DuckDuckGo Search Engine's rise continues as it hits 100 million search queries for the first time

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 18, 2021
Updated • Jan 19, 2021
Internet, Search

Privacy-first search engine DuckDuckGo's year was productive in 2020. The search engine managed to increase daily search queries significantly in 2020 and 2021 is already looking to become another record year as the search engine broke the 100 million search queries mark on a single day for the first time on January 11, 2021.

Looking back at 2019, the search engine recorded over 15 billion search queries in that year. In 2020, the number of queries rose to more than 23 billion search queries. These two years alone make up the queries for more than one third of the company's entire existence, and the company was founded in 2008. In 2015 for example, DuckDuckGo managed to cross the 12 million queries per day mark for the first time.

In 2020, DuckDuckGo's daily average searches increased by 62%.

DuckDuckGo received more than 100 million search queries in January 2021 for the first time. The first week of the year saw growth from less than 80 million queries to stable mid-80 million queries, and the past week saw that number jump to a mid-90 million queries, with the record breaking day on Monday last week.

Queries have gone down under 100 million again in the past days -- DuckDuckGo does not display data for the past couple of days -- and it is possible that numbers will remain under 100 million for a time.

One of the search engine's main focuses is privacy. It promises that searches are anonymous and that no records of user activity are kept; major search engines like Google track users to increase money from advertising.

DuckDuckGo does benefit whenever privacy is discussed in the news, and it is quite possible that the Facebook-WhatsApp data sharing change was a main driver for the rise in the search engine's number of queries.

DuckDuckGo's search market share has risen to 1.94% in the United States according to Statcounter. Google is still leading with 89.19% of all searches, followed by Bing and Yahoo following respectively with 5.86% and 2.64% of all searches.

Statcounter data is not 100% accurate as it is based on tracking code that is installed on over 2 million sites globally.

Closing Words

DuckDuckGo's traffic is rising year over year, and there does not seem to be an end in sight. If the trend continues, it could eventually surpass Yahoo and then Bing in the United States to become the second most used search engine in the country.

Privacy concerns and scandals will happen in 2021 -- they have happened in every year -- and each will contribute its share to the continued rise of DuckDuckGo's market share.

Now You: do you use DuckDuckGo? What is your take on this development? (via Bleeping Computer)

DuckDuckGo Search Engine's rise continues as it hits 100 million search queries for the first time
Article Name
DuckDuckGo Search Engine's rise continues as it hits 100 million search queries for the first time
Privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo saw a rise by 62% in 2020 compared to 2019, and managed to hit the 100 million search queries per day mark for the first time in 2021.
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  1. H said on February 15, 2021 at 11:19 pm

    To improve privacy while using DDG search engine, as suggested by ‘DuckDuckGo Help Pages’, implement the following:

    “To avoid cookies altogether, you could use our URL parameters. To make the use of the parameters easier on the settings page [] there is a link entitled, Bookmarklets and settings data.”

  2. Anonymous said on January 23, 2021 at 10:48 pm

    It doesnt matter if the search engine doesnt “track” you, the search RESULT does.
    Do a search on DDG, then copy the link of any result on the first page and enter it on

    You will see almost every tracking service possible on it..

    So, private search is really a misnomer unless you are using a virtual private BROWSER.
    Using a vpB means DDG and the search results are tracking a server and not your computer..hence every search is private.

  3. RobG said on January 21, 2021 at 4:28 pm

    One very positive thing I’ve noticed while using DDG as opposed to Google, is that when searching for information on say medical or scientific topics..such as issues around corona virus for example, DDG tends to produce more varied and independent search results compared to Google’s (which mostly seem be be heavily influenced by big business message promotion).

    …In other words: I suspect big companies and organisations are paying Google for the privilege of having their articles and views show up in the first page or two of search results, thus crowding out less mainstream views from independent scientists and organisations, etc.

    Bottom line: DDG/Bing seems to provide a broader range of hits from more independent sources.

