Searching for privacy search engines in 2022? You’ve landed at the right runway. Every single one of these search engines will grant you complete privacy and in most cases even anonymity.
You can search without worrying about being traced/tracked or fingerprinted. Your data wouldn’t be sold and the websites you visit wouldn’t know who you are just from your searches.
Moreover, some of these search engines let you contribute where it matters! Some of these plant trees for your searches, while others feed children.
100% anonymity guaranteed
These search engines sure protect you. However, most websites have their own independent trackers and fingerprinting tools. In those cases, a profile of you is still built by those sites which can be used to identify you, your choices and next destinations.
To counter this, I’d advise getting a good VPN.
The VPN will give you a new IP addresses each time you connect to it. This ensures even with all their trackers and tools, independent websites will not be able to build an identifiable profile for you.
What are Privacy Search Engines?
Privacy search engines are search engines which offer you “privacy” (obviously).
To understand them better, you must first understand the traditional (non-private) search engines, e.g. Google/Yahoo and others.
These traditional search engines are full of trackers. They save your search history on the pretext of “providing you better future search results”. Which isn’t entirely false.
However, they also attach trackers to your searches so they know which websites you visit, how much time you spend on a site, which products/links you click on and so much more.
Very often than not, this data (your searches/likes/ interests/age/location) is either shared with third-party companies, or used internally across other applications than the search engine.
In other words, your privacy is non-existent. We’ve come to accept it because it provides “better search results and ads”. However, if you aren’t okay with that, you need these privacy search engines.
These search engines do not save your search history, or your web activity. They do not “profile” you. No trackers are attached to your search activity or devices either.
The downside? You may not see an ad about that exact shoe you were “thinking about”. I believe that’s an okay loss compared to you getting your privacy back, isn’t it?
Best Privacy Search Engines | Private Search Engine
These are the uncensored privacy search engines you’ll find on this list, Dive right in then!
Duck Duck Go
Duck Duck Go dominates any and all lists talking about privacy search engines. With over 3 billion searches/month, and 14years+ existence in the industry, DuckDuckGo has truly created a name for itself.
It doesn’t use any trackers or digital fingerprints to identify you, or your searches. It doesn’t even save your search history. As a result, your search results aren’t based on which links you’ve previously clicked or which site you liked more.
Location, age, interests and everything else that most other search engines hoard? DuckDuckGo doesn’t.
It’s different even from most other privacy search engines. That’s because it doesn’t use Google’s site index to show results and rather has its own.
It blocks the malicious/tracker-based ads. Do note that ads still exist, however, they’re based on generic searches. You see ads for what you search for, not what you “may like” as with other search engines.
The interface is almost identical to Google. You can search for images, news, maps, and videos. Even rich snippets exist!
It’s also available as a browser extension, and native apps for Android and iOS. The apps offer even more features such as better encryption, email protection.
Swisscows has a tagline that reads –“your private and anonymous search engine”, this says a lot, doesn’t it?
It’s one of the very few privacy search engines on this list which has its own index. This means it doesn’t rely on Google, Bing, Yahoo or others for its search results.
It doesn’t store any data either. No search histories mean no user “profiles” are created.
Unfortunately (or fortunately) it doesn’t index any adult content. It’s great if you wish to introduce a search engine to your children.
There’s this “preview” option which lets you preview the site without actually visiting it!
Additionally, you can also install a browser extension for an even better and smoother experience.
The interface is similar to Google but not identical. It’s also capable of searching for images, videos, and even music.
Its a full anonymity suite if you want it to be. They offer an anonymous messenger “Teleguard’ that’s like Whatsapp minus all its tracking and identification capabilities, an anonymous e-mail client, and even a VPN.
Yacy is different from most other privacy search engines you’ll see. It’s a P2P, decentralized search engine.
Let me explain both the terms? P2P means “people to people”. People act as nodes, letting you search for your queries. These nodes are the “search engine”, collectively. No node is more powerful or privileged than the other node.
Similarly, “Decentralized” means there’s no central entity controlling it all. It doesn’t even use a central server eliminating any and all “single point of control” doubts.
