In the digital world, everything you do online is tracked and mined by marketers to monetize your data. They track your browsing activities, cookies data, and identifiable features like IP address, device, and browser based identifiers, etc. to link your data to you.
This brings us to the question: what’s the solution to such online tracking? Well, you’d be relieved to know that there are web browsers that prioritize your privacy and safety while allowing you to surf the Internet. .
In this post, I am going to introduce you to various privacy-focused web browsers, compare their privacy and security features, and share my experience of them with you.
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Brave is a great privacy-focused browser built on top of Chromium – the open-source project behind many web browsers. By default, Brave blocks ads, fingerprinting, malware, and online trackers, making it a private browser by default.
It also features its privacy-first search engine called Brave Search, which is an alternative to search engines like Google Search and Microsoft Bing.
Brave Browser has a built-in cryptocurrency wallet, so you can pay for content online with your cryptocurrencies without the need to use third-party services or wallets such as Coinbase or PayPal.
A feature hardly seen in most browsers, Brave Browser also allows you to use Tor or VPN connections so that you can browse the web anonymously while keeping your IP address hidden from websites and other third parties.
Brave Browser also works on: Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, and Windows.
2. Tor Browser
Tor Browser is a true privacy-focused web browser. It utilizes the Tor Network to direct web traffic through a free, worldwide, volunteer overlay network that helps to protect your identity and privacy online. It also blocks ads, scripts, and other trackers that try to follow you around the web.
Tor Browser prevents anyone watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit and prevents the websites you visit from learning your physical location. Its default search engine is DuckDuckGo which does not track you or filter results based on your personal information.
Tor Browser also works on: Android, Linux, macOS, and Windows.
Mozilla Firefox is one of the popular web browsers after Google Chrome. The reason is it is fast, customizable, and offers a variety of privacy options that are unrivaled by most browsers.
It has built-in ad blocking that stops most popups before they appear on your screen, as well as malware protection which stops malicious programs or scripts from ever reaching your computer.
Mozilla Firefox is not just a browser but also an open-source project dedicated to building a healthy and open internet ecosystem. It is the only major browser that is being developed with a focus on non-profit, non-corporate interests.
Mozilla Firefox invented the “Do Not Track” feature, which allows you to tell websites that you do not want to be tracked online. Moreover, Firefox was the first browser to bring a private browsing mode, which could hide your browsing history from other people using your device as well as other sites.
Firefox also works on: Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, Windows.
DuckDuckGo is a privacy-focused search engine and web browser. Their website claims, “Your personal data is nobody’s business. DuckDuckGo lets you take back your online privacy now.” It emphasizes protecting your privacy and avoiding the filter bubble of personalized search results.
DuckDuckGo Browser allows you to surf the web without leaving any traces on your device or in history files. It uses an anonymous profile for each user, so sites cannot track you based on previous searches. Also, it has built-in ad-blockers and extensions to block trackers from all tracking sites.
Unfortunately, DuckDuckGo Browser is only available on mobile platforms. Until its desktop browser gets released, you can install its extension called “DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials” in your web browser. It blocks third-party trackers, forces websites to use encrypted connections, and does more.
DuckDuckGo also works on: Android, iOS, and web browsers (as an extension).
LibreWolf is a private web browser that is based on Mozilla Firefox. It has been designed to be faster, more secure, and efficient than other browsers.
It offers better protection against fingerprinting and other cross-site tracking mechanisms along with other privacy and security feature improvements.
LibreWolf Browser removes all telemetry features, including data collection, experiments, and other annoyances, along with anti-freedom features like DRM. It also includes uBlock Origin that blocks ads, trackers, and malicious scripts and websites, making your browsing experience a better and faster one.
LibreWolf also works on: Linux, macOS and Windows.
Microsoft Edge is the default web browser on Windows being the successor of the now-retired Internet Explorer. Though the original Edge Browser created by Microsoft was far from being a private browser, the new Chromium-based Edge Browser can be configured for privacy, contrary to common belief.
Microsoft Edge has an extensive menu of privacy settings that allow you to block cookies, disable location services, and other features that could give away your information. It includes tracking protection with three levels: Basic, Balanced, and Strict and supports Secure DNS, making your browsing secure.
Edge also works on: Android, iOS, Linux, macOS and Windows.
Opera Browser is a fast, efficient, and secure browser that provides you with all the tools to browse the Internet conveniently. Ideal for getting things done without distractions, it comes with built-in ad blocking technology, which allows you to block annoying ads.
Moreover, Opera Browser has a built-in no-logging VPN service, with which you can browse anonymously on the Internet. This means that your IP address will be hidden from anyone who tries to track your location or identity. Also, it blocks ads and trackers by default, like most browsers on this list.
Opera also works on: Android, Chromebook, iOS, Linux, macOS and Windows.
Waterfox Browser is built on top of Mozilla Firefox, which has been further optimized for privacy and speed. It includes all core privacy features you’d expect from a modern web browser, including ad and tracker blocking, anti-phishing protection, pop-up blocking, no telemetry data collection, etc.
It features Enhanced Tracking Protection like Firefox Browser, which protects you from online trackers and malicious scripts and sites from harnessing your computer power for malicious purposes like cyberattacks, crypto mining, etc.
Unlike other browsers in the list, it features an offline translation engine for translating web pages without sending the data to an online service.
Waterfox also works on: Linux, macOS and Windows.
9. SRWare Iron
SRWare Iron is a free and open-source web browser with privacy and security features. It is based on Chromium, i.e., it is built on the same engine as Google Chrome, but it comes with extra privacy and security features.
It includes a built-in ad blocker and an anti-phishing feature that blocks sites suspected of phishing attacks, thus providing extra protection to you.
SRWare Iron stands out by disabling or removing many of the tracking features of Google Chrome. For example, it does not come with Alternate Error Pages, Error Reporting, Installation-ID, RLZ-Tracking, URL-Tracking, etc. This makes SRWare Iron one of the top alternatives of Google Chrome.
SRWare Iron also works on: Android, Linux, macOS, and Windows.
Comodo Dragon and IceDragon are privacy-focused web browsers built on top of Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, respectively.
Being built by Comodo (the world’s leading online security and trust assurance innovator), they are private browsers that offer a wide range of features to protect your privacy, making them alternatives to Chrome and Firefox.
Dragon and IceDragon browsers boast an impressive array of security features, including ad-blocking, protection from phishing sites and malicious downloads, URL filtering and tracking protection, automatic updates of its security databases (including the Comodo Secure DNS service), and more.
IceDragon works on Windows only.
That’s all about the private web browsers you can opt for to gain a more private and secure browsing experience. Each browser on this list offers something unique, so it ultimately comes down to your unique needs and wants.
Also, most people, including me use different browsers for different purposes. For example, I use Brave as my daily driver, but when it comes to some sensitive information, I opt for Tor Browser every now and then. Which one did you pick?.