The popularization of Google is a fact. The search engine concentrates around 75% of user searches from all over the world. Soon after appears Bing, developed by Microsoft, the oriental Baidu and the once popular Yahoo.
But did you know that your searches on these search engines can reveal a lot about your behavior and compromise your privacy?
To help you navigate safely, we are going to list three of the best private search engines that protect your data and avoid exposure on the web.
Quick Guide: Best Search Engine to Use
But first, let’s understand in a didactic way how a web search engine manages to collect your data and deliver the result you expect.
How do search engines work?
Let’s use the example of Google, which is the main search engine on the web. It has bots that track everything (or almost everything) that exists and what is published on the internet to store in its databases.
Then it organizes the relevance with which this information will appear when the user does a search. It’s called indexing. Google stood out in the market for doing this job efficiently and for delivering the results quickly to the user.
Finally, after the user types in his search, Google delivers the search results through the so-called Search Engine Results Page (SERP). There are the web’s most relevant results for your search. But that can come at a price: your data.
Best private search engines
Now that you know a little more about how search engines work and how your data can be at risk, let’s talk about the three best private search engines you can use. They are small summaries of its functionalities. They are interesting alternatives that can offer you greater security during your stay on the web.
DuckDuckGo is perhaps the best-known alternative survey site and was created in 2008 by Gabriel Weinberg. For a few years he was the company’s only full-time developer who worked for a good while in the basement of his house in the state of Pennsylvania, in the United States.
In 2014, when the search engine had already reached the milestone of 3 million daily searches, the giants Apple, Google and Mozilla already included in their browsers the option for the site to become the default search engine for their respective Safari, Chrome and Firefox.
Its search bar provides an auto-complete feature when you start typing the keyword or terms to be searched for. The results are returned in a short period of time and originate mainly from Yahoo, with which it has a partnership.
Like other search engines, DuckDuckGo has advertising, which is how it obtains resources. However, the advertisements do not pollute the page and are easily identifiable. They can appear at the top or on the right side.
Search results can be filtered in several ways. It is possible to segment by country, restrict adult content and select the timeframe of the search by day, week, month and year.
When clicking on settings, a menu appears, without opening a new window, facilitating navigation. There you can easily change the appearance, fonts and language of the site. Advanced options appear on a new page.
When searching for images, the available filters are also very interesting with some options for formats, sizes, layouts and even colors. The same goes for video search filters.
In this case, there are options for a license, duration, resolution and publication time. YouTube videos can be displayed on the page itself, but you will be informed that your privacy will be interrupted at that time, as you will be using an external service, in this case, Google.
Of the private search engines, DuckDuckGo is the only one that offers map searches. The geographic systems are not proprietary and can be easily changed between Bing Maps, Google Maps, HERE Maps or OpenStreetMap.
However, the option to generate routes does not happen on the website itself and opens a new window for the selected service, generating a bad experience for the user.
In addition to the website, the service is also available for devices with Android and iOS operating systems.
Startpage started in 1998 as Ixquick.com . It belongs to the company Startpage BV, based in the Netherlands, a country that has strong privacy laws. The search engine bills itself as the world’s most private search engine.
Its search results are identical to those of Google. On its official website there is a strong discourse against the sharing of data and information of any type of users on the internet.
The site has a Portuguese version and its homepage has a very clean, simple and objective user-friendly interface with the default search field.
The fact that its visual identity is blue can be a little annoying, since the web links have the same color. The page offers a sense of visual uniformity, but it doesn’t get in the way of navigation.
Until recently, it did not provide the autocomplete function for terms typed by default, but it recently adapted and now suggests new words.
Results are based on Google indexing and return good choices to the browser. A very positive point is the “Anonymous View” feature of the links found. According to the company, it is the only private search engine that offers the alternative of visiting websites anonymously.
Even if a search engine is private, when a connection is established with an external site found, browsing is no longer secure.
With the anonymous view feature, the link opens within the StartPage navigation, maintaining privacy. The negative point of this option is the delay to open the link completely and the visualization of the site, which can be compromised.
In the search engine, it is possible to filter searches by web, images, videos, news, dates, languages and even customize searches through advanced settings. In the settings tab it is possible to customize the colors and the visualization.
Startpage also returns advertisements at the top of page results, but they are easily identifiable and are marked as such. Advertisements are not mixed with organic results and they are what generate revenue for the search engine.
Searx is considered an open-source metasearch engine. It can gather results from various search engines while maintaining user privacy. The fact that it is open allows any user to have access to its source code and make improvements and adjustments. The service can be considered a private search solution for advanced users.
You can host it on your own server and turn it into your own search engine. With its free code, several search engines can be added to it and customization becomes ever greater, being fully controllable.
An interesting differential is that, unlike its competitors, you can filter what you don’t want to have as a result. A useful option to avoid unwanted results.
