What Is the Best Search Engine for Privacy and Security?

Here you are going to find a private alternative to Google Search. For you we have evaluated popular search engines on privacy, security and trustworthiness, guided by the three criteria for data-privacy.

Updated, 12/05/2020

Search Engine Secure Private Transparent

Google1)Privacy Policy: Google

Yahoo2)Privacy Policy: Oath

Bing3)Privacy Policy: Microsoft

Ecosia4)Privacy Policy: Ecosia

Startpage5)Privacy Policy: Startpage

DuckDuckGo 6)Privacy Policy: DuckDuckGo7)DuckDuckGo Open Source Overview

Search Engine Secure Private Transparent

Google8)Privacy Policy: Google

Yahoo9)Privacy Policy: Oath

Bing10)Privacy Policy: Microsoft

Ecosia11)Privacy Policy: Ecosia

Startpage12)Privacy Policy: Startpage

DuckDuckGo 13)Privacy Policy: DuckDuckGo14)DuckDuckGo Open Source Overview

An online service is secure, if the transfer of data and its storage on a server or user device is encrypted. Here different methods are used which differ in its strength. The most secure method is end-to-end encryption. It guarantees that only sender and recipient have access to the digital keys for the data.

An online service is private, if the provider of the service collects no or only minimal data, which are not directly needed its service. This means that no personal data is collected, which could be sold to other companies or used by the provider itself.

An online service is transparent, if it can be guaranteed that it is secure and private. To prove this, the program’s source code can be made publicly available and accessible for everyone to inspect. This practice is called open source and is a central aspect of digital trustworthiness, as it makes the software’s operations transparent.

= Criteria meet
= Criteria partially meet
= Criteria not meet

Our Favourite: DuckDuckGo

Why Is DuckDuckGo Our Favourite Private Search Engine?

DuckDuckGo is a search engine like Google. DuckDuckGo does not collect data about you – unlike Google.

There are some search engines out there that don’t collect data about you. DuckDuckGo is not only one of them, but at the same time it is easy to use and offers lots of useful features.

This makes DuckDuckGo a good choice as a privacy respecting alternative to Google.

What Makes DuckDuckGo Better Than Google?

DuckDuckGo does not collect data about you

Our searches include very private information. We inform us about politics, health conditions and many more that we would like to keep to ourselves.

DuckDuckGo doesn’t store your search terms and history, it doesn’t follow you around from website to website.15)I Ditched Google for DuckDuckGo. Here’s Why You Should Too It just offers you a service without creating a search-profile about you.

This is good for protecting your private and makes DuckDuckGo a good alternative to Google.

Advertisements are placed differently

The most important difference between DuckDuckGo and Google is how they place adverts.

DuckDuckGo also makes its money with advertisements. But DuckDuckGo places its ads based on the search term while Google personalises ads based on your behaviour and interests.16)Google: Personalized advertising This is why you will probably see different ads on Google for the same search query than we would. DuckDuckGo shows everyone the same adverts for the same search query, regardless of your interests or behaviour.17)DuckDuckGo: Advertising and Affiliates

The business model is similar, both show advertisements, but Google is incentivised to collect more data about you, in order to show you ads which suit your interests. For DuckDuckGo this is different because the relevance of ads is based on the search term and not on you. If you search for cars, for example, DuckDuckGo will show you ads related to cars. This is why there is no financial interest for DuckDuckGo to find out more about you – or anything at all.

DuckDuckGo does not personalise search results

Google does not only personalise advertisement but search results, too. Over time Google gets to know you and finds out what you are interested in, so they are able to predict what you are looking for.18)Measuring the “Filter Bubble”: How Google is influencing what you click Google does that not only with Google Search but also with services like Gmail, YouTube, Google Analytics and other Google services.

DuckDuckGo doesn’t personalise search results. It couldn’t even predict what you are looking for, because it does not create a profile of you.19)Can DuckDuckGo replace Google search while offering better privacy? This means that everyone gets the same results for the same search term.

A problem that arrises through personalised search results is that you are being served a different representation of the world, which might not be an accurate representation. This phenomenon is called a filter bubble and it affects many people – often without them knowing.20)Eli Pariser: Beware online “filter bubbles”

If you want to inform yourself about a topic using Google, Google is mainly showing you results which confirm your opinion. If you want to inform yourself about, say, global warming, you mainly find websites and articles which tell you what you already think.

This can lead to two problems:

  1. you think you researched a topic and are well informed but you where informed one-sided, or

  2. you don’t understand the other side of the argument, because you are never confronted with the information that formed their point of view.

For us and our democracy, it is very important that one can inform oneself properly and, at the same time, we should be able to understand the other side of an argument.21)Your Filter Bubble is Destroying Democracy

DuckDuckGo helps you find non-personalised information online, because it shows everyone the same search results. So we decide what information we want to consume.

Why Is DuckDuckGo Better Than Ecosia and StartPage?

StartPage is a search engine with a focus on privacy. Because StartPage is not open source, we cannot transparently confirm whether your data stays private. DuckDuckGo is not yet completely open source either, but all their apps and add-ons are open source software and it continues to make more of its software open source.22)DuckDuckGo: Open Source Overview

Ecosia is a search engine that plants trees with the money earned from advertisements. They say that their users’ privacy is important to them. Searches that are performed using Ecosia are automatically forwarded to Bing (a service owned by Microsoft), because Bing performs the searches on Ecosia’s behalf.23)Want to Plant More Trees? Just Use a Different Search Engine

Then your search data is transmitted includes your search term, IP address, search settings, as well as your language and region and what device you are using. Not only is Microsoft going to have access to your data, but Ecosia has access to it, too. Ecosia is anonymising data after seven days.24)Want to Plant More Trees? Just Use a Different Search Engine But anonymised data can almost certainly be deanonymised.25)Estimating the success of re-identifications in incomplete datasets using generative models The storage of data – whether anonymised or not – poses a risk to your privacy.

Ecosia donates money in order to plant trees. DuckDuckGo donates money to support organisations which fight for your privacy online, like Signal and OpenStreetMap.26)DuckDuckGo: Donating for Privacy

By using DuckDuckGo you will do something good while protecting your privacy.

Can DuckDuckGo Keep up With the Functionalities Google Search Offers?

DuckDuckGo’s main difference to Google is that it does not personalise your search results.

With DuckDuckGo you have access to search functions such as image and video search, maps and filters for regions, dates and inappropriate content as well as instant answers and Wikipedia previews.

DuckDuckGo also offers “Bangs” with wich you can search on other websites. With e.g !a [your search term] you search on Amazon, with !tw on Twitter and with !w on Wikipedia. This makes searching on other websites really easy. Your search request is therefore forwarded to the website in question and is subject to its privacy practices.

Functions DuckDuckGo Google

Personalised search results

Search for photos, videos, news...

Filters for date and region


Instant answers and Wikipedia previews


Functions DuckDuckGo Google

Personalised search results

Search for photos, videos, news...

Filters for date and region


Instant answers and Wikipedia previews


This is our change log for the page Search Engine. Here are all the changes and updates recorded for this page.

This page’s content is not timeless. This is why its content hast to be updated regularly. To make this process transparent, we have set up this change log.

  • May 2020: Page created