DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro Review 2024: A Promising Security Suite With A Couple Cons

DuckDuckGo built its reputation on privacy and has expanded to include a VPN and personal data protection features. We think you’ll love it if you’re okay with a few small cons.
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4.0
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro's website

All-In-One
DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro
  • Seamlessly combines the power of a privacy browser with VPN, data removal, and identity theft restoration services
  • Can unblock geo-restricted Netflix content
  • Easy-to-use service with a user-friendly dashboard

DuckDuckGo started as a service to help users avoid the trackers that follow you around the internet. It has now expanded to a new security product called Privacy Pro. The new DuckDuckGo privacy bundle combines its privacy browser integration with a virtual private network (VPN), data broker removal service, and identity theft restoration for a monthly subscription fee.

We tested it to see if it holds up to top competitors, offers what you need, and is worth your time and investment. Surprisingly, we found a lot that we loved about DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro, but it has just a few things we think could use improvement.

Pros
  • Integrated easily into the browser
  • Easy-to-use controls
  • Unblocks Netflix
Cons
  • Can only be used with the DuckDuckGo browser
  • Limited server options
In this article
DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro overview
Our experience
Who is DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro best for?
Prices and subscriptions
DuckDuckGo VPN features
VPN test results
DuckDuckGo data removal features
DuckDuckGo identity theft restoration features
Does DuckDuckGo keep your data safe?
Compatibility
Customer support
Top alternatives
FAQs
Bottom line: Is DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro good?

DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro overview

Price $9.99/mo or $99.99/yr
Free version Yes (privacy browser only)
Max # of connected devices 5
# of servers 13
VPN protocol WireGuard
Encryption Smarter Encryption
No-logs policy No logs
Headquarters Pennsylvania, United States
Netflix access Yes
Data broker opt-out Yes
Data broker websites scanned 53
Privacy reports No
Real-time alerts No
Learn more Get DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro

How we test and rate VPNs

We complete standardized hands-on tests for each VPN we review so we can put their claims to the test. This includes vigorous third-party testing by comparing our internet speed while connected to different servers, checking for DNS leaks, making sure the kill switch actually works, and more. We also make sure we can comfortably access popular streaming sites, like Netflix, and still do our day-to-day work without interruption.

Once we’ve completed the testing, our editorial rating is calculated by taking into account key features you’d expect from a good product. We score each VPN in the following categories and use a weighted average to calculate the final rating out of 5 stars: price, server count, speed, security, and features.

Our experience

We had a great experience with DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro. It was easy to download the DuckDuckGo privacy browser and sign up for the service. After about 30 seconds we were completely set up, including having allowed the VPN configuration on our Mac, and were browsing the internet.

DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro prioritizes privacy and security

As we played with the VPN, we tried to get it to glitch or buffer or do something, but it just ran smoothly. It was definitely a refreshing experience. When we tested speeds, we found that the UK server had the longest lag time when connecting, but we were still able to stream with no issues.

DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro with VPN bundle

We decided to test out the data removal service and were happy to find it didn’t require too much invasive information. It asked for our full name and the cities where we’d lived. It was nice not having to enter our social security number, which is the case with some competitors. As of the writing of this piece, we’ve had the DuckDuckGo VPN running for 33 ½ hours continuously and have noticed zero issues with our device, browser, or connection. We’re impressed.

Who is DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro best for?

  • Recommended for privacy-focused users.

DuckDuckGo has a great reputation for being a secure way to browse the internet. With the expansion to Privacy Pro, you have access to even more security features like a VPN and data broker removal. Anyone who is interested in reducing their online footprint should seriously consider DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro.

Prices and subscriptions

DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro offers the option for a monthly or yearly subscription at $9.99/mo or $99.99/yr. We aren’t sure if the service plans to open up any other models, but currently, you receive all of the Privacy Pro features with your subscription.

Once you download the free private browser, you have the option to sign up. All of your tools come integrated into the browser, and once you install and allow the VPN agent, you’ll have nothing else to set up or configure.

Plan 1-month cost 1-year cost
DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro $9.99/mo $99.99/yr

The DuckDuckGo privacy browser is free to use with or without a Privacy Pro subscription.

Plan comparison

Features DuckDuckGo
Free Browser
DuckDuckGo
Privacy Pro
Private browsing
Private search
Email protection
App tracking protection (Android)
VPN
Personal information removal
Identity theft restoration

DuckDuckGo VPN features

This isn’t the most robust VPN in terms of features, but it does offer solid protection and even unblocks streaming. Privacy-focused people will appreciate the security, but anyone hoping for a VPN for specific tasks like torrenting or unblocking specific geo-restricted content may find its offerings lacking.

DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro VPN features

Server count and countries

  • 13 servers in 7 countries

DuckDuckGo is only available to US citizens, but they are free to use the VPN service anywhere in the world. That may be why the server count is currently so low. The server options list seven countries and several US cities. Users don’t currently have the option to choose various foreign cities, but if you need to unblock US-based geo-restricted content, you may find luck.

It is mentioned on the product pages that European and North American servers are currently being prioritized, but there are plans to expand. Since the service only uses dedicated VPN servers, you can be sure that your connection will be private. DuckDuckGo ensures that servers are located in a different physical location than the other servers it uses for its other services. All this means you’re getting a truly anonymous connection.

No-logs policy and headquarters

  • DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro logs policy: No logs
  • DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro headquarters: Pennsylvania, United States

DuckDuckGo’s entire platform is based on anonymity online, so it makes sense that the Privacy Pro feature would include a no-logs policy. It’s simply written without any confusing language. Our only real caveat is that DuckDuckGo is headquartered in the United States, which is a 5 Eyes country.

Since DuckDuckGo doesn’t keep a log of your data, being headquartered in a 5 Eyes country isn’t an automatic deal breaker. Logs that can be traced back to you, especially when the company is headquartered in a place that can legally demand those logs be turned over to the government, are always a deal breaker for us. In this case, we’re comfortable with DuckDuckGo and how it handles privacy.

Split tunneling

Unfortunately, there are no split tunneling capabilities with DuckDuckGo. DuckDuckGo’s VPN requires the browser to initiate it, but once it’s installed, it covers your device whether or not you’re in the browser. Unfortunately, this means you’ll have to completely disable the VPN if you want to use anything on your device without a VPN connection.

Kill switch

A kill switch helps protect your personal information by severing the internet connection if your VPN suddenly stops working. DuckDuckGo doesn’t have a kill switch in its features but claims it will alert you if the VPN connection drops. There are many reasons a VPN connection can drop, but any of them can leave your data exposed.

VPN protocols

Usually, VPNs offer at least two choices when it comes to VPN protocols. VPN protocols help you balance speed and security, with some being faster but a little less secure and others being secure but a little bit slower. DuckDuckGo uses only WireGuard, which is a nice balance between speed and security.

VPN test results

We test VPNs for speed, security, and the ability to unblock Netflix. Speed is essential; if your VPN lags at all, you won’t use it. Security is also essential as it’s the main reason to use a VPN. Finally, we test for Netflix compatibility because Netflix has some of the most aggressive VPN blockers available. If you can watch Netflix with your VPN, you’ll probably be able to unblock the other streaming services.

Speed tests

  • Speed test results: Pass

Minor reductions in speeds and slightly heightened lag times may be a trade-off for the security a VPN provides, but we needed to make sure DuckDuckGo VPN didn’t slow us down too much. We tested it on our MacBook running an M2 chip in a normal home Wi-Fi environment. Our speeds are good without a VPN, so we wanted to make sure we could still stream with it.

There was some slowdown when connecting to US and Canadian servers, but it honestly wasn’t that noticeable. When we connected to the UK server, there was a significant connection lag time of at least three seconds. While the speeds weren’t great, we were still able to navigate around the internet and even stream with the VPN active.

Overall, we consider the speed tests a success because our internet connection remained usable after the initial start-up lag. If lag time is a concern for you, you may want to use the default setting of whatever server is closest to you. That should help reduce how long you have to wait.

DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro VPN speed test not connected
DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro VPN speed test (not connected)

DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro VPN speed test US to US (Los Angeles)
DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro VPN speed test US to US (Los Angeles)

DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro VPN speed test US to UK (London)
DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro VPN speed test US to UK (London)

Test type No VPN US to US US to CA US to EU US to AU
Download speed 202.54 169.70 124.07 30.14 N/A
Upload speed 22.71 21.75 15.64 9.54 N/A
Latency (ping) 37 58 172 350 N/A
Download speed % difference N/A -16.21% -38.74% -85.12% N/A
Upload speed % difference N/A -4.23% -31.13% -57.99% N/A
Latency % difference N/A 56.76% 364.86% 845.95% N/A
Test results as of 05/28/2024.

Netflix tests

  • Netflix test results: Pass

Whether you’re traveling and want to keep watching your favorite shows, need to catch a sports game that isn’t offered in your region, or have to watch the next release of Bridgerton a day before everyone else, a VPN can help. Streaming platforms know that VPN users access geo-restricted content libraries with VPNs, so they put out blockers to try to stop it from happening. A good VPN, however, can bypass all that and get you to your desired content.

With DuckDuckGo VPN, we were able to access every country’s Netflix catalog. Even with some of the lag issues we had when connecting to the UK server, we didn’t see any issues when watching a UK show. This was actually one of the more seamless streaming experiences we’ve had, so we hope that DuckDuckGo continues to expand its server network so we can watch even more.

DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro VPN Netflix test

US to US US to UK US to Canada US to AU
Did it work with Netflix? N/A
Test results as of 05/28/2024.

DNS leak tests

  • DNS leak test results: Pass

DNS, or Domain Name System, is how the Internet translates what you type to take you to a website. For example, if you type AllAboutCookies.org, the DNS system translates that into computer language, finds the AAC website, lets it know you want to visit, and then shows up in your browser.

This is an exchange of information, letting the site know you’re who you say you are and the site is who it says it is. Because it is an exchange of information, there’s a potential for personal info like your IP address to show up. A good VPN without DNS leaks will hide that data. DuckDuckGo passed with flying colors.

WebRTC leak tests

  • WebRTC leak test results: Pass

If you’ve ever used FaceTime, Zoom, or even made a voice call using an internet connection, you’ve used Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) technology. Again, this is a process similar to DNS that verifies you, your device, and the end system you’re trying to contact.

Anytime data is exchanged, there’s a potential for information leak. DuckDuckGo showed no leaks, which impressed us.

Kill switch test

  • Kill switch test results: Fail

A kill switch is a necessary feature for privacy aficionados or anyone who wants to make sure their private information stays private. We were surprised that DuckDuckGo doesn’t have a kill switch built into its VPN. The one positive is that it will notify you if the VPN connection drops, which means you can kill your own connection. Still, reaction times being what they are, it may be enough of a chance for someone to snag a glimpse at your data.

DuckDuckGo data removal features

Recently, we did an internet search for ourselves and were surprised to find that there wasn’t much. That’s probably because we use data removal services like the one included in DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro. DuckDuckGo found us listed on six of the 53 data broker sites it scanned. It went to work getting our data removed and promised us it would continue searching to make sure our info stayed gone.

DuckDuckPro Privacy Pro data removal services


Dashboard and reports

There isn’t a lot to the DuckDuckGo dashboard. Since its features include a VPN, data removal, and identity theft remediation, those options are listed on the page when you start. Each feature is easy to use by just clicking on the button that launches it.

There aren’t any fancy reports or in-depth metrics, although DuckDuckGo does show what’s blocked on the main page when you open your browser. The most you’ll see is the number of data broker sites scanned, how many have your info, and how many you’ve been deleted from currently.

DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro data removal dashboard

Additional features

Email protection is available with DuckDuckGo’s private browser, so you can use it whether you purchase a Privacy Pro subscription or not. You’ll receive an @duck.com email address, and then you’ll be able to use it in any situation where you don’t want to give out your personal email. It’s a great feature that reduces the amount of spam mail and weird advertisements you get in your inbox.

How do you know if DuckDuckGo personal information removal works?

DuckDuckGo gives you a breakdown of what sites it found your information on and what info was listed. From there, it’ll keep you updated on when that data is removed. Since we’re used to using data removal services, we can tell you that it takes some time. The data brokers like to ignore requests and extend the amount of time they leave your info online. Services like DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro keep at the data brokers, so you don’t have to worry about checking back.

Once DuckDuckGo mentions your data has been removed, you can go to the site it shows and search for yourself. Your information should be gone. You can also do an internet search for yourself to see how many of those people-search sites display your name and info. This is a long process, but once you start removing your data, you’ll see less and less of yourself online.

Data brokerage is such a fluctuating industry that there’s no telling how many data brokers are active from day to day. Getting specific, quantifiable results may seem difficult, but if you keep using these data removal services, you’ll eventually see a reduction in your online footprint.

DuckDuckGo identity theft restoration features

Identity theft can be devastating. Not only is restoring your identity time-consuming, but it can also be extremely expensive. DuckDuckGo offers remediation services with identity theft insurance to help you navigate the waters of identity restoration with a guide.

You’ll even have access to assistance that can replace your cards and IDs in the event of a lost or stolen wallet. While this isn’t the most robust identity theft protection solution, it is great for the price, the support given, and the other features that are included.

DuckDuckGo identity theft restoration at a glance

Identity theft insurance Up to $1 million
Identity recovery Yes
Lost wallet assistance Yes
Credit monitoring No
Credit reports No
Credit lock and freeze No
Financial activity alerts No
Dark web alerts No
Social media account alerts No

Identity restoration services

Some identity theft prevention services help monitor your credit and accounts, but DuckDuckGo is more of a remediation option than a preventative measure. If you do find yourself the victim of identity theft, DuckDuckGo deploys a specialist to negotiate with your creditors, banks, etc to restore funds, reimburse out-of-pocket expenses, help with travel fees, and more.

While it’s not the most robust service (competitors definitely have more preventative measures), what DuckDuckGo is offering will go a long way if you find yourself the victim of identity theft. The added insurance support, along with having a remediation specialist to help you, will be invaluable if you find yourself in this situation.

Does DuckDuckGo keep your data safe?

