Instructions for Searching Privately with Search Encrypt

Privacy Guy
Privacy Guy
Published in
9 min readSep 13, 2018


What is Search Encrypt?

Search Encrypt is a private search engine. It uses local encryption and expiring search history to offer perfect forward secrecy. Private search engines generally don’t track your search history or link your searches to a ‘data profile’ about you.

You can search with Search Encrypt directly by visiting, or with our browser extension — available for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

With the Search Encrypt extension/add-on installed, your default search engine will be set to Search Encrypt, we may redirect searches we detect as being tracked to our search engine, and then when you’re done searching we expire your search terms and your browsing history.

What Happens When You Have Search Encrypt’s Extension Installed?

Search Encrypt works to protect your privacy by following these steps.

Intercepting & Redirecting Searches That May Be Tracked

We detect searches that may be tracked and tied to your personal information. If you’re trying to do a potentially tracked search, we may intercept the search and redirect it to our privacy-enhanced search engine. This makes it much easier to avoid tracking on the internet.

Using Advanced Encryption Techniques

Search Encrypt uses an advanced SSL encryption with added perfect forward secrecy. We also use client side encryption to encrypt your search term locally before sending it to our servers.

We also use industry standard AES-256 encryption to keep your search terms hidden from anyone who may want to snoop on your search results. AES-256 encryption uses a 256-bit key, which means that even if someone were to launch a a brute-force attack with multiple supercomputers to crack our encryption, in theory it would take thousands of years to break in.

Expiring Your Browser History

After you’re done using Search Encrypt, your search history expires.

So…what does this mean? It’s really simple: your search history encryption key expires. This means that if you try to return to your past searches, you won’t be able to because they’re now hidden in encrypted form.

How Can You Start Using Search Encrypt?

How To Use Search Encrypt at

Using Search Encrypt’s private search engine, works the same as pretty much any other search engine. However, we take steps to protect your privacy and keep your searches more anonymous.

  1. Go to
  2. Type your search term in the search bar and press “Enter”.
  3. Depending on what you’re looking for, choose from Web, Images, Videos, News and Maps.

How To Use the Search Encrypt Browser Extension/Add-On

We’ve covered this before here, but we’ll go ahead and cover this again. With our extension installed, your default search engine will be set to Search Encrypt.

Follow the steps below to Add Search Encrypt to Chrome:

  • In your Chrome browser go to the Chrome Web Store.
  • At the top right of the Chrome Store listing, click the blue “Add to Chrome” button.
  • After clicking “Add to Chrome”, you will be prompted to “Add ‘Search Encrypt — A Private Search Engine’?” In the pop up window select “Add extension”.
  • Boom! Now you’ve added Search Encrypt to Chrome. ✔️

Follow the steps below to Add Search Encrypt to Firefox:

  • In your Firefox browser, go to about:addons.
  • Search for “search encrypt”, or go directly to this link.
  • Next to Search Encrypt select “+ Add to Firefox”. You will be prompted to Add Search Encrypt.
  • Select Add. Search Encrypt has been added to Firefox. ✔️

How Do I Remove Search Encrypt?

If you’ve added our browser extension, but you’ve decided you would rather search directly from — removing our extension is a quick and easy process.

Because Search Encrypt’s extension isn’t a full-on software program you install on your computer, removing it is as simple as removing the browser extension. You don’t need any additional programs to get rid of Search Encrypt.

How to Remove Search Encrypt’s Chrome Extension

  • In your Chrome browser, open the menu in the top right corner.
Chrome Menu
  • Under “More Tools”, select “Extensions”.
  • On the extensions page, you will see all the browser extensions you have installed. Under Search Encrypt, or whichever extension you’d like to get rid of, click “Remove”.
Search Encrypt — Firefox Add-on

How to Remove Search Encrypt’s Mozilla Firefox Extension

  • Open your Firefox browser and go to “about:addons” or just press Ctrl + Shift + A.
  • On the add ons page, next to Search Encrypt, you will see three buttons: “Options”, “Disable” and “Remove”.
Search Encrypt — Firefox Add-on Page
  • If you would like to temporarily pause our extension, you can select “Disable”. If you decide you want to re-enable the extension all you have to do is come back to this page and select “Enable”.
  • If you want to remove Search Encrypt completely, select “Remove”.

Search Encrypt Features

Expiring Search History

After you’ve finished searching, your search terms encryption key expires. This means that 30 minutes after your final search, your search history is essentially hidden, in its encrypted form.

Client Side Encryption

Search Encrypt uses client side encryption with a short lived key to encrypt your search queries before sending them to our servers. The key then expires shortly after the final use. Your browsing history will only contain your search queries in their encrypted form. Your search history will no longer take you back to your searches once the short lived key expires.

