Private browsing using the supposedly private or incognito modes on your regular browser does not give you the level of privacy you think it does. You might not want to be tracked and have made it clear to your default browser as to the fact, but you know that’s not the case when ads that are related to your recent searches turn up on Facebook or inside your Gmail.
When in doubt, opt for private search engines instead. Private Search Engines are the search engines that do not store your queries or track your steps on the Internet.
There’s actually quite a number of them with a range of features and methods to keep your searches safe. Most of these search engines are not much to look at but they’re not here to look pretty, they’re here to give you a safe way to search for things that matter to you.
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Mojeek is a simple and straightforward search engine that lets you search anything without affecting your privacy. Through an advanced search technology, it gives you independent and unbiased search results.
Mojeek indexes billions of pages from sources on every theme and topic there is. Moreover, your searches are never tracked and the search engine doesn’t keep any data on your IP address, search history, or other information.
A free and simple metasearch engine, Searx gathers results from more than 70 search services, however, without tracking your searches or storing personal information. It is self-hosted and can easily integrate with any search engine.
The search engine offers secure and encrypted connections (HTTP/SSL) and is quite easy to install as well. Also, it doesn’t do any user profiling and the cookies are not used by default.
Apart from online searching, Searx can be used over Tor for online anonymity.
An efficient private search engine, Swisscows is not just privacy-driven but is quite family-friendly as well. It has a strict no-data tracking policy and doesn’t build up any search history of the users.
All the searches made through Swisscow are unbiased and based on their own indexing. With cooperation from Bing and decades of experience in search technology, there’s hardly any query that they cannot fulfill.
The best part about Swisscow is that it is family-friendly and safe meaning, any content inappropriate for children will not be indexed so children can easily use it for learning and school projects.
Qwant is a privacy-focused search engine. It believes in every user’s right to browse freely without having to worry about being tracked or profiled by the search engine.
The search results that Qwant offers are completely unbiased and unfiltered and do not offer any personalized ads. You can also read the latest news and articles on the search engine.
Apart from a search engine service, Qwant offers maps as well as a search engine for juniors that’s ideal for kids between the age of 6 to 12 – all without tracking.
DuckDuckGo is one of the most secure search engines that never tracks your searches while providing you an enhanced search experience. It’s purposely built for people who love to remain private, and delivers instant results without tailored ads on the search pages. This search engine serves 10M+ searches a day.
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WolframAlpha is a computable search engine that provides accurate answers and offers open knowledge. It’s a knowledge-packed private search engine which nonetheless does not track what you search for.
This private search engine performs dynamic calculations using inbuilt algorithms and delivers expert knowledge about people, calculations, health & medicines, money & finance, music & movies and much more.
Startpage works powerfully to provide search results while protecting your searches and avoiding tracking your steps. It offers browsing through a proxy server to help protect you from websites tracking your IP address or location. You can add it to your browser, on Chrome or Firefox, and even change its color theme.
Disconnect Search uses content search assistance from major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo but never tracks your online searches or activities or IP address. Disconnect Search lets you surf by location so that you can get location specific relevant results based on the location of your choice. It clearly informs about the tools that which are protected and unprotected, letting you choose which to use.
Lukol uses a proxy server to deliver customized search results from Google using its enhanced custom search yet conserves your privacy by removing traceable entities. Lukol is considered as one of the best private search engines that protects from online fraudsters and keeps the spammers away by safeguarding you from misleading or inappropriate sites. It ensures full anonymity of your searches.
MetaGer lets you make confidential untraceable searches that leave no footprints. It also integrates a proxy server so that you can open any link anonymously from the search result pages and yet keep your IP address hidden from the destination server. It also never tracks your keywords.
This prohibits third parties or advertisers to target you for ads or any of malicious attacks. Its default language is in German.
Gigablast indexes billions of web pages and provides real time info without tracking your online searches or browsing history. It is considered as one of the best private search engines that keeps you almost entirely hidden to marketers and spammers.
Gigablast offers searching with certain customizations and optional parameters like searching by exact phrase, languages, terms, filetypes and many more.
Oscobo is an anonymous search engine that allows no tracking of any type. This search engine does not store or track user data in any way, nor does it let any third party hack or misuse users’ data.
Like a few of the private search engines here, it lets you search for information, images, videos, news, etc. It also offers a Chrome extension for making searches.
Gibiru offers fully uncensored yet encrypted search engine to prevent data leaks to any third parties. Gibiru works faster than most private search engines because it uses ‘Google Custom Search‘ to provide its service. It does however remove all tracking methods used by Google.
It also offers a free Firefox/Chrome search bar to help you make anonymous searches right from your browser.
(This service has been discontinued.)
Hulbee is a private search solution that delivers instant searches while not tracking your search or location history. Hulbee provides intelligent information yet never analyses or stores its visitors’ information.
Your searches are all encrypted for security against middleman attacks and data leaks. Among its options: choosing a region for most relevant search results and even lets you ‘clear your activity‘ to avoid leaving any trace overall.
(This service has been discontinued.)
With Yippy, you can manually filter the results category-wise and flag any inappropriate result. Unlike some engines, Yippy allows searching of many types of content including web, images, news, jobs, blogs, government data, etc.
Yippy also lets you view cached pages (like Google) and filter results by tag clouds, sources, websites. It does not track your search queries and doesn’t show customized ads.
(This service has been discontinued.)
It’s not much to look at but Privatelee enables secure searches and strict filters if you need it. This search engine doesn’t keeps your search keywords to be used for ads or surveillance. Privatelee offers ‘PowerSearch‘ commands that lets you configure the search source and more. It is also known by an alternative name Qrobe.it.