DuckDuckGo has made privacy its entire personality, so we weren’t surprised to find a transparent privacy policy. The VPN servers used are kept in a separate location from the servers DuckDuckGo uses for its other services. Finally, DuckDuckGo calls its encryption Smarter Encryption; it uses a different framework to eliminate the use of cookies and trackers.

What all this means is that DuckDuckGo is secure and keeps your data safe.

Compatibility

The services provided are through the private browser DuckDuckGo offers but extend to your entire device once it’s installed. It’s compatible with Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. It’s worth noting that you should know how to access the VPN connection even without the browser active. Since it runs independently of the browser, you’ll need to know how to turn it off from your device as well as the browser.

Customer support

Customer support is basically non-existent. You have access to online guides and a reporting feature within the browser itself, but otherwise, there isn’t much in the way of support.

We found a lot of help topics on Reddit related to DuckDuckGo. Most people seemed to have more questions than concerns, but the Reddit communities did a good job of supporting one another.

If you need support for identity theft restoration services, then you can reach out and you’ll be assigned a specialist. That is the one area where DuckDuckGo does provide plentiful customer support.

DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro customer support

Top alternatives

If DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro doesn’t check all your boxes, we suggest the best VPN bundles below. We love it when a VPN comes with other security features like safe browsing, antivirus and malware protection, ad and tracker blockers, and identity theft services. Check out our picks below for three of our favorites that do more than just encrypt your online traffic.

Price $2.19-$17.95/mo $9.00–$30.00/mo $3.99–$15.99/mo
Free version
Max # of connected devices Unlimited Up to 10 devices per adult 10 devices
# of servers 3,200+ Unlisted 6,300+
VPN protocol WireGuard, IKEv2, OpenVPN Unlisted OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, NordLynx
Encryption AES-256-GCM AES-128-BIT AES-256-BIT
No-logs policy No logs No logs No logs
Netflix access
Safe browsing
Data removal services
ID theft services
Learn more Get Surfshark One Get Aura Get NordVPN

FAQs


+

Does DuckDuckGo provide a VPN service?

Yes, DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro offers a VPN service integrated into its private browser. You can access this through your browser and by signing up for a paid monthly subscription.


+

Is the Privacy Pro VPN safe?

From our testing, we found no reason not to think the Privacy Pro VPN is safe. DuckDuckGo already has a history of security and privacy protection, so adding a VPN is a smart choice. We also love the email protection, data broker removal, and identity theft services that come with this service.


+

Can DuckDuckGo hide my IP address?

On its own, DuckDuckGo is a private browser and search that helps hide you from cookies, trackers, and similar things but doesn’t hide your IP address. However, if you subscribe to the Privacy Pro subscription, the VPN service that’s included can hide your IP address.


+

Can I be tracked if I use DuckDuckGo?

DuckDuckGo doesn’t track you and actively works to block cookies and trackers online that are attempting to track you. While it’s difficult to browse the web and not have some sort of tracking, using a service like DuckDuckGo greatly reduces your risk of being tracked online.


+

How do I turn off DuckDuckGo VPN?

DuckDuckGo VPN is integrated into its browser and has a simple toggle that allows you to turn the service on and off whenever you want. We found it to be easy to use and were also impressed with its security and functionality.


+

Is there a downside to using DuckDuckGo?

One of DuckDuckGo’s downsides is its lack of antivirus and malware protection. To avoid viruses, trojans, and malware, including ransomware, you need more than a VPN and tracker blockers. If you choose DuckDuckGo, we recommend also using some kind of antivirus protection.

Bottom line: Is DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro good?

Yes, DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro is good, but it’s not great… yet. We were impressed with the strength of the VPN for security and usability, as well as the painless removal of our data. The integrated VPN, data removal, and identity theft protection services are good, but you have to ask yourself if they’re worth the cost.

For now, depending on your security needs, you will probably get more bang for your buck with a more robust security bundle like Surfshark One or Aura Identity Theft Protection

If you want antivirus, ad blocking, data removal, identity protection, and a fast, feature-rich VPN, try Surfshark One

If you want comprehensive identity theft and financial fraud protection, consider Aura, which also includes an antivirus, VPN, password manager, parental controls, and identity theft insurance.

Considering DuckDuckGo's plans to expand and its impressive track record, we think this is definitely a service to watch if you’re concerned about privacy.

4.0
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro's website
All-In-One
DuckDuckGo Privacy Pro
  • Seamlessly combines the power of a privacy browser with VPN, data removal, and identity theft restoration services
  • Can unblock geo-restricted Netflix content
  • Easy-to-use service with a user-friendly dashboard
Author Details
Mary is a seasoned cybersecurity writer with over seven years of experience. With a B.S. in Liberal Arts from Clarion University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Point Park University, she educates audiences on scams, antivirus software, and more. Her passion lies in educating audiences on helpful ways to protect their data.