In the recent years, we have been spending more and more time online – in fact, it seems that our digital addiction is growing by the day since we're spending almost double the time online now than we did 10 years ago.
A lot of that time is spent in a web browser – whether we're searching for information on Google, watching a video on YouTube or buying new shoes on eBay. But we rarely think about our privacy and security while we're doing these things.
However, using a reliable browser is crucial for protecting ourselves online and keeping our data safe and private.
Popular Browsers Not As Safe As You Think
Even though the majority of people browses the web through one of the popular options such as Google Chrome, Opera and Safari, these browsers are not as safe as you may believe.
In fact, Google Chrome – like all other Google products – was designed for data collection. So basically, everything you do while using Chrome is sent straight to Google, which can essentially do anything they want with that data. Mostly, this information is used to help Google maintain its dominance in advertising, but it's truly scary to think about all the data we're deliberately handing over to Google.
Similarly, Opera is not so famous for its attention to privacy. Although this browser offers you to customize your privacy settings, it's pretty much tracking and caching all your online activities.
Probably the worst option when it comes to web browsers is the infamous Microsoft Internet Explorer – recently reimagined as Edge. Both versions are pretty much useless when it comes to protecting your privacy. And while the old Internet Explorer did offer a Tracking Protection feature that could prevent websites from sharing your browsing activities, Edge doesn't have that option at all.
Best Web Browsers For Privacy And Security
You don't have to give up browsing – there are still some safe options out there. So, now that you know which browsers to avoid, it's time to discover the best web browsers for privacy and security.
Brave is an open-source, Chromium-based web browser that is focused on user privacy. Built by Brandon Eich, a former Mozilla developer, Brave is aiming to 'fix the web' and enable private, secure and fast browsing.
Brave has a built-in ad blocker and it also prevents trackers to spy on your identity, location and browsing activities. On top of that, it features HTTPS Everywhere that automatically upgrades unencrypted websites to HTTPS, and it includes a script blocker.
Although it's still relatively new, Brave is evolving rapidly into a serious alternative to popular browsers.
2. Tor Browser
One of the pioneers of safe browsing, Tor Browser was built in 2002 as a result of frequent privacy issues happening online. It's based on Firefox browser and it runs on Tor network which is protecting the users' privacy by masking your identity and activity through three layers of encryption.
Tor browser protects you from website fingerprinting and clears your browsing history and cookies after each session. But most importantly, Tor keeps you completely anonymous while browsing due to encryption that hides your online traffic from all prying eyes.
If you're not ready to say goodbye to Google Chrome just yet, you might want to try its less shady baby brother Chromium.
Chromium is a completely open-source version of Google Chrome without the privacy issues that come with the more popular version of the browser. In other words, Chromium will give you all the functionalities we all love in Chrome but you won't have to worry about your data being sent to Google.
Still, Chromium has minor privacy issues such as leaving you vulnerable to WebRTC leaks, but you can easily solve this problem with a VPN.
4. Mozilla Firefox
Not all popular web browsers are unsafe. Mozilla Firefox is one of the giants that has made our list.
Firefox has rightfully earned its spot among the most famous browsers used all around the world and it's easy to understand why. Alongside its versatile functionalities, Firefox is also vigilant about protecting its users' privacy and security. Using Firefox, you're safe from malware and phishing, suspicious websites and unwanted add-ons.
When it comes to privacy, Firefox allows users to block all trackers and has many customization options and extensions that will let you further enhance your privacy online.
5. Epic Privacy Browser
Epic Privacy Browser is another Chromium-based web browser that has a cool trick up its sleeve – the encrypted proxy feature that disguises your IP address and encrypts your browsing data. This is like a built-in VPN for your browser that hides your browsing history from the ISP and other spying eyes and protects you from other online dangers.
Among other things, Epic blocks ads and trackers, protects you from fingerprinting, hides all your online activity and deletes your history after each session. This way you're even protected on the public network and Wi-Fi.
Power Up Your Online Privacy
The ugly truth is that whenever you're browsing the Internet, you're being followed. Or rather, your activities are being tracked, stored, shared and used by third parties for many different purposes. Using one of these five web browsers will help you protect your privacy and feel safer while you're browsing online.
However, not even these browsers will keep you 100% protected from all the online dangers. That's why the best way to power up your privacy and security is to combine a secure browser and a VPN service that will protect you and give you much more freedom online.