    More mundane examples of DDG vs Google >>

    From Wired magazine

    “I ditched Google for DuckDuckGo. Here’s why you should too” …

    “…Search for, say, ‘Iron Man 2’ and Google will first tell you it can be purchased from Google Play or YouTube from £9.99. It will then suggest you play a trailer for the film on, where else, YouTube. The film is also “liked” by 92 per cent of Google users and people searching for this also search for, you guessed it, Iron Man and Iron Man 3. The same search on DuckDuckGo pulls in a snippet from Wikipedia and quick links to find out more on IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon or iTunes. For the most part, the top of Google’s page of results directs you towards more Google products and services.

    Go further still and search for ‘Iron Man 2 cast’ and Google displays a carousel of names and pictures right at the top of the page. As a result, 50 per cent of all Google searches now end without a click. Great for Google, bad for the list of websites below that also contain this information and that you will never visit. Do the same search on DuckDuckGo and the top result is IMDb. It might sound small but issues like this are fundamental to how the internet works – and who makes the most money from it. Google’s prioritisation of its results, and a perceived bias towards its own products and services, has landed the company in hot water with the European Commission slapping it with multi-billion pound fines and launching investigation after investigation into alleged anti-competitive behaviour. What’s good for Google, the commission argues, isn’t necessarily good for consumers or competitors….”

  4. liz said on January 20, 2021 at 8:33 pm

    It’s probably wise to be skeptical of DuckDuckGo (DDG) as your daily driver given the questionable antecedents of the founder that other posters have mentioned.

    (a) One daily driver option is MetaGer (Germany).

    (b) A decent secondary driver is SwissCows (Switzerland).

    (c) SearX (opensource GNU GPL) is good provided one develops a private instance.

    (d) DDG or even Google, itself, is fine for *occasional* one-off searches.

    Using a proxy or VPN should be used with all searches — along with MAC modifications.

    1. ShintoPlasm said on January 21, 2021 at 8:59 am

      All of the engines you listed (privacy tweaks aside) leverage Bing. It is ultimately down to Bing vs Google, and for my purposes I feel that Bing is sorely lacking.

  5. Jim Vanderbilt said on January 20, 2021 at 5:41 pm

    I only use Google, many times per day. For my needs nothing else does even come close.
    Instead of “paying” with my data I’d be willing to pay quite a lot if need be.

  6. Sebas said on January 20, 2021 at 10:31 am

    MetaGer is a German meta search engine. Germany, for the moment, has though privacy laws. Ublock origin nor Braves adblocker blocks anything for MetaGer. Results are not too bad but worse as Google though.

    I tend to trust European search engines more as American ones. Don’t know if that is true, but that’s how I see it.

  7. Anonymous said on January 19, 2021 at 1:38 pm

    I’ve trying to find a new default search engine ever since Disconnect dropped support for Google. Some are better than others, but unfortunately nothing compares to Google in terms of the quality of the search results and I find myself going back there when I have a more specific search.

    Anyone have any thoughts on Swisscows?

    1. ShintoPlasm said on January 19, 2021 at 2:39 pm

      Swisscows, like DDG/Qwant and others, is using Bing for its results. If you aren’t happy with DDG’s results, Swisscows won’t be an improvement.

  8. TraceFree said on January 19, 2021 at 1:12 pm

    DDG or any “private” search engine don’t keep you is proof.
    1 Go to DDG and type in a search
    2. Copy the link of the top result and post it in pagexray.fouanalytics dot com
    3. Look at “tracking requests”
    4. Note the # of Google scripts on that site.

    Just because you searched with a private search engine, doesnt mean Google doesnt identify on the result AND know what you searched for on DDG.

    1. Targis Underhill said on January 19, 2021 at 5:48 pm

      TraceFree, I feel that is misleading.

      I don’t see any of that on my machine.

      You know, you can also search using a non-JavaScript page:

      If you have access to Tor https// like using their Tor Browser, you can get even more private and use DDG non-JavaScript .onion site: https://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion/html/

      1. TraceFree said on January 20, 2021 at 9:31 am

        The average person simply goes to the DDG site and does a search.

        The facts are all there…just because a SE doesnt share or track your queries, doesnt mean the site/result you visit doesnt.

        Google is on 90% of all web sites in some way. They can tell that you came from DDG and what you searched for…Google tracks you by your device.

        As far as Tor…brutal. Slow and a lot of times sites just do not work. Extremely dangerous too.

        Use a virtual private BROWSER is you want to use any search engine without being identified. The SE identifies the browser on a server and not your device.

  9. Anonymous said on January 19, 2021 at 11:10 am

    “Privacy concerns and scandals will happen in 2020”

    Martin you might have meant 2021.

  10. Anonymous said on January 19, 2021 at 2:14 am

    I think it’s because of the android browser. It’s fast, auto clearing data after closed.
    Unlike the other animal browser which says privacy but does not auto clear data but auto clearing the tabs I still want to read instead.

  11. Ron said on January 18, 2021 at 11:54 pm

    This is good news, as that means less people using the monstrosity that is Gooble.

  12. Anonymous said on January 18, 2021 at 11:19 pm

    Does DDG’s rise in popularity make it a target to be bought out by Google or Bing???

    1. TraceFree said on January 19, 2021 at 1:15 pm

      Not a chance.
      It looks good that Google has a “competitor”.
      G can see your searches using DDG because when you click on a result using DDG, the result has Google Analytics on it.
      Their AI can figure out pretty quickly what you searched for.
      Not really that private now is it?

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on January 19, 2021 at 7:00 am

      I doubt that. First, it is good for Google if there are other search engines, and second, it would torpedo DuckDuckGo’s mission of running a search engine, earning money, and keeping user privacy at the core of the system as well.

  13. Anonymous said on January 18, 2021 at 9:50 pm

    It still can’t find anything I’m looking for. How image search for adult content now?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 19, 2021 at 6:58 am

      Try changing Safe Search at the top of the search results to “Off”.

  14. ULBoom said on January 18, 2021 at 8:43 pm

    At this rate they’ll knock out google in less than two years. That won’t happen, google will flatten them way before that. Curious where DDG does end up, some of the other more private search engines aren’t so great these days.

    Qwant can’t be customized much these days and Startpage lost my trust when an analytics company became their main investor. I tried Searx, what a mess!

    Seems maybe DDG’s results aren’t as good as they used to be. Supposedly they use bing results; supposedly they used to use google et. al. results but I’ve never been clear on that. DDG Lite seems to give better results for some reason.

    Google search is essentially unusable without an ad blocker. Results pages are like chrome’s seizure bar; distracting flashing content, ransom note font design and so many f’n ads.

    As of now DDG remains our default searcher.

  15. Klaas Vaak said on January 18, 2021 at 7:49 pm

    StartPage is Google used anonymously. But anything politically oriented is skewed by Google, which is what bothers me most. I used Qwant, but that’s Bing used anonymously. I use DDG now, but am not content, I read it also skews politically oriented queries.

    I had not heard about Runnaroo – will give it a try, Tom Hawack’s description sounds interesting.

  16. Cor Invictus said on January 18, 2021 at 6:49 pm

    “The founder of DDG, Gabriel Weinberg, was also behind a social network called Names Database, which collected the real names and addresses of its users. He then sold Names Database (and all the user data) to for “approximately $10 million in cash” in March 2006.”

    I think I’ll pass.

    1. ULBoom said on January 20, 2021 at 8:26 pm

      @Klaas V., Tom H.

      Haven’t had much luck with Mojeek, maybe it’s better now, been a while. I’ll give it a try.

      Runaroo’s working well. It’s very, very basic but gives good results if you don’t mind entering clear criteria. The search suggestions are almost pointless given Runaroo’s simplicity. Their site doesn’t even explain what the switches do. Seems very new; a work in progress. I bookmarked it.

    2. Klaas Vaak said on January 19, 2021 at 7:14 am

      @Cor Invictus: many thanks for that bit of info, very useful to keep in the back of one’s mind.

