Skip to content

Private search engine

Every time you search something on google, bing etc. the provider will build a profile about you. This will allow them to sell that information to advertisers and other third party to better target you.

This means you have no privacy, even using incognito or duck duck go doesn’t guarantee anything (after all, they have your data, and may use it now or in the future).

Best way then to ensure you privacy, use your own search engine, and it’s a lot simpler than you think.

Introducing SearXNG

Introducing SearXNG

SearXNG is a metasearch engine, aggregating the results of other search engines while not storing information about its users.

Why use it?

  • SearXNG may not offer you as personalized results as Google, but it doesn’t generate a profile about you.
  • SearXNG doesn’t care about what you search for, never shares anything with a third-party, and it can’t be used to compromise you.
  • SearXNG is free software, the code is 100% open, and everyone is welcome to make it better.

If you do care about privacy, want to be a conscious user, or otherwise believe in digital freedom, make SearXNG your default search engine or run it on your own server!

How does it work?

SearXNG is a fork from the well-known searx metasearch engine which was inspired by the Seeks project. It provides basic privacy by mixing your queries with searches on other platforms without storing search data.

And to avoid search engines being able to build a profile of yourself, SearXNG creates a brand new search profile for every query making profiling impossible

SearXNG can be added to your browser’s search bar; moreover, it can be set as the default search engine.

Try it out

Make your own

Obviously, it is still possible for the person hosting SearXNG to log information on your usage, therefore you do need to trust who is providing the service.

However if you want to make it your own, thanks to SearXNG being open sourced and the magic of docker, you can easily achieve this.

Local or Remote

As long as you have Docker, you can spin up your own instance, the question is where?


Run the following on your machine (or a machine on your network) that has access to the internet, and your good to go. However this will limit it’s usage to people that are on your local network.


Using a cloud instance will make it always available no matter where you are. However that does involve a hosting fee for running the machine (this can be as low as $5 a month).

The original tutorial (see video below) provides a promo code of $100to use on Linode which allows to test this (and other projects) out.


Install docker and docker-compose

This depends on your OS and is covered in details here.

Or can be installed by shell command

curl -fsSL -o
sudo sh

Note: docker-compose usually comes along with docker unless you run on linux where you need to install it separately

sudo apt install docker-compose -y

Get SearXNG image

git clone


If you are using a public server you can adjust the content of the .env file

if you are using a public server and want to use a custom hostname or if you want to add an email so it can make you an SSL certificate.

If you do not have a custom hostname, put in your IP address in the “SEARX_HOSTNAME” field and leave the “LETSENCRYPT_EMAIL” commented out

Run this command to generate a super secret key

sed -i "s|ultrasecretkey|$(openssl rand -hex 32) |g" searxng/settings.yml

Boot it up

Now to start SearX run this command

sudo docker-compose up -d

Now throw your IP address in to your browser’s address bar and you should be able to access your Searx search engine!

Then if you want to tear down your instance, you can either turn off the server or tear it down using this docker command.

sudo docker-compose down


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *