Surfing the net unprotected can leave you open to certain dangers such as revealing sensitive personal data to hackers and also enabling cookies which allow easy tracking. Although there are so many risks of using these browsers unprotected, many people still use them that way. They install the most popular browsers on the market without worrying about privacy and security features. Even when you set your browser to Incognito mode, some still leave your IP address and location exposed. To help you deal with these security issues, we have picked the top 10 private browsers for secure browsing.
Privacy and Security Features to Consider in Browsers
While the listed browsers provide a range of privacy features, when looking for a browser that ensures maximum security and privacy, you may want to consider a few additional aspects. These may not be available in all browsers but could enhance your secure browsing experience.
- Cookie Management: Browser Cookies can store user-specific information directly on the user’s computer. While some cookies are harmless, others can be used to track browsing habits and personal information. So, a browser that provides sophisticated cookie management features can allow you to choose the type of cookies to allow and which ones to block.
- Sandboxing: Sandboxing is a feature that isolates each browser tab to prevent a potential threat in one from affecting the others. This limits the damage in case a malicious website is accessed.
- Automatic Updates: Regular updates ensure that your browser has the latest security features and patches for any known vulnerabilities. It is essential that your browser supports automatic updates.
- Phishing Protection: An excellent browser should also offer protection against phishing attempts. The browser should display a warning if a user tries to visit a fraudulent website.
- HTTPS Everywhere: This feature forces the browser to use HTTPS, the secure version of HTTP, whenever possible. This guarantees that your interaction with the website is encrypted. Additionally, some browsers also provide inbuilt features that block ads and trackers.
- Ad and Tracker Blocking: Some browsers offer integrated ad and tracker blocking features. This helps in maintaining your privacy by preventing third-party advertisers and websites from tracking your online activities. One of the great features that everyone needs.
- Data Sync Encryption: If your browser supports syncing data across devices, it’s important that this data be encrypted. This useful feature prevents anyone, including the service provider, from accessing your synced data.
These supplemental features aim to enhance the safety and security of your online browsing experience. While not all browsers may offer these features, looking for a browser that does will help enhance your privacy while online.
What are the Most Private Browsers?
After analyzing numerous browsers out there, we have finally come up with a list. These are the most private browsers on the internet –
1. Mozilla Firefox
Mozilla Firefox is our #1 private browser. It is an open-source browser that ensures that you are protected from criminals and other trackers online. One good thing about Firefox is that you get to do all the privacy customization. You choose what you want to turn on and off – you can decide not to send data back to Mozilla and even disable add-ons. You have absolute freedom.
Also, because it is open-source, you can inspect the code and see how it works. Because of this, many other privacy browsers use Mozilla as a base. It is also very easy to use, so you’ll have no problems getting around it.
- Open-source browser
- Customizable privacy settings
- Ability to disable add-ons and control data sharing
- Easy to use
2. Tor Browser
Tor Browser is one of the best browsers you can get for secure browsing. It is also built on the Firefox codes and allows you to access the Tor Network. In other words, it is an improved version of Firefox with extra privacy features. Tor Browser works just like a VPN. But instead of a private company handling your data, Tor uses a decentralized network. So, nobody owns your data. However, this also poses some risks. Because if you are not careful enough and you don’t use the browser correctly, your data could land in the wrong hands – government agencies or even criminals.
To stay private on Tor, don’t post details about your real identity online, use only secure sites (with HTTPS), don’t torrent on the browser, keep away from Google, and don’t use mobile two-step verification.
- Built on Firefox code
- Access to the Tor Network for secure browsing
- A decentralized network for increased privacy
- Requires caution to avoid potential risks
3. Brave Browser
Brave is built on Chromium, the open-source software used by Google Chrome. This browser focuses on keeping your data private and your browsing experience as seamless as possible. It blocks normal adverts and tracker but shows you its own ads. There are also rewards for using the browser. Brave pays its users its native cryptocurrency – BAT. But to get the reward, you have to give out your email address.
Brave also allows you to edit your security settings, you can easily toggle on features like script blocking, cross-site cookie blocking, and device recognition blocking. However, you can’t disable WebRTC, which is the major issue we have with it. It also collects anonymized information about users which is used to display advertising to you and make them money.
