'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?
ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.
When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.
ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.
Privacy has become an issue for nearly every person on the planet. Given how many people depend on web browsers every day for work, communication, connection, and entertainment, the security of those tools has become tantamount to the privacy of user information.
Unfortunately, not every browser is capable of handling security in a way that can keep our data out of the hands of those who should not see it.
What can you do?
Thanks to DuckDuckGo, there's an add-on available for every major browser on the market, and it can greatly enhance built-in security measures. That add-on is called DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials.
What does DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials do? Here's the shortlist:
If you know anything about privacy, you should immediately understand how important that list is. And if you're not sure if you can trust your desktop web browser of choice, it's time you give it a much-needed privacy boost.
Also: How to use confidential mode in Gmail to protect sensitive information
So, how do you add the DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials add-on to your web browser of choice? It's actually much easier than you might think. And given the benefit you gain from the extension, this should be a no-brainer for everyone.
Let's install DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials.
First, you must open your web browser of choice. Once the browser is open, you're ready to install.
Also: What, exactly, is cybersecurity? And why does it matter?
I'm going to demonstrate with Firefox. If you don't use Firefox, here are the links for the extension for the most common browsers:
Let's get this extension installed on Firefox. With Firefox open, point it to the DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials add-on page and click Add to Firefox. You will then be prompted (again) to Add the extension. Once the extension has been added, you'll see a small green circle added to your toolbar.
Also: Caught up in another password breach? Follow these 3 rules to protect yourself online
Now that the extension is installed, how do you use it? Simple. Point your browser to a website and you'll immediately see the green circle change to a letter. That letter is the grade given to the site.
As you can see, the Firefox add-ons site received a B+ from the extension. If you click that icon, you can expand any of the sections to view more details. From that same popup, you can also disable Site Privacy Protection for that site. If you find that a particular site stops behaving properly after adding the extension, you'll want to go back and disable the add-on for that site.
Also: How to give Safari a privacy boost with DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials
If you do disable the extension for a site, it will ask you if the site is broken. It's important that you offer that feedback to help the DuckDuckGo developers improve the product. Additionally, if you find the extension does break a site, open the popup and click Report Broken Site at the bottom to help the developers improve the functionality.
And that's really all there is to installing and using the DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials add-on. This addition goes a long way to improve the privacy and security of your default web browser, and I highly recommend you add it sooner rather than later.