Why run for the StartPage search engine? As kids, we’re all taught not to touch stuff that doesn’t belong to us. Well, it’s a good guideline. So, why are online companies harvesting our personal data without our consent? They shouldn’t. That’s why StartPage is developing online tools that help you stay in control of your personal information.
Meaning that the search is done safely. And we expect even more other private versions of common digital services from StartPage soon. Why? Simply, because it’s our belief that personal data should be your data, not Big Data. Period!
Google – unquestionably being the best search engine out there, makes use of powerful and intelligent algorithms. Including A.I. implementations to let the users get the best out of a search engine with a personalized experience. This sounds good until you start to live in a filter bubble.
What Is StartPage?
When you start seeing everything that ‘suits your taste’, you get detached from reality. Too much of anything is not good. Too much personalization is harmful as well. This is why one should get out of this filter bubble and see the world as it is. And that’s where StartPage comes in.
Startpage is a web search engine that highlights privacy as its distinguishing feature. Previously, it was known as the metasearch engine Ixquick. At that time, Startpage was a variant service. Both sites were merged in 2016. It’s one of the best proxy search engines on the web.
StartPage serves up answers from Google. Making it the perfect choice for those who prefer Google’s search results but aren’t keen on having their search history tracked and stored. It also includes a URL generator, a proxy service, and HTTPS support.
The URL generator is especially useful because it eliminates the need to collect cookies. Instead, it remembers your settings in a way that promotes privacy.
For those asking, of course, it’s a legitimate search engine. And it certainly provides more privacy and protection to users than services like Google and Bing. For even more security, you should use it in conjunction with other security measures, such as a VPN.
What Is A Meta Search Engine?
As I mentioned earlier, StartPage is a good example of a metasearch engine. A metasearch engine, otherwise known as an aggregator, is a search engine that sends queries to several search engines. And either aggregate the results into one master list or categorizes the results by the search engines they come from.
There are dozens of metasearch engines across the Internet. That’s why StartPage is a good aggregator in addition to Dogpile which is one prominent example too. In essence, a metasearch engine allows a user to enter a single query and field results from several sources. The idea is that this breadth of information allows users to get the best answers as quickly as possible.
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Believe it or not, these type of aggregators have been around for a long time. In the early 1990s, Daniel Dreilinger of Colorado State University unveiled a project called SearchSavvy—the OG metasearch engine. Eventually, it aggregated the results of 20 different search engines and search directories.
Although novel, SearchSavvy was quite simple and not terribly reliable. Then, in 1995, came MetaCrawler —a narrower, more accurate improvement upon SearchSavvy was also launched. Most notably, by a student and a professor at the University of Washington. It wasn’t perfect, of course, and with the ensuing years came a slew of other metasearch engines.
What are the Advantages of StartPage?
Today, as we said, users have their choice of many metasearch engines. So, what are these users looking for? The fundamental benefit of using a metasearch engine is rather obvious — you get much more information than you would use a standard search engine.
Anyone who uses the Internet to learn wants the broadest, most complete picture possible. But, it’s far too time-consuming and confusing to compare the results of different search engines. And with each different search engine comes different indexing, a different crawler, a different algorithm, and so on.
If you conduct a search with a single search engine, there’s a chance that you’re missing out on key information. Simply because that particular search engine doesn’t rank it prominently enough for you to notice. That’s why metasearch engines eliminate this risk.
Some metasearch engines—IxQuick and Vivismo, for example—even have their own post-processing algorithms. By which they rank the aggregated results according to relevance and source authority. Below are more benefits of using StartPage:
It Protects Your Privacy
Based entirely on the quality of search results, it’s undeniable that Google is the best search engine in the world. Sadly, Google is also notorious for its data privacy and user privacy. Startpage allows you to enjoy the benefits of Google results without any privacy drawbacks.
It acts as an intermediary, sending your queries anonymously to Google, then returning the results to you privately. Google never knows who you are. As such, you can easily protect your privacy by using some of these lesser-known private search engines. Such as Startpage or DuckDuckGo in order to disconnect search.
Unlike the popular search engines, these browsers come with transparent consumer privacy protection features. You can also secure your privacy by using Tor (the onion router). This browser routes user data through many servers located all around the world. The servers, also known as nodes, keep on changing.
This makes it difficult for ISPs to track where the original data is coming from. It is prudent to install a VPN before downloading the Tor browser, else, your ISP will still see that you accessed and downloaded the Tor Browser.
It Does Not Log
Startpage claims to be the world’s most private search engine. It has a few features that help confirm this. The most prominent of which is not saving the diary. It neither holds the IP addresses of service users nor implements tracking cookies on a user’s computer.
