Ever wonder why, as soon as you search for a product, you then receive tons of ads on that product shortly after? This is because search engines like Google often store or log your online activity and make it freely available to others running Google ads. So, how exactly do you avoid this situation? Well, that’s what’s where privacy-based search engines come in. In this article, we’re going to go through some of the best privacy search engines you can use to protect your online activity.
What is a Privacy-Based Search Engine?
Privacy-based search engines are browsers that don’t store your search history or log user information. Their main aim is to optimize user privacy as they search the web. In comparison search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo all keep and track your data, privacy-based search engines exclude:
- User agents
- Search items
- Unique identifiers
- Browser biometrics
- Location information
- IP addresses
How do Privacy-Based Search Engines Protect Your Data?
Privacy-Based Search Engines protect your data in several ways. They don’t collect your personal information like IP addresses or specific search queries. They use encryption to secure your connection, preventing others from snooping. They don’t create user profiles or track your search history, and they often hide your identity with proxy servers. They limit the use of tracking cookies and avoid showing personalized ads. These measures ensure that your data is kept private and secure while you search online.
Why You Should Use a Privacy-Based Search Engine.
You should use a Privacy-Based search engine for enhanced online privacy. By doing so, you can protect your personal data from being collected and tracked, reduce exposure to targeted advertising, escape filter bubbles, regain peace of mind regarding your digital privacy, and support ethical data practices in the online world.
As a Darknet Market user, (like every step) this is one of the most important OpSec steps to take. That being said, simply using a privacy-based engine to find Darknet markets is not ideal. You should only use trusted websites like LiveDarknet, Dark.Fail, and Tor.Taxi. As seen by the recent failure of DarknetOne.com, your top Google/ or other search engine results should no be trusted. This is Opsec 101.
Best Privacy-Based Search Engines
Privacy-based search engines, like DuckDuckGo and Startpage, don’t track your every online move. This means they’re useful not only on the surface web but also on the Dark Web, where people may be involved in activities they’d rather keep under wraps.
Even though the Dark Web is often associated with less-than-legal activities, it’s not all bad. It’s also a refuge for whistleblowers and activists in repressive regimes, and they need privacy to communicate and access information safely. So, even in this enigmatic digital realm, privacy matters.
Someone navigating the Dark Web might choose these search engines to maintain their anonymity and protect their digital footprints Here’s all the Engines you need to know about!
DuckDuckGo is one of the most popular privacy-based search engines available with around 80 million users as of 2020. You can use DuckDuckGo from the desktop and mobile browser extension or app.
They also offer a great feature called !bang which creates a shortcut that pulls search results from third-party websites. They also bring in income through private, contextual adverts that are based on search queries and not user information. DuckDuckGo is best for keeping your online search activity private
- Blocks trackers
- Offers email protection
- Offers Android app protection
- Uses contextual paid advertising
- Doesn’t track your IP address
- Doesn’t keep user logs
- SSL encryption
- Has a smaller database
- It still displays ads
- Doesn’t give great location-based results
Searx is another free software that is open-sourced and easy to use on multiple devices. It is also a metasearch engine which means it collects results from popular search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo and combines them.
Searx protects your privacy by directing users to proxied direct links which makes it easier to hide user information. With results gathered from 82 other search engines, Searx categories information by file, image, maps and social media. You can use the browser by downloading the API or attaching a Firefox plugin. Searx is best for decentralized searches.
- Proxy service
- Cloud accessible
- Provides cookie tracking services
- Doesn’t share IP address
- Doesn’t save user agents
- Doesn’t keep logs
- No location sharing
- It doesn’t build user profiles
- Can be difficult to set up
- Might lack search result quality
- May be slower than other search engines
As a privacy-based search engine, Startpage is one of the closest alternatives to Google mainly because of their high search quality. Founded by a US company in the Netherlands, Startpage offers a large array of search results while still maintaining its policy of not collecting personal information or IP addresses.
Their most impressive feature is undoubtedly its Anonymous view mode which functions as an extra layer of protection, stopping sites from tracking their users. In addition to this, Startpage also has several features like instant answer tools and extensions like weather, translation, stock traders, and a currency converter. It’s great for unprofiled browsing and is free to use.
- Blocks trackers
- Has anonymous view features
- Uses contextual paid ads with no user profiling
- It doesn’t track IP address
- Doesn’t share location information
- Doesn’t keep user logs
- Encrypted connection
- Great search quality
- Award-winning privacy-based search engine
- Still uses contextual ads
4. Brave Search
Often used in conjunction with the Brave web browser applications, Brave Search is an independent search engine that aims to provide people with information directly from their independent index of the internet. Brave Search commits to giving its users as much privacy as they can. By being committed to transparency, they provide a private browsing experience without tracking user activity, behavior, or searches.
While Brave doesn’t block ads completely, they do reward their users for allowing them. They have a commission-based program that allows users to earn a small commission of points on accepting targeted ads. This search engine is great for supporting local business and it’s free.
- Provides you with an anonymous search
- Customizable themes
- Supported on mobile and desktop
- Option to view ads or not
- Permissions to track and improve browser performance
- Customizable tracking settings
- Doesn’t build user profiles
- Doesn’t keep user logs
- It doesn’t fully block ads
- Limited search quality
Swisscows is a proud, family-friendly privacy-based search engine which focuses on making a user’s personal information impossible to store. This means it won’t track cookies or anything on your personal profiles. You can integrate this search engine as a VPN Chrome or Firefox extension. It also uses contextual ads which are powered by Bing in order to generate an income. Swisscows is perfect for family-friendly browsing and has a base-free version. For VPN subscriptions there will be a ten-month subscription and a seven-month month.
- It doesn’t keep user logs
- Stores no personal data
- Uses AI for search result suggestions
- Uses contextual advertising
- Has anonymous view
- Comes with free music
- Offers TeleGuard messaging
- Safer for younger people and easier to use
- Still uses ads
How to Choose a Privacy-Based Search Engine
Choosing the right Privacy-based search engine will definitely depend on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a standard, easy-to-use search engine then you could choose any of them. But if you’re more concerned about search quality, privacy features, and overall performance, then you’ll want to be a little more specific in your choice. Here are a few things you should consider when choosing a Privacy-Based Search engine:
- Check their policy on keeping or storing user information. You want a sight that doesn’t store any of your personal data.
- Check reviews. Some sites say that they keep no logs, but this is misleading. Checking reviews can help you see their authenticity.
- Check their security protocols. Do they use end-to-end encryption, HTTPS or other secure encryptions?
- What is their search quality like? There’s not much point in using a browser that has a limited index because your searches will be limited. Look for search engines that source their data from other engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo.
- Look for engines that don’t use profiling to create personalized ads but rather contextual ads. This means that they haven’t used any of your data to create a show you those specific ads.
- Check their speed and performance. There’s nothing worse than having a slow browser. Check their speed and performance to see if they’ll suit what you’re looking for.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, they are legal to use. Because they generally don’t track or store any user information and focus on protecting privacy, they keep themselves safely within the bounds of the law.
Most privacy search engines stay clear of accessing or using a person’s personal data. If anything, the whole point of the search engine is to avoid this. That said, certain privacy search engines may require you to give permission for them to use your data for certain features, like a VPN.
Yes, most privacy search engines are free to use. The only time you might be required to pay for something is if you add on additional features like a VPN.
Hey there, I’m a dark web geek who’s been around for the last 8 years. More precisely, I’m livedarknet’s senior content writer who’s been writing about darknet marketplaces, tutorials, and cybersecurity stuff for educational purposes.