Internet search tips

One of the best ways to solve a computing problem is to use Google, ddg, or whatever is your favourite search method , to find information from others who have had the same problem.
Search engines use keywords. Some experience in choosing the right keywords can make a big difference to the outcome of your search.

I have learnt few simple things, and would like to share them here.
Perhaps others would like to add something from their experiences.

  • the search criterion should be a small number of carefully chosen words… not an English sentence
  • the order of the keywords is important. Google gives most importance to the first word in the list. If you are not getting the right emphasis, try reordering the keywords
  • words that restrict the search to your area are vital. I almost always make ‘Linux’ one of the keywords.
  • if your first try is not productive, try substituting one of the keywords with another term with the same meaning.

I am sure most of you know the above.
It is , however, not aways easy to find something on a very specific issue.
If you have something to add to,this simple list, it may be helpful


Bravo!!! @nevj
I’ve always had much better luck by searching. Knowing nothing about Linux five years ago, I learned more about it online then reading books or joining forums, found all the answers I needed to fix things and enjoy it more. I still don’t know a lot, but enough to take care of my distro, what else could I ask for???
Great advise by Neville!!!


Hi Neville, :wave:

thanks for the tips you provide in your post. :heart:

Well, I may say it´s certainly good to reiterate those points. I wouldn´t be bold enough to state I knew all of them… :blush:

Perhaps I could add the following:

  • when using duckduckgo it´s often helpful to make use of bangs.

Bangs are shortcuts that quickly take you to search results on other sites

(see: DuckDuckGo !Bang ).

LIke so: !se ubuntu looks for the searchword “ubuntu” on the stackexchange.

That´s helpful if you want to restrict your search to a specific website.
Right now there are 13,563 bangs available. Of course one would have to make use of the search field to see if your favourite site is supported.

Mozilla Firefox lets you trigger bookmarks with a custom keyword in the address bar.
With this feature and a custom bookmarklet, you can quickly search a site using Google, Bing, or DuckDuckGo.

I adopted that approach quite a while ago and that´s great for special purposes.

E.g.: I´m here on any page within the; it really doesn´t matter which page.
Now I want to change the subject and look for something else, let´s say “waterfox” :wink:.

All I have to do is type “cs waterfox” in the search field of the browser and all the hits containing this searchword within will be presented.

Both points suggested by me may not be new but they may perhaps add to speed and effectiveness of searching…

Many greetings
Rosika :slightly_smiling_face:


Hi Rosika,
Thank you. I use ddg but I did not know any of that.

I have one other point to add

  • use double quotes to get an exact search for a phrase. This is almost essential if you want to search for a complicated error message. Put the whole message in double quotes.

I think searching is something everyone does, but we dont all bother to do it efficiently.


1 Like

Yes, I usually have Linux as the first search word for Linux searches.

I read some where that is was very helpful to do this when searching for Linux related items on the internet.


Starting a search with LINUX or UBUNTU or BASH really does help. I find copying and pasting the exact error message from a Python script or something like that usually gets good results too. Surrounding with double quotes helps with that sometimes. You may want to exclude some personal information from that error message to keep a server name or IP or username private.


Good point. Goovle will still find a censored phrase.

Hi Neville, :wave:

Good point. Thanks. I often do that as well, especíally when looking for particular error messages. :wink:

slightly OFFTOPIC:

… but hopefully still worth mentioning:

duckduckgo offers so much more than just bangs.

If you´re interested take a look at Hidden Features! 25 Fun Things You Can Do With DuckDuckGo Search Engine - It's FOSS

which deals with the hidden features of the search engine.
In fact the article is written by @abhishek :wink:

Many greetings
Rosika :slightly_smiling_face: