Web browsers are the most crucial aspect of our online presence since most online browsing and activities happen. However, these web browsers are also why your information is left vulnerable for anyone to spy on. Various browsing features designed for your ease, such as “autofill information” or “cookies and trackers,” are often the root cause of your data leaks.
Mainstream browsers of your choice rather than Chrome, Microsoft Edge, or Safari are active tools for data collection. These browsers collect and hoard your data to send it to advertisers through trackers, cookies, and browser fingerprinting methods. Moreover, vulnerabilities within them readily expose your information to cybercriminals.
A solution to maintaining browser privacy is to use one of the best private browsers mentioned in this article. They are typically designed to enhance your online security and protect your data from all third parties.
8 Best Private Browsers to Use For Maximum Online Protection
When you’re choosing the best private browsers, don’t ever compromise on privacy and security. There are some factors that you should also consider while selecting the best browsers for privacy. These factors include:
- Supported extensions
- Ad Blocker
The latter part of the article provides a detailed insight