It’s two years since we launched Mwmbl, the open source, non-profit search engine, on Boxing Day 2021. A good time to take stock of where we are and where we’re going.

We’ve indexed over 100 million pages

Thanks to our volunteers, who crawl the web using the Firefox extension and command line script, we’re crawling up to a million pages a day, as you can see on our stats page. There are around 50-60 users crawling on an average day.

Given that Mwmbl is still relatively unknown, it seems plausible that we can reach our target of crawling three billion pages a day, to refresh the entire index in one month.

Indexing a billion pages in 2024

Our index is currently still a titchy 40 gigabytes, so scaling this up by a factor of 10 should be enough to reach this target, and is achievable on the generously donated hardware we are currently using. Going beyond this will require new hardware, so we may end up building our own as Marginalia Search does. We think we will eventually need to index 100 billion pages in order to meet our search quality goals.

Other crawling improvements planned for 2024

Users can curate search results pages

This is a big part of our goal to be a community driven search engine. Instead of ranking being determined by a secret profit-driven algorithm, rankings will be determined by user curations as well as an open machine-learning algorithm trained on the user curations.

We currently have 54 registered users who have curated 241 search results pages.

Curation plans for 2024

The curation user experience is still in an experimental phase. We will continue experimenting throughout 2024 to find the best way for users to contribute to improving search results. All suggestions gratefully received.


Our finances are managed by Open Collective where we currently have funds of $733.36. Our estimated annual budget is $752.36 and we have spent $174.49. The biggest expense was purchasing a PyCharm professional license at $116.58, on top of that we have a GitHib Copilot license (somehow we don’t qualify for the free version, despite being open source), and Mozilla’s VPN so that we can crawl the web without getting blocked.

Most of our finances come from one generous donor, we hope to have more donors in the coming year.


We are still currently unincorporated as an organisation. The amount of funding we are getting is not enough to cover the costs of accounting and other overheads involved in forming an official organisation. The most likely way for us to incorporate is as a Company Limited by Guarantee which is a standard vehicle for non-profits in the UK - see e.g. The Openstreetmap Foundation.


Mainly still just me (Daoud) with help from the community. Please join our Matrix chat if you are interested in helping out!