Privacy Friendly Image Search

With Search Encrypt, the same privacy protections that apply to our regular web search engine work on our image search feature. You can search for whatever images you’re looking for and not have to worry that the next person that uses your computer, or someone monitoring your network activity will see your searches.

Privacy Friendly Videos Search

We recently made some updates to our videos search page. We’ve improved the layout of the page to make viewing directly on Search Encrypt a better experience. Rather than viewing videos on other sites that may collect your browsing information, you can watch videos on your search results page. Another advantage to our embedded video player is that you don’t have to sit and wait through the pre-roll ads that play before your video on other sites.

Newly Added News Search

If you’ve been using Search Encrypt for awhile now, you may have noticed a new “News” tab added to our search engine. You can search for the latest news and we will return the top results from top news sites like BBC News, Fox News and CNN News.

Privacy Friendly Map Search

Another recent addition we’ve made is our private maps search. We noticed that if people wanted a solid map search tool, but didn’t want to sacrifice privacy, there weren’t many options.

So, we decided to use Open Street Map because it is open source, and allows us to offer a private experience while still delivering a positive and useful experience.

What Happens When You Search with Search Encrypt?

There is a specific process that takes place whenever you search with Search Encrypt’s private search engine extension.

  1. Search Encrypt checks the URL of each website you visit. (We do not log or save that data anywhere.)
  2. For your privacy, Search Encrypt intercepts the search requests if it’s on our list of sites that may track your searches.
  3. Search Encrypt encrypts your search locally using industry standard AES-256 encryption.
  4. Your locally encrypted search term is securely transmitted to our servers.
  5. To provide you with the most best results possible, we then decrypt your search term and securely request results from our search partners.
  6. We aggregate the most relevant results and securely display them to you.
  7. For added security, your local browsing history, for any search on Search Encrypt, expires and goes away after 15 minutes of inactivity.

Why Should You Use Search Encrypt Over Other Search Engines?

Search Encrypt Has Great Search Results

We’re constantly improving and adding features to Search Encrypt to make the results better. The newer additions of videos, maps and news searches help make our results better in many contexts. If you have any more suggestions for how we can make our search engine better, feel free to contact us here.

We Offer More Privacy Than Other Search Engines

By combining no tracking of user-identifiable data, expiring browsing history, SSL encryption, and privacy by design, Search Encrypt offers a great, private search experience.

“Transparency is for those who carry out public duties and exercise public power. Privacy is for everyone else.”
Glenn Greenwald

Search Encrypt Is ONLY A Search Engine

Unlike other search engines, we don’t offer tons of other services. While this may seem like an unrelated issue to a search engine, it’s really an important part of being a private search engine. Because we don’t offer an email service, or a file storage system, or a messaging service, we don’t link your searches to your other accounts.

Big search engines use the data they collect from their other services to tailor your search results to you. This is actually a major issue. It makes search results feel really convenient, but in reality they create a bigger problem called “filter bubbles”.

Search Encrypt Helps Prevent Filter Bubbles

First off, what are filter bubbles? These are when people are only presented with information that affirms what they already believe.

What causes filter bubbles? Filter bubbles are the result of big data and algorithmic websites that use data to determine which information you are presented.

One example of this is the Facebook News Feed. You may have noticed that your news feed is not a chronological list of your friends’ posts. It’s a curated list of posts and statuses that Facebook puts together for you. Based on the posts that you’ve clicked on in the past and what you’ve liked and shared, Facebook will show similar posts.

Where this becomes a problem is with political or ideological issues. If you only see political articles that align with your views, it can start influencing you to think that the most common views are the exact same as what you think.

About Search Encrypt — The Private Search Engine

We’re working towards creating a better culture and attitude surrounding privacy on the internet. While many of the big tech companies dominating the internet are crushing the basic idea of privacy, we’re hoping to improve the perception of privacy products and services on the internet.

Search Encrypt hasn’t even been around as long as many of the search engines on the internet. However, we’ve exceeded our expectations for growth and are excited to see where the future takes us.

According to SimilarWeb, Search Encrypt is currently getting around 5 million weekly visitors. That means we’ve already helped protect the privacy of a huge number of internet users.

Privacy on the internet shouldn’t feel impossible. It doesn’t take advanced technical knowledge or skills to search privately with Search Encrypt.

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About Search Encrypt

Search Encrypt is a private search engine that puts user privacy first. By combining encryption and privacy-by-design, Search Encrypt offers perfect forward secrecy.

Learn More ⤵️