconnect Search
Disconnect Search is another “Meta Search Engine.” It uses content search help from some significant search engines like Yahoo, Bing, and DuckDuckGo.
Like any other private search engine, Disconnect Search submits your query anonymously and keeps no records of your searches.
The customizable view is one of the significant features of this Search Engine. It shows the results of any query in the style of the search Engine that you chose.
The company providing you with internet services for free must be making money from somewhere else is not valid for Disconnect Search for the time being. As Disconnect Search plans to have an option for users’ donations, the search engine currently does not generate revenue.
Qwant is a French- Based “Metasearch Engine” that retrieves search results from Bing. Qwant pledges that ‘they don’t track you and that’s never going to change,’ but its fulfillment is a little complicated.
The search engine is free to use with an option of registration. You can save your searches and create favorites after you have registered. But what’s the concept of getting anonymous over the web when you’re giving your personal information.
Qwant’s source of revenue is advertising. But it claims that they do not engage in behavior targeting and that the Advertisements are created with the Microsoft Bing ad Network’s help.
Qwant also has a search engine designed for kids with the Safety Filter that blocks unsafe results.
All of the above-mentioned Private Search Engines are great if privacy is your concern. Europe’s search engine can be a little more private as it complies with the strict EU laws. Some might be more user-friendly, and some might provide features without which you can’t go on.
Even if you use the services mentioned above, you are still vulnerable to tracking your activity. Only a VPN provides you with end-to-end encryption, which completely hides your digital footprint.
If you use a VPN with any private search engine, you can come close to being completely anonymous on the internet.