A self-hosted, ad-free, privacy-respecting metasearch engine

Ben Busby e16038bf28 Make country var value compatible with `gl` param 4 days ago
.github a8afd49f84 Move docker tests after api/unit testing 1 week ago
app b75ff0782d pep8: fix CSP header line length 5 days ago
charts 24cc07c20a feat: Simple Helm Chart (#522) 3 weeks ago
docs 54109874fb Move screenshots/branding to separate docs folder 1 year ago
misc 5884001f05 Use bash for heroku-regen 8 months ago
test e06ff85579 Improve public instance session management (#480) 2 weeks ago
.dockerignore 20976f2ab9 Exclude test dir from docker actions 1 month ago
.gitignore 843632a22c Refactor whoogle.env -> whoogle.template.env 1 month ago
.replit 257b23e89e Kill app before re-running on replit 2 weeks ago
Dockerfile 6a229eba5f Skip copying whoogle.env in Dockerfile 1 month ago
LICENSE de06b72c08 Update LICENSE 1 year ago
MANIFEST.in 0a6575d219 Hotfix: Move language/country json to app dir 10 months ago
README.md 3e20788857 Disable in-app CSP unless enabled via WHOOGLE_CSP 5 days ago
app.json 90441b2668 Add WHOOGLE_MINIMAL to docs, tweak min mode logic 1 month ago
docker-compose.yml 79fb7531be Implement scribe.rip replacement for medium.com results (#463) 1 month ago
heroku.yml 4fb8ab6cac Added heroku.yml 1 year ago
requirements.txt e06ff85579 Improve public instance session management (#480) 2 weeks ago
run a768c1b5aa Revert "Allow executing run script w/o prior setup" 2 weeks ago
setup.py 334aabacb7 Bump version to 0.6.0 1 month ago
whoogle.template.env e16038bf28 Make country var value compatible with `gl` param 4 days ago

README.md

Whoogle Search

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Get Google search results, but without any ads, javascript, AMP links, cookies, or IP address tracking. Easily deployable in one click as a Docker app, and customizable with a single config file. Quick and simple to implement as a primary search engine replacement on both desktop and mobile.

Contents

  1. Features
  2. Dependencies
  3. Install/Deploy
    1. Heroku Quick Deploy
    2. Repl.it
    3. Fly.io
    4. pipx
    5. pip
    6. Manual
    7. Docker
    8. Arch/AUR
    9. Helm/Kubernetes
  4. Environment Variables and Configuration
  5. Usage
  6. Extra Steps
    1. Set Primary Search Engine
    2. Prevent Downtime (Heroku Only)
    3. Manual HTTPS Enforcement
    4. Using with Firefox Containers
  7. Contributing
  8. FAQ
  9. Public Instances
  10. Screenshots
  11. Mirrors (read-only)
    1. GitLab
    2. Gogs

Features

  • No ads or sponsored content
  • No JavaScript*
  • No cookies**
  • No tracking/linking of your personal IP address***
  • No AMP links
  • No URL tracking tags (i.e. utm=%s)
  • No referrer header
  • Tor and HTTP/SOCKS proxy support
  • Autocomplete/search suggestions
  • POST request search and suggestion queries (when possible)
  • View images at full res without site redirect (currently mobile only)
  • Light/Dark/System theme modes (with support for custom CSS theming)
  • Randomly generated User Agent
  • Easy to install/deploy
  • DDG-style bang (i.e. !<tag> <query>) searches
  • Optional location-based searching (i.e. results near <city>)
  • Optional NoJS mode to view search results in a separate window with JavaScript blocked

*No third party JavaScript. Whoogle can be used with JavaScript disabled, but if enabled, uses JavaScript for things like presenting search suggestions.

**No third party cookies. Whoogle uses server side cookies (sessions) to store non-sensitive configuration settings such as theme, language, etc. Just like with JavaScript, cookies can be disabled and not affect Whoogle's search functionality.

***If deployed to a remote server, or configured to send requests through a VPN, Tor, proxy, etc.

Dependencies

If using Heroku Quick Deploy, you can skip this section.

