ixquick / Startpage & DuckDuckGo: Good Search Engines for Privacy

Stop your search activity from being recorded with these privacy-focused Google alternatives: DuckDuckGo and ixquick / Startpage.

Want to protect your personal data online? One way is to try out PureVPN, which masks your IP address and encrypts all your traffic to secure your online activities. Another is to use a private search engine, as it allows you to conduct searches without being tracked.

These privacy-focused search engines source results from the popular search sites, but anonymize your queries so they can’t be tied back to you. Furthermore, they don’t collect or share any information that can be used to identify you.

What Google Knows About You?

The problem with most search engines (like Google, Bing, and Yahoo) is that they keep a close eye on you. They want to learn as much as possible about your online habits to serve you targeted advertisements. To make this possible, the following pieces of information are stored every time you type in a search query:

  • Your Internet Protocol (IP) address
  • Cookie ID – this uniquely identifies your browser and allows search engines to link search requests to your device.
  • Date and time
  • Search terms you used

All of this data is typically transmitted to:

  • The web page you requested
  • Any third-party advertisers showing ads on that page

As you browse the Internet, Google builds up and maintains a detailed profile on you. This information could also be handed over to the NSA upon request, so it makes perfect sense to arm yourself with a privacy-oriented alternative.


Private Search Engines

Want to make the switch from Google to something that won’t track your every move online? Though you have a plethora of options, today we’re going to explore two of the best private search engines and their offerings:


Founded in 2008, DuckDuckGo is one of the most popular private search engines out there. The US-based company provides good search results but without the intrusive tracking that Google is known for. It receives approximately 14 million search queries per day and collects results from more than 100 sources, such as Wikipedia, Bing, and Yahoo.

How good are the search results?

Overall, the quality of DuckDuckGo’s search results are impressive. You’re shown a list of search suggestions as you enter a query, which is helpful. The search returns are fast, and you’ll find the results to be presented in a clear manner.

You can narrow down your searches through various categories like Web, News, Images, Definition, Products, as well as Meanings. Furthermore, users also have the ability to filter their searches by region and date.

Does it show ads?

DuckDuckGo shows ads with its search results. That’s one of the ways the search engine makes money, with the other being affiliate links. However, it’s important to note that these ads aren’t personalized (they’re based on the keywords you type into the search box). What’s more, the ads are marked clearly and displayed separately from the “real” search returns.

How private are your searches?

DuckDuckGo doesn’t gather or share your personal information by default, according to the founder and CEP Gabriel Weinberg. This means your searches can’t be tied back to you as nothing is saved in the first place. However, given that the company is based in the US, DuckDuckGo could be pressurized by the government to start logging its user’s activities.

What about features?

One feature that sets DuckDuckGo apart from the competition is Bangs, which basically allows you to search directly through other search engines. Let’s suppose that you want to search for shoes on the Amazon store.

In this scenario, all you have to do is type “!a shoes” and DuckDuckGo will take you straight to the correct page on Amazon.com. However, since your searches aren’t proxied, you are bound to lose some of your privacy.

You can learn more about Bangs commands here.

Is it free?

Yes. DuckDuckGo’s app or browser extension can be used for no cost.

ixquick / Startpage

Startpage is a more user-friendly private search engine. It used to be a variant service of the then Ixquick until the merger took place in 2016. The company sources its results from Google and allows users to search in up to 17 different languages, including English, Traditional Chinese, French, Japanese, Swedish, and German.

Are the search results good?

The search results are great as they’re pulled right from Google. You won’t get a list of search suggestions by default, but this can be activated through the settings. The search returns are speedy and perhaps on par with DuckDuckGo.

As for the results, they’re presented quite clearly. You can filter your search as well, but there are a limited number of categories available, i.e., Video, Web, and Images. Moreover, users also have the advanced search option to narrow down their searches by time and country.

Does it show ads?

Startpage displays ads with its search results. Just like DuckDuckGo, it makes money from affiliate links and ads. Fortunately, these ads aren’t targeted (they’re based on the search terms you use). In addition, the ads are labeled clearly and not combined with the “real” search results.

How private are your searches?

None of your personal information is collected, shared, or saved when you use Startpage, as per the CEO Robert Beens. This includes everything from not storing your IP address to using cookies. Plus, the Netherlands-based company has the distinction of being the only privacy-friendly search engine to undergo an independent audit.

What about features?

One distinctive feature of ixquick / Startpage is Anonymous View. It’s essentially a proxy operated by the search engine that sits between your device and the website you want to visit. This, much like a VPN, conceals your real IP address.

As a result, it becomes difficult for sites to use fingerprinting and tracking technology to identify and follow you. The downside of using this option is slow page load times, so you wouldn’t want it to be enabled all the time.

Is it free?

Yes. Startpage’s app or browser extension can be used for no cost.

Final Word

If you want to search for something without risking your privacy, using search engines like DuckDuckGo and ixquick / Startpage should get the job done!

Got any questions? Feel free to use the comments section below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

PureVPN PureVPN is a leading VPN service provider that excels in providing easy solutions for online privacy and security. With 2000+ servers in 141+ countries, It helps consumers and businesses in keeping their online identity secured.

Have Your Say!!

Join 3 million+ users to embrace internet freedom

Signup for PureVPN to get complete online security and privacy with a hidden IP address and encrypted internet traffic.