25 Apr 2023

How to Create Your Own Private Search Engine

Want to take control of your own search experience? Look no further! This blog post will guide you through creating your own private search engine using SearxNG, an open-source metasearch engine that respects your privacy. This comprehensive guide is based on a video tutorial by NetworkChuck, which you can watch here. We encourage you to take a look through the step by step tutorial from NetworkChuck, and use what we’ve put together ONLY as a quick reference guide, which is why we have included additional resources to refer back to or learn more.

Step 1: Choose a hosting provider

To set up your private search engine, you’ll need a hosting provider. In this guide, we’ll be using Linode, a popular cloud hosting provider. You can choose any other hosting provider that supports Docker, as we’ll be using Docker to install and manage SearxNG.

Step 2: Create a Linode instance

After signing up for a Linode account, create a new Linode instance. Choose a suitable data center location and select the smallest plan, as SearxNG doesn’t require much computing power.

Step 3: Deploy a Docker image

Next, deploy a Docker image on your Linode instance. Choose the latest version of the Docker image from the Linode Marketplace, and follow the prompts to configure and deploy it.

Step 4: Access your Linode instance via SSH

Use an SSH client (e.g., CMD or PuTTY for Windows or Terminal for macOS) to access your Linode instance. You’ll need the public IP address of your instance, which can be found in your Linode dashboard.

Step 5: Install SearxNG using Docker

Once you’ve accessed your Linode instance via SSH, run the following commands to install SearxNG using Docker:

git clone https://github.com/searxng/searxng-docker.git /usr/local/searxng-docker
cd /usr/local/searxng-docker
sudo docker-compose up -d

Now that Searxng is installed, you need to configure it. Access the configuration file by running:

cd /usr/local/searxng-docker/searxng

Refer to the SearxNG documentation for details on customizing your search engine.

Step 7: Start and stop your Searxng instance

To start or stop your SearxNG instance, use the following commands:

sudo docker-compose down # stops the instance
sudo docker-compose up -d # starts the instance
sudo docker ps # shows the status of whether Docker is running

Step 8: Monitor your data usage

Linode will send you email alerts when your data usage reaches percentages like 80%, 90%, and 100% of your plan’s limit. You can manually pause your instance to avoid overage charges. For more information, refer to this Linode community post.

Building your own meta search engine for privacy and security

Congratulations, you now have your own private search engine! With Searxng, you can enjoy a customizable and privacy-focused search experience. If you have any questions or need additional guidance, refer to the original video tutorial by NetworkChuck here and the resources mentioned throughout this blog post.

If you would like help setting up an instance of SearxNG, we’d be glad to help you work through the setup.


Matt Visaggio is the founder and principal of Visaggio & Co. He is passionate about his work and loves seeing his clients succeed and grow.

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