Want To Guard Your Privacy Online? Search the Web With DuckDuckGo

Written by |

In this age of identity theft and internet scams, safeguarding your digital privacy should be one of your top priorities when you’re online. That’s why DuckDuckGo is a top search engine for privacy-focused users.

In this article, I’m going to tell you about DuckDuckGo and why it’s a great way to surf the web if you like your privacy.

DuckDuckGo: What You Need To Know

Internet privacy has become a big deal these days and we all know why: It seems every day, a company is sending a notification to its customers or users about a “privacy incident.”

Because I want to do all I can to prevent the wrong people from getting their hands on my data, I’ve been using DuckDuckGo to access the internet.

What Is DuckDuckGo?

DuckDuckGo is a privacy-focused internet technology platform that promises not to keep your data. The tradeoff for not mining your data is that DuckDuckGo’s search results lack any personalization (which some users see as a drawback, but more on that later). That also means things such as your location and search history won’t figure into your results.

Although the platform started as a search engine, DuckDuckGo has ventured beyond that now as it has a browser extension, can track apps on Android devices and also offers email protection.

Is DuckDuckGo Bad To Use?

Despite serving more than 2 billion queries a month, the platform has its critics. Many privacy experts have said that DuckDuckGo has some very big drawbacks for the common user. Among them are:

  • The platform doesn’t work well with the Google ecosystem and its many apps and products.
  • DuckDuckGo has limitations as to what it can filter and stop when it comes to content and malware.
  • Its browser allows Microsoft trackers on third-party sites as part of a syndication agreement, according to DuckDuckGo’s founder.

But as you know, nothing is 100% foolproof in this rapidly expanding digital age. With that said, DuckDuckGo along with Brave are two of the best for safe and private web browsing.

Read our guide on Brave and other safe web browsers.

Who Owns DuckDuckGo?

DuckDuckGo was launched in 2008 by MIT grad and tech entrepreneur Gabriel Weinberg, who was the company’s only employee for a few years. In 2011, he hired some other folks and moved the company out of his home to some fresh digs in Paoli, Pennsylvania.


The name DuckDuckGo was derived from the popular children’s game Duck Duck Goose, only because Weinberg liked the sound of it. He also enjoyed the idea of creating an online search experience that didn’t track your every move and sell it to marketers.

How Does DuckDuckGo Get Paid?

Because they don’t have ads, DuckDuckGo gets paid another way: The company may add an affiliate code to some eCommerce sites (e.g. Amazon and eBay) that results in small commissions being paid back to DuckDuckGo when you make purchases at those sites.

Many users exclusively use DuckDuckGo to reward them for not profiting from search results.

In a message on its website, DuckDuckGo says, “Established in 2008, we have been robustly profitable since 2014 as a result of revenue generated from contextual search advertising, which is based on the context of a page you are viewing, as opposed to behavioral advertising, which is based on detailed profiling about you as a person.”

Does DuckDuckGo Share Your Data?

DuckDuckGo says it doesn’t share user data.

Unlike internet companies like Google, Bing and Yahoo, DuckDuckGo doesn’t track, sell or share your search history, location history and other sensitive data.

While your device typically sends your IP address and other identifying information to web browsers and search engines, DuckDuckGo says it only uses this information temporarily and doesn’t store it.

“This means that when you use our services, we have no way to create a history of your search queries or the sites you browse. For example, we may know that we got a lot of searches for ‘cute cat pictures’ today, but we don’t know who actually performed those searches,” the company says in its privacy policy

There are a handful of main parameters of online privacy that distinguish DuckDuckGo from Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines. Here are some identifiers that DuckDuckGo does not track:

  • User behavior
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Search history
  • Device type
  • IP address
  • browser cookies

Most search engines work by using what’s known as filter bubbles, which fuel the algorithms that makeup what we see on the web. The term was coined by author and media executive Eli Pariser, whose book explained all of this and took Google to task.


Final Thoughts

When it comes to browsing that is safe, secure and private, DuckDuckGo is the way to go. While it’s not as well known as the Googles of the world, DuckDuckGo delivers the same results minus the tracking. Here are two final pluses:

  • You can turn off ads: While the search engine is ad-supported, users can opt to turn off ads.
  • No cookies are used by default: If you have changed any settings, then the browser’s cookies will store those changes. But they aren’t stored in a personally identifiable way. Also, you can opt not to use cookies at all.

If you choose to stick with Google, read our guide on how to control what Google shares about you.