Is DuckDuckGo Safe? A Brief Guide to a Private Internet Browser (2023)

With increased online tracking and data collection, web users are starting to value their cyberprivacy more and more. According to DataProt’s findings, 86% of Americans have even tried to decrease or remove their digital footprint. While some want to minimize their online presence, others are afraid of cybercriminals, who often use sensitive data to their advantage.
However, more often, private companies collect your data to market their products better. This may be the top reason to reduce one’s digital footprint, considering that their activity concerns more than 80% of US citizens.

How Does DuckDuckGo Protect Your Data?

DuckDuckGo is a private search engine that offers you anonymous search online. Unlike its more popular competitors like Bing, Yahoo, and Google, it doesn’t save your search history, IP address, device information, or any personal information. It’s not completely devoid of any tracking, but compared to its peers you don’t have to worry about DuckDuckGo selling your data to marketers and getting bombarded with ads.
It means that every time you open the browser, you will start from scratch. No ads will be based on your previous browser history. While the risk of search leakage to third parties is eliminated, DuckDuckGo can still share your data if there is a court order. So, is DuckDuckGo safe to use? It is surely safer than Google, which uses your personal information, preferences, and search results to improve advertisers’ reach and CTR.

Why Does Using an Anonymous Search Engine Matter?

Today, your browsing history doesn’t belong to you anymore. Traditional search engines, together with social media, realized that brands are going to pay for your data: your interests, preferences, needs, age, location, marital status, and more. Therefore, they are in a rush to collect as much information as possible to later resell it. And you aren’t completely safe even searching in incognito mode.
Anonymous search engines like DuckDuckGo don’t track, store, or share your data, which allows you to forget about getting bombarded with ads (which are often irrelevant). However, when you click on a website from the search results and go to a new page, you start playing by that website's rules. The private search engine's policies don't apply there.

Top 7 DuckDuckGo Privacy Features

Here are seven privacy features that improve your browsing experience with DuckDuckGo:

Blank Search History

Since your search history isn’t tracked and stored, it’s impossible to find your previous search terms or results. To completely protect yourself, you need to prohibit your browser from saving the visited pages. However, Internet service providers can still see and remember the websites you visit unless you are using a VPN and, ideally, a custom DNS server.

No Ad Trackers

Ad trackers rely on your browsing history, which isn’t stored by DuckDuckGo. Still, it was revealed that Microsoft trackers are active when using the private search engine. As stated by the company’s CEO, Microsoft ads, when making up your user profile, don’t rely on ad-click behavior.

No User Profiles

Search engines identify you based on your personal data (like age, gender, IP address), search history, and online behavior (pages you click on, etc.). All this info is gathered and used to personalize your experience, which usually raises privacy concerns. This isn’t the case with DuckDuckGo.

Enhanced Encryption

While DuckDuckGo can’t protect your data from tracking when you visit a website from the search results, it imposes the sites to use HTTPS encryption, which boosts your online security.

Little to No Spam

DuckDuckGo partners with Parked Domain Project to get rid of spam in search results. Unlike competitors, it relies on humans to scan search results and remove spamming websites. Moreover, it shows web resources with human-written meta-tags and ranks official websites higher in SERP (search engine results page).

The Same Search Results for Everyone

Usually, search results generated by the same search request differ depending on the user profile. Since there are no profiles in DuckDuckGo, you will see the same web resources as anyone else who types in the same search term.

Comprehensive Search

Thanks to the !bangs feature, you can seek data across 13,000 websites, including Wikipedia, social media like Twitter, and retail stores like Amazon.

DuckDuckGo: Advantages and Disadvantages

Of course, as with any product or service, there are both positive and negative aspects.


  • Accessibility. The search engine is available as a mobile app for both Android and iOS, as well as a browser extension for Google Chrome.
  • Fair Search Results. You get what you are looking for — not more, not less.
  • No tracking. Your data and online activity aren’t recorded or traded.


  • Lower Personalization. The price of enhanced privacy is that it can potentially take a longer time to find what you are frequently searching for.
  • Less Comprehensive Results. Google has a lot of useful features like “Related Searches” or “Google Reviews” that allow you to spot more goods or service providers. DuckDuckGo tried to compensate for this with Yelp reviews and Apple Maps; however, the results are still not great.

Is DuckDuckGo Profitable?

While Google makes money by selling your data to advertisers, DuckDuckGo relies on affiliate programs. When conducting a search, you will see ads that are relevant to your current request, together with search results. If you make a purchase, DuckDuckGo gets some commission.

