DuckDuckGo Searches Going Waaaaay Up

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 16, 2012
Updated • Dec 10, 2012
Internet, Search

DuckDuckGo, the search engine that I'm using as my primary information retrieval tool on the Internet, has just marked an all new high yesterday. For the first time ever since the search engine opened its doors, it received more than 1 million direct search queries. These are generated by direct user requests. Api requests sit steady at the ten million per day mark.

This may not seem that impressive in comparison to search engines like Google or Bing, who likely get that traffic in minutes and not days. For DuckDuckGo though, it is reason to celebrate, especially if you take a look at the current growth rate of the site.

The search engine received about 100,000 direct search queries a year ago, and about 500,000 in January 2012 (the first 500k hit in November 2011). Direct search queries have nearly doubled in a month's time, and as you can see in the chart, is likely to climb at an accelerated pace in the future.

duck duck go search

With more users switching to the search engine, recommending it to friends, colleagues and family, and webmasters writing about it, it is likely that the upwards trend will continue at least for a while.

The big jump from 500k to one million came shortly after the last visual refresh and at the time of the Data Privacy Day. The search engine, unlike others, is not tracking its users nor personalizing its user's search results.

The search engine still has a long way to go before it will become a force to be reckoned with in the search engine landscape that is dominated by Google, and to a lesser extend by Bing and Yahoo.

You can read up here why I switched to DuckDuckGo (with tips to do the same), and at this article afterwards that explains how you can improve your DuckDuckgo search experience.

On behalf of the Ghacks team, congratulations!


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. umpio said on March 9, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Today I learned that I can dumb google from my firefox completely!

    Only google search service that I used was the “try your luck” search for the awesome bar search engine. It’s so much faster to type one word to go straight to the web site with it. I just read that I can do this with DDG also! And it’s also possible to change the firefox context menu search engine to DDG!

    “The above plugins add DuckDuckGo to the browser search box. Here is how to add DDG to the address bar:

    Type about:config into the address bar.
    Search for “keyword.url”
    Change it to
    If you want “instant search”, change it instead to!+

    To update the search engine used when you select text and right click:

    Type about:config into the address bar.
    Search for
    Change it to the name of the plugin you used, e.g. DuckDuckGo (SSL)”

    1. Commenter said on July 3, 2012 at 6:15 am

      You can also use the FF addon, Add to Search Bar, or search for DDG on Mozilla Mycroft: (huge list of FF search plugins).

      DDG also allows use of its HTML-only and “lite” (no images) settings with the tor service. My homepage is actually set to:


      Just replace “lite” with “html” like so:


      Works great for me. Make way for ducklings! :-)

  2. bastik said on February 18, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    BTW: (for Tor users) duckduckgo runs an hiddenservice to access it’s search.

    Hope you know what Tor is.

  3. bastik said on February 18, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Does anyone know what DuckDuckGo filters? I mean is there a list of content they don’t give any results for or filter some?

    For instance they filter porn. There are some search engines for kids and this one seems safe as well. I’m OK with that when I know what gets blocked. I’m against censorship unless I op-in or can at least opt-out.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 18, 2012 at 3:13 pm

      You can disable SafeSearch in the options:

      1. bastik said on February 18, 2012 at 3:33 pm

        Thank you I might be blind. I haven’t seen the settings link before.

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on February 18, 2012 at 3:49 pm

        It displays when you click on the More button.

  4. me said on February 17, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    DudckDuckGo is alright. But it’s useless and doesn’t work when java script is disabled. StartingPage on the other hand does work with java script disabled. So even though both search engines give you privacy, I prefer SatrtingPage.

    1. ogu said on February 18, 2012 at 5:50 pm

      DDG can run without javascript :


  5. sheppo said on February 17, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    oddly, i was talking about DDG with a friend earlier today, and comparing it to bing, google, and…*gasp* altavista.

    it seemed all the none google search engines were showing the same results, in the same order, at least for the one search term i was using. is there some commonality between DDG and Bing?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 17, 2012 at 6:32 pm

      The search engine uses Bing AND other search engines to compute results.

  6. Marco said on February 17, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    I’ve been using for searches which offers very similar service, perhaps better depending on how that is interpreted. You get Google results with privacy.

  7. Doug said on February 17, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    I am presently using DuckDuck and really like it.

  8. ogu said on February 17, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Great search engine, it seems to grow up quickly these last weeks. But the search image is missing, you have to use a !bang command to have it, and it redirects to google image in https. When DDG will have is own search image, it will be great!

    Sorry for my bad syntax, i am french!


  9. CGA said on February 17, 2012 at 8:53 am

    I’m trying it out now and mostly I’m pleased with it. It’s a pity though that the userscript community doesn’t seem to care much about it yet. I miss being able to block certain domains in my searches as I can with the excellent Google Domain Blocker script.

  10. Jim said on February 17, 2012 at 6:57 am

    Way to go DDG! Thanks gHacks for giving my favorite search engine some love!

  11. Roy said on February 17, 2012 at 5:23 am

    DuckDuckGo made me rethink on how I phrase my search words. Somehow, I guess I’ve been too used to what I now think as “too generic queries” and relying on top site hits and such. I actually had to reform my keywords a number of times to get some usable results when I first started using the site, I’m getting better at it now I guess!

  12. jasray said on February 17, 2012 at 5:00 am

    Agreed; I had used DDG on Linux but wasn’t really sure what it was. Now, on Windows it’s all I use. The results include hits that are never revealed with Google, Yahoo, or Bing. And, maybe (something changed), spam level went way down. Thanks!

    1. Midnight said on February 17, 2012 at 8:26 am

      Have to admit, Martin does find some neat stuff through his travels on the ‘Net! :)

  13. SuilAmhain said on February 17, 2012 at 1:10 am

    Does this mean they are a big enough to get taken over?
    That would suck.

    1. Fadi said on February 23, 2012 at 4:04 pm

      Totally agree – I’ve never used them and I tried them yesterday and today – results were horrible and full of spam. They use the same Google algorithm that was created back in 2006 or so.

  14. Robert Palmar said on February 17, 2012 at 12:32 am

    I would not underestimate the influence of gHacks.
    Your writes-ups on DuckDuckGo, Martin, were the best
    around certainly got the attention of the tech savvy crowd.

  15. Midnight said on February 17, 2012 at 12:06 am

    I’m also using that Search engine and find it to be quite reliable.

    Great tip, Martin! Thanks!

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