I had been using SearXNG for about half a year. I liked it, and I still do, because it’s an open source solution that allows you to search multiple sources for your search results. However, there are some problems with it, and for those reasons I have decided to switch back to DuckDuckGo.

What are the problems? It’s mostly a question of reliability. As SearXNG has no contract or “right” to fetch search results from other search engines and to use them as their own, they are often subject to rate limits, CAPTCHAs, and changes to those search engines that require SearXNG changes to fetch from them again.

This creates an issue, as you never know if your search will actually go through all the selected search engines, as opposed to just one or two of them. There isn’t a good way to fix this, as a contract would cost a lot of money, and wouldn’t work with the open source model.

Hosting your own instance also means you’re no longer anonymous, as search engines will be able to associate searches from your IP with you, the only user. And allowing others to use your instance will result in the same problem with rate limits. Public instances are also not as fast as options such as DuckDuckGo.

Why switch back to DuckDuckGo instead of another private search engine? I think DuckDuckGo has the perfect mix of privacy and useful search results. Their privacy policy leaves nothing else to be desired, and their results might not be independent, but there aren’t from Google, which is already an improvement.

Other offerings may claim to have their own index, but this cannot be easily proven, and their privacy policies or business practices may not be as trustworthy as DuckDuckGo’s. DuckDuckGo does also have their own crawler, so that is an option for them to use, if they have to.

What about open source? As mentioned above, open source doesn’t really work with the contract model search engines such as DuckDuckGo use, so you won’t be able to fetch your results from Bing or others through official channels, and as such you will be subject to the previously mentioned issues.

As much as I would love an open source search engine, there’s simply no option that provides for my needs: an easy-to-use, accurate, and reliable search engine. Despite any potential or real shortcomings, DuckDuckGo is the best option for me at the moment.

They also have bangs, which let you easily search other sites. I like this feature, as it’s what I think a search engine should be all about. I will probably stick to DuckDuckGo for the foreseeable future, but if not, I will be sure to make another blog post about it!