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Is DuckDuckGo safe?

Imagine a search engine that doesn't track you or collect your data. All the data traces you generate as you use it disappear immediately, and you can browse safely and privately. In the era of big tech and data farming, that sounds like a fantasy, right? But, thanks to DuckDuckGo, a privacy focused search engine, you no longer need to rely on Google. So what is DuckDuckGo? How does it work? And is DuckDuckGo safe?

Paul Black

Paul Black

Mar 01, 2021 · 4 min read

Is DuckDuckGo safe?

What is DuckDuckGo?

DuckDuckGo is a privacy-focused search engine. Unlike Google, it offers no personalized search results, making it harder to get caught in an information echo chamber. It doesn't profile its users according to their search patterns, and everyone gets the same search results.

While it functions primarily as a web search engine like Google or Bing, DuckDuckGo also has its own Chrome add-on. DuckDuckGo is a stripped-down search engine, which doesn't offer you many additional features, but instead focuses on its main function — providing a quality and private search experience.

DuckDuckGo also doesn't split its search results across multiple pages. Instead, you've got a single endless scroll. This is way more convenient, as in Google's case, many users don't bother looking further than the first page.

Is DuckDuckGo safe to use and private?

So, how safe is DuckDuckGo? First of all, DuckDuckGo's main selling point is your search privacy. This means that DuckDuckGo doesn't collect your data and track you when you search. Unlike Google, it doesn't associate what you look for online with your IP address. That means you won’t be bombarded with personalized ads.

Also, it doesn't collect your search history, so every time you use the engine it’s a fresh start. Of course, the drawback of this is the lack of an auto-suggest function, but that’s a small price to pay for more private browsing. You can also share your personal data with DuckDuckGo, but only if you wish to.

How does DuckDuckGo make money?

Of course, DuckDuckGo still has to monetize its operations somehow, so it still uses ads based on keywords you type in. If you search for “cat food”, the ads on DuckDuckGo’s search page may reflect that. However, the service won’t remember that you looked up cat food once you navigate to a new page.

It also uses affiliate codes and earns commissions when a user buys a product after searching through DuckDuckGo, or through one of their adverts.

Pros and cons of DuckDuckGo

Pros

  • Privacy is the search engine’s main selling point. DuckDuckGo doesn't store your data or track your search habits and history. It can't pass your information to third parties, leak it, or use it for marketing purposes;
  • The service offers many handy additional benefits such as readily available weather data, extra features for developers, visible social media bios, loan calculators, and more. Thanks to the privacy policy, you won’t have to deal with targeted ads;
  • No targeting or profiling of search results; wherever you are in the world, whatever demographic you belong to, you’ll get the same results;
  • It is simple and easy-to-use.

Cons

  • DuckDuckGo doesn't offer as many services as Google;
  • It’s not as convenient as other search engines. It doesn't have the same market share as Google, so you cannot sync lots of your accounts and services with it;
  • No personalization or autosuggestions. However, that may also be a pro as these features are only possible for Google due to their tracking practices.

Is DuckDuckGo better than Google?

  • It depends on your priorities. You’ll be sacrificing some of the convenience Google offers, but you’ll have a safer, more private experience. If you value your privacy, DuckDuckGo is better.
  • Of course, it is hard to avoid Google, and it’s likely that most of your accounts are already synced with this giant. DuckDuckGo offers an excellent opportunity to minimalize its use, however, and it’s great to support a service that offers a more transparent search experience.
  • Why do you need a VPN too?

  • While DuckDuckGo gives you privacy on the search engine level, it doesn't protect you from other online threats. Individual websites or social media platforms can still track you and collect your data, while cybercriminals can target you with social engineering attacks.
  • Also, your traffic remains unencrypted on DuckDuckGo, so someone can intercept it, see your IP, and spy on your traffic. Whatever search engine you’re using, your internet service provider (ISP) can still see what you’re doing and can share this data with third parties. Even worse, if you’re using unsecured Wi-Fi, a cybercriminal could watch your activity from afar and steal your personal information.
  • We strongly advise you to use a good VPN service. With NordVPN, all your online traffic is encrypted when it leaves your device. The service will also hide your IP, so no one can use it to find your location. Combining DuckDuckGo with NordVPN provides a genuinely secure and private browsing experience.

Protect your data with NordVPN and secure up to six devices.