Maintaining your digital privacy and security has become the need of the hour. Even you need to protect your privacy while you make web searches. It might shock you, but like you use search engines, the same way search engines also use you. Popular search engines like Google work as a data collecting tool that records your IP address and tracks your searches to target you for personalised ads or sell your data to third parties. Therefore it is crucial to use a private search engine like DuckDuckGo.
Using private search engines like DuckDuckGo can help you retain anonymity and online privacy. It is a popular privacy-centric search engine that ensures a safe and secure browsing experience. But the question is how safe and reliable DuckDuckGo is?
Surprisingly, YES, DuckDuckGo is safe to use, but how? What features make it better than other search engines? To get answers to your questions, stick with us till the end of this article.
How DuckDuckGo Makes Your Searches More Private?
DuckDuckGo is a private search engine that’s growing fast at an unprecedented rate. Its popularity can be estimated by the number of searches it receives. As of January 2021, DuckDuckGo receives more than 100 million searches every day. Its popularity also stems from the impressive privacy-focused features and user-friendly interface that makes the searching experience worth amazing.
Unlike other popular search engines, DuckDuckGo doesn’t track or record your IP address, searches, and the browser you use. Moreover, it also doesn’t log any of your data or activity logs and makes your searches anonymous. It has a browser that helps prevent trackers and browser fingerprinting. The search engine also offers an extension for the Chrome Browser named Privacy Essentials that work as a search engine and an ad-blocker. DuckDuckGo’s extension allows users to have more control over their searches. By tweaking the privacy settings, they can get rid of intrusive ads, trackers even and will enable them to whitelist ads from safe domains.
Moreover, DuckDuckGo recently launched its email protection app that assigns users a temporary email address that they can use on websites they doubt for collecting data. As a whole, for maintaining your online anonymity while you browse the web, you should use DuckDuckGo.
Is DuckDuckGo Safe to Use?
DuckDuckGo emerges as a great alternative to Google and other mainstream search engines for whom digital privacy matters the most. It respects users’ privacy and comes with impressive privacy-centric features that maintain users’ privacy while using their service. All these features make DuckDuckGo a safe and reliable search engine. Below is an insight into the privacy features that makes DuckDuckGo an excellent choice to consider. So, here you go:
DuckDuckGo comes with impressive untracked search features that don’t record your IP address, browser details, cookies, websites visited, and other sensitive information. In this way, it allows users to browse anonymously without leaving any tracebacks.
Search Leakage Protection
DuckDuckGo maintains users’ online privacy and thus protects your search queries from getting leaked by default. When you use any other search engines, all your search terms, browser info, and further details are redirected to the site you clicked on. But by using DuckDuckGo, nothing much happens. The search engines redirect you so that none of your browsing info, including the search queries, is sent. Besides this, to prevent search leakage, DuckDuckGo only displays the encrypted version of the websites you are willing to visit and prevents anyone from seeing what you are doing on DuckDuckGo.
Privacy Grade Rating Meter
The search engines come with an automatically enabled privacy grade feature that scans the website for privacy and its terms of services. It means that if any website is involved in any data collecting or sharing activity against their terms, it informs the users beforehand. Moreover, the meter rates the websites between A-F, with A being the safest option, and reports any trackers or other vulnerabilities.
DuckDuckGo comes with another innovative burn bar feature that guarantees maximum online protection while you browse the web. By enabling the burn bar feature, you can permanently delete your browsing history after every session. In this way, the search engine gives you more control of your online data.
Security Lab Report
Although it is not a privacy feature, it needs to be appreciated about the private search engine. DuckDuck is a secure search engine to use, and this is also proven through research. The Qualys SSL Lab examined the search engine and, in their report, rated it in the A+ category for providing a top-notch level of security and online protection to the users.
No Data Logs
Unlike Google or other popular search engines that track users’ activities and gather information, including their IP address, preferences, and browsing data DuckDuckGo doesn’t do such a thing. It is free from recording or sharing any of the users’ sensitive data. This is one main reason why you won’t see any personalized or intrusive ads while using DuckDuckGo.
Tor Exit Enclave
DuckDuckGo offers an incredible Tor exit enclave feature that allows users to search anything on the Tor browser. The tor proxy features add an extra layer of protection and enable users to make their searches anonymous and private while connecting to the Tor browser. To enjoy the benefits of this feature, you need to download the Tor browser first and then use it on the DuckDuckGo search engine.
From the explanation of the above-mentioned privacy features, it’s concluded that DuckDuckGo enhances your digital privacy and is safe and reliable to use.
Which Is a Better Option to Consider Using; Google or DuckDuckGo?
There’s an ongoing battle of superiority between the two widely used search engines, i.e., Google and DuckDuckGo. Both of them have users in bulk and provide great search results, but if given a choice, you’ve to choose the best one. So, here the question is which is better to use? If you prioritize privacy and security while using a search engine, you can opt for DuckDuckGo instead of Google.
Nearly four billion users worldwide prefer Google as their default search engine. Google is also popular because of the personalization it offers an impressive search intent. Unlike DuckDuckGo, Google has several data centers and two million-plus servers globally. These servers store a lot of data and Google indexes and show the relevant search results per the users’ demand.