It’s all distributed/spread amongst the people. No one person can prevent or restrict you from searching what you want. No person can record/monitor your activity either.
You can even install Yacy and act as a node yourself. The only problem? You’ll have to install Yacy on your system!
Metager is a non-profit organization. On top of that, it’s open-source. That means we do not have to blindly trust everything it says, and its claims can be verified independently.
It’s an uncensored search engine. This is possible as it fetches data from multiple search engines and not a single central source. You can also manually choose which search engines to enable/disable.
It doesn’t track you or your searches. Additionally it uses an anonymizing proxy which makes sure your IP address is masked for these searches. It can be enabled if you click on the “open anonymously” link under each search result.
There’s also a blacklisting feature which lets you exclude domains so they don’t show up in searches.
You can use the Metager plugin to make it your default search engine, even on Google Chrome. There’s also a Metager app that you can download for Android devices.
The interface is slightly different from Google. For starters, it doesn’t use the traditional blue-green colour combination.
It’s capable of showing image results. For each search, it also shows a number of “related searches” you can click on.
SearX is another privacy search engine that’s 100% free and open-source. It too gathers its results form other search engines.
What makes SearX “private”? Well, it doesn’t log your search history. Neither does it share your IP addresses with the engines it’s pulling data from.
The interface is similar to Google in many ways. The blue/green colour combination is used. Then, for relevant keywords, an excerpt from Wikipedia is shown just like on Google.
Similarly, it shows “WikiData” (definitions/ additional data) for your searches when available.
It also gives you the search URL in case you need it for whatever reasons. There’s even a “download results” button which will give you all the displayed URLs in a csv/rss or json file.
It has multiple search modes. On top of normal searches, you can also search for files, maps, music, news, science, social media, videos etc. The “files’ mode is especially helpful when you’re trying to find movies or other downloadable files.
Ecosia is built different. Its primary aim is to “plant trees”. Why then is it on this privacy search engine list?
Well, because it doesn’t trace/track you like all the other options on this list. It anonymizes all your search data within a week. This means, after 7 days, any and all identification data attached to your search (IP address primarily) is stripped off.
No searches are stored permanently either. It doesn’t create personal profiles of its users. No data is stored meaning no data can be sold to third-parties.
It further encrypts your data so that third-party interceptions become hard if not completely impossible. It doesn’t even use third-party trackers on its website so that those third-party tools do not get access to your data.
Finally, whatever little data it does collect (non-identifiable) too can be “turned off” in a single click.
It’s extremely transparent with its earning reports and “planted trees” numbers. It shows how much money they’ve made, and how many trees have been planted.
It too gets its links from multiple sources. You get to manually choose which search engines to include/exclude from this list.
However, it prevents “search leak”. This means, the websites you visit do not know what you searched for to find them.
Mojeek has all the right keywords you may be looking for. For starters, its tagline says –“No tracking, just search”. That’s a good start, isn’t it?
Then, it lists 3 big reasons why you should use Mojeek. Escaping big tech/ right to privacy / or just looking for different search results. Again, three very solid reasons, two of these even enforce your privacy.
I’ll be honest, it’s no Google when it comes to “index size”. However, this was a personal project which went viral and today has a pretty impressive index of over 5 Billion web pages.
The actual search page interface is almost identical to that of Google. This keeps things simple without you having to re-learn how to search. It does have “Image” and “News” searches as well.
There’s even a 100% free and anonymous feature they added, it’s called “Mojeek Focus”. It basically lets you include/exclude results and customize your search much better without being tracked.
You can also use Mojeek on your website to offer site searches. Ads too can be run.
Closing Words – Best Privacy Search Engines in 2022
Every single search engine I’ve listed will ensure your searches aren’t stored and your data isn’t logged.
If you need the “best”, I’d say start with DuckDuckGo and then move onto Swisscows if you want to. Yacy is extremely anonymous however it requires additional setup.
The other options will let you search without attaching trackers as well. Just make sure you get a VPN if you wish to be truly private and anonymous on these search engines.