What Is the Difference Between DuckDuckGo and Google?

Here are the key differences between DuckDuckGo and Google (as well as any other traditional search engine):

  • Tracking. Google knows everything about you and actively monetizes this information, mainly by using it for advertising purposes. DuckDuckGo doesn’t track or store your search history or user data. It provides ads relevant to your current search query.
  • Personalization. Google analyzes your preferences and online behavior to predict what you might be interested in. Sometimes, it does simplify and speed up your search. With DuckDuckGo, you start from scratch every time you type in a new search query.
  • Convenience. One of the major default search engines, Google, lets its users synchronize accounts to facilitate logging in across various platforms, while this isn’t an option with DuckDuckGo.

The verdict: is DuckDuckGo safe? It is, compared to Google. However, you might miss out on convenience and personalization.

Are There Any DuckDuckGo Alternatives?

DuckDuckGo isn’t the only option to improve your online security. Here is what you can opt for:


This Dutch search engine claims to be the most private one in the segment. Like DuckDuckGo, it doesn’t store any user data and, obviously, doesn’t share it with third parties. Besides, it boasts an embedded proxy that hides your IP address and, therefore, allows for more privacy. Moreover, it provides Google Search Results for a more comprehensive online search.

Tor Browser

It’s a Firefox-based browser that prevents third parties from deciphering your data. Your data is split and encrypted into pieces, and it’s later sent through a random sequence of servers. As a result, it’s impossible to find out who sent the request. However, this implies lower loading speeds and responsiveness. Tor browser is widely used to become untraceable when accessing the dark web.


Neither anonymous search engines nor traditional ones ensure data encryption, allowing ISPs and governments to access your browsing history (only the domain names, but nevertheless). If you use a public network, the risks of cyberthreats significantly increase.
A VPN hides your IP address so that you can securely surf the web and be sure that your online activity isn’t tracked. However, VPNs do not protect you from tracking cookies, so it’s a good idea to enhance your privacy protection with an ad blocker or DNS filtering while using VPN. Or you can always use DuckDuckGo in addition to other precaution measures.

Why Choose AdGuard VPN?

AdGuard is a reliable VPN that allows you to securely navigate around the web via VPN servers in more than 40 countries. Here is what you get by securing your online activity with AdGuard VPN:

  • Customization. You can choose how the AdGuard VPN should work: it can route via encrypted channel either all your traffic (with some exceptions, if you want) or only traffic to selected websites.
  • Lots of locations. Choose where you wish your traffic to come through or choose the location with the best ping.
  • Improved Internet connection. The paid package allows you to enjoy secure web surfing at high speed. And the support for the cutting-edge QUIC network protocol will ensure good speed even if your Internet connection is poor.
  • Kill Switch. If your VPN connection is interrupted, the Kill Switch feature will immediately terminate the internet connection to make sure your personal data does not get compromised.
  • Up to 5 simultaneously connected devices. You can connect up to five devices at the same time for seamless protection.
  • Free 3GB of traffic monthly. It’s not necessary to buy premium access to AdGuard VPN: you can use it freely with some limitations (2 connected devices, 3GB of free traffic monthly, about 10 available server locations).


Can you be tracked on DuckDuckGo?

No, you can’t. However, if you proceed to a website from search results, DuckDuckGo isn’t responsible for your data protection.

What is the downside of DuckDuckGo?

DuckDuckGo offers far less customization than Google. Furthermore, the search results may be less comprehensive.

Is DuckDuckGo owned by China?

No, the search engine is a US-based company.

Is DuckDuckGo a dark web browser?

No, DuckDuckGo is a private search engine that doesn’t track, store, or collect your search history or private data.

How does DuckDuckGo make money?

DuckDuckGo profits from affiliate programs. When searching, you will see ads relevant to your current search request. If you buy something, the search engine will get a commission.

Does DuckDuckGo cost money?

No, it’s a free private search engine that profits only if you make a purchase through its advertisements.

Does DuckDuckGo sell your data?

No, DuckDuckGo doesn’t monetize your online behavior, preferences, or any other private information, unlike Google. However, it may still provide access to your data if there is a court order.

Is Google better than DuckDuckGo?

There is no single answer. Google wins with its convenience and improved personalization at the cost of violated data privacy. DuckDuckGo allows you to surf the web with no recorded search history or online behavior.

Is DuckDuckGo a VPN?

No, DuckDuckGo isn’t a VPN. It’s a search engine that doesn’t track or store your online activity and user data.

No, DuckDuckGo doesn’t share your IP address, but the search engine stores it. It can reveal the IP address to the IRS if there is a court order.

