Can you access DuckDuckGo in China?

Is DuckDuckGo blocked in China?

Yes, DuckDuckGo is blocked in China. The search engine was first censored in September 2014.

No clear reason was given as to why DuckDuckGo, a search engine renowned for strong privacy practices that don’t track users, was banned from the country. Doing so was not without precedent, however.

Tip: To access blocked sites you will need a VPN, however only a small number work effectively in China. See our list of VPNs working in China to find one that does.

Google shut down the China version of its search engine in 2010 because it refused to censor results at the behest of the government. Instead, it now redirects users on the mainland to the company’s Hong Kong servers.

The only western search engines allowed to operate on Chinese soil agreed to censor their results, including Bing and Yahoo. DuckDuckGo does not censor its search results, which might be why it was blocked.

How to unblock DuckDuckGo in China

You can access DuckDuckGo in China using a VPN. A VPN, or virtual private network, encrypts a device’s inbound and outbound internet traffic and routes it through an intermediary server in a location of the user’s choosing. By selecting a server outside of China, you can bypass the Great Firewall, the country’s nationwide internet censorship system.

VPNs are usually subscription services paid monthly or yearly. Good VPNs do not limit bandwidth or impose data caps. They should offer strong security, plenty of servers around the world, and decent speeds.

If you use DuckDuckGo because you are concerned about privacy, then you will most likely want a VPN with a minimal logging policy. Some VPNs, especially free ones, monitor your activity and will even inject advertisements and tracking cookies into your web browser. Look for VPNs that advertise zero-logs policies, which means they don’t record or store the contents of users’ traffic. Also be sure to check the provider’s privacy policy to make sure it doesn’t record any identifying metadata, such as your source IP address.

Our top recommendation is ExpressVPN, reviewed here. It only records metadata that can’t be used to identify specific users. It operates reliable servers in 78 countries and is a favorite among expats in China. Easy-to-use apps are available for Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, and Linux (command line).

Once you’ve registered an account and installed the app, just choose a server in another country. Hit Connect, and once the connection is established, you may access DuckDuckGo as you normally would outside of China.