Ethan Huff and the Green Swastika : Ethan, who writes for Natural News, is an idiot regarding Germany's role in WW2, the same as Mike "The Health Ranger" Adams is, the founder (or so i assume) of NN. He recently 'penned' an article titled The Green Swastika: Environmentalism was a pillar of the Third Reich, the content of which is far more absurd than its absurd title reveals. Ethan gets nearly everything wrong and provably so, and, as usual, i pull fewer than zero punches when addressing such mindless ignorance.
Resources for research : This is just a list of web resources which i've used for researching various stuff that i write about. I though i'd share it. Cause i'm like that.
VPS host review: Pride Tech Design : This website is currently hosted by Pride Tech and i wanted to write a review about their service in order to con everyone into signing up with them so i can start raking in piles of kickback cash from Simba at PTD. Either that, or i've written a reasonably neutral review of possibly one of the best VPS server hosts on this side of the Milky Way that i'm aware of. You decide.
The article, Alternative Search Engines That Respect Your Privacy, was updated. More information was added for most of the search engines and a few errors and links were corrected. Sadly, Findx, which was based on the Gigablast code, was removed from the list since they ceased operations. Interestingly, Brian Rasmusson, the founder of Findx, disclosed that basing the Findx code on the Gigablast code was a significant mistake. He also detailed a list of other interesting problems the company faced in a final parting post, Goodbye – Findx is shutting down. The post is well worth reading for both end users that are interested in alternative search engines as well as developers who are interested in creating a new service.
The article, Firefox Search Engine Cautions, Recommendations, underwent significant changes to be in line with newer versions of Firefox, particularly the section dealing with sanitizing the default search plugins. I also uploaded new versions of my pre-sanitized search.json.mozlz4 files, the larger of which contains 39 search engines.
It's time to stop relying on corporations which do not respect our privacy. Here are some search engines that, unlike Google, Bing and Yahoo, have a stronger focus on protecting your privacy.
See the recent changes at the end.
Following are some search engines which are more privacy-centric than those offered by the privacy-hating mega-corporations like Google, Bing and Yahoo. Note that several of those listed here are partially or wholly 'meta' search engines, meaning they do not index the web themselves and instead rely either partially or entirely upon third parties for their search results, especially Google and Bing. Although these meta search engines are often referred to as "alternative search engines", they are not true alternatives, however they do provide a valuable service in that they act as a proxy between you and third party services such as Google, thus they can insulate you from the privacy risks associated with using the big search companies directly.
If you have any search engines you would like to suggest, please leave a comment (you need not be logged in).
Decentralized: whether the service is controlled by a single entity, such as Google, or distributed among its users, such as YaCy
Type:meta: uses 3rd party search indexes, such as Google, to deliver search results index: crawls the web and indexes content without relying on 3rd party search engines hybrid: a combination of both the above
Client Required: whether you have to install client software in order to use the service
Notes: Searx is a free, open source meta search engine which i have found to be the best of its type because of its ability to pull results from a wide array of third party services and the comprehensive options it offers. The Searx interface is clean, highly customizable and intuitive. Anyone can run a Searx instance on their own server (see their GitHub page) if they wish, or use any of the existing Searx instances run by others.
Notes: While YaCy doesn't produce a lot of search results since not enough people use it yet, i think it's the most interesting search engine listed here. YaCy is a decentralized, distributed, censorship resistant search engine and index powered by free, open-source software. For those wanting to run their own instance of YaCy, see their home and GitHub pages. This article from Digital Ocean may also be helpful.
Upcoming search engines
Presearch: a decentralized search engine powered by the community
Please leave a comment if you know of any others.
Search engines that didn't make the cut
The following are search engines which claim to have a strong focus on privacy but, in my personal opinion, do not.
