Is DuckDuckGo a VPN? [Tips to avoid Internet tracking]

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
Affiliate Disclosure
Share this article:

  • For people concerned with protecting their online privacy, their number one alternative to Google, when going online to search, is called DuckDuckGo.
  • DuckDuckGo is a privacy-focused search engine. Another tool with the same objective is a VPN, but those two are not the same thing.
  • In our DuckDuckGo section, you can check out other articles about this search engine.
  • Because you are interested in privacy and security, see our VPNs for security recommendations.
avoid internet tracking with duckduckgo and vpn

Just recently, judges in Belgium ruled that Facebook broke privacy laws by deploying cookies and social plug-ins, among other technologies to track Internet users’ activity across the web.

This was a huge blow for Facebook as it uses such personal data collected from users to sell targeted advertising. However, the social media giant couldn’t clarify clearly how user digital activity is used.

testing VPN
How we choose a VPN for you

Our team tests various VPN brands and we recommend them to our users by:

  1. Server park: over 20 000 servers around the world, high speeds and key-locations
  2. Privacy care: a lot of VPNs keep many user logs, so we scan for those that do not
  3. Fair prices: we choose the best affordable offers and always hunt for the best deals.



Disclosure: is reader supported.
Read our affiliate disclosure.

For this, Facebook faces fines of up to $124 million, with a daily fine rate if it doesn’t comply with the court’s ruling to stop tracking web browsing habits of Belgians, in addition to destroying any data they obtained illegally.

This just shows how much you continue to be tracked online, whether you want to accept it or not, and whether it’s by Facebook or even Google, or your favorite website – most, if not all, websites serve up ads tailored to your browsing behavior.

The proverbial adage that says you can run but can’t hide, may not hold water as such because on the internet, you can actually run and hide from online tracking, and here are some three quick and easy things you can do now to protect yourself.

DuckDuckGo vs VPN

5 Best VPNs we recommend

PIA VPN 79% Off
+ 2 free Months
sale-coupon Check offer!
CyberGhost VPN 83% Off (2.25$/Month)
+ 3 free Months
Check offer!
NordVPN 68% Off + 1, 12 or 24 free Months (random prize) Check offer!
SurfShark VPN 83% Off (2.21$/Month)
+ 3 free Months
Check offer!
BullGuard VPN 76% (2.83$)
on 2 Years plan
Check offer!

It might be easy to confuse them since they are both tools that protect your anonymity and privacy. However, they are not the same. DuckDuckGo is a search engine.

It’s a website that can be accessed with any device that is connected to the Internet and has a web browser. On the other hand, a VPN is used to protect your very connection to the Internet.

The device connects to a VPN server through a tunnel, and that VPN server then connects to the Internet. While connected to a VPN, you can, and should, use DuckDuckGo to perform your web searches online.

Does DuckDuckGo really not track you?

DuckDuckGo employs a set of measures in order to ensure they have the ability to monetize and maintain operations and, in the same time, to not have and store any personal data from you.

They don’t store any cookies and you can use it without them, there are no user accounts to be created and have data associated with that, and the affiliate programs they are registered in are the only ones that can be used completely anonymously.

For more details, we recommend their Privacy Policy page.

How to protect your privacy while online

1. Use Private Mode

Privacy mode or Incognito mode, as we know it, is a privacy tool found in some web browsers that disables your browsing history and the web cache, allowing you to browse without local data being stored for retrieval later.

It also disables data storage in cookies and flash cookies, but the protection is only on the local device as it is still possible to identify frequently visited sites by associating IP addresses at the web server. If you are using Chrome for example, which has an Incognito Mode, you can also install some privacy extensions.

While this may be a quick way to protect yourself, the next two are even stronger.

2. Use DuckDuckGo


This is a search engine that doesn’t track you the way Google and others do. It is built to protect you from online tracking because you deserve privacy.

Companies make money off your private information without your consent online, so you need to protect your identity and data from such. DuckDuckGo lets you take back your privacy with a simple app and browser extension to stop online tracking so you can surf and browse with peace of mind.

Search privately, without being tracked, and get privacy tips while you’re at it. This tool has set a new standard of trust online. You need not buy or install anything, your searches are protected, and search leakage is stopped so that sites you visit won’t know what you searched for, plus your IP address won’t be sent to the search engine or browser’s user agent.

It also has an encrypted version that preserves your privacy, and a password-protected cloud save setting so you can create search policies, and sync them across your devices.

Try DuckDuckGo

3. CyberGhost Free Anonymous Proxy


This tool is powered by CyberGhost VPN, and is meant for use whenever you have a privacy concern.

It provides a short and effortless way to access websites without being tracked, by typing in your preferred website and the proxy works its magic.

The free proxy is an immediate but temporary solution for easy anonymous web browsing. But if you seek 100 percent anonymity for your daily online activities, like surfing or unblocking streaming websites like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or BBC iPlayer, or torrenting privately, install CyberGhost VPN.

The proxy protects against spying by encrypting your HTTP web traffic, allows you to search the web anonymously without keeping track of your habits or preferences, and replaces your IP with an anonymous one so no one knows who you are – not even your ISP will know the sites you visit or what you look for on search engines and content you view online.

FAQ: Learn more about DuckduckGo and VPNs

  • Is DuckDuckGo considered a vpn?

DuckDuckGo is different from a VPN. It’s a search engine that protects your privacy when you are using it, without selling your data. See our top private search engines to learn more.

  • Does setup vpn work if you use duckduckgo?

You can use DuckDuckGo with any device connected to the Internet. It will work if you are connected directly, through a proxy or using a VPN, all the same.

  • Should I add DuckDuckGo to vpn?

It is quite recommended to connect to a VPN and then use DuckDuckGo to perform your searches. This improves your privacy protection even more.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in May 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in February 2018 and was revamped and updated in June 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.