Is duckduckgo safe from viruses?

You don’t risk infecting your computer or mobile with a virus by using the DuckDuckGo search engine. However, you should pay attention to the websites you navigate to from the SERP. Avoid anything that doesn’t seem completely trustworthy and install an antivirus if you want an additional layer of protection.

Is DuckDuckGo better than incognito?

Yes, DuckDuckGo is more secure than using incognito mode because it doesn’t store your browsing data and also prevents tracking. Incognito mode also doesn’t store your search history on your computer or mobile phone, but the tracking is still enabled.


Is DuckDuckGo Safe? A Brief Guide to a Private Internet Browser? ›

Yes, DuckDuckGo is more secure than using incognito mode because it doesn't store your browsing data and also prevents tracking.

Is DuckDuckGo a good private browser? ›

DuckDuckGo is an overall great choice if you're looking for more privacy. Its anti-tracking policy means you'll have more control over your data. You'll also get less biased search results, so you'll find more variety than a Google search provides. Use DuckDuckGo with a secure VPN to improve your online protection.

Is there a downside to using DuckDuckGo? ›

While using DuckDuckGo, your traffic is not encrypted, making it vulnerable to eavesdropping and IP address discovery. Even if you change your default search engine, your internet service provider (ISP) will still be able to see what you're doing online and may share that information with third parties.

Why should I use DuckDuckGo instead of Google? ›

To keep your searches private and out of data profiles, the government, and other legal requests, you need to use DuckDuckGo. We don't track you at all, regardless what browsing mode you are in. Each time you search on DuckDuckGo, it's as if you've never been there before.

Can the government see what you search on DuckDuckGo? ›

DuckDuckGo search is completely anonymous, in line with our strict privacy policy. Each time you search on DuckDuckGo, you have a blank search history, as if you've never been there before. We simply don't store anything that can tie searches to you personally.

Which is better Chrome incognito or DuckDuckGo? ›

Is DuckDuckGo better than incognito? Yes, DuckDuckGo is more secure than using incognito mode because it doesn't store your browsing data and also prevents tracking. Incognito mode also doesn't store your search history on your computer or mobile phone, but the tracking is still enabled.

What is the DuckDuckGo controversy? ›

Many on the right adopted it as their pro-free-speech search engine of choice, a mission DuckDuckGo never actually had but had now, somehow, violated. DuckDuckGo was accused of betraying a user base it unintentionally cultivated but didn't exactly discourage.

Is there a safer browser than DuckDuckGo? ›

Both Brave and DuckDuckGo are worth using. But, Brave offers an enhanced user experience. It boasts more privacy protection features than DDG, including a built-in ad blocker and tracker blocking.

What website is better than DuckDuckGo? ›

Here is our list of the 12 most popular and trustworthy private search engines to choose from:
  • DuckDuckGo.
  • StartPage.
  • Qwant.
  • Searx.
  • SearchEncrypt.
  • Gibiru.
  • Yippy.
  • Ecosia.
Jan 5, 2023

Is DuckDuckGo 100% safe? ›

DuckDuckGo does not store or track user data, which goes a long way when it comes to ensuring your online privacy. And since they don't have any of your data, they can't personalize your search results, which means they stay pure and without user bias.

What browser should I use with DuckDuckGo? ›

  • Chrome (extension direct link)
  • Firefox (extension direct link)
  • Internet Explorer.
  • Microsoft Edge (extension direct link)
  • Opera (extension direct link)
  • Safari (extension direct link)

Can Google track you on DuckDuckGo? ›

Google collects a lot of data about you and your online activities to target you with personalized ads. DuckDuckGo protects you from such invasive privacy practices and does not track your search history or online activities. If you want to browse more anonymously, use DuckDuckGo instead of Google.

Can I still use Gmail with DuckDuckGo? ›

You must create your unique duck address and enter your real email address – for example, your Gmail account. DuckDuckGo verifies that you have entered your own and accurate email address because your tracker-free email messages will be sent to that address.

How much does DuckDuckGo cost per month? ›

DuckDuckGo is free to use. The company relies on ad revenue to make money but doesn't sell your information to advertisers or collect data in order to perform targeted advertising. Currently, every DuckDuckGo product, including the search engine, app, and extension, is free to use, and ads are relatively unintrusive.

Can the FBI track DuckDuckGo? ›

The NSA (not FBI) can track your keystrokes (typing) but only with a warrant for investigation. DDG cannot do anything against tracking your computer but they do their best to protect your searches.