  • Docker (Windows, macOS, Ubuntu, other Linux distros)
    • Only needed if you intend on deploying the app as a Docker image
  • Python3
  • libcurl4-openssl-dev and libssl-dev
    • macOS: brew install openssl curl-openssl
    • Ubuntu: sudo apt-get install -y libcurl4-openssl-dev libssl-dev
    • Arch: pacman -S curl openssl

Install

There are a few different ways to begin using the app, depending on your preferences:

A) Heroku Quick Deploy

Deploy

Provides:

  • Free deployment of app
  • Free HTTPS url (https://<your app name>.herokuapp.com)
  • Downtime after periods of inactivity (solution)

Notes:

  • Requires a (free) Heroku account
  • Sometimes has issues with auto-redirecting to https. Make sure to navigate to the https version of your app before adding as a default search engine.

B) Repl.it

Run on Repl.it

Note: Requires a (free) Replit account

Provides:

  • Free deployment of app
  • Free HTTPS url (https://<app name>.<username>.repl.co)
    • Supports custom domains
  • Downtime after periods of inactivity (solution 1, solution 2)

C) Fly.io

You will need a Fly.io account to do this. Fly requires a credit card to deploy anything, but you can have up to 3 shared-CPU VMs running full-time each month for free.

Install the CLI:

curl -L https://fly.io/install.sh | sh

Deploy your app

fly apps create --org personal --port 5000
# Choose a name and the Image builder
# Enter `benbusby/whoogle-search:latest` as the image name
fly deploy

Your app is now available at https://<app-name>.fly.dev.

You can customize the fly.toml:

  • Remove the non-https service
  • Add environment variables under the [env] key
    • Use fly secrets set NAME=value for more sensitive values like WHOOGLE_PASS and WHOOGLE_PROXY_PASS.

D) pipx

Persistent install:

pipx install git+https://github.com/benbusby/whoogle-search.git

Sandboxed temporary instance:

pipx run --spec git+https://github.com/benbusby/whoogle-search.git whoogle-search

E) pip

pip install whoogle-search

$ whoogle-search --help
usage: whoogle-search [-h] [--port <port number>] [--host <ip address>] [--debug] [--https-only] [--userpass <username:password>]
                      [--proxyauth <username:password>] [--proxytype <socks4|socks5|http>] [--proxyloc <location:port>]

Whoogle Search console runner

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            Show this help message and exit
  --port <port number>  Specifies a port to run on (default 5000)
  --host <ip address>   Specifies the host address to use (default 127.0.0.1)
  --debug               Activates debug mode for the server (default False)
  --https-only          Enforces HTTPS redirects for all requests
  --userpass <username:password>
                        Sets a username/password basic auth combo (default None)
  --proxyauth <username:password>
                        Sets a username/password for a HTTP/SOCKS proxy (default None)
  --proxytype <socks4|socks5|http>
                        Sets a proxy type for all connections (default None)
  --proxyloc <location:port>
                        Sets a proxy location for all connections (default None)

See the available environment variables for additional configuration.

F) Manual

Note: Content-Security-Policy headers can be sent by Whoogle if you set WHOOGLE_CSP.

Clone the repo and run the following commands to start the app in a local-only environment:

git clone https://github.com/benbusby/whoogle-search.git
cd whoogle-search
python3 -m venv venv
source venv/bin/activate
pip install -r requirements.txt
./run

See the available environment variables for additional configuration.

systemd Configuration

After building the virtual environment, you can add the following to /lib/systemd/system/whoogle.service to set up a Whoogle Search systemd service:

