Is DuckDuckGo Safe? What You Need to Know

Last Updated: June 23, 2022By

DuckDuckGo on white table

DuckDuckGo is a search engine that prioritizes its user’s privacy and data security over personalized ads and search results. DuckDuckGo sets itself apart from Google and other mainstream search engines by keeping no track of its users’ search history, pattern, and other analytics.

This allows DuckDuckGo to break free from the downsides of its rivals, i.e., it does not show region-based results meaning that everyone is exposed to the same kind of knowledge.

Overall, users find the public interface of DuckDuckGo to be very similar to Google, Bing, and other powerful search engines. In addition, DuckDuckGo features its pallet of apps and extensions compatible with all of the major browsers.

Even with these apps and extensions, though, this search engine lacks a great variety of features that would be available on other major search engines like Bing and Google, but that’s because DuckDuckGo was never meant to compete with its rivals based on services and features; it has positioned itself in the market as one of the safest ways to browse things over the internet without having your privacy invaded.

Is DuckDuckGo Safe?

DuckDuckGo is considered to be one of the safest search engines out there. Its dedication to privacy surpasses even the titans of the industry because it keeps no tabs on your search history.

This means that each time you open this search engine, it will be like opening it for the first time. This search engine is perhaps best suited for people who don’t have much use for the versatility of features that Google offers but wish to have no one utilize their search analytics.

What Makes DuckDuckGo Safer Compared to Other Search Engines?

No Recorded Search History

Unlike other search engines, DuckDuckGo keeps no tabs on the search analytics of its users. While this engine (like its rivals) generates revenue through ads, it doesn’t use the data it has on its users to target ads toward specific customers.

Instead, it simply shows ads to customers based on what keywords they put into the search bar. So, for example, someone searching for stationary will see ads about pens.

However, once they close this tab and type in something else on the search bar, they will see ads based on that search (not about pens).

No Third-Party Trackers

Since DuckDuckGo doesn’t keep search analytics about its users, it has no information that it can sell to third parties who want to use it for advertising purposes.

This way, DuckDuckGo ensures that no one takes advantage of their user’s unawareness about data security risks to serve their own interests.

Unfiltered Results

We’re all familiar with the filter bubble problem prevalent across the internet. Social media apps and search engines are designed to show you content you’re most likely to want to see.

They do this by looking at your engagement and search history to predict what sort of content would match your interest.

However, this well-intended model gives birth to one major issue – that people end up locking themselves up in bubbles of information that reinforce their beliefs and get deprived of exposure to ideas that are different from theirs.

This inevitably leads to polarization of beliefs because only seeing content that complements your beliefs makes your faith in your values even stronger and reduces your tolerance to deviating schools of thought.

Since each search on DuckDuckGo is like using the search engine for the first time, this problem never arises.

The Pros & Cons of DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo showing restaurant results


More Privacy Compared to Other Search Engines

Since DuckDuckGo doesn’t track your search patterns, history, or any such data regarding your online activities, it can’t sell it to third parties like large corporations who want to use it for marketing purposes.

More Features

DuckDuckGo offers a much better pallet of features for its users – especially web developers who now benefit from the convenience of having social media bios and weather data available at a glance.

No Location-Based Search Results

Most mainstream search engines show results to searchers based on the location of the request. While this is intended to bring about relevant results for the user, it creates knowledge bubbles – thereby depriving people of the chance to be exposed to new ideas.


Fewer Services Compared to Google

Google is still pretty much the king of all search engines. A vast majority of people solely use Google as their search engine, which means that google out-earns other search engines.

Google invests this higher income into optimizing the services it can integrate with its search engine to gain a competitive advantage over its rivals (including DuckDuckGo).

Less Connectivity

With powerful search engines like google, it is easy to stay connected with others in various ways, i.e., uploading your contacts to connect with them online.

Unfortunately, DuckDuckGo is yet to find a way to bring equally powerful options to its users.

The Lack of Personalization Sometimes Backfires

The reason why search engines like Google track users’ search patterns in the first place are to ensure that users are exposed to data that they would likely be interested in.

DuckDuckGo trades this off for extra security for its users, and so its users miss out on the convenience of seeing personalized results that would best match their needs.

How Does DuckDuckGo Compare to Google?

DuckDuckGo showing maps results

Google is the most popular search engine in use today, so it’s only natural for people to wonder how DuckDuckGo compares to it.

Our verdict? Well, we think it only depends on what your priorities are. There is no doubt that Google is a titan among search engines regarding functionality, connectivity, optimization, and features.

No one even comes close when you look at the sheer number of features and options that google offers as a search engine, so if those are what you prioritize, you will probably never use DuckDuckGo.

Things are a bit different if you prioritize safety, data security, and privacy. In these matters, DuckDuckGo takes the edge over google because it collects no search analytics about its users.

Google, on the other hand, is infamous for mining any piece of information it can get about its users. This means that no matter what Google does to enhance its security of customers’ data, it will always fall behind DuckDuckGo on this end.


How Does DuckDuckGo Generate Money?

Now you might be wondering what the catch is – Afterall search engines have to generate revenues for their operators somehow, and if DuckDuckGo doesn’t record search analytics data of its users to large corporations as other search engines do, then how does it generate its revenues?

Well, the answer is simple, ads. DuckDuckGo displays ads for its consumers a bit differently than other search engines.

While others show ads to users based on their current and past searches, DuckDuckGo only displays ads to its users based on what they have searched at the moment.

For example, on DuckDuckGo, if you search about the different ways you can keep your pet cat happy, you will probably see an ad about cat food pop up on the side. Whereas in the case of other search engines, this ad might appear even if you searched for Welding techniques (as long as you searched something cat-related in the past).

DuckDuckGo monetizes on these ads to generate the revenue it needs to survive and stay in business.

Would I Still Need to Use a VPN Alongside DuckDuckGo?

Another natural question that pops up in people’s minds when they hear about DuckDuckGo is whether or not they would still need to use VPNs.

After all, if DuckDuckGo is already securing us from data theft issues, then what good are VPNs for, right? Well, we wouldn’t cancel our VPN subscriptions just yet.

You see, DuckDuckGo only provides you privacy in the capacity of a search engine. What it can’t do, though, is extend this security to other online threats present across the internet.

Also, the websites you visit and the apps you use still hold the power to mine your data on their own individually. So, to mask your identity from these third parties, you will still need a VPN service like Private Internet Access.