Excellent Utilities: Whoogle Search – self-hosted metasearch engine

This is a series highlighting best-of-breed utilities. We cover a wide range of utilities including tools that boost your productivity, help you manage your workflow, and lots more besides. There’s a table listing the tools in this series at the bottom of this page.

Google has a firm grip on the desktop. Their products and services are ubiquitous. Don’t get us wrong, we’re long-standing admirers of many of Google’s products and services. They are often high quality, easy to use, and ‘free’, but there can be downsides of over-reliance on a specific company. For example, there are concerns about their privacy policies, business practices, and an almost insatiable desire to control all of our data, all of the time.

What if you are looking to move away from Google and embark on a new world of online freedom, where you are not constantly tracked, monetised and attached to Google’s ecosystem.

Whoogle Search is a privacy-focused search engine. It displays the same results as Google Search but without ads/sponsored content, JavaScript, cookies, or tracking.


There are a number of different ways to install the software. The method depends on whether you choose a PaaS hosting solution, or run it locally. For our evaluation, we chose a Docker installation on a local machine.

Install the software with the Docker command:

$ docker pull benbusby/whoogle-search

We can then run the software with the command:

$ docker run --publish 5000:5000 --detach --name whoogle-search benbusby/whoogle-search:latest

DockerIf you’ve not used Docker before, check out our Docker guide which will get you up and running.

In Operation

Point your web browser to http://localhost:5000 and you’ll see the web interface.

Whoogle Search

We can click the Configuration link and change various settings such as setting the country, interface language, search language, and more.


Google’s search engine remains the most popular way to find information on the net. But many users dislike its use of trackers, analysis tools and ads which detract from the user experience.

Whoogle is a great alternative. It’s fast, uncluttered and there’s plenty of customization options. The project’s documentation is pretty good explaining useful configuration steps such as setting Whoogle to be your primary search engine.

While Whoogle is restricted to Google search results, this should not pose an issue to the vast majority of web surfers.

You can deploy it to PaaS hosting solutions such as Heroku, Fly.io, or Repl.it and lots of other platforms. Or you may choose to install it to a local machine on your network.

Website: github.com/benbusby/whoogle-search
Developer: Ben Busby
License: MIT License

Whoogle Search is written in Python. Learn Python with our recommended free books and free tutorials.

Complete list of articles in this series:

Excellent Utilities
AES CryptEncrypt files using the Advanced Encryption Standard
AnanicyShell daemon created to manage processes’ IO and CPU priorities
brootNext gen tree explorer and customizable launcher
CerebroFast application launcher
cheat.shCommunity driven unified cheat sheet
CopyQAdvanced clipboard manager
crocSecurely transfer files and folders from the command-line
DeskreenLive streaming your desktop to a web browser
dufDisk usage utility with more polished presentation than the classic df
ezaA turbo-charged alternative to the venerable ls command
Extension ManagerBrowse, install and manage GNOME Shell Extensions
fdWonderful alternative to the venerable find
fkillKill processes quick and easy
fontpreviewQuickly search and preview fonts
horcruxFile splitter with encryption and redundancy
KoohaSimple screen recorder
KOReaderDocument viewer for a wide variety of file formats
ImagineA simple yet effective image optimization tool
LanguageToolStyle and grammar checker for 30+ languages
Liquid PromptAdaptive prompt for Bash & Zsh
lnavAdvanced log file viewer for the small-scale; great for troubleshooting
lsdLike exa, lsd is a turbo-charged alternative to ls
Mark TextSimple and elegant Markdown editor
McFlyNavigate through your bash shell history
mdlessFormatted and highlighted view of Markdown files
notiMonitors a command or process and triggers a notification
NushellFlexible cross-platform shell with a modern feel
nvitopGPU process management for NVIDIA graphics cards
OCRmyPDFAdd OCR text layer to scanned PDFs
Oh My ZshFramework to manage your Zsh configuration
PaperworkDesigned to simplify the management of your paperwork
pastelGenerate, analyze, convert and manipulate colors
PDF Mix ToolPerform common editing operations on PDF files
pecoSimple interactive filtering tool that's remarkably useful
ripgrepRecursively search directories for a regex pattern
RnoteSketch and take handwritten notes
scrcpyDisplay and control Android devices
StickySimulates the traditional “sticky note” style stationery on your desktop
tldrSimplified and community-driven man pages
tmuxA terminal multiplexer that offers a massive boost to your workflow
TuskAn unofficial Evernote client with bags of potential
UlauncherSublime application launcher
WatsonTrack the time spent on projects
Whoogle SearchSelf-hosted and privacy-focused metasearch engine
ZellijTerminal workspace with batteries included
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Invisible Agents
Invisible Agents
1 year ago

Whoogle is superlative particularly as I don’t want Google permanently tracking me.

1 year ago

I tried installing with pip but it didn’t work. Hmmm

1 year ago

Much like DuckDuckGo but DuckDuckGo de-ranked results for conservative sites. Will this engine be fair or lean politically?

1 year ago
Reply to  jymmn

Did you read the article? Whoogle displays the same results as regular Google searches.