Also, it has a no-logs policy and security features have been verified by a third party. In addition, it uses HTTPS. Meaning, all user searches on the Startpage are encrypted using HTTPS. Encryption protects you against snooping on the Internet.
There is no way for someone to monitor your connection (for example, on an unsecured public WiFi network) to see what you have searched for or clicked on. The Anonymous View feature of the Startpage is a relatively new development.
It allows you to view any site in the search results list through a proxy too. Thus, preventing the site you visit from learning about you. Let’s consider some of its key anonymous view features and how they safeguard your online presence.
It hides your:
- Cookies stored content,
- Cached content,
- Browser type,
- Network settings,
- Hardware, etc.
By the same token, you can also view any search result in Anonymous View by clicking on the adjacent link. As of today, it has many privacy awards in its bucket. Therefore, it’s a great start for anyone who values their security and privacy.
What are the Disadvantages of Metasearch Engines?
Although they’ve been around for over two decades, metasearch engines are still pretty simple in comparison to giants like Google and Bing. They do not interpret query syntax as fully or as accurately as standard search engines, and users are forced to keep their queries relatively basic.
Further, despite the advantage of drawing from a larger pool of information, metasearch engines do not produce as many results as do standard search engines. A fault that may undermine the main advantage of use. Plus, sponsored results are still favored and featured most prominently.
The Metasearch Engines You Should Use:
- Dogpile ― a compilation of results from all the major search engines
- Ithaki ― for aggregated results to be ranked by an internal algorithm
- SearchSalad ― for combined search results and information from all the major review websites
- Seekz ― a metasearch engine that produces the most relevant results and removes all duplicates
- Polymeta ― a super-intelligent metasearch engine that can recognize colloquial language and uses an algorithm to organize results
Lastly, as you can imagine, metasearch engines sometimes pull identical sites and pages into their aggregated results.
After all, if you enter the same query into both Google and Bing, the results won’t be totally different. Again, this shortcoming works against the appeal of more information per query. So, how do you stay safe and secure? Let’s look at a few examples below.
Encrypt Your Internet Traffic
By all means, encrypting your internet traffic is the best way to stop ISP tracking. Besides Startpage, using a Virtual Private Network is one of the reliable ways of achieving this encryption too. These privacy tools greatly help you achieve online anonymity.
Through actions such as virtual geo-relocations, masking IP addresses, and encrypting user data. So that it becomes invisible to all third parties including the internet service provider. Furthermore, using a VPN app helps you stay safe while on the go.
It helps protect your privacy when you connect to other unsecured and shared networks such as public WIFI. Ensure that you subscribe to a paid VPN service like ExpressVPN first. It negates the whole point of keeping ISPs tracking at bay.
Also, bearing in mind, some free VPNs collect data and sell it to advertisers, analytics, and other third parties. This, as a way to support their existence.
Adjust your PC Domain Name System (DNS)
By default, PCs are configured to use an ISP’s DNS. This is a numerical and machine-friendly address. You can change the default setting to a third-party domain name system, for instance, Open DNS. This configuration limits your ISP from seeing all your browsing activities.
In a nutshell, there is no way to ascertain whether your internet service provider is tracking you or not. Or rather, to what extent. However, there is a sure way of stopping any internet provider from monitoring your web activity.
Limit your Browsing to HTTPS Websites
HTTPS websites are encrypted. Although they do not guarantee 100% anonymity, they make it difficult for the ISP to track your exact internet activity. To put up a dependable shield against ISP tracking, use a VPN alongside this secure browsing habit.
To ensure that you are only visiting the HTTPS websites, you can install the HTTPS Everywhere browser extension. The extension ensures that all the visited connections are SSL/TSL encrypted. With this in mind, you can engage with StartPage here for more details and support. Below is an explainer video of this metasearch engine in detail.
Before the rebranding to Startpage, this search engine was called Ixquick. As Ixquick, it was awarded the first EuroPriSe award in 2008 (followed by 2011, 2013, and 2015).
Bearing in mind, the EU awards companies for meeting data security and privacy requirements. More so, after conducting thorough and rigorous design and technical testing. In 2019, it also won the privacy award for the best consumer product in the Netherlands, mainly thanks to its Anonymous View feature.
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Whereby, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is part of the wide online digital marketing discipline. Focused on growing organic visibility (non-paid) search engine results. It’s the process of improving the position that your website appears in the “organic search results.” For example, returned by sites such as Google, Yandex, Bing, Yahoo, etc.
With that in mind, you can read and learn more about the benefits of search engines like Google and Bing in detail. But, all in all, feel free to Contact Us if you’ll need more help. Likewise, share your additional thoughts, contributions, or even questions in our comments section.
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