How do I browse privately on DuckDuckGo? ›

On DuckDuckGo's website, the option to add the private search engine to Chrome is a button right under the search bar.
  1. Open DuckDuckGo in a Google Chrome browser.
  2. Click the Add DuckDuckGo to Chrome button. ...
  3. Click the Add to Chrome button in the top right corner.
  4. DuckDuckGo will ask if you want to add Privacy Essentials.
Jun 7, 2022

What is the safest browser? ›

Chrome may be the most secure browser on the internet, but t's also one of the worst for user privacy. Google Chrome is available for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux.

What is the safest and most private search engine? ›

Following is a curated list of Top 12 handpicked NO Tracking Private Search Engines with popular features and latest links. List of the BEST Private Search Engines: 1) DuckDuckGo. 2) Searx.

Why did China ban DuckDuckGo? ›

Google shut down the China version of its search engine in 2010 because it refused to censor results at the behest of the government. Instead, it now redirects users on the mainland to the company's Hong Kong servers.

Does China own DuckDuckGo? ›

DuckDuckGo is an American company

The CEO and also the founder of is Gabriel Weinberg.

Which country owns DuckDuckGo? ›

DuckDuckGo was solo-founded by Gabriel Weinberg in February 2008 in Valley Forge, PA (USA). It was self-funded until October 2011, when it was backed by Union Square Ventures and a handful of angel investors.

Which is safer Firefox or DuckDuckGo? ›

Firefox Is the Safest Browser for Your Privacy and Security

That's why we recommend Mozilla Firefox as your browser and DuckDuckGo as your search engine for additional privacy and security. Firefox makes it easy to import your bookmarks and other data from browsers such as Chrome and Edge.

How does DuckDuckGo make money? ›

We make money from private ads and affiliate partnerships on our search engine. On most other search engines, you are targeted with ads based on creepy profiles made up of your personal information, such as search, browsing, and purchase history. Since we don't track our users we don't have any such histories.

Do people still use DuckDuckGo? ›

DuckDuckGo is the second most popular mobile search engine in the U.S. DuckDuckGo users made over 8 billion search queries in Q1 of 2022. DuckDuckGo holds 0.68% of the search engine market share worldwide. However, in the U.S, DuckDuckGo holds 2.51% of the search engine market share.

What is the world's number one search engine? ›

1. Google. Google is the world's most popular search engine, with a market share of over 93% (as of March 2023). Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded it in 1998.

Does Chrome own DuckDuckGo? ›

You can search with DuckDuckGo as a web page, as an extension for your browser or as a mobile app. Most major browsers offer the option to set DuckDuckGo as your browser's default search engine. DuckDuckGo is not owned by Google, Bing or any other search company.

Is Safari or DuckDuckGo more secure? ›

Apple is also concerned about your privacy and prevents cross-site tracking in Safari but DuckDuckGo goes further, handling cookies in the most secure way possible by default and automatically encrypting websites that don't use the latest security protocols.

What is DuckDuckGo mostly used for? ›

DuckDuckGo is a privacy-focused search engine that doesn't save your search history and blocks any cookies that monitor and track your online activities. You're free to browse the web, use social media, do online shopping, and much more in anonymity. The search engine launched on September 25, 2008.

What happens if I add DuckDuckGo to Chrome? ›

Google Chrome extension

It adds privacy settings to Chrome that don't exist in Chrome natively. With the DuckDuckGo extension in place, it blocks sites from placing tracking cookies on your Chrome browser. This prevents the sites from tracking and selling your personal data and internet usage history.

Which browser does not track? ›

Search engines and your browser

Brave Shields block third-party trackers and ads, while built-in Brave Search taps into an independent index to generate results. Even if you don't use the Brave browser, you can still access Brave Search from any browser by visiting

Do I have to download DuckDuckGo? ›

DuckDuckGo is a search engine that provides extra security for its user. You cannot install it as a browser. What you can do is set the DuckDuckGo website as the startup page for your browser so each time that you will open your browser, it will open DuckDuckGo right away.

How can I search the Internet without being tracked? ›

8 Ways to Browse the Web Anonymously
  1. Stop Browsers From Tracking Location Data. Allowing browsers and apps to track your location is toxic to your anonymity. ...
  2. Use Private Browsers. ...
  3. Use Premium Proxies. ...
  4. Use VPNs. ...
  5. Stop Browser Cookies. ...
  6. Stop Tailored Ads on Social Media. ...
  7. Use Private Search Engines. ...
  8. Use Anonymous Email Clients.
Dec 10, 2021

How do I keep my searches private? ›

Turn on Incognito mode
  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open your Google app .
  2. At the top right, tap your profile picture or initial. New Chrome Incognito tab.

