When looking for something on the internet, search engines often collect your data and use it to create a unique profile. That profile can then be used to identify you. Once that is done, search engines can sell your data to third-party entities, which use the information to run targeted marketing campaigns.
The problem is that you may not have given your consent for a search engine to collect your data and sell it. That is where alternative search engines with privacy in mind come in.
DuckDuckGo is a search engine that allows you to run searches on the internet without the risk of having your data collected. It does not collect your IP address, search history, or user agent strings.
Besides DuckDuckGo, there are some other search engines too that mainly focus on user privacy. Swisscows, Gibiru, Searx to name a few. However the best DuckDuckGo alternative is Ecosia. Not only does it value user privacy but comes up with relevant results whenever you run a search query. Ecosia actively contributes to social causes which is its best part.
More about DuckDuckGo & why explore alternatives
DuckDuckGo was launched in 2008 and has grown in popularity over the years. That is partly because it is compatible with most modern web browsers.
It is an open-source software, meaning anyone can modify and share it at no cost at all. With DuckDuckGo, you get to do everything you would do on Google Search or Bing, but with the benefit of remaining anonymous.
However, DuckDuckGo comes with some shortcomings. For instance, it does collect some of your data but not enough to identify you. The data is used to ensure functionality.
Again, the search engine displays adverts on its user interface and that can be quite distracting. As a casual user, you can customize DuckDuckGo to a point but not as much as you may want to.
It aggregates its index from Bing only. That means it only gets information from one particular source and that may not be enough to give adequate search results.
The good news is that there are alternatives to DuckDuckGo as mentioned above. These alternatives also incorporate unique features that make them more useful than DuckDuckGo.
Let’s find out more about them.
Best DuckDuckGo Alternatives
Below are some of the most impressive DuckDuckGo alternatives you can use to run searches on the internet.
Swisscows was previously referred to as Hulbee. This private search engine is based in Switzerland.
Its location is significant because it does not fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. or EU, which may end up demanding access to user data under certain circumstances.
Another unique feature of this search engine is that it does not create a user profile at all. Additionally, it has a clean user interface that does not include any type of advertisement.
When using this search engine, not only is your privacy protected but you won’t have to worry about any kind of ads popping up on the sides and causing unnecessary distractions.
Another impressive feature of this search engine is that it incorporates family-friendly mechanics. That means it automatically censors any adult or violent content that would have popped up during searches.
What’s more, it has a semantic map that gives helpful search suggestions relating to the keywords or key phrases you use. The suggestions are in a column on the right side of the web page.
This is a solid platform if you’re looking to switch from DuckDuckGo for one reason or another.
Gibiru is a private search engine that was launched in 2009. This particular alternative to DuckDuckGo goes a step further by using the 256-bit AES encryption.
Such encryption offers an even greater level of privacy because all the data involved in your searches is hidden from prying eyes. Note that Gibiru does not collect your IP address or search history.
All results are the engine’s complete index results, while the censored results are links often excluded from most mainstream search engines. This search engine also allows you to filter results into categories such as images, news, and videos.
Gibiru is available online but also comes in the form of a mobile app that you can download from the main web page.
Searx is an open-source private search engine that lets you search the internet anonymously. However, it is different from DuckDuckGo as it indexes search results from many other mainstream search engines.
Because of that, results are likely to be more comprehensive than what you get on DuckDuckGo. And while it sources results from other search engines, it does not allow those engines to track or collect data from its users.
The search engine itself does not collect your IP or search history. When you use this engine, it will also indicate the source it used in its indexing. That means you’ll know whether a link is coming from Google, Bing, or any other engine.
The good news is that you have the freedom to pick the indexing sources you would like to use and block those you do not fancy. This particular search engine also allows you to rewrite HTTP to HTTPS and remove tracker arguments from URLs.
It is an exceptional search engine that makes it possible for you to customize many of its features.
Qwant is another search engine that can go a long way in protecting your privacy. It has its origin in France in Europe which is why it is also quite popular in that region.
