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After installing the Tor browser, the user's default search engine is https://duckduckgo.com. However, it make more sense for the user to search with DuckDuckGo's onion service. This way all the routing happens over Tor, making the user more anonymous and private. So why does the Tor browser come with the default search engine of https://duckduckgo.com?

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It is currently unknown whether their onion service would be able to handle the load the entire Tor Browser user-base would put on it.

It is also not known what the performance drop (or possibly increase) would be.

https://gitlab.torproject.org/tpo/applications/tor-browser/-/issues/21483
https://gitlab.torproject.org/legacy/trac/-/issues/19735#comment:1

For anyone else: there has also been some discussion on reddit: https://old.reddit.com/r/TOR/comments/m52jeo/why_doesnt_the_tor_browser_use_duckduckgos_hidden/

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  • This seems plausable except I can't really confirm this is the reason since we haven't gotten an update on whether or not this is actually the reason currently. That was 4 years ago after all. In fact, a comment replying to that statement said that onion searches were in fact faster. Any more info on this would help.
    – Swangie
    Mar 14 at 20:50
  • @Swangie "no time for this in near future, we should also discuss with DDG before making such a change" - 1 year ago. I think no one has checked in with DDG, and done the research. The Tor Project had to dismiss employees due to corona, so it hasn't been a priority this year at least. Mar 14 at 20:54
  • While we may never get an exact answer, I believe that this is the most likely reason. Thank you for the help!
    – Swangie
    Mar 14 at 21:38

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