Best Privacy Focused Search Engines of 2023 [Compared]

5 min


A list of the best privacy focused search engines that guarantee your online privacy in 2023.

When you search for any query in a web search engine, that specific query gets recorded on the server and becomes a part of your online search history. Most common and popular search engines record those keywords and create a behaviour pattern for your browsing profile. And it is then used to push ads to you via the browser and other devices connected to the same profile.

Hence, it’s important for you to know how to keep yourself protected and anonymous. If you use Linux, you can choose any privacy focussed Linux distribution, such as Tails. On top of that, you can stay private using the following search engines.

Due to obvious reasons, this list doesn’t have Google or Bing since they are prevalent in making your habit as a product by creating a shadow profile.

What about the browsers and incognito mode? Are they not making you private? Well, no. Before choosing the best search engines, you should know the answers to some trivia questions.

FAQ: About Search engines, browsers and legalities

Question: Are these private search engines legal?

Answer: Yes. For most countries, it’s legal to use DuckDuckGo and other search engines listed below. However, some countries might block them at a country level for various reasons. However, if it is accessible via your Internet Service Provider (ISP), it is fair to assume it is legal.

Question: Are these private search engines never use your data?

Answer: Well, to be honest, they do use some of your data. But that is for delivering related search results which are not ads. Also, they don’t track your movements on other websites.

Question: Are these search engines a wrapper to Google or Bing?

Answer: No. Most of them use their web crawlers to gather and index data. Hence the results you see may sometimes be different than popular search engines. However, some proxy search engines act as a bridge between you and Google or Bing.

Question: What about browsing with Google and Bing in Browser’s incognito/private mode?

Answer: Even if you use incognito mode and Google or other search engines, your data and movement can still be tracked. However, if you use a VPN, then you should be good.

Now, you are well aware of search engines and browsers. Let’s talk about the best privacy search engines of 2023 that you can use to surf the internet without leaving any paw marks.

Best Privacy Search Engines of 2023

1. DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo - Best Privacy Focused Search Engine
DuckDuckGo – Best Privacy Focused Search Engine

DuckDuckGo is a well-known name when we talk about privacy search engines. Its old and time-tested privacy-centric resolution helps you to browse the web securely.

It automatically connects a user to the website’s encrypted versions, making it hard for others to track the browsing footprints. That’s why DuckDuckGo saves your time manually finding and connecting to the encrypted connections.

The search result quality is excellent in DuckDuckGo – if you compare it with Google and Bing.

In addition, you can use this on the android and iOS platforms to keep your mobile phone’s data safe from fraudsters and maintain your privacy simultaneously. Moreover, DuckDuckGo wipes your data once to remove your web browsing footprints.

More information:

Price: Free to use. No pricing is involved.

Best for no tracking search and results.

Browser extension: Available for most of the popular web browsers.

2. Startpage

Startpage - Search Engine
Startpage – Search Engine

In the past few years, Startpage has become popular due to its secure search offering. It is the most popular private search engine available today. Startpage promises to remove your IP address and other identification fingerprints of you from its first-level servers. In addition, it can remove third trackers and cookies while providing search results.

In addition, its simple interface can be a nice addition to your search experience.

More information:

Price: Free to use. No pricing is involved.

Best for no tracking and profiling-based results.

Browser extension: Available for most of the popular web browsers.

3. Neeva

This is fairly a new search engine, developed by some ex-Google employess. Neeva team markets this search engine as the world’s first ad-free, private search engine. The only difference is that there are no ads. Neeva features a free browsing mode and a premium mode. The premium mode is how the search engine pays their bills.

The premium mode unlocks additiona features such as private VPN, password manager, additional app integration such as GMail, Office 365 for better search.

neeva search engine
neeva search engine

More information:

Price: Free to use. Additional features require sign-up and have a price.

Best for ads free experience.

Browser extension: Available for most of the popular web browsers and in mobiles.

4. Swisscows

swisscows search engine
swisscows search engine

Swisscows is a web search engine project of Hulbee AG, a Switzerland-based company. Furthermore, Swisscows lets you search through Bing, but it also has its index for the German version and can be customized for various regions.

It contains a semantic data recognition system to provide faster results without storing users’ data. Swisscows is a fantastic platform with child and family-friendly features, unlike other search engines like DuckDuckGo and Startpage.

More information:

Price: Free to use. No pricing is involved.

Best for family-friendly browsing.

Browser extension: Available for most of the popular web browsers.

5. MetaGer

metaGer search engine
metaGer search engine

The MetaGer search engine promises to protect the privacy of its users. An NGO and the University of Hannover work together to operate this German-based search engine. You can easily integrate MetaGer with other web browsers using its search plugin.

Additionally, the system of this search engine is based on 24 small-scale web crawlers under the control of MetaGer itself. MetaGer has simple algorithms which are transparent and available for all. Some of the features include that it allows you to access maps and plan your routes without tracing your location. In addition, it is run by a non-profit organization and uses renewable energy in its server and data centre stack.

However, you might find some contextual ads in search results based on the keyword, NOT based on your browsing history. Also, it pulls some results from Yahoo!.

More information:

Price: Free to use. No pricing is involved.

Best for uncensored results with privacy!

Browser extension: Available for most of the popular web browsers.

6. Qwant

Qwant is a Meta search engine from France that launched in 2013 and now has its headquarters in Paris. It is one of the very few EU-based search engines. It claims that it doesn’t keep the user’s data and does not even track the users while searching or surfing sessions.

Qwant is an excellent search engine that cleans up your search history and removes the footprints once you close it. However, Qwant is unavailable in many countries, making it a bit less popular than other search engines.

More information:

Price: Free to use. No pricing is involved.

Best for privacy with priority search results.

Browser extension: Available for most of the popular web browsers.

Wrapping Up

I hope this list of search engines helps you be safe and will let you enjoy your private and personal searching and surfing sessions on the web. Use them to keep your data confidential and keep yourself safe.

For complete privacy, I recommend you use Tails or any other privacy-friendly Linux distribution with VPN and use the above privacy oriented search engines. Also, don’t forget to use the above search engines on your iOS or Android phones with Firefox browser to keep yourself safe via mobile computing.


Arindam

Creator of debugpoint.com. All time Linux user and open-source supporter. Connect with me via Telegram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or send us an email.
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