- Built on Chromium
- Focuses on privacy and seamless browsing experience
- Blocks ads and trackers
- Shows its own ads and rewards users with BAT cryptocurrency
4. Epic Privacy Browser
Epic Privacy Browser is a good alternative to Tor Browser. While Tor uses a decentralized network, the Epic browser uses a VPN with servers in eight countries. According to the company, Epic browser blocks over 600 trackers, ads, saved sessions, and even your IP address. So, you’re not getting unwanted data, and no one is going to access your data.
You’ll enjoy seamless browsing and secure activity on the web. It is available for Android, Windows, and macOS. The only issue we have with the Epic Privacy Browser is that the host is unknown. So, we don’t know if your data is truly safe.
- Alternative to Tor Browser
- Uses a VPN with servers in eight countries
- Blocks trackers, ads, and IP address
- Available for Android, Windows, and macOS
5. Apple Safari
If you use a Mac PC, then Safari is a private browser you should try. This browser uses machine learning to spot trackers and advertisers, preventing them from seeing your browsing history and other personal data. It also has other privacy features such as auto-generation of strong passwords, use of DuckDuckGo as its search engine (because Google uses your data), private browsing, warning for malicious websites, and sandboxing.
To prevent you from forgetting your passwords and other sensitive information, Safari allows you to store your data using iCloud Keychain. Don’t worry. It uses end-to-end encryption, so even Apple cannot access your data.
- Specifically for Mac users
- Uses machine learning to block trackers and advertisers
- Features like auto-generated passwords and the DuckDuckGo search engine
- Supports iCloud Keychain for encrypted data storage
6. Microsoft Edge
Microsoft Edge has some privacy features that will ensure your secure browsing. It is a good alternative to Firefox, Safari, and other browsers on the list. If you install the latest version of Microsoft Edge, you get a feature known as Microsoft Defender SmartScreen which helps protect you from malicious sites and the dangerous files on the web.
You’ll also get a warning when you’re about to enter potentially dangerous sites. Microsoft Edge also provides you with customizable privacy options. You can choose to accept or reject cookies, ads, and location requests among others.
- Provides privacy features and customizable options
- Microsoft Defender SmartScreen protects against malicious sites
- Warns about potentially dangerous websites
- Accept or reject cookies, ads, and location requests
Waterfox is also based on Firefox source-code. It looks and feels just like Firefox and is compatible with all Firefox extensions. Firefox is ranked higher because Waterfox is not as frequently updated as the other. So, Firefox is more secure with the latest updates.
But, since Waterfox was separated from Firefox’s source-code during its development, it also focuses on giving you the most private browsing experience. It automatically removes features like data collection, startup profiling, telemetry, and sponsored tiles. Also, you can easily customize your privacy settings.
- Based on Firefox source-code
- Compatible with Firefox extensions
- Focuses on privacy with removed data collection features
- Not as frequently updated as Firefox
8. GNUzilla IceCat
GNUzilla IceCat was made based on the Firefox source code and built from free software. We picked this browser because like Firefox, it guarantees your privacy. Also, it is transparent enough, letting you know all the services it offers and what it does. Because it is free and Open Source, you can access all the elements of its code and see what it entails for yourself.
- Based on Firefox source-code and built from free software
- Transparent and open-source
- Available for Linux devices
9. Google Chrome
Google Chrome is one of the most widely used browsers in the market. People love it because of its incredible speed and how diverse Google services are. But, it doesn’t have top-notch privacy features. Some of its features include scanning for harmful files and sites, and regular updates to the software. Google Chrome should have been one of our best private browsers.
- Popular browser with fast speed
- Scans for harmful files and sites
- Regular updates
- Collects user information and monetizes it
The Opera browser is regarded as one of the most popular private browsers. People love it because it has an inbuilt ad-blocker and also uses a tracker blocker to keep users from being tracked by advertisers. Also, some part of its code is based on Chromium, so it can be accessed by users. The browser has a built-in VPN with around 4 locations (in the free tier).
However, you can use other VPN add-ons on the browser. You can also customize your privacy and security settings, but we discovered that people prefer it when their browsers make their data private by default. Opera is a decent choice, but it isn’t the best for private browsing.
- Inbuilt ad-blocker and tracker blocker
- Part of the code based on Chromium
- Has a built-in VPN
- Customizable privacy and security settings