DuckDuckGo Lite: efficient lightweight search

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 21, 2020
Updated • Jan 22, 2020
Internet, Search

DuckDuckGo Lite is a tiny resource-friendly search option by the search engine DuckDuckGo that is as fast as it can get.

Users of DuckDuckGo use the search engine for its stance on privacy but also functionality that it provides. The main DuckDuckGo site works well on desktop and mobile systems. The search engine's homepage and search results pages display elements besides the search field and results: there are ads, images or news may be displayed, and menus and other information may also be displayed.

The search results are not as polluted with advertisement as Google's results are and tracking is not used by DuckDuckGo when it comes to advertisement.

DuckDuckGo users who, sometimes or all the time, want a quicker way of accessing the search engine may find DuckDuckGo Lite useful for that purpose. The tiny homepage of DuckDuckGo Lite displays only a search field, and the equally tiny result pages list only the results (and a search field).

Overall size of the page is reduced significantly. The entire homepage has a size of less than 5 Kilobytes compared to the 1 Megabyte size of the original landing page. The search results page is equally tiny, it has a size of about 33 Kilobytes compared to the roughly 2 Megabytes of the original search results page.

DuckDuckGo makes less than a handful of requests when you load the homepage or search results. The original DuckDuckgo search results page makes more requests, over 50 at times).

As a comparison: the Google Search homepage has a size of about 1.9 Megabytes, result pages differ based on ads and other content but they are usually in the 2-3 Megabyte range (with content being dynamically loaded at times). Google makes way over 100 requests on its search results pages.

Closing Words

The lite version that DuckDuckGo maintains is ideal for low-resource or slow/unreliable Internet situations. Considering that you just need to transfer 10 Kilobytes and make two or three requests to display the search page and just a bit more for results, it is ultra-light and fast at the same time.

Obviously, it may also be used if resources are not an issue as results are displayed quickly and without any noise but at the expense of some of the additional functionality that DuckDuckgo provides on its main search site.

Now You: which search engine do you prefer currently and why?

DuckDuckGo Lite: efficient lightweight search
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DuckDuckGo Lite: efficient lightweight search
DuckDuckGo Lite is a tiny resource-friendly search option by the search engine DuckDuckGo that is as fast as it can get.
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  1. James said on June 14, 2021 at 2:29 am

    I get search results in DDG that change when I erase cookies.

    I find that unreassuring.

  2. phukew said on January 27, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    I like Qwant Lite better than DuckDuckGo Lite.

  3. JohnIL said on January 24, 2020 at 5:10 pm

    I try it every now and again, but I mostly find Google search better at least for what I seek out for searches. Not much on privacy concerns I almost think giving up some privacy gives you better results. I have actually used Bing much More now than I used to. DDG at least in my experience tends to give me older results mixed in with more recent more relevant results. I find myself sifting through stuff a lot more with DDG.

  4. CraigS26 said on January 23, 2020 at 12:58 pm

    Just to try …. Any idea why I get a — Connection Error — for — Quant — Add to FF from their site?
    FF 72.0.2 Enhanced Track Off = No; Gray-List in Cookie AutoDelete = No; uBO & Privacy Possum = No Flags ….
    ESET EIS and Mbam Prem Not looked at.

  5. call me ishmael said on January 23, 2020 at 12:03 am

    No search suggest drop-down list. :(

  6. Don said on January 22, 2020 at 11:05 pm

    An unfortunate issue when using the “lite” or “html” versions in Firefox is “Document Expired – This document is no longer available.” when going Back to search results after visiting one of the results.

    Does that happen in other browsers? Is there a solution?

  7. Quenllian said on January 22, 2020 at 12:13 pm

    I tried DDG, I really did; been using it for a couple of month really. Whatever I was looking for, almost always hidden in between a bunch of irrelevant nonsense, at times mobile versions and worst of all, no dating. Eventually, I began trying the same search at the big G and oh surprise, I instantly got exactly what I was looking for. I’m weak, I can’t take this anymore and I don’t care about my privacy anymore either. I gave up.

    It’s really good for pron though *thumbs up*

    1. Tom Hawack said on January 25, 2020 at 11:42 am

      @Quenllian, speaking of porn I linger to understand why the Qwant search engine I use and appreciate delivers so many porn pics when searching for images totally unrelated to porn (unless to consider that everything is “pornable” as everything would be political according to some deep thoughts, throats in this case) . There’s a time for porn (and no time at all for some of us, be they blessed) and there’s a time for all the rest, that is 99.9% of a common user’s day and nights. Qwant gets its data from Bing but I doubt searching Bing images for the same quest would deliver as many and frequent porn images. This is not good. Said.

