Is DuckDuckGo a VPN? Do You Need It For Privacy?

Is duckduckgo a vpn?

Safeguarding your online privacy is now a hot topic, and you should be looking out for it too. There are several ways to do so, including your typical VPN, but there are alternatives to look after your online privacy.

A popular option could be DuckDuckGo which will still look out for your online privacy and maintain your anonymity. Though it may be slightly different from a VPN, DuckDuckGo may be the ideal solution for your online privacy needs.

In this guide, we will examine whether DuckDuckGo is a VPN, how it may differ from a VPN, and why you should consider using it for your online privacy.

Is DuckDuckGo A VPN?

No, but DuckDuckGo still looks out for your online privacy and protects your anonymity while using the internet. DuckDuckGo is strictly a search engine that still includes various online privacy features, so it does a similar job to a VPN, yet differently.

Those features are close to the ones you would expect with a VPN which include:

  • Private Searching – To look after your privacy, the app and browser extension will not track your search history. With this, you can browse the internet freely without worrying that the browser will record everything you have searched for.
  • Privacy Notification – DuckDuckGo contains a ‘privacy grade feature’ to let you know at a glance what grade of protection each website offers. This could lead you to use the most secure sites while knowing which unsecured ones you should steer well clear of.
  • No More Advert Tracking – Advert tracking is one of those key bugbears that VPNs and services such as DuckDuckGo are designed to avoid. On DuckDuckGo the feature is an automatic ad blocker that prevents those hidden third-party trackers that exist on sites. With them blocked, you can avoid collecting, tracking, and selling your data.
  • Smart Encryption – Websites should have encrypted connections, and if the one you are trying to browse does not have one, then DuckDuckGo will force it to, where available. With an encrypted connection in place, you can protect your data and browse away from any prying eyes.

One of the key reasons why DuckDuckGo may be confused with a VPN is how it operates and how it is used. You would still use DuckDuckGo as an app and browser extension, making it relatively easy to simply click and go.

DuckDuckGo stats

What Is A VPN?

A virtual private network (VPN) gives users online protection when using a public network. They can still send and receive data securely while using a shared network, yet their devices will be protected as if they were using a private one. This prevents hackers from accessing material and gaining access to a device.

If DuckDuckGo Is Not A VPN, What Is It?

We should explain what it is now that we have established that DuckDuckGo is not a VPN. The app and browser extension is an internet search engine that still looks out for a user’s online privacy yet not be tracking what a user looks at online.

This means no cookies are collected to track users while no personal information is collected. DuckDuckGo also goes further to mask your IP address and hide your location away from advertisers.

Why Is DuckDuckGo Different From A VPN?

DuckDuckGo offers an alternative to a VPN that may be ideal for your browsing needs. A VPN and the app and browser extension offer a level of online privacy yet do it subtly differently. You can expect a more blanket version of online privacy from a VPN to look after your browsing device, such as your computer.

DuckDuckGo does not offer protection for your entire device yet it provides online privacy when you open it up and use it for browsing. One of those differences is how DuckDuckGo will easily block website trackers, including cookies, while VPNs typically struggle with them. 

Why You May Need DuckDuckGo For Privacy?

There are several reasons why you may want to stick to the web browser that you currently use. Whether Bing, Firefox, or Google Chrome, each has a range of reasons why you should use them.

Above all, they are easy to use and navigate, and it should prove easy to find whatever it is you want. However, each one of those internet browsers has gained a reputation for online tracking pretty much everything you look at.

You may think that using private mode should provide some online privacy which should be the case when you use the option with Bing or Google. Though the feature professes to provide some protection, it sends those keywords you insert to the site you are looking at in the HTTP reader.

That means when you look at the site, the device you use will automatically share your browsing information, which includes your IP address which may be enough to identify you.

The practice of sharing your browser information, including your IP address, is known as search leakage. DuckDuckGo can prevent this practice by default with the search results.

Instead of sending your keywords, the search engine will mask them so that various other websites cannot see them. Using this protection, whichever sites you visit cannot claim the search words you typed to get to them and access their specific content.

This privacy measure alone prevents website owners from using any of your available personal information to make an effort to identify you.

Importantly, your IP address remains hidden and confidential from their prying eyes. This is why DuckDuckGo is required for online privacy and works better than other popular search engines.

Does DuckDuckgo track you?

Why You May Want To Combine DuckDuckGo With A VPN

You can look at protecting your devices through online privacy settings in various ways. Some prefer the approach of a VPN, while others may prefer the more customized approach from an extension such as DuckDuckGo.

Combining DuckDuckGo with a VPN can provide next-level protection while enjoying an online connection.

  • Get Past Censorship And Geo-Blocking – If you cannot use DuckDuckGo in countries such as India and China, having a VPN can still offer online privacy. Both countries have blocked DuckDuckGo, and such censorship means that the citizens in those locations cannot use the search engine and must find other means of online protection. That would be the case if you visited these countries, so having a VPN would allow you and your device to get past that geo-blocking by hiding your IP address.
  • Thorough Privacy – One of the drawbacks of DuckDuckGo is how the search engine only offers protection for you while you use it. Use another search engine, and you will not benefit from the protection, leaving you open to that lack of guaranteed privacy. However, using a VPN with DuckDuckGo means that your online browsing is protected and everything else you do online, even if you use a different search engine, just in case you forget not to use the extension. 

The VPNs You Should Use With DuckDuckGo

While you should use a VPN with DuckDuckGo, it is best practice to find out which ones work best in a combination.

Some VPNs are less effective when combined with DuckDuckGo; for instance, free VPNs have gained a reputation for logging and then selling users’ data, putting their online privacy at significant risk.

Other VPNs simply lack adequate security features, so any user would be left vulnerable and weak to an online attack. Specific VPNs are ideal to work with DuckDuckGo as together. They can provide a barrier to would-be online attackers and provide blanket protection.

Private VPN


One worthwhile VPN to consider using with DuckDuckGo is PrivateVPN. The service goes exquisitely well alongside the app and browser extension’s features, and the two dovetail nicely.

PrivateVPN has several comprehensive features, including a guarantee on server switches and endless bandwidth, which should mean convenient online use. This can come on six devices simultaneously, so it should cover most, if not all, of your devices.

PrivateVPN works on all the major operating system platforms and comes with IPv6 and DNS leak protection. A focused effort on privacy goes throughout PrivateVPN, and you can tell that the service aims to provide the most comprehensive online protection.

No data logs would be kept on your connections which means streaming, browsing, and torrenting with the most privacy on offer.

Nord VPN


With thousands of rapid servers to use, it is no wonder that NordVPN has proved so popular. You can unblock certain streaming services while feeling fully backed using torrenting services.

Their military-grade encryption works well with DuckDuckGo to look after and protect your data. You can feel confident about your online privacy with RAM-disk servers and a no-log policy.

A lot of that confidence should come from CyberSec, which NordVPN includes as a privacy and security feature for online browsing. This should look after your device from phishing scams, advertisements, and any site that seems suspicious.

You can enjoy complete security by protecting your device from all traffic from your browser and the apps you are using. You can also use this VPN with up to six devices simultaneously, with a 30-day money-back guarantee on every plan.

Final Thoughts

If you want to feel a level of security and confidence while browsing the internet, then you should look towards DuckDuckGo. The private search engine has several features designed to provide online privacy, yet you may still want to cover yourself by using a VPN.

These services are made to keep your data and browsing history safe from government surveillance, online attacks, and anyone else who would find your data useful. Before it is too late, consider your VPN and get DuckDuckGo to go with it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is DuckDuckGo legal worldwide?

DuckDuckGo should be safe in most countries, yet some have blocked its use. Those countries include India and China, meaning their citizens and anyone there cannot enjoy the online privacy benefits of the app and browser extension.

Should you want to primarily use DuckDuckGo for your online privacy and head to either of those countries, then you will need to find an alternative, as you will be prevented from using the private search engine.

This is where a VPN can come in handy to enjoy private web browsing, even if you cannot use DuckDuckGo.

Online privacy should still be available wherever you are in the world, and using a VPN will go some way to hide your IP address. An alternative service may even let others believe you are browsing from a vast selection of countries that allow the use of DuckDuckGo.

What alternatives are available to DuckDuckGo?

You may want to look out for your online privacy by using a specific search engine with protection in mind. That does not necessarily mean DuckDuckGo, as there are several alternatives.

  • Search Encrypt

For speed and reliability, you could look towards Search Encrypt. The search engine keeps searches private through local encryption using their feature known as Perfect Forward Secrecy.

Encrypting the search terms you use locally keeps them hidden away until they are transmitted to their own secure servers. After finishing your search, whichever encryption key you used to search for the term will disappear.

There is also a lack of tracking software which may be another reason for using Search Encrypt. The service provides a browser feature that stops your browser from saving and tracking your search history.

  • Qwant

It may have a strange name, yet Qwant is another decent alternative to consider. The private search engine comes from France and can boast great user-friendliness and will not track any searches performed by the user nor store any of their specific private information for online privacy you can trust.

There is also a range of filter options that allow a user to find the results they want rapidly, similar to iBang which is a feature on DuckDuckGo.

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