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Using DuckDuckGo without JavaScript in Firefox


If you, like me, are not fond of running JavaScript in your browser, or if you use a Mozilla browser plugin like GNU LibreJS, you might run into difficulties using DuckDuckGo. Although DDG provide two separate HTML-only ways to search the web (both a plain HTML version of the normal site and a lite version), their website sometimes fails to redirect you to one of them when its scripts don’t run.

Update (4th June, 2020): The original DuckDuckGo (HTML SSL) add-on has been removed. Without this add-on, we cannot force Firefox to use the HTML-only version of DuckDuckGo by default. This article will remain here for posterity.

I recommend that all users of DuckDuckGo install the DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials add-on, which will set DuckDuckGo as your default search engine whilst helping you protect your privacy.

Fortunately for users of Firefox-based browsers, DuckDuckGo provides a myriad of search engine provider add-ons. Head to about:preferences‘s search options. In the section titled “One-Click Search Engines”, click the “Find more search engines” hyperlink.

The one click search settings area of Firefox.

You’ll be redirected to Mozilla’s search engines add-on page. Use the search box at the top of the page to search for “DuckDuckGo”, and you’ll get a pretty long list of results. Everything from DuckDuckGo over TOR to DuckDuckGo with mandatory safe search is available as a one-click search engine.

If you’re just looking for the normal DuckDuckGo search without JavaScript, as I was, you’ll want the DuckDuckGO (HTML SSL) add-on.

The DuckDuckGo (HTML SSL) add-on search result.

Use the “Add to Firefox” button to install the add-on. You’ll get a pop-up, as below, to approve it. You can use the checkbox in the pop-up to set your new search engine as your default.

The pop-up for adding the DuckDuckGo search engine to the Firefox browser.

You’re all set! If you go back to the “One-Click Search Engines” settings, you should see DuckDuckGo (HTML SSL) is your new default search engine. If you search for anything via Firefox’s built-in search functions, you’ll browse DuckDuckGo without JavaScript.

As always, drop a comment below or join my Discord server if you have any comments or questions.

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      • Seems the search engine selector drop down is pretty smart in Seamonkey. Not sure about Firefox, but it probably works the same. The drop down includes, an Add “(current site)” item for search friendly pages. If you visit, then Add … site (from the search engine selector drop down, shows up just above Manage Search Engines) you’ll get the old noJS result pages. Do the same when visiting (then drop down the search engine selector to see Add “DuckDuckGo (Lite)” just above the Manage Search Engine item.

        Was searching for the lean DDG searchbar template, after an upgrade to Seamonkey 2.53.3, and found your article, Rauchman. Thanks.

        Disappointment led to some flailing around, being denied the Install option for the older HTTP SSL .xml files. The menu item popped up during the flailing, while visiting the /html page to see if it had a link to something. (It doesn’t). But the drop down selector seems to let you just add the current page as an engine, if the page is friendly, and it just seems to work all nice and smooth like).

        Passing on the discovery, and thanks for the nudge that caused the find.

        • I’m glad to hear that you can still do that in Seamonkey. I attempted to find something similar within Firefox, but I could not. I seem to remember it being possible in the past, so perhaps it was removed by the Firefox team.