    2. redacted said on January 23, 2020 at 9:27 pm

      Google Seach is very biased in a PC fashion. It also tends to flood query result pages with links to pages full of (often unrelated) images or links to sites.

      For fun, try “impeachment news” in the search field on and see how (un)biased the first page or ten of results are.

      Extra edification may be obtained by querying “impeachment news -youtube” or “impeachment news -image” and see if the results contain a different quantity or quality of oh-so-PC dreck.

      gHacks is one of my favorite sources of useful or at least entertaining (especially if replies matter) sources of tech news. If I had as much money as Michael Bloomberg claims to be willing to dump on the 2020 election campaign scene, or even as little(/) as President Donald Trump’s actual net worth when he took office in 2016, I quite likely would have made Martin a millionaire by now, if he is not already. :-)

  8. malika said on January 22, 2020 at 10:03 am

    thanks for sharing this site

  9. Anonymous said on January 22, 2020 at 1:37 am

    Also note wich is a slimmer version with better styling in pure HTML.

    1. Ray said on January 23, 2020 at 9:19 pm

      Cool! But no pagination like the Lite version.

    2. chesscanoe said on January 23, 2020 at 12:18 am

      Running Edge DEV Version 81.0.396.0 (Official build) dev (64-bit) and Chrome Store Extension Darek Mode under Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.18363.592], your suggested works so well!

    3. Mo said on January 22, 2020 at 2:46 pm

      That’s awesome!

  10. p4t44 said on January 21, 2020 at 11:49 pm

    This does have ads. When you go a second page the first result is sponsored. Nobody writing this thought it would be a good idea to go past page 1.

    1. ULboom said on January 22, 2020 at 11:52 pm

      No ads for me, every page has the same appearance.

      1. p4t44 said on January 23, 2020 at 3:32 am

        adblock user….

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on January 22, 2020 at 6:54 am

      You are right, it displays sponsored links on the second page. I edited the article to reflect that.

  11. alice said on January 21, 2020 at 10:09 pm

    It has been around for ages. The problem I have with the lite version, ignoring that I’m not impressed with ddg search results, is that there are no options. Just turning off javascript on startpage makes it almost as light and is my preference.

  12. Stv said on January 21, 2020 at 7:26 pm

    It should be the default over onion url for The Tor Browser.

    I could add it only via addon:

  13. Ray said on January 21, 2020 at 7:09 pm

    This is a revelation! Thanks for posting about DDG Lite. Had no idea this existed.

    I’ve always disliked the busy interface of DDG. This lite version is a breath of fresh air. Love the minimalism. Just made it one of my search engines in Firefox. Love that it supports POST form submission.

  14. clake said on January 21, 2020 at 6:28 pm

    See also:

    I sometimes use mycroftproject generated search plugins on firefox and seamonkey.

  15. Yuliya said on January 21, 2020 at 5:07 pm

    Web: Yandex/Google
    Images: Yandex

  16. John Fenderson said on January 21, 2020 at 5:04 pm

    > which search engine do you prefer currently and why?

    I currently prefer DuckDuckGo, because of the lack of tracking as well as the fact that I get generally better search results with it than with other alternatives.

    I’ll give the lite version a try the next time I have to search for something from my phone!

  17. John Fenderson said on January 21, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    > which search engine do you prefer currently and why?

    I currently prefer DuckDuckGo, because of the lack of tracking as well as the fact that I get generally better search results with it than with other alternatives.

    I’ll give the lite version a try the next time I have to search for something from my phone!

  18. ULBoom said on January 21, 2020 at 4:39 pm

    I like it! Results of a few test searches are the same as regular DDG. I’d forgotten about Lite.

    Very basic presentation, just search results on a white background, no “media rich” sluggish bloat or the disorienting load bounce with anything directly from Google. Who needs all the purty pictures anyway?

    What I like about regular DDG is how extensively it can be customized. Colors, theme, etc., but if Lite proves just as functional, maybe I’ll move to it.

    The only negative is the lack of a search category menu: web, images, news, videos big engines have although categories can easily be added to the search string.

  19. pndy said on January 21, 2020 at 3:53 pm

    There’s one main problem with DDG – all searches are going through and there’s no way to disable this “improving” anywhere in the interface. This Lite variant seems to be not monitoring searching inquiries in any way.

