Is Startpage Legit? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Is Startpage legitimate? It provides high-end privacy options as well as external security audits and very low data collection. But there’s more…

Is the Startpage search engine legit? It’s among the top proxy search engines available on the internet. But, as with any other internet-based product, it has both advantages and disadvantages in terms of privacy and security viewpoint.

Let’s look at the good and the bad of Startpage.

Is Startpage Legit? The Good

This mini Startpage review by highlighting some positive features.

1. Startpage Does Not Keep Logs

Startpage declares to be the most private search engine. It comes with a number of attributes to support the assertion.

One of the most important is the absence of logs. Startpage does not store any IP addresses for customers who use its services or deploy trackers on its customer’s devices. In fact, the company declares that it has no idea of the names of its customers.

Contrary to many different search engines this one gives the evidence. The no-logs policy and privacy features were confirmed by a third-party audit. For further evidence of its security Startpage is not the recipient of any government requests for data from users during its entire existence.

2. Startpage Uses HTTPS

All searches you make on Startpage are secured using HTTPS.

The encryption shields you from simple internet spying. It’s impossible to allow someone monitoring your internet connection (for instance, insecure public Wi-Fi networks) to know what you’ve been looking for or what you’ve been clicking on.

3. Google Without Google

In terms of the quality of outcomes, Google is undeniably the most reliable search engine in the world. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most lenient in regards to privacy and data.

If you’re someone who requires quality search results but has worries about privacy, it raises the issue: can we exchange quality for privacy?

Startpage allows you to take advantage of Google results without having to worry about the privacy issues. It functions as an intermediary, sending your requests to Google anonymously and the results are returned to you securely. Google doesn’t have any idea who you are..

4. Anonymous View Proxy

The Startpage’s Anonymous View feature is a relatively new innovation. It lets you see any of the sites in a set of search results via proxy. This prevents the website you’re on from knowing about your:

  • Location
  • ISP
  • The content stored within cookies
  • Content that is stored in caches
  • Type of browser
  • Settings for networks
  • Hardware
  • and more…

You can see any results from a search within Anonymous View by clicking on the link next to it.

5. Startpage Has Won Privacy Awards

Before it was rebranded as Startpage it was originally known as Ixquick. The Ixquick days were when it was awarded the very first Europe Security Seal (EuroPriSe) in 2008. The award was awarded again in 2013, 2011, and 2015.

The EU confers the award to businesses that have met the requirements of data security and privacy, after passing through rigorous technical and design audits.

In the year 2019, Startpage also won the Netherlands Privacy Awards for the Best Consumer Product in part due to its Anonymous View feature.

Here’s what the Business Development Manager, Alex van Eesteren, stated after receiving the award:

Is Startpage Legit? The Bad

Okay, enough positive energy. It’s not perfect. What are some negatives of Startpage? Are you sure that Startpage an enigma?

1. Nine Eyes Location

Startpage is headquartered in The Netherlands, and that has raised some questions.

The Netherlands is one of the Nine Eyes countries alongside other countries like the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Denmark, and Norway. Nine Eyes is the “second-tier” of the famous Five Eyes group, one of the largest and most important intelligence alliances in the world.

The theory is that the absence of logs allows the company in separating its business from the requirements of being located in the country that is included in the program. For example, Startpage could never comply with the most controversial aspects of US domestic intelligence gathering, such as the PRISM program, if it had no logs to share.

But, it’s a matter of never say never. Startpage asserts it is “European governments cannot just start forcing service providers like us to implement a blanket spying program on their users.” Legally, it’s not the case.

For instance, instance, the Netherlands has already opted to disregard an April 2014 ruling of the European Court of Justice that declared invalid the European Data Retention Directive. This means that the country requires all ISPs to store the personal information, web-browsing history, and email information of their clients for the period of their contract and for a period of six months following they cease using the service.

It’s not too far-fetched to think that the law might be one day expanded in order to cover search engines?

2. Startpage Is For-Profit

Startpage BV is a privately owned Dutch company. According to the company’s own documents, the company was profitable in 2004.

Let’s face it, we’re not averse to companies that want to earn a profit. Capitalism is what makes the world go around. But, with Startpage’s grandiose declarations about privacy and data security Profitability of the company has raised an interesting question: how does Startpage earn money?

Here’s what Startpage has to say about the issue on their webpage:

To be clear, Startpage does not make use of cookies or your previous searches, or your browser history in order to decide what advertisements you view. The ads are based solely on the keyword you type in. But that’s too for some privacy freaks.

Of course, all of that is altered when your click on the advertisement. The ads aren’t controlled by Startpage and therefore aren’t accessible through Anonymous View. By clicking on an ad, you’ll get exposed to the standard variety of data collection techniques used by companies that advertise.

3. Startpage Does Collect Some Data

The Startpage’s privacy policies provide interesting reading. Check out the following paragraph:

We know that certain information gathering is required to ensure that Startpage can provide the best service for every user. Remember, it’s a business for profit that has ads. Advertisers will want to see some details about the types of audience that is likely to be viewing their content.

However, the fact Startpage has chosen to hide the data collection information so deeply in its privacy policies, rather than being open to users this information, is quite worrying.

Is Startpage Legit?

Unquestionably, yes!

If you’re not completely opposed to any form of data-logging (in which scenario, you shouldn’t use the internet in any way), Startpage is an authentic searching engine. It certainly offers greater privacy and security for users than other search engines like Google or Bing. Only the most skeptical users would think the claims of Startpage is a fraud.

But, as the negative things about Startpage demonstrate, no business is to be taken at its face value. There’s always something small amount of unpleasant lurking when you scratch the rough surface.

We also suggest using Startpage along with other safety measures like the use of a VPN and more secure practices. Take a look at the top VPN providers we have recommended.

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