Last updated
Logo searx a.png
Screenshot-2017-8-31 searx me.png
Searx Web interface
Developer(s) Adam Tauber (alias asciimoo) [1]
Initial releaseJanuary 22, 2014;7 years ago (2014-01-22) [2]
Stable release
1.0.0 [3]   OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg / 27 March 2021;1 day ago (27 March 2021)
Written in Python
Type Metasearch engine
License Free software (AGPLv3)

Searx ( /sɜːrks/ ) is a free metasearch engine, [4] available under the GNU Affero General Public License version 3, with the aim of protecting the privacy of its users. [5] [6] [7] To this end, searx does not share users' IP addresses or search history with the search engines from which it gathers results. Tracking cookies served by the search engines are blocked, preventing user-profiling-based results modification. [8] [9] By default, searx queries are submitted via HTTP POST, to prevent users' query keywords from appearing in webserver logs. [10] Searx was inspired by the Seeks project, [11] though it does not implement Seeks' peer-to-peer user-sourced results ranking.


Each search result is given as a direct link to the respective site, rather than a tracked redirect link as used by Google. In addition, when available, these direct links are accompanied by "cached" and/or "proxied" links that allow viewing results pages without actually visiting the sites in question. The "cached" links point to saved versions of a page on, while the "proxied" links allow viewing the current live page via a searx-based web proxy. In addition to the general search, the engine also features tabs to search within specific domains: files, images, IT, maps, music, news, science, social media, and videos. [12] [13]

There are many public user-run searx instances, [14] some of which are available as Tor hidden services. [14] "Meta-searx" sites query a different random instance with each search. [14] A public API is available for searx, [15] [16] as well as Firefox search provider plugins. [17]

Search engines and other settings

Across all categories, searx can fetch search results from about 82 different engines. This includes major search engines and site-specific searches like Bing, Google, Reddit, Wikipedia, Yahoo, and Yandex. [18] The engines used for each search category can be set via a "preferences" interface, and these settings will be saved in a cookie in the user's browser, rather than on the server side, since for privacy reasons, searx does not implement a user login model. Other settings such as the search interface language and the search results language (over 20 languages are available) can be set the same way. [10]

In addition to the preferences cookie, it is possible on each query to modify the engines used, search categories selected, and/or languages to search in by specifying one or more of the following textual search operators before the search keywords. [19]

The ! and ? operators can be specified more than once to select multiple categories or engines, for example !google !deviantart ?images :japanese cow.


Any user may run their own instance of searx, [20] [21] [22] which can be done to maximize privacy, to avoid congestion on public instances, to preserve customized settings even if browser cookies are cleared, to allow auditing of the source code being run, etc. [23] [24] [25] Users may include their searx instances on the editable list of all public instances, or keep them private. [18] [23] It is also possible to add custom search engines to a self-hosted instance that are not available on the public instances. [26]

Another reason to use different searx instances, and/or to run one's own, is that as of 2019, Google has begun to block some instances, including some of the IP addresses used by (former instance run by the developer), from querying it, resulting in a "google (unexpected crash: CAPTCHA required)" error. [27] In response, some instances have been modified to silently skip trying to search with Google, even when it's the only engine specified. [28] [29]

Related Research Articles

In computers, case sensitivity defines whether uppercase and lowercase letters are treated as distinct (case-sensitive) or equivalent (case-insensitive). For instance, when users interested in learning about dogs search an e-book, "dog" and "Dog" are of the same significance to them. Thus, they request a case-insensitive search. But when they search an online encyclopedia for information about the United Nations, for example, or something with no ambiguity regarding capitalization and ambiguity between two or more terms cut down by capitalization, they may prefer a case-sensitive search.

Dogpile Metasearch engine

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A metasearch engine is an online Information retrieval tool that uses the data of a web search engine to produce its own results. Metasearch engines take input from a user and immediately query search engines for results. Sufficient data is gathered, ranked, and presented to the users.

Internet privacy

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Startpage is a Dutch search engine company that highlights privacy as its distinguishing feature. The website advertises that it allows users to obtain Google Search results while protecting users' privacy by not storing personal information or search data and removing all trackers. also includes an Anonymous View browsing feature that allows users the option to open search results via proxy for increased anonymity. Because the company is based in the Netherlands, it is protected by Dutch and European Union privacy laws, and thus is not subject to United States surveillance programs, like PRISM.


YaCy is a free distributed search engine, built on principles of peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. Its core is a computer program written in Java distributed on several hundred computers, as of September 2006, so-called YaCy-peers. Each YaCy-peer independently crawls through the Internet, analyzes and indexes found web pages, and stores indexing results in a common database which is shared with other YaCy-peers using principles of P2P networks. It is a search engine that everyone can use to build a search portal for their intranet and to help search the public internet clearly.

An HTTP cookie is a small piece of data stored on the user's computer by the web browser while browsing a website. Cookies were designed to be a reliable mechanism for websites to remember stateful information or to record the user's browsing activity. They can also be used to remember pieces of information that the user previously entered into form fields, such as names, addresses, passwords, and payment card numbers.

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  17. "Search results for "searx" – Add-ons for Firefox (en-US)". Retrieved 2019-07-15.
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  20. "My Searx instance - Logan Marchione". Logan Marchione. 2015-10-18. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
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  22. "How to setup your own privacy respecting search engine in a couple of hours with a free ssl certificate • r/privacytoolsIO". Reddit. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
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  24. "Privacy advantages of running my own searx instance • r/privacytoolsIO". Reddit. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  25. " is overloaded. should link to just the instances page or randomize. • r/privacytoolsIO". Reddit. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  26. "Engine overview — searx 0.12.0 documentation". Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  27. "Google Captcha". GitHub issues. 2016-10-12. Retrieved 2020-05-23.
  28. "!google cow - searx". Retrieved 2019-07-15. Sorry! we didn't find any results. Please use another query or search in more categories.
  29. "!google cow - searx". Retrieved 2019-07-15. Sorry! we didn't find any results. Please use another query or search in more categories.

See also