[Unit]
Description=Whoogle

[Service]
# Basic auth configuration, uncomment to enable
#Environment=WHOOGLE_USER=<username>
#Environment=WHOOGLE_PASS=<password>
# Proxy configuration, uncomment to enable
#Environment=WHOOGLE_PROXY_USER=<proxy username>
#Environment=WHOOGLE_PROXY_PASS=<proxy password>
#Environment=WHOOGLE_PROXY_TYPE=<proxy type (http|https|proxy4|proxy5)
#Environment=WHOOGLE_PROXY_LOC=<proxy host/ip>
# Site alternative configurations, uncomment to enable
# Note: If not set, the feature will still be available
# with default values. 
#Environment=WHOOGLE_ALT_TW=nitter.net
#Environment=WHOOGLE_ALT_YT=invidious.snopyta.org
#Environment=WHOOGLE_ALT_IG=bibliogram.art/u
#Environment=WHOOGLE_ALT_RD=libredd.it
#Environment=WHOOGLE_ALT_TL=lingva.ml
#Environment=WHOOGLE_ALT_MD=scribe.rip
# Load values from dotenv only
#Environment=WHOOGLE_DOTENV=1
Type=simple
User=<username>
WorkingDirectory=<whoogle_directory>
ExecStart=<whoogle_directory>/venv/bin/python3 -um app --host 0.0.0.0 --port 5000
ExecReload=/bin/kill -HUP $MAINPID
Restart=always
RestartSec=3
SyslogIdentifier=whoogle

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

Then,

sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl enable whoogle
sudo systemctl start whoogle

G) Manual (Docker)

  1. Ensure the Docker daemon is running, and is accessible by your user account
    • To add user permissions, you can execute sudo usermod -aG docker yourusername
    • Running docker ps should return something besides an error. If you encounter an error saying the daemon isn't running, try sudo systemctl start docker (Linux) or ensure the docker tool is running (Windows/macOS).
  2. Clone and deploy the docker app using a method below:

Docker CLI

Through Docker Hub:

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

or with docker-compose:

git clone https://github.com/benbusby/whoogle-search.git
cd whoogle-search
docker-compose up

or by building yourself:

git clone https://github.com/benbusby/whoogle-search.git
cd whoogle-search
docker build --tag whoogle-search:1.0 .
docker run --publish 5000:5000 --detach --name whoogle-search whoogle-search:1.0

Optionally, you can also enable some of the following environment variables to further customize your instance:

docker run --publish 5000:5000 --detach --name whoogle-search \
  -e WHOOGLE_USER=username \
  -e WHOOGLE_PASS=password \
  -e WHOOGLE_PROXY_USER=username \
  -e WHOOGLE_PROXY_PASS=password \
  -e WHOOGLE_PROXY_TYPE=socks5 \
  -e WHOOGLE_PROXY_LOC=ip \
  whoogle-search:1.0

And kill with: docker rm --force whoogle-search

Using Heroku CLI

heroku login
heroku container:login
git clone https://github.com/benbusby/whoogle-search.git
cd whoogle-search
heroku create
heroku container:push web
heroku container:release web
heroku open

This series of commands can take a while, but once you run it once, you shouldn't have to run it again. The final command, heroku open will launch a tab in your web browser, where you can test out Whoogle and even set it as your primary search engine. You may also edit environment variables from your app’s Settings tab in the Heroku Dashboard.

Arch Linux & Arch-based Distributions

There is an AUR package available, as well as a pre-built and daily updated package available at Chaotic-AUR.

Helm chart for Kubernetes

To use the Kubernetes Helm Chart:

  1. Ensure you have Helm >=3.0.0 installed
  2. Clone this repository
  3. Update charts/whoogle/values.yaml as desired
  4. Run helm install whoogle ./charts/whoogle

Using your own server, or alternative container deployment

There are other methods for deploying docker containers that are well outlined in this article, but there are too many to describe set up for each here. Generally it should be about the same amount of effort as the Heroku deployment.

Depending on your preferences, you can also deploy the app yourself on your own infrastructure. This route would require a few extra steps:

  • A server (I personally recommend Digital Ocean or Linode, their cheapest tiers will work fine)
  • Your own URL (I suppose this is optional, but recommended)
  • SSL certificates (free through Let's Encrypt)
  • A bit more experience or willingness to work through issues

Environment Variables

There are a few optional environment variables available for customizing a Whoogle instance. These can be set manually, or copied into whoogle.env and enabled for your preferred deployment method:

