In an ever-growing concern for online privacy, savvy netizens always search for new tools to protect their information. Enter Startpage – a search engine designed with privacy as its primary mission. If you’ve ever wondered if there’s a way to search the internet without leaving a digital footprint, you’ll want to continue reading.

About Startpage

In 1998. David Bodnick created the metasearch engine Ixquick. Two years later, it was acquired by the Netherlands company Surfboard Holding BV. In 2002. was launched and started mirroring Ixquick. In 2016. Ixquick and were merged.

Startpage is a privacy-oriented search engine that acts as an intermediary between users and Google. That means that users can get Google results while maintaining complete anonymity. Startpage doesn’t store users’ personal data or install tracking cookies on the browser. It also includes the Anonymous View feature that allows users to open search results via a proxy server.

Startpage proxy

In Anonymous View, Startpage allows users to connect via a proxy server. By routing requests through the proxy, Startpage can hide the original IP address, making it more difficult for websites to track users’ location and identify computers.

While’s proxy server enhances privacy, it’s not a replacement for comprehensive security measures like a VPN that encrypts your online communication.

Startmail service

Startmail is a secure email service developed by the team behind Startpage. It’s also designed to offer its users enhanced privacy and security features.

It uses PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) encryption, a widely respected standard for securing emails. This means that emails are encrypted end-to-end, making it very difficult for unauthorized parties to access the content of the emails.

Startmail also offers the feature of creating disposable email addresses. This can be particularly useful for signing up for online services where users want to keep their primary email address private.

Startpage vs. Google retrieves results from Google. Results are relevant as if user searches from Google directly but may not be as finely tuned to individual preferences, since Startpage doesn’t track user behavior.

Google collects and stores user data, such as search queries, browsing history, and location. This data is used to personalize search results and target advertisements. Startpage provides unbiased search results without tracking or profiling users.

Google ads are personalized and more relevant to the user. Startpage also displays advertisements that are random or based on current search queries.

Startpage offers a more stripped-down, privacy-focused user experience. It needs some of the integrated features that Google provides, like Google Maps, docs, drive, email, etc.

Startpage vs. DuckDuckGo

Both search engines prioritize user privacy, but there are several key differences.

Startpage provides Google–class search results. DuckDuckGo uses its own search algorithm and Bing, so results might not always match Google’s precision.

Startpage’s Anonymous View adds an extra layer of privacy through a proxy server.

Startpage provides a simple search experience. Its user interface is similar to Google’s, offering familiarity for those used to Google’s layout. DuckDuckGo offers a range of additional features, such as !Bangs or access to Tor.

Nine Eyes location

Startpage is based in the Netherlands, which is part of the Nine Eyes surveillance system. Although it doesn’t keep any logs of its users, it remains to be seen how rigorously Startpage adheres to these privacy standards under potential legal pressures.

Privacy policy

Startpage does collect some of your data. Their Privacy Policy clearly states that they measure traffic numbers like the number of times a specific operating system, browser type, or language accesses a service. However, they don’t know anything about individual users.

Screenshot from search engine privacy policy with highlited part where they admit to collect some data.

System 1 controversy

In 2019. adtech company System1 acquired Startpage. The lack of transparency surrounding the deal caused some concern. Still, Startpage clarified that the acquisition would not impact its privacy-focused mission.

Is Startpage legit?

Yes. Startpage is the world’s most private search engine. It does have flaws but provides Google-grade search results while maintaining user privacy and without logging personal information.

Matija Čaić

mag. ing., SEO specialist