How do I hide my email services on DuckDuckGo? ›

There aren't many settings for Email Protection, but you can get to them in the mobile DuckDuckGo app by tapping the menu button (the three dots) and then Settings and Email Protection. In your desktop web browser, click the DuckDuckGo extension icon, then the cog button, then Settings and Email Protection.

What percentage of people use DuckDuckGo? ›

DuckDuckGo US mobile market share

DuckDuckGo has a 2.42% share of the US mobile search market. This makes it the second most popular mobile search engine in the US. Only Google is more popular, with a near-monopolizing 94.36% market share. Globally, DuckDuckGo has a mobile market share of just 0.48%.

Why is DuckDuckGo gaining popularity? ›

DuckDuckGo is a popular search engine and browser app positioned as a privacy-friendly alternative to Google. This focus on privacy has helped propel the company's growth since it was founded back in 2008.

Can the FBI see my Google searches? ›

Do the police monitor Google searches? While police do not actively monitor Google searches, they are able to obtain a warrant for your search history if they have probable cause to do so.

Can the FBI see my incognito searches? ›

Incognito mode doesn't stop web tracking. Your ISP, your employer, the websites you visit, search engines, the government, and other third-party snoopers can still track your browsing even if you use incognito mode.

Is my search being monitored? ›

Yes. Internet providers can see everything you do on the internet. The only way to defend against this is by encrypting your data. Solutions like VPNs, HTTPS proxies, and the Tor browser can help you protect your data.

Is there a private browsing mode? ›

When you browse privately, other people who use the device won't see your history. Chrome doesn't save your browsing history or information entered in forms. Cookies and site data are remembered while you're browsing, but deleted when you exit Incognito mode.

Does DuckDuckGo show up on router? ›

Can a WiFi owner see my search history on DuckDuckGo? Short answer: Somewhat. Privacy-focused search engines offer only a partial solution here. Even though DuckDuckGo doesn't track your data, it does send the domains you visit to the WiFi router.

What is more private than DuckDuckGo? ›

SearchEncrypt offers better default privacy than the more popular DuckDuckGo. You can also use SearchEncrypt to search for news, find maps, or browse for privacy-friendly videos (you can watch them directly on the search engine with no annoying ads). It is available as Google Chrome extension, too.

What is the privacy rating on DuckDuckGo? ›

DuckDuckGo automatically activates Privacy Grade whenever you visit a website. The feature then scans the website and assigns it a privacy grade from “A” to “F,” with “A” being the safest. Privacy Grade does two things: It checks how many tracking requests it blocks from the website.

What is the most private browser? ›

Top private browsers: a comparison of the best privacy-focused options
  1. Brave. The Brave browser was built from the ground up with privacy in mind. ...
  2. Tor. The Tor Browser uses an anonymous network of computers to connect to the Internet. ...
  3. Firefox. ...
  4. Safari. ...
  5. DuckDuckGo. ...
  6. Vivaldi. ...
  7. Opera.
Mar 2, 2023

What type of people use DuckDuckGo? ›

Data shows the people using DuckDuckGo are those who already know about the search engine, with 93% of its traffic coming from direct visits. Only 1.5% of its traffic comes from organic search.

How can I browse completely privately? ›

Table of contents
  1. Tip #1: Turn on your browser's private browsing mode.
  2. Tip #2: Turn on Do Not Track.
  3. Tip #3: Use a VPN.
  4. Tip #4: Use a private search engine.
  5. Tip #5: Do not log into your personal accounts.
  6. Tip #6: Disable unnecessary browser plug-ins.
  7. Browse privately to protect your personal information.
  8. FAQ.
Jul 19, 2022

Should I always use a private browser? ›

Because your search history and other browsing data aren't saved on the device, incognito mode lets you browse on a shared or public computer without other users seeing what you're doing. If extensions and toolbars are disrupting your browsing, deactivating them by going incognito can give you a cleaner experience.

Which is the safest browser for banking? ›

Brave is arguably one of the best web browsers for all-around security. The open source browser includes a built-in ad blocker, a script blocker, automatically upgrades to HTTPS, blocks all third-party storage and protects against browser fingerprinting.

Which browser works best with DuckDuckGo? ›

Best mobile browser for privacy and searches

DuckDuckGo's Privacy Essentials extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft's Edge has also proven popular. Its reputation is built on the idea that it does not collect user data but can provide the same search results as those that do.

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