  • Local runs: Set WHOOGLE_DOTENV=1 before running
  • With docker-compose: Uncomment the env_file option
  • With docker build/run: Add --env-file ./whoogle.env to your command
Variable Description
WHOOGLE_DOTENV Load environment variables in whoogle.env
WHOOGLE_USER The username for basic auth. WHOOGLE_PASS must also be set if used.
WHOOGLE_PASS The password for basic auth. WHOOGLE_USER must also be set if used.
WHOOGLE_PROXY_USER The username of the proxy server.
WHOOGLE_PROXY_PASS The password of the proxy server.
WHOOGLE_PROXY_TYPE The type of the proxy server. Can be "socks5", "socks4", or "http".
WHOOGLE_PROXY_LOC The location of the proxy server (host or ip).
EXPOSE_PORT The port where Whoogle will be exposed.
HTTPS_ONLY Enforce HTTPS. (See here)
WHOOGLE_ALT_TW The twitter.com alternative to use when site alternatives are enabled in the config.
WHOOGLE_ALT_YT The youtube.com alternative to use when site alternatives are enabled in the config.
WHOOGLE_ALT_IG The instagram.com alternative to use when site alternatives are enabled in the config.
WHOOGLE_ALT_RD The reddit.com alternative to use when site alternatives are enabled in the config.
WHOOGLE_ALT_TL The Google Translate alternative to use. This is used for all "translate ____" searches.
WHOOGLE_ALT_MD The medium.com alternative to use when site alternatives are enabled in the config.
WHOOGLE_AUTOCOMPLETE Controls visibility of autocomplete/search suggestions. Default on -- use '0' to disable
WHOOGLE_MINIMAL Remove everything except basic result cards from all search queries.
WHOOGLE_CSP Sets a default set of 'Content-Security-Policy' headers

Config Environment Variables

These environment variables allow setting default config values, but can be overwritten manually by using the home page config menu. These allow a shortcut for destroying/rebuilding an instance to the same config state every time.

Variable Description
WHOOGLE_CONFIG_DISABLE Hide config from UI and disallow changes to config by client
WHOOGLE_CONFIG_COUNTRY Filter results by hosting country
WHOOGLE_CONFIG_LANGUAGE Set interface language
WHOOGLE_CONFIG_SEARCH_LANGUAGE Set search result language
WHOOGLE_CONFIG_BLOCK Block websites from search results (use comma-separated list)
WHOOGLE_CONFIG_THEME Set theme mode (light, dark, or system)
WHOOGLE_CONFIG_SAFE Enable safe searches
WHOOGLE_CONFIG_ALTS Use social media site alternatives (nitter, invidious, etc)
WHOOGLE_CONFIG_NEAR Restrict results to only those near a particular city
WHOOGLE_CONFIG_TOR Use Tor routing (if available)
WHOOGLE_CONFIG_NEW_TAB Always open results in new tab
WHOOGLE_CONFIG_VIEW_IMAGE Enable View Image option
WHOOGLE_CONFIG_GET_ONLY Search using GET requests only
WHOOGLE_CONFIG_URL The root url of the instance (https://<your url>/)
WHOOGLE_CONFIG_STYLE The custom CSS to use for styling (should be single line)

Usage

Same as most search engines, with the exception of filtering by time range.

To filter by a range of time, append ":past

Extra Steps

Set Whoogle as your primary search engine

Note: If you're using a reverse proxy to run Whoogle Search, make sure the "Root URL" config option on the home page is set to your URL before going through these steps.

Browser settings:

  • Firefox (Desktop)
    • Version 89+
      • Navigate to your app's url, right click the address bar, and select "Add Search Engine".
    • Previous versions
      • Navigate to your app's url, and click the 3 dot menu in the address bar. At the bottom, there should be an option to "Add Search Engine".
    • Once you've added the new search engine, open your Firefox Preferences menu, click "Search" in the left menu, and use the available dropdown to select "Whoogle" from the list.
    • Note: If your Whoogle instance uses Firefox Containers, you'll need to go through the steps here to get it working properly.
  • Firefox (iOS)
    • In the mobile app Settings page, tap "Search" within the "General" section. There should be an option titled "Add Search Engine" to select. It should prompt you to enter a title and search query url - use the following elements to fill out the form:
      • Title: "Whoogle"
      • URL: http[s]://\<your whoogle url\>/search?q=%s
  • Firefox (Android)
    • Version <79.0.0
      • Navigate to your app's url
      • Long-press on the search text field
      • Click the "Add Search Engine" menu item
      • Select a name and click ok
      • Click the 3 dot menu in the top right
      • Navigate to the settings menu and select the "Search" sub-menu
      • Select Whoogle and press "Set as default"
    • Version >=79.0.0
      • Click the 3 dot menu in the top right
      • Navigate to the settings menu and select the "Search" sub-menu
      • Click "Add search engine"
      • Select the 'Other' radio button
      • Name: "Whoogle"
      • Search string to use: https://\<your whoogle url\>/search?q=%s
  • Alfred (Mac OS X)