Lessons learned from the Findx shutdown
The founder of the Findx search engine, Brian Rasmusson, shut down operations and detailed the reasons for doing so in a post titled, Goodbye – Findx is shutting down. I think the post is of significant interest not only to the end user seeking alternatives to the ethically corrupt mega-giants like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc., but also to developers who have an interest in creating a privacy-centric, censorship resistant search engine index from scratch. Following are some highlights from the post:
Many large websites like LinkedIn, Yelp, Quora, Github, Facebook and others only allow certain specific crawlers like Google and Bing to include their webpages in a search engine index (maybe something for European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager to look into?) Other sites put their content behind a paywall.
Most advertisers won't work with you unless you either give them data about your users, so they can effectively target them, or unless you have a lot of users already.
Being a new and independent search engine that was doing the time-consuming work of growing its index from scratch, and being unwilling to compromise on our user's privacy, Findx was unable to attract such partners.
We could not retain users because our results were not good enough, and search feed providers that could improve our results refused to work with us before we had a large userbase … the chicken and the egg problem.
From forbidding crawlers to index popular and useful websites and refusing to enter into advertising partnerships without large user numbers, to stacking the requirements for search extension behaviour in browsers, the big players actively squash small and independent search providers out of their market.
I think the reasons for the Findx shutdown highlight why we need more decentralized, peer-to-peer solutions like YaCy. If we consider the problems Findx faced with the greed-driven giants like Google, Facebook and the various CDN networks like Cloudflare, i think they are the sort of problems that can be easily circumvented with a crowdsourced solution. Any website can block whatever search crawler they want and there can be good reasons for doing so, but as Brian points out, there are also stupid reasons that lead to incomplete search results. Seems to me that one solution is to allow the user (you and me) to be the crawler and let them index the web. On one hand, this would hopefully mitigate most of the problems with misbehaving crawl bots, and on the other hand the ugly web giants such as Facebook would be forced to allow their content to be scraped.
 Startpage uses 1×1 pixel transparent GIF images in the page that serves search results. I had assumed these were tracking pixels and originally stated so in the notes above, however a representative from Startpage contacted me and explained that i was incorrect. Following is a Q&A from a couple of emails i exchanged with them:
Me: regarding the 1×1 gif images, i don't understand how an image can be used to prevent a 3rd party from setting a cookie – can you explain?
Me: why several 1×1 images are used – why not just 1?
Startpage: It is simpler to offer a different image for each different aggregate count we are keeping.
Me: why do the file names appear to contain a UIN that changes with every search apparently?
Startpage: There is no identifier. Rather, there is something called an "anticache" parameter that has a random number. This prevents the image from being "cached" by the browser – as browser caching would prevent the loading – hence would prevent the aggregate counts from being correct.
Me: why are these clear gif's are not loaded when 0 results are returned?
Startpage: A different part of the code is used when there are no results, so it might not include the same aggregate counts.
 Personal preferences/settings are not saved if cookies are disabled.
A new tutorial has been published titled Firefox Search Engine Cautions and Recommendations which covers the risks to your privacy when using any of the major search engines in general, but specifically when using the default search engine plugins that are packaged with the Firefox web browser, though this problem is certainly not limited to Firefox. I also cover how to circumvent the risks to your privacy when using the default Firefox search engine plugins, as well as make suggestions for alternative search engines.
I have to say that i'm becoming more and more disillusioned with the multi-million dollar Mozilla corporation and its flagship product, Firefox. Firefox was never a great web browser in my opinion, but it is/was appealing to many because of how completely customizable it is. In it's earlier days it was just a little slow and buggy, but more recently Mozilla is making highly unethical choices with regard to the privacy-hating corporations they willingly partner with and how these partnerships have manifested and have been monetized in Firefox is a result of utter stupidity and greed in my opinion. I stuck with Firefox all these years because it has always been one of the most hackable browsers out there, but these days i stick with it primarily because i'm not (yet) able to reproduce the functionality i have added to it via add-ons with any other browser, and Chrome is out of the question, much less Google's spyware version of it.
It's sad and frustrating that a company who produced a decent, super-highly customizable browser for a niche market has lost its way and turned its back on the very market it once served by deciding to become a Google Chrome clone in order to appeal to the masses.
Screw you Mozilla.
But let's end on a lighter note, shall we? Here, have a look.