Add a DuckDuckGo or Google search form to your site using Netlify redirects

Having a site search can be handy for your users, but sort of a pain to get going, especially if you're using Gatsby or another JAMstack system.

Chris Coyer's first recommendation for site search is to use DuckDuckGo (or Google if you must), using the keyword. The only problem is that it requires a bit of javascript to insert the site: keyword to the user's search after they hit submit.

If you're deploying to Netlify, you can accomplish this without adding any javascript by using redirects with query parameters. The idea is we create a form with a specific query parameter, and then set up a redirect that watches for that parameter and sends the user to DuckDuckGo with the correct site: keyword appended.

Here's the html for the search form:

<form action="/search" method="GET">
<input type="text" name="term" aria-label="Search site" />
<button type="submit">Go</button>

Two important points here:

  • Notice that method is set to GET - it's important that the form is using GET as opposed to POST so that the redirect can see the query parameter.
  • We've set the name of the input to term. This can be anything, it just needs to be the same here as in the redirect rule below.

Once that's in place, there are two methods for adding a redirect on Netlify. From the docs:

You can configure redirect and rewrite rules for your Netlify site in two ways:

This solution will work with either method. Here's what it will look like in _redirects:

/search term=:term # replace with your site url

And here's what it will look like in your netlify.toml file:

from = "/search"
to = "" # replace with your site url
query = {term = ":term"}

Just be sure to replace with your site url, and make sure the query parameter name matches the form (term in this case).

And that's it! You can see this working on my site search below!