DuckDuckGo: another bag of tricks to get the most out of it

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 24, 2013
Updated • Mar 7, 2019
Internet, Search

I have switched the main search engine from Google or Bing to DuckDuckGo in all of my browsers. There is not one but several reasons for that: from preferring unfiltered results over filtered ones (who really needs personalization anyway when searching?)  to better privacy and the excellent !bang feature that is so helpful in many cases.

I'm still making use of the other search engines though, I would be foolish not to, but the main search engine, the one that I try first, is DuckDuckGo.

While it returns results that I can work with most of the time, it fails at other times. Especially searches where you search for specific versions of products seems to fall in that category. I often search for things like Firefox 20 release notes and would expect the first result to point me to the release notes page on Mozilla. Often though it links to an older page and sometimes even in a different language.

Still, if I weight in everything it is the best search engine for my purpose right now, especially since I can use the !bang feature to quickly redirect the search to Google, Bing or even Ghacks (yes, the !ghacks bang redirects you right here on the first page of the search results).

  • !yopmail - if you are using the temporary email service Yopmail you can speed up things by looking up emails for any name using the search engine. Just type ghacks !yopmail to look up the email address ghacks on the email services' website.
  • !amo - search for add-ons on the Firefox Add-ons repository.
  • private ip - displays private network IP addresses directly in the results including IPv4 addresses, Carrier NAT,  test networks and private network IPv6 addresses.
  • ip - displays your current IP and location directly in the results.
  • !coral - use the Coral network to access a site, helpful if the site itself is done right now. You may get access to a cached version of the site to retrieve the data that is on it.
  • !css - look up CSS properties, redirects to the Mozilla Developer Network.
  • !cpp - look up C++ information on Use !cppr as an alternative.
  • !whois - look up the whois record of a domain.
  • !ext - retrieve information about a selected file extension.
  • !leo - look up words on the LEO dictionary website.
  • !market - searches on Android Market.
  • ! - takes you to the first result, similar to Google's I feel lucky feature.

This is just a small selection that I find useful. You can check out the - very very long - list here.

DuckDuckGo: another bag of tricks to get the most out of it
Article Name
DuckDuckGo: another bag of tricks to get the most out of it
The guide highlights several useful !bangs that DuckDuckGo Search supports to redirect searches to other search engines or services on the Internet.
Ghacks Technology News

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  1. acr said on March 24, 2013 at 6:49 am

    I’m glad you reminded me of DDG. I was using my Nexus 4 phone a little earlier today and saw something surprising to me involving Google search. I had disabled the Google Search History in my dashboard several months ago and had not thought much about it since. Actually I had even uninstalled the Chrome browser that came with my Nexus 4 as well. But earlier today I was on my desktop using the internet and did some searches using Google…no big deal as I do that all the time. Then later I went to some Google search feature on my phone and saw the actual searches I had previously performed on my desktop computer. I went to my Google dashboard and saw that search history had been re-enabled (not by me). But the backlog date corresponds with the day I purchased my Nexus 4 phone. I never enabled Google Now, or whatever it is, either. I’ve disabled my search history again. I’m not sure if that means anything to Google or not but I’ll be checking again later.

    1. tuna said on March 24, 2013 at 1:09 pm

      Back when I enjoyed gEarth I found the updaters turning themselves back on after machine restart…without running the app and after they were manually disabled(yes, plural updaters, why?). Instant Annoyance and the + operator retardation were worse , IMO, Goog’s commitment to search comes way below their commitment to selling ads and spying like a pervert in the bushes.

      Goog may indeed ‘Do No Evil’. After all, Evil is a relative term.

  2. Jeanbelga said on March 24, 2013 at 8:13 am

    I’m using searchpage for better privacy only.
    I’ll try this one. Thanks.

  3. Paul B. said on March 24, 2013 at 8:40 am

    I tried DDG for a season, but am back to google, where I get more relevant results. I found that the search bubble is not an entirely bad thing. It automatically keeps me from a lot of very irrelevant and annoyingly persistent results. Blocking those annoyances was very burdensome at DDG, so finally I went back to google.

  4. GiddyUpGo said on March 24, 2013 at 9:15 am

    I use Ixquick Search Engine. It uses Google and other search engines. Startpage which is a child of Ixquick only uses Google.
    I also use DDG sometimes.
    I never use Google.

    1. Paul B. said on March 26, 2013 at 1:48 pm

      Thanks for the StartPage reminder. I’m back there now. Seems like the power of google without the downside, and they’ve made improvements since I last was using it.

  5. Andrew said on March 24, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    I love DDG, I have been using it as my primary search engine and it’s easy to quickly search through another search engine with the simple !bang syntax. It also gives a good old feel of searching back in the late 90s.

    My only issue is being unable to set all browsers to it by default on my phone

  6. Elliot said on March 24, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    I’ve been giving Yandex a try lately and fairly pleased with it. I’ll give DDG a try now too.

  7. Ken Saunders said on March 25, 2013 at 3:28 am

    I’ll check it out again. !amo is a one good reason too.
    I used Startpage from the time that they launched it for the privacy features, but it was Google’s results that weren’t working well for me so now I use Bing.
    Ixquick used to use Bing as well as others and you could filter out the engines that you didn’t want, but I don’t see that option any longer otherwise I still might be using it.

    Despite Bing being a Microsoft entity, their privacy policy is pretty clear, straightforward, and acceptable enough for me, and the results are decent.

    I’m sure you were just listing examples, but this may be helpful.
    Just change the version number.
    Perhaps you can write a bang for it. :)

  8. Ken Saunders said on March 25, 2013 at 3:31 am
  9. GiddyUpGo said on March 26, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    I stand corrected about Izquick. After reading Ken Sunders note about Izquick not showing other search engines and finding he was correct, I changed my default search engine to DuckDuckGo.
    I modified Firefox settings under about:config to make DDG my default search engine.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 27, 2013 at 4:04 am

      Welcome to the team!

  10. Jane said on June 30, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    I’ve been invited to open Duck Duck Go inside Chrome ! Which is a Google Product” So how can I or others know I’m not Tracked as promised in The DuckDuck Go Privacy”

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