What Is DuckDuckGo and How Secure Is It?
If you’re unfamiliar with DuckDuckGo, you may have a lot of questions regarding its function, safety, and cost. We can answer all of that and more. In a digital world where online privacy is paramount, any tools that offer extra protection and enhanced security are worth exploring, so let’s do a deep dive on DuckDuckGo.
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What is DuckDuckGo?
DuckDuckGo is an internet privacy enterprise primarily known for its search engine, which you can find at DuckDuckGo.com. The company also offers mobile apps and browser extensions that focus on preventing tracking, promoting encryption, and protecting your private data.
DuckDuckGo offers mobile apps for iOS and Android, as well as extensions for multiple browsers. If you’d prefer to use DuckDuckGo without additional software, you can set it as your default search engine within your browser of choice.
DuckDuckGo mobile app
- Automatic tracker blocking
- Forced HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) encryption when available
- A-F Privacy Grades for websites
- Global Privacy Control to opt out of data sharing and selling
- One-tap solution to close all tabs and clear browsing data
While DuckDuckGo’s search engine can stop other companies from tracking you on its platform, you lose that protection once you enter a third-party website. Therefore, you should utilize specialized browsers, extensions, and other privacy tools, such as a VPN, whenever possible.
The DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials extension includes most of the features available in the mobile app, but you can install the add-on in any supported browser. The only notable tool missing from Privacy Essentials is the burn button to close all tabs and remove browsing data. If you do need to quickly clear website data, you’ll need to follow the steps appropriate to the app you use. DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials currently supports the following browsers:
- Microsoft Edge
As you can see, DuckDuckGo offers apps for Android and iOS along with extensions for most common browsers. But what about Mac and Windows? Has the company forgotten two of the most popular desktop operating systems? Perhaps not.
DuckDuckGo app for Mac and Windows
Several sources, including The Verge, report that DuckDuckGo is working on privacy-oriented browsers for the macOS and Windows operating systems. Early information suggests that the application will come with all security features enabled by default, so you won’t need to go digging through the settings to ensure complete protection.
The browser isn’t available yet and doesn’t currently have a release date, but the product is a logical addition to DuckDuckGo’s already extensive presence across multiple platforms.
Is DuckDuckGo safe?
DuckDuckGo is safe to use. The company never stores personal information, search history, or other data it could potentially share with advertisers or other entities. DuckDuckGo’s strict stance on privacy means zero tracking on its platform and no targeted ads, so you can browse in relative safety and privacy.
Is DuckDuckGo a virus?
DuckDuckGo isn’t a virus. The company provides a privacy-focused search engine, mobile apps, and browser extensions to help users avoid tracking and targeted advertising. Viruses exist for malicious purposes, while DuckDuckGo’s intent falls on the other side of the spectrum, promoting good security practices.
Is DuckDuckGo legit?
DuckDuckGo is a legitimate and valuable tool for anyone concerned about online privacy. Anything that diminishes the impact of less-scrupulous businesses that aim to track you and sell your private data is worth considering, and the company has thus far stayed true to its mission of privacy protection.
How does DuckDuckGo work?
DuckDuckGo protects your privacy by refusing to collect any private information, including browsing habits, search history, and IP address. On top of that, the mobile app and extension provide additional protection by blocking trackers and forcing encryption when available. Because DuckDuckGo doesn’t store any private data, it can’t pass it on to other entities who may choose to misuse it.
Is DuckDuckGo free?
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.
In general, you should be wary of free services that rely on advertising for profit because they tend to harvest user data and use it for their own gain. However, DuckDuckGo’s pro-privacy stance makes it a rare exception to the rule.
Does DuckDuckGo track you?
While DuckDuckGo has a strict anti-tracking policy and doesn’t collect any private data, it can’t completely prevent someone from monitoring your connection and spying on your browsing habits. For ultimate protection, you should consider adding a VPN with tough encryption, such as VeePN’s super secure AES-256, to hide your actions from prying eyes and curious minds.
DuckDuckGo vs. Google
DuckDuckGo’s privacy features make it a standout service among others, such as those offered by Google, but that doesn’t mean it dominates the competition in all other areas. When it comes to protecting your private data, DuckDuckGo is difficult to beat, but you may be eager to know how it compares to the mighty Google. Let’s find out.
Is DuckDuckGo better than Google?
While DuckDuckGo and Google search engines share some features, they diverge in several meaningful ways. For example, Google doesn’t:
- Offer legitimate privacy protection
- Refuse to collect user data
- Avoid targeted advertising
- Avoid manipulating search results
However, both search engines offer some similar features, including:
- Image search
- Video search
- Dictionary definitions
- Calculations and currency conversions
As you can see, DuckDuckGo offers most of Google’s convenient functions without the blatant invasion of privacy. If you use more obscure Google features, you may notice some missing from DuckDuckGo, but you may also discover new tools not available in other search engines.
Even if online privacy doesn’t concern you, Google’s manipulation of search results means that algorithms decide what each user sees. When you type something into Google’s search engine, the results you receive are different to those of others. The manipulation tactic may not have sinister origins — the company likely means to tailor information to each user — but curated results have the potential to distort reality.
Pros and cons of DuckDuckGo
Whenever you consider switching to a new service or piece of software, you should examine the pros and cons. Once you know what a product can and can’t offer, you’re in a good position to make an informed decision. As with anything, DuckDuckGo does come with both pros and cons, so let’s take a closer look at what the service can offer.
Advantages of DuckDuckGo
Here are some of DuckDuckGo’s advantages:
- No private data, including IP address, collected and stored
- No targeted advertising
- No tracking
- No manipulation of search results
- No sharing, selling, or misuse of user data
Disadvantages of DuckDuckGo
Here are some of DuckDuckGo’s disadvantages:
- Some tools, such as Apple Maps used by DuckDuckGo, don’t function as well as Google versions
- Organic search results mean finding exactly what you’re looking for can take a little longer
- DuckDuckGo doesn’t currently have a standalone browser for macOS or Windows
DuckDuckGo’s disadvantages may seem minor to many of us, but anyone accustomed to things working a certain way could find the transition jarring. With that said, as your familiarity with the platform increases, DuckDuckGo becomes a fit and functional service with superior security.
DuckDuckGo and VPN
While DuckDuckGo provides some noteworthy security features, it isn’t a VPN, and it can’t do all of the heavy lifting. If you want to completely conceal your IP address, browsing habits, and other online activities, a reliable VPN service is critical. With a VPN in place, even your internet service provider can’t monitor your connection.
VeePN’s top-tier VPN offers top-grade encryption, no-log policy, and built-in kill switch, making it a standout internet privacy tool. Combine a solid VPN with DuckDuckGo, and you’ll have a formidable online security solution.
Why do people use DuckDuckGo?
People use DuckDuckGo for several reasons, including privacy protection, a lack of targeted advertising, and unmanipulated search results. The service offers many of the same functions as more popular options, such as Google, without all of the sinister data collection and sketchy algorithms.
If you value your privacy, switching to DuckDuckGo and always browsing with a VPN is crucial.