    1. Trey said on January 21, 2020 at 9:57 pm

      I just read up on it, and I’m not sure how it’s a threat. It’s just a|b testing on changes made to their service.

  20. Tom Hawack said on January 21, 2020 at 3:40 pm

    Whatever DuckDuckGo instance i open I always get at least one item block by ‘uBlock Origin’ (given my filters of course, no idea about uBO default filters).

    With DuckDuckGo Lite, uBO reports :

    Filter: ||
    Filter list: Fanboy+Easylist-Merged Ultimate List
    Partyness: (1) ⇒
    Type: image

    So, this is blocked by ‘Fanboy+Easylist-Merged Ultimate List’, question is to know if that list is or is not overzealous. I have nothing against DDG, I’m just noticing.

    Search engines I’ve added to Firefox’s :

    Startpage at “” | Google’s results
    Mojeek at “” | it’s own webcrawler
    Private at “” | it’s own Web crawler
    Qwant at “” | Bing results

    Alternative Search engines (access via their homepage only, mainly by curiosity) :

    Swisscows : “” | Bing results
    Yippy at “” | outsider, never knew if it crawls by itself or not

    All this is dynamic, nothing worse IMO to have static views, about life as about the Web, not to mention that of course I may make wrong choices. No demagogy, no bashing, no hatred. Maybe not “Peace ‘n’ Love” cause it ain’t really my style :=)

    1. ddk said on January 21, 2020 at 11:47 pm

      I just found this one.

      It was on the r/piracy group in Reddit, might be recommended for torrents.

      1. Tom Hawack said on January 23, 2020 at 1:10 pm

        I just found out that is the one of the very few if not the only searX instance which does not include Google by default in its search sources. I had a look at several other searX instances (Public Searx instances at “”) and those I checked all include Google source by default).

        Of course one can always set searX’s instance options but I appreciate a search engine running flawlessly with default options. seems to set itself apart, good. Bookmarked, I’ll keep an eye on it and maybe even include it in my Firefox search engines.

      2. Tom Hawack said on January 22, 2020 at 9:33 am

        @ddk, is another searX instance among many. I used searX at one time, had tried several instances, but if you don’t unselect Google among the available search sources you encounter an issue. Too problematic for me.

      3. ULBoom said on January 22, 2020 at 11:56 pm

        I’ve never been able to get any SearX instance to work consistently or well. The myraid customization buttons sometimes work, sometimes cripple SearX.

  21. Ryan F said on January 21, 2020 at 3:15 pm

    I love that you’ve written an article on this. I found DuckDuckGo Lite years ago when messing around with the text-based web browser Lynx. I discovered that visiting DuckDuckGo with this browser automatically redirected me to the Lite version of the site, and honestly it was so perfectly nice and clean in Lynx that I wonder if they designed it specifically for text browsers.

    Also the “Search” button on DuckDuckGo Lite used to be the “Quack” button. I’m not sure why they changed it. I thought it was cute.

  22. Klaas Vaak said on January 21, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    DDG, though respecting privacy, still presents biased political search results. I prefer Qwant: privacy and non-bias.

    1. Emil said on January 22, 2020 at 12:20 pm

      Filtering out nazi, anglo-fascist and islamist sites is certainly useful, thank you for the recommendation!

    2. notanon said on January 21, 2020 at 10:35 pm

      @Klaas Vaak, thanks for the information about DuckDuckGo, I didn’t know they supported left-wing groups & served politically biased search results. I will avoid using DuckDuckGo in the future (IOWs, FOREVER).

      I tried DuckDuckGo once, but the search results were fewer & worse than Google search. So it was a hard pass afterward, despite the privacy benefit.

      Google search ‘s results lean HARD to the left. Tulsi Gabbard is suing Google for suppressing her on search results in the crucial hours after the Democratic Debate, when she could have really jumped in polls & fundraised alot of money. Gabbard was trending EVERYWHERE on social media, but Google pretended she didn’t exist for a couple of hours, IIRC.

      Google is really FAR LEFT, because Tulsi Gabbard is a Democrat who believes in Universal Basic Income (UBI), which is basically giving everyone free money, every month, forever. But that’s not far left enough for Google, SMH.

      Needless to say, I don’t use Google unless I need their “verbatim” function, that really helps sometimes when you can’t get a decent search result. Otherwise, I avoid it like the plague.

      1. Klaas Vaak said on January 24, 2020 at 5:51 pm

        @notanon: I did not say DDG supports left-wing groups – please do not put words in my mouth.