      They way Weinberg used Names Database does not necessarily mean he does the same with DDG. OTOH, DDG saves all search queries: “We use aggregate, non-personal search data to improve things like misspellings.” Really? Only for that.

      Weinberg could be an opportunist who smelled a niche market (nothing wrong with that), but who knows what he will eventually do with that search query data, if offered enough money? Google, Apple M$ have deep pockets.

    3. ULBoom said on January 18, 2021 at 9:09 pm

      Pass to where, though?

      You gotta start some place, “Sven” still recommends it. “Sven” isn’t too nice to products or services that claim privacy but can be shown to not deliver. A lot of good info in Restore Privacy.

      Privacy’s getting harder and harder to find, this site was much bigger a few years ago, still useful:

      1. Klaas Vaak said on January 19, 2021 at 11:40 am

        @ULBoom: on the page Cor Invictus linked to there is an interesting alternative: Mojeek.

        “Unlike some of the other private (meta)search engines on this page, Mojeek is true search engine with its own crawler. In terms of privacy, Mojeek does pretty well. It claims to be the “first ever no tracking/privacy orientated search engine” from when it first started.”

        When you do a search it list results from other sites than the usual MSM ones.
        I am giving it a try for a while.

      2. Reggie said on January 21, 2021 at 12:58 am

        @Klaas: I can’t seem to find a date range search option on Mojeek. Is there not one? If so, it’s not a goer for me, unfortunately.

  17. VioletMoon said on January 18, 2021 at 6:41 pm

    Not sure why I continue using DDG; recently, I made a search for an OTC drug. The results were typical DDG results. I took out my phone, which uses Google, and within seconds, I had a number of results from other online stores [other than Walmart, Rite Aide, Amazon, etc.] with the same product, from the USA, PayPal feature, etc. Why DDG wouldn’t pick up such an easy address baffles me.

    Searches, however, I am learning are highly variable depending on the IP address in use, so I’m not so sure changing the “engine” will result in desired findings.

    Save some trees and use Ecosia. Or Runnaroo? Didn’t work for me.

  18. DuMuT6p said on January 18, 2021 at 6:20 pm

    It may be me, but I think DDG have become worse since a month or so. It displays no result for searches that Startpage shows hundreds and imo are not that uncommon. Something may be happening behind the scenes.

  19. kalmly said on January 18, 2021 at 5:00 pm

    I am less than pleased with DDG’s search results of late. I’m sure I am partly to blame and need to improve my search skills, but I have better luck with StartPage and would love to find something as useful as Google was back in the olden and golden days of the internet.

  20. Anonymous said on January 18, 2021 at 1:35 pm

    Duckduckgo is a decent privacy search engine, but, despite its controversy over the last year with the investment from System1, I still prefer as a search engine. Better search results and still private, although the “Anoymous View” feature has not worked properly in a while.

    1. ULBoom said on January 20, 2021 at 8:55 pm

      Definitely have those reversed, Startpage and Waterfox have System 1 as their major investor.

      1. Anonymous said on January 21, 2021 at 11:50 am

        @ULBoom – what do you mean by “Definitely have those reversed…”? Do you mean for to stop recommending, even with a warning, as a possible private search engine?

        Even though System1 have become the majority investor in, through their subsidiary, it’s still one of the best private search engines available. Their privacy policy is sound and you can still search through their EU servers only, which makes things slightly more private, being under EU regulations.

        A lot of other search engines have terrible privacy policies, when you go into them.

    2. Peterc said on January 19, 2021 at 6:30 pm

      @Anonymous: Are you sure that System1 invested in DuckDuckGo? I remember that marketing/advertising company System1 bought out StartPage (and Waterfox), but I don’t recall seeing any mention of DuckDuckGo.

      1. Kwasiarz said on January 19, 2021 at 8:34 pm

        Anon meant investment in StartPage, not DDG.

  21. JuhaT said on January 18, 2021 at 12:53 pm

    I have been using Duckduck for 4 years now. I guess that says what I think of it.