It is slightly different from DuckDuckGo because it uses its own crawler and index instead of sourcing results from third-party entities. You can therefore look forward to finding unique results regardless of your web history.
It features a minimalist user interface which is an excellent thing especially if you want to carry out searches without unnecessary distractions.
It’s worth pointing out that its user interface is almost similar to that of Google Search, making it easy for you to transition from one to the other seamlessly.
However, if you want to personalize this search engine, you can do so by adjusting settings to include cookie-saving capabilities. Another unique aspect of this search engine is that it has a section with trending topics and news stories that may just pique your interest.
Explore more sites like Qwant here.
Startpage is the next search engine you might want to check out if you want to have a private search experience. This search engine’s interface is also similar to that of Google, making it a good option for those who love Google Search’s interface.
Like DuckDuckGo, this alternative also features adverts on the interface. However, it differs from DuckDuckGo because it allows you to turn off adverts if you wish.
Because this search engine does not collect your IP or log activity, the adverts on your page are not personalized and may therefore seem irrelevant to you. That is why it may be prudent to turn them off.
Another unique feature of this search engine is that it lets you change themes. The dark theme is particularly popular because many people believe it helps with eye-strain protection.
Of course, Startpage is a meta-search engine and will, therefore, source results from other engines including Google. But it encrypts data, which is a plus when it comes to ensuring your privacy.
Startpage also differs from DuckDuckGo because it does not censor its search results.
Also Read: Best Browsers For Privacy
Ecosia is a unique search engine because it focuses on more than just providing exceptional privacy. Instead, its operators donate 80% of their profits to causes related to planting trees across the world.
Another difference between Ecosia and DuckDuckGo is that the former is hosted on servers that are powered by 100% renewable energy.
The search engine features promotional ads that may pop up on the homepage. But that is the way it makes profits. It mainly sources its search results from Bing, which is almost similar to DuckDuckGo.
Like most search engines on this list, Ecosia does not collect your IP address nor does it create a profile based on your activity. Additionally, It does not sell your data to any third-party entities.
This is another search engine with an interface that is almost similar to that of Google Search. It is, therefore, quite easy for Google Search users to transition to this alternative.
When using Ecosia, you can rest assured that you are not doing it in vain because its profits are going toward a noble cause.
Also Read: Best People Search Websites
YaCy is an open-source search engine you can use casually to explore the internet or modify to build a search portal for your intranet. This search engine differs from DuckDuckGo because it does not have a central server or proprietary software.
Instead, it utilizes a decentralized system of computers managed by members of the YaCy peer-to-peer network. Members of this network number into the thousands, which is one of the reasons why it has experienced success.
The search engine is notably different from others on this list because no one really controls the YaCy network. Each computer on the system crawls the internet and presents results accordingly.
That is why every search query may have slight variations even if you enter the same search terms. When using this search engine you can be sure that your privacy is protected because there is no way of collecting your data.
Check Out: Best Dehashed Alternatives
Mojeek was launched in 2006 and was among the first search engines to adopt a no-tracking policy. In contrast to DuckDuckGo, Mojeek uses its own crawler and index to create search results suitable to your query.
This particular search engine does not record your IP nor does it keep a log of your activities on the internet. It is, therefore, unable to create a user profile for identification.
Mojeek does not feature any adverts on its homepage or search result page. That makes it one of the cleaner alternatives to DuckDuckGo.
It is equally important to note that Mojeek is sustainably hosted. That makes it an ideal option for anyone that wants to run searches while minimizing their carbon footprint.
Also Read: Best LoopNet Alternatives
MetaGer is the next search engine you should consider using if you want to stay anonymous on the internet. It utilizes a Tor network to ensure that none of your data can be accessed.
Unlike DuckDuckGo which relies on one source for search results, MetaGer utilizes indexes from multiple search engines. That is why it is likely to give a more comprehensive list of results.
MetaGer is hosted on servers that utilize 100% renewable energy. That makes it an ideal pick for individuals that want to minimize their carbon footprint on the earth.