However, Duck Duck doesn’t have any servers, and it relies on Bing, Yahoo, and other sources to deliver the search results. For this reason, DuckDuckGo search results are sometimes not relevant. Moreover, DuckDuckGo doesn’t split its searches like Google. It means that all the searches are confined to a single page. Though this gives convenience to users, the search results lack variety.
Despite the privacy glitches, people still use Google because of its search intent, which is the best in the world. Google frequently updates its algorithms and also, in this regard, relies on AI and ML models that improve the searches.
Another area where Google wins against DuckDuckGo is personalization. Google shows personalized ads and searches, which improves your search experience but also violates your privacy. It tracks your online activities and keeps a track record of your likes, dislikes, and preferences. All this information is used to create your profile and is attached to your IP address. Later, this information is used to target you with personalized ads.
Moreover, Google also gathers your data while you use any of its services like Google Maps. However, DuckDuckDo doesn’t do any such thing that breaches your privacy. Instead of tracking and gathering your data, it offers two amazing “!Bang” and “Zero-click info” features that allow users to get personalized search results.
As a whole, Google offers more relevant and fast search results, but DuckDuckGo is no less. It comes with features that make your searches better. Furthermore, DuckDuckGo provides more privacy than Google. It comes with several privacy-enhancing features that keep you private on the web. So, nonetheless, DuckDuckGo is a better option to use than Google.
Why Should You Use a VPN With DuckDuckGo?
A VPN is an impressive tool to enhance your online privacy. You can always use a VPN along with DuckDuckGo to maximize your privacy. From the above discussion, it seems like there is no other better search engine like DuckDuckGo, but it isn’t true. DuckDuckGo does have some flaws which you can’t ignore if you truly value your privacy.
DuckDuckGo doesn’t record your IP address using the untracked search feature, which is good. But it won’t offer any feature that provides data encryption, and without data encryption, your data traffic can be tracked. Hence, consider using a VPN for this purpose. It will encrypt your searches and even assign you a new IP address by which no one can identify you on the web.
Moreover, if you use DuckDuckGo on the Tor browser, you’ll be vulnerable to surveillance and hacking because of the Tor exit node vulnerability. Also, you’d experience slow internet speed because the data is hopped multiple times. You can ensure a safe and secure browsing experience over the Tor browser with the best secure VPN. It will provide fast connection speed, but the data encryption feature will mitigate the Tor browser risks and enhance your online privacy.
Apart from this, DuckDuckGo has its headquarters in the US. As it is a leading member of the five eyes, nine eyes, and fourteen eyes alliance, the company might be asked to hand over users’ data. Although the company isn’t involved in any such practice, nor has any such case reported, it’s better to take precautions. Thus, again a VPN might help you here.
Are There Any Drawbacks of Using DuckDuckGo?
One major drawback of DuckDuckGo is that it belongs to the US jurisdiction, so data retention laws are applicable. Moreover, the man who owns the company has been involved in users’ privacy. Gabriel Weinberg, the founder of DuckDuckGo, collected the names and addresses of the users in a social network called Names Database and then sold it for $10 million. However, you can always enhance your privacy on DuckDuckGo by using a VPN so, do subscribe to a reliable VPN provider.
Does DuckDuckGo Sell Your Data?
Like Google, DuckDuckGo does rely on advertising for generating revenue. But, they don’t gather any user data, including their IP address and searches. DuckDuckGo depends on the affiliate marketing program to earn profit. It serves as an affiliate marketing program for Amazon and eBay. Under this program, whenever you purchase using any of these sites, the search engine will get the commission.
Can You Access the Dark Web Via DuckDuckGo?
DuckDuckGo is a full-fledged search engine that offers a wide range of user-friendly and privacy-focused features. One of these features is the Tor exit enclave that allows users to search anything on the Tor browser. Moreover, since the search engine indexes the .onion sites, you can even use it to browse the dark web.
Using the dark web via the DuckDuckGo search engine will not track your searches and ensures an anonymous browsing experience. However, since the dark web is often impersonated for nefarious activities and there is no actual encryption provided by the Tor browser or the search engine, you should use a VPN along with it. The best VPN for the dark web ensures your online privacy, and you can enjoy browsing on the dark web by using DuckDuckGo.
Can You Trust DuckDuckGo?
DuckDuckGo is the oldest yet safest search engine to use today. Even though it doesn’t offer unique personalization and search results like Google, it is among the most trusted search engines. It comes with various privacy features like the privacy grade, untracked search, burn bar, !bangs, zero-click info, and tor exit enclave that retains your digital privacy and enhances your search experience. Its email protection app prevents trackers and enables the users to check the credibility of the websites they’re willing to use.
Moreover, the search engine is now a partner of the Parked Domain Project that uses human-powered sources to remove spam from its searches to have a better user experience. Therefore, it isn’t wrong to say that you can trust DuckDuckGo.
If you value online anonymity and privacy, then you should use DuckDuckGo. It offers various features that collectively work together to better your search experience without compromising your privacy and security levels. But, to enjoy enhanced privacy and online privacy, make sure you connect to a VPN first.