  22. Tom Hawack said on January 18, 2021 at 10:20 am

    DuckDuckGo (‘DDG’) is one of the six search engines I use, though not the one by default.

    uBlockOrigin (‘uBO’) blocks access to [] and, frankly, free of cynicism and paranoia, I don’t trust DDG blindly. I dislike moreover the fact it imitates Google Web search by adding in its Web search results lines for images, videos, news… if I want either of them I click on the dedicated search type, having them parasite my Web search is irritating and consequently I hide these lines with a css.

    My default search engine at this time is Runarroo [] described as :

    “Deep Searching: the inclusion of relevant results from other targeted search engines to deliver better results quicker.
    Runnaroo integrates dozens of Deep Search sources to provide more relevant search results.”

    No cookies, nothing blocked by uBO, clean, efficient.

    Google Search never used. Banned.

    1. TelV said on January 23, 2021 at 12:17 pm

      Actually, results are drawn from Google among others according to the Runnaroo About page:

      That said I’ve been using it myself for a couple of months now and it does seem to provide better results than DDG. I also like the links to other search engines which they place at the foot of the each page which can save a bit of time in some cases.

    2. owl said on January 22, 2021 at 3:11 pm

      I found out about “Runarroo” in a comment by Tom Hawack.
      I’ll give it a try.

    3. Anonymous said on January 18, 2021 at 11:24 pm

      Runnaroo seems to bring up commercial results first. However, uMatrix was happy there are no external links to block.

    4. ULBoom said on January 18, 2021 at 8:53 pm

      Never heard of Runaroo, I’ll give it a try.

      I thought uBlock O had element blockers; that’s what I do with AdGuard for some of the DDG annoying features, although I don’t totally block their ads.

      Doing the same on google’s results page gives an almost totally white page; such junk.

    5. ShintoPlasm said on January 18, 2021 at 12:24 pm


      Do you get decent results for your geographic location in Runnaroo? I’m having some difficulty getting accurate results for the UK; it seems very US-focused at the moment.

      1. Tom Hawack said on January 18, 2021 at 1:29 pm

        @ShintoPlasm, blame it on the pertinence or not of my Web search approach, but I never search with a geographic location in mind; when I used Google Search for instance I even applied then a script which would redirect “Google from local TLD to “.com” top level domain (ncr, no country redirect, gws_rd)” : ‘Google always in com’ at []

        I must say that I connect only from a PC desktop : should I move around as i used to but don’t anymore and rely on a smartphone to search for local addresses that my approach would likely be different. Even if I may have an outdated state of mind when I consider Search engines for finding sites and yellow pages for narrowing my quest to my geographical location. All this participates as well to the fact that I’m not fond of sharing my position on Earth (Geo location is disabled on Firefox even if my IP, unless VPN, remains a good hint for my approximate location. Looks like i’m obsessed by personal stuff such as physical address, name, phone number, email: I wasn’t when I started connecting back in year 2000 but twenty years made me become maybe excessively aware of inquisition, tracking.

        From there on I can’t answer to your question :=)

  23. JV said on January 18, 2021 at 10:01 am

    I do use DuckDuckGo as my main search engine, however, i can’t count the times where i need to switch to Google to get spot on relevant info. They still have a long road ahead of them before they reach Google’s level.

    1. Reggie said on January 21, 2021 at 1:02 am

      @JV: DDG is my default search engine, and has been for a couple of years now. However, when I need to do daily news searches as part of my work, I use Google as unfortunately DDG just doesn’t cut it when I need comprehensive results.

    2. matrak said on January 19, 2021 at 2:50 pm


    3. Alex said on January 18, 2021 at 3:09 pm


  24. ShintoPlasm said on January 18, 2021 at 9:32 am

    Still sucks when you need really accurate results. Whatever its privacy pedigree, DDG’s results are Bing-based and therefore just as bad.

