Making DuckDuckGo Your Default Safari Search Engine

Editorial Note: You probably won't care about this post unless you're a Mac user but all readers are welcome.

In my continuing quest for a smaller (visible) footprint on the Net, I've stopped using Google and switched to DuckDuckGo for searches. I started by adding DDG to my Safari Bookmarks Bar so that I could just click on it when I wanted to search. Of course, most of the time I'd forget and type my search query into normal address bar instead and then have to retype it.

After using DDG for a few days I decided that

  1. I liked it enough to make it my main search engine.
  2. I had to find some way to make it the default.

Sadly, Apple in its wisdom has exactly three choices for a default search engine: Google, Bing, or Yahoo. After a bit of searching (with DuckDuckGo, of course) I discovered a neat hack to make DuckDuckGo the Safari default.

The method is described on this DuckDuckGo help page but the TL;DR is to first tell Safari you want Yahoo as your search engine (this choice is important for reasons explained on the help page) and then set an explicit address for search.yahoo.com in /etc/hosts. The address points at a special DDG server that passes your request on to the normal DDG processing. Now I just type my search terms into the address bar as normal and I'm searching on DDG.

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  • D

    You can use Glims to make DDG/IXQuick/Startpage your default search engine... works fine.
    Keep us posted on your email search...

    • jcs

      Nice. I didn't know about Glims. Thanks for pointing it out.