    3. Check Marvin said on January 21, 2020 at 8:54 pm

      I don’t know how biased DDG is in its search results, I think anyone and anything has to have a bias about everything, it’s a lie you can be 100% neutral. But the reason I stopped using it was because of DDG company openly telling me that they are donating to many organizations I don’t agree with, especially the ones that are seen as “far left”.

      I can’t stop them from doing and donating to whatever they want, but I can stop using the service since my searches eventually would benefit one way or the other to those organizations. They could have chosen better organizations to donate to, or maybe get rid of the donations page so I wouldn’t have known about that thanks to their ‘transparency’. But being like a small search engine company only and then they manage to already donate to far left organizations it’s a no no for me, that really shows what they believe and support. So it is a no for me.

      But when I used DDG the results were decent enough not the best but it worked most of the time, at least they didn’t censure “illegal” or “controversial” stuff like google does (I never really use google much but when I do, I get amazed how much I don’t find on it). So after trying DDG and seeing their support, I switched back to Bing because results are fine and they don’t seem to censure stuff either and I have been using it for so many years, but I might try Qwant now that it seems to work for me. It used to complain about something and don’t let me search but now it works, it uses Bing so it shouldn’t be too different from what I am used to.

      1. Panama Patrick said on January 23, 2020 at 11:33 pm

        I agree with you completely. I will try QWANT or OPENWORLD. I will not support any company that donates to the ACLU, that group is not only far-far-left but on the edge of extremists. They do not protect anybody’s Civil Liberties in fact they are Fascists Thank you for bringing this to my attention..

      2. phrakew said on February 2, 2020 at 6:52 am

        @Panama Patrick

        Well, Trump’s right-wing lawyer Jay Sekulow has supported the ACLU.

        But I take it you still think they are all Fascists.


      3. phukew said on January 27, 2020 at 4:44 pm

        “They do not protect anybody’s Civil Liberties in fact they are Fascists.”

        That is an extreme claim.

        Did you use proper quantitative research to come to that conclusion or are you yet another crazy troll spreading lies?

        I suspect it’s the latter reason.

      4. Tom Hawack said on January 27, 2020 at 9:52 pm

        @phukew, a lot of kids nowadays play with the words “fascism”, fascist” when they don’t even know what the words mean, what they’ve meant in a dramatic era and what they still mean among those striving for a resurrection of horror. In their oyster IQ it means something bad, at least, which is less problematic than if it was a compliment :=)

      5. phukew said on February 2, 2020 at 8:02 am

        @Tom Hawack

        Well, for the most part, these extremists as Panama Patrick are not “kids”, and I think we can agree that being called a fascist is a bad thing, regardless to the wide definition of “fascism” by political scholars.., thus your silly comment is rather moot and not funny IMO.

        What’s problematic are lies from extremists (be it left or right), such as what Panama Patrick clearly demonstrated by hypocritically being guilty of what was actually claimed.

        Yet I take it you prefer to act ignorant, again :=)

      6. thebrowser said on January 24, 2020 at 2:23 pm

        They donated $5000 to the ACLU. However ther are other contributions:

        $200,000 to the Free Press Foundation
        $75,000 World Privacy Forum
        $29,000 Open Whisper Systems
        $25,000 Privacy Right Clearinghouse
        $25,000 Tor Project
        $25,000 EFF

        As well as other smaller donations to other groups. Read your comment outloud and ask yourself who exactly is being an extremist here.

      7. Mele said on January 23, 2020 at 12:26 am

        ” I switched back to Bing because results are fine”

        Guess the news that Microsoft is forcing Bing as default on CHROME users who have Office 365 Pro Plus is good for you. Microsoft is taking aim at Fx next.

        DDG is my default search engine on my default browser. I think Microsoft will leave my choice alone since I use a “niche” browser.

      8. anon said on January 22, 2020 at 3:30 pm

        Which far-left organisations did they donate to?

      9. thebrowser said on January 22, 2020 at 6:49 am

        Hi Check Marvin, where did find out about this? Could please share a link to that?

        A quick search didn’t point me to any transparency report, but I did find this where they donate to quite a few organizations:

      10. DrKnow said on January 22, 2020 at 1:33 am

        Care to name the ‘Far Left’ organisations you think they donate to? And the ones you don’t agree with?

        Most seem pretty clear on supporting Internet / Human rights and freedom rather than being simply Left Leaning.

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