The search engine has a built-in proxy that helps hide your IP address so that no one can determine your location. It is also an open-source software allowing you to make changes to it and even share without any obligations to make payments.
When running searches on this particular engine, you’ll notice adverts popping up alongside your search results. That is one of the ways the company raises money to keep the tool up and running.
The good news is that you can opt out of the ads if you decide to join as a member of the non-profit organization called SUMA-EV. That is the organization responsible for running the MetaGer search engine.
Explore: How To Reverse Image Search On Instagram?
10. Whoogle Search
Whoogle Search is the DuckDuckGo alternative you might want to consider using. This is another meta-search engine that collects results from multiple search engines and presents them to you in an organized manner.
A unique feature that makes it stand out is that it does not carry any ads. You can run many searches without ever having to worry about ads popping up on the screen or next to your search results.
Another advantage of using this particular alternative is that it is easily deployable in one click as a docker app. You can also customize it easily using a single configuration file.
Check Out: Best Yandex Image Search Alternatives
11. Brave Search
The next search engine you can use to carry out anonymous searches is Brave Search. This particular engine differs from DuckDuckGo because it utilizes its own index. That means it won’t source results from other search engines.
Brave does not collect data and therefore doesn’t create unique user profiles for the purposes of identification.
Another benefit of using this search engine is that it does not censor results and therefore allows you to get access to all sorts of information.
Explore the best alternatives to Brave here.
Andi is another excellent alternative to DuckDuckGo. It is unique because it utilizes artificial intelligence to bring up search results. When using this search engine you don’t have to worry about ads on the home page or next to search results.
Andi does not collect your IP address nor does it create a unique profile for the purposes of identification.
It is one of the best options if you want to surf the net without getting tracked and encountering annoying adverts.
Also Read: Best TinEye Alternatives
Dogpile is another meta-search engine that can do an excellent job when it comes to bringing up relevant search results. The search engine was launched in 2006 and features a simple user interface.
You can narrow down your searches by choosing different sections including news, images, videos, and the web. Unlike DuckDuckGo which mainly sources results from Bing, Dogpile collects results from several search engines including Google, Bing, Yahoo Search, and Ask.com.
Because it sources results from multiple sites, you can be sure to get a more comprehensive list of results. The search engine does not record your IP address nor does it create a user profile based on your activity.
However, you’ll notice that the homepage features some advertisements although they may not be relevant to you. That is because the ads are not targeted as is often the case with search engines that create unique user profiles and sell the data to third-party entities.
Dogpile allows users to carry out searches in the Yellow and White Pages depending on the results they wish to get. It also keeps a record of 15 of your most recent searches to ensure better results on your next search.
However, the information is lost when you close the Dogpile page. This search engine also filters out potentially violent or adult content. You can change the settings to allow all results including adult content.
Explore: Best PimEyes Alternatives
14. Qwant Lite
Qwant Lite is another search engine that may get you the results you need fast. It is different from DuckDuckGo because it is relatively lightweight and therefore uses minimal resources to compile results.
It is a good option for individuals that use older versions of web browsers. Like most search engines on this list, Qwant Lite does not collect any unique data and will therefore ensure you search the web anonymously.
The next DuckDuckGo alternative you might want to check out is Presearch. It is unique because it embraces blockchain technology.
It comes with its own cryptocurrency called PRE. If you decide to use this particular search engine, you’ll be able to earn the cryptocurrency every time you run searches.
Presearch is a decentralized search engine that does not collect any user data that can be used to create a unique profile. It is compatible with most web browsers and will therefore present little to no problem to users of the various web browsers.
In my book, the best alternative to DuckDuckGo is Ecosia. The search engine returns relevant results fast. It is also big on privacy which is why every time you use it, you can be sure that no one is monitoring your activity.
Ecosia also scores high when it comes to giving back to society. The company that runs this search engine donates 80% of its profits toward tree planting causes, which is an excellent way to ensure the earth remains habitable for both humans and animals.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.