Startpage Search Engine launches Privacy Protection extension

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 21, 2022

Startpage Privacy Protection is a new browser extension by the privacy-focused search engine Startpage with two main purposes: reveal privacy scores of visited websites and give users more privacy-related controls to reduce or eliminate tracking.

startpage privacy protection

Startpage released the extension for Firefox and Chrome officially, but it installs in compatible browsers, e.g. Microsoft Edge, Vivaldi, Opera or Brave, as well without issues.

Note: The installation of the extension changes the default search engine of the browser to Startpage Search. There is no way to block the change from happening.

Once installed, you may start interacting with the extension by activating its icon. On Chrome and Chromium-based browsers, you may need to click on the general extension icon in the main toolbar of the browser and select the pin option to pin the Startpage extension icon to the toolbar for better visibility. The first click opens a wizard that walks you through main program features.

Startpage Privacy Protection displays a privacy score for each site you visit. It ranges from 1 to 5, with 5 being the best and 1 being the worst. Blocked trackers and cookies are revealed in the interface, and a click on the manage link opens a detailed view of them in the extension's interface.

startpage manage trackers

Each tracker has three options: block all, block only cookies, allow all. It is easy enough to switch between the options, e.g., when a site's functionality is reduced by the blocking, or when there are false positives on a site. Most trackers are blocked outright by Startpage Privacy Protection, some have only their cookies blocked.

The main interface has a switch to turn off the main functionality. A click on the settings button displays several options, which are all enabled by default:

  • Global Privacy Control -- Sends Global Privacy Control and Do Not Track signals to all websites.
  • Hyperlink auditing -- blocks link tracking using the technology.
  • Prefetching -- blocks the browser from prefetching data.

The next section, called allowlist, gives you an option to add sites to the exclusion list. Sites added there won't have their trackers and cookies blocked by the extension. Just add the main domain name and the extension will do the rest.

privacy protections settings

The privacy score of allowed sites is still computed and displayed by the extension, but no blocking is taking place in that case.

The last section lists all known trackers that Startpage's extension knows about in the current version. Here you may change defaults for each individual tracker.

Closing Words

Startpage Privacy Protection blocks trackers and cookies when it is active. The privacy score may be useful to inexperienced users who never looked into privacy closely before.

The extension has a few limitations. One being that it changes the default search engine to Startpage, something which not all users may want. It is not possible to switch the search engine after installation of the extension, unless the extension is disabled. Startpage Privacy Protection lacks options to add trackers to the list it supports. Lastly, it may not block too many ads on the Internet, as its focus is on trackers.

Now You: have you tried the extension?

software image
Author Rating
3 based on 7 votes
Software Name
Startpage Privacy Protection
Software Category
Landing Page

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  1. Roebie said on September 16, 2011 at 10:23 am

    “the not so perfect search utility in XP”
    At least it worked. Both Vista and Seven take far too much time indexing and searching on networked drives.
    A search for all files with a certain string in the filename takes 3 times longer on Seven (and 4 times longer on Vista) than on XP.
    The indexing service takes too much memory too.
    I’ll stick to Copernic Desktop Search for now!

  2. Kari said on September 16, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    What a crap! My customers don’t find their documents with windows search function, even if it is almost in right front of you. Microsoft’s policy is to keep everything messy and protected, and the most stupidiest thing is to show different name for the folder than what it actually is.

    Is it too much to ask, if the search function would work like in XP? Yes it is…
    Good luck with Windows Search, third party software rules in this case… too.

  3. Fuddler said on October 18, 2012 at 6:13 am

    The term negation function doesn’t work.

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