The default SearX code is available on the website, but there are several versions altered and customized by volunteers who have tweaked their code with improvements and updates.
Searches can be filtered by the following categories: General, Files, Images, IT, Map (using OpenStreetMap), Music, News, Science, Social Media and Videos. It is also possible to filter by publication time.
Use A VPN to Bring More Security
Above are the three best tools you can use to protect your security while searching the internet. But remember that the search engines we list only protect your searches within their websites. The only exception goes to StartPage, which has the option of “Anonymous View” to view external websites.
But still, all the connection data your machine sends and receives is not secured. By using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) it is possible to establish complete protection for your web presence.
A VPN server (Virtual Private Network, in Portuguese) is a service that allows you to use the web in a completely secure way, protecting you against any person or service trying to access your data illegally.
There are some free VPN options on the market. They can help you feel more secure, even if they have some restrictions. There are even advanced VPN options with more sophisticated features and for users with different needs.
Best VPNs to Use for Security
ExpressVPN – Overall best VPN for Sundance Now
ExpressVPN’s features at a glance
- Connect to servers in 94 countries.
- Unblock Netflix, Reelz, KOCOWA, USTVGO, SonyLiv, Prime Video, Hulu, and more
- Mask your IP address for privacy and anonymity
- Download apps for all your devices, including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, and more
- Use the split tunneling feature to select which device traffic you route through the VPN
- No activity or connection logs
- Bypass ISP throttling
- Use 5 devices simultaneously
- 30-days money-back guarantee
- Wide-ranging payment options including Bitcoin
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ExpressVPN is the best option if you require a VPN that provides excellent security as well as military-grade encryption. ExpressVPN takes user privacy seriously and was one of the first VPNs to remove their physical servers from India after the Indian government announced it would require VPNs to store and share customer data.
You can still get an Indian IP address by connecting to the India via UK) or India via Singapore) servers, but you’ll also get to avoid data collection.
ExpressVPN maintains a strict policy of not collecting activity or connection logs, so your data will not be stored and no other party can request to access your data—making it completely private and secure.
OpenVPN, L2TP-IPsec, and IKEv2 protocols are used by ExpressVPN. These are popular for being the most reliable and safe security protocols. But ExpressVPN also has its own proprietary VPN protocol called Lightway, which is used by default in most cases for its superior speeds, reliability, and security.
ExpressVPN has server locations in 94 countries, with high-speed servers offering speeds of
up to 100Mb/s. It enables you to stream Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, and many more in ultra HD streaming quality.
ExpressVPN also provides you with a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can easily get a full refund in case you find it doesn’t live up to expectations ówe’re pretty confident it will though!).
If you do run into any problems, you can contact their Support Team via live chat, which is
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NordVPN’s features in a glance
- Unblock Netflix, Reelz, KOCOWA, USTVGO, Roblox, Discord, Hotstar, Prime Video, MX Player, Hulu, etc
- Fast and secure Internet
- Strict no-logs policy
- 5200+ servers in 60 countries
- Connect up to 6 devices
- Onion Over VPN – Combine NordVPN encryption with anonymity.
- Multi-factor authentication
- Kill Switch will make sure your data will not be exposed.
- Split tunneling support
- Get a Dedicated IP address
- Mask your IP
- CyberSec to avoid Block ads and malware
- Lightweight Browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge
- No data leaks
- Stream sports live from official channels
- 30 days money back guarantee
It provides you with a high-security level and surety of zero IPv6/ DNS leaks which makes it one of the best and most used VPNs among the long list of VPNs available in today’s time. It could also provide you with Onion over VPN in case you require more security.
This VPN is known to be the all-rounder VPN with the availability of high-speed internet and a reasonable price.
One of its best qualities is the guarantee of 30 days for returning back the money which makes it riskless. In case you do not like the app after trying it, you could easily get 100℅ refunds.
Making Money From Your Surveys
You may also have noticed that, shortly after your search, the other sites you visit begin to display ads and advertisements about products and services that are of interest to you.
Let’s use a simple example to illustrate. Imagine that you are a musician and have searched for the word “guitar” on Google. From that moment on, you will see advertisements for the sale of musical instruments, courses and accessories and several other related products and services.
This is no mere coincidence. All your browsing is stored on your machine by the famous “cookies”. These cookies are temporary files that record your internet habits, date and time of searches, browsing history, location and other information.
And it is precisely cookies that the websites you browse use to offer you a product related to your previous searches. But it’s not just cookies.
Search engines collect your IP address and web habits to mine data, which consists of studying consumption patterns to deliver targeted advertising.
And why should I care?
What you do on the internet can be used against you and your information can get into the hands of malicious people.
Your documents, your location and your habits can become public and that’s why we encourage the use of safe browsing with browsers, trusted sites and VPN to make the internet a comfortable environment for everyone.