    1. Karol said on January 18, 2021 at 9:06 pm

      Google vs DuckDuckGo – earch engine manipulation, censorship and why you should switch

      I rather click few more results till I find what I am looking for, than to never find what I am looking for as it has been censored by soviet goolag… duckduckgo been my default search engine for last 2 years

      1. ShintoPlasm said on January 19, 2021 at 10:02 am

        There have been countless search queries where DDG doesn’t give me *any* relevant results, no matter how many pages down. Whatever you think of Google/Alphabet the company, their search engine is amazing.

        And FFS could people please stop this ridiculous ‘goolag’ business? So childish.

      2. Anonymous said on January 19, 2021 at 5:35 pm

        Say your interested in finding “election fraud evidence” from the 2020 election. Enter that in DDG and you get tons of hits to actual evidence (which go to videos, statistical analysis, the 3 Peter Navarro reports with all their footnotes to the evidence, etc). Put that into Google and the first post is “No Proof of election Fraud”….Umm I was looking for the evidence and facts, not an opinion. There are tons of these differences. Google edits the results, DDG just gives you the search.

      3. Jim Vanderbilt said on January 20, 2021 at 8:49 am

        @ Anonymous

        “election fraud evidence” / “tons of hits to actual evidence”

        There was no election fraud.
        There is no evidence for election fraud whatsoever.

      4. M. Paquet said on January 25, 2021 at 7:26 am

        Wholeheartedlty seconded.

      5. mk7z said on January 23, 2021 at 7:00 am

        @Jim Vanderbilt

        What he actually wrote was “Say your [sic] interested in finding “election fraud evidence”” — i.e., results of a search string. You want him canceled for daring to search for that?

        You also cited no evidence (let alone proof) that there’s no evidence of election fraud — e.g., you did not refute Peter Navarro’s evidence. So maybe stick to the article’s subject matter. Probably better for your blood pressure, especially given the ALL CAPS finale to your post.

      6. Jim Vanderbilt said on January 24, 2021 at 8:18 pm


        What he actually wrote was “hits to ACTUAL evidence” with proven falsehoods in parenthesis.

        I never cite evidence (let alone proof) that some conspiracy crap does not exist.
        But, regarding the not existing election fraud: Courts do.
        Courts notabene with Trump appointed judges.

        Thanks to your medical advice you miss the ALL CAPS finish you deserve.

      7. Tom Hawack said on January 20, 2021 at 11:29 am

        Reading ‘Mein Kampf’ doesn’t make you a nazi, searching for ‘election fraud evidence’ doesn’t make you a conspiracy theorist, watching Fox news doesn’t make you a conservative… and so on. Otherwise historians as well as any of us interested in knowing what’s on the other side of the wall would be or be accused of being what he/she is investigating. Propaganda is one thing, it is explicit when quest of information may be another. I don’t wish to fall into the ‘Facebook syndrome’ which considers a nude breast as porn when it is only an artist’s expression. Who’s not interested in knowing what conspiracy theorists rely on? I am, doesn’t make me a fool but on the opposite allows me, should i debate with one, to know his arguments to better counter them.

      8. Jim Vanderbilt said on January 20, 2021 at 2:58 pm

        @Tom Hawack

        Your bubbling about Nazis and breasts on facebook is all about “searching for ‘election fraud evidence’”. Which nobody questioned.

        Writing “hits to ACTUAL evidence” and listing proven falsehoods in parenthesis makes him a conspiracy theorist.

        Anonymous was not searching for anything but came here to spread lies and misinformation. Read Mein Kampf and watch Fox News as long as you like, but don’t defend morons loading crap on Ghacks.

      9. ShintoPlasm said on January 19, 2021 at 7:11 pm

        1. Not everyone here is American, and our interest in American politics is limited. When I say DDG doesn’t give me decent results, it’s when I search for all manner of things.

        2. I searched for ‘election fraud evidence’ in Google, Bing, DDG, Qwant and Startpage. The Google-based ones (Google, SP) give me top results from and APNews to explain the election fraud claims. All Bing-based search engines gave me the same results from what appear to be conspiracy websites. So I agree that Google-based results look skewed against what you expect to see (based on your political leanings), but that DDG is no better than Bing.

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