    1. Go to Alfred Preferences > Features > Web Search and click Add Custom Search. Then configure these settings

      • Search URL: `https://<your whoogle url>/search?q={query}
      • Title: Whoogle for '{query}' (or whatever you want)
      • Keyword: whoogle
    2. Go to Default Results and click the Setup fallback results button. Click + and add Whoogle, then drag it to the top.

  • Chrome/Chromium-based Browsers

    • Automatic
      • Visit the home page of your Whoogle Search instance -- this may automatically add the search engine to your list of search engines. If not, you can add it manually.
    • Manual
      • Under search engines > manage search engines > add, manually enter your Whoogle instance details with a <whoogle url>/search?q=%s formatted search URL.

Prevent Downtime (Heroku only)

Part of the deal with Heroku's free tier is that you're allocated 550 hours/month (meaning it can't stay active 24/7), and the app is temporarily shut down after 30 minutes of inactivity. Once it becomes inactive, any Whoogle searches will still work, but it'll take an extra 10-15 seconds for the app to come back online before displaying the result, which can be frustrating if you're in a hurry.

A good solution for this is to set up a simple cronjob on any device at your home that is consistently powered on and connected to the internet (in my case, a PiHole worked perfectly). All the device needs to do is fetch app content on a consistent basis to keep the app alive in whatever ~17 hour window you want it on (17 hrs * 31 days = 527, meaning you'd still have 23 leftover hours each month if you searched outside of your target window).

For instance, adding */20 7-23 * * * curl https://<your heroku app name>.herokuapp.com > /home/<username>/whoogle-refresh will fetch the home page of the app every 20 minutes between 7am and midnight, allowing for downtime from midnight to 7am. And again, this wouldn't be a hard limit - you'd still have plenty of remaining hours of uptime each month in case you were searching after this window has closed.

Since the instance is destroyed and rebuilt after inactivity, config settings will be reset once the app enters downtime. If you have configuration settings active that you'd like to keep between periods of downtime (like dark mode for example), you could instead add */20 7-23 * * * curl -d "dark=1" -X POST https://<your heroku app name>.herokuapp.com/config > /home/<username>/whoogle-refresh to keep these settings more or less permanent, and still keep the app from entering downtime when you're using it.

HTTPS Enforcement

Only needed if your setup requires Flask to redirect to HTTPS on its own -- generally this is something that doesn't need to be handled by Whoogle Search.

Note: You should have your own domain name and an https certificate in order for this to work properly.

  • Heroku: Ensure that the Root URL configuration on the home page begins with https:// and not http://
  • Docker build: Add --build-arg use_https=1 to your run command
  • Docker image: Set the environment variable HTTPS_ONLY=1
  • Pip/Pipx: Add the --https-only flag to the end of the whoogle-search command
  • Default run script: Modify the script locally to include the --https-only flag at the end of the python run command

Using with Firefox Containers

Unfortunately, Firefox Containers do not currently pass through POST requests (the default) to the engine, and Firefox caches the opensearch template on initial page load. To get around this, you can take the following steps to get it working as expected:

  1. Remove any existing Whoogle search engines from Firefox settings
  2. Enable GET Requests Only in Whoogle config
  3. Clear Firefox cache
  4. Restart Firefox
  5. Navigate to Whoogle instance and re-add the engine

Contributing

Under the hood, Whoogle is a basic Flask app with the following structure:

  • app/
    • routes.py: Primary app entrypoint, contains all API routes
    • request.py: Handles all outbound requests, including proxied/Tor connectivity
    • filter.py: Functions and utilities used for filtering out content from upstream Google search results
    • utils/
    • bangs.py: All logic related to handling DDG-style "bang" queries
    • results.py: Utility functions for interpreting/modifying individual search results
    • search.py: Creates and handles new search queries
    • session.py: Miscellaneous methods related to user sessions
    • templates/
    • index.html: The home page template
    • display.html: The search results template
    • header.html: A general "top of the page" query header for desktop and mobile
    • search.html: An iframe-able search page
    • logo.html: A template consisting mostly of the Whoogle logo as an SVG (separated to help keep index.html a bit cleaner)
    • opensearch.xml: A template used for supporting OpenSearch.
    • imageresults.html: An "exprimental" template used for supporting the "Full Size" image feature on desktop.
    • static/<css|js>
    • CSS/Javascript files, should be self-explanatory
    • static/settings
    • Key-value JSON files for establishing valid configuration values

If you're new to the project, the easiest way to get started would be to try fixing an open bug report. If there aren't any open, or if the open ones are too stale, try taking on a feature request. Generally speaking, if you can write something that has any potential of breaking down in the future, you should write a test for it.

The project follows the PEP 8 Style Guide, but is liable to change. Static typing should always be used when possible. Function documentation is greatly appreciated, and typically follows the below format:

def contains(x: list, y: int) -> bool:
    """Check a list (x) for the presence of an element (y)

    Args:
        x: The list to inspect
        y: The int to look for

    Returns:
        bool: True if the list contains the item, otherwise False
    """

    return y in x

Translating

Whoogle currently supports translations using translations.json. Language values in this file need to match the "value" of the according language in languages.json (i.e. "lang_en" for English, "lang_es" for Spanish, etc). After you add a new set of translations to translations.json, open a PR with your changes and they will be merged in as soon as possible.

FAQ

What's the difference between this and Searx?

Whoogle is intended to only ever be deployed to private instances by individuals of any background, with as little effort as possible. Prior knowledge of/experience with the command line or deploying applications is not necessary to deploy Whoogle, which isn't the case with Searx. As a result, Whoogle is missing some features of Searx in order to be as easy to deploy as possible.

Whoogle also only uses Google search results, not Bing/Quant/etc, and uses the existing Google search UI to make the transition away from Google search as unnoticeable as possible.

I'm a huge fan of Searx though and encourage anyone to use that instead if they want access to other search engines/a different UI/more configuration.

Why does the image results page look different?

A lot of the app currently piggybacks on Google's existing support for fetching results pages with Javascript disabled. To their credit, they've done an excellent job with styling pages, but it seems that the image results page - particularly on mobile - is a little rough. Moving forward, with enough interest, I'd like to transition to fetching the results and parsing them into a unique Whoogle-fied interface that I can style myself.

Public Instances

Note: Use public instances at your own discretion. The maintainers of Whoogle are only responsible for https://whoogle.fossho.st, and do not personally validate the integrity of any other instances. Popular public instances are more likely to be rate-limited or blocked.

| Website | Country | Language | Cloudflare | |-|-|-|-| | https://whoogle.fossho.st | 🇺🇸 US | Multi-choice | | | https://search.albony.xyz | 🇮🇳 IN | Multi-choice | | | https://whoogle.sdf.org | 🇺🇸 US | Multi-choice | | https://search.garudalinux.org | 🇩🇪 DE | Multi-choice | | | https://whooglesearch.net | 🇩🇪 DE | Spanish | | | https://search.exonip.de | 🇳🇱 NL | Multi-choice | | | https://s.alefvanoon.xyz | 🇺🇸 US | Multi-choice | ✅ | | https://www.whooglesearch.ml | 🇺🇸 US | English | |

  • A checkmark in the "Cloudflare" category here refers to the use of the reverse proxy, Cloudflare. The checkmark will not be listed for a site which uses Cloudflare DNS but rather the proxying service which grants Cloudflare the ability to monitor traffic to the website.

Onion Instances

| Website | Country | Language | |-|-|-| | http://whoglqjdkgt2an4tdepberwqz3hk7tjo4kqgdnuj77rt7nshw2xqhqad.onion | 🇺🇸 US | Multi-choice

Screenshots

Desktop

Whoogle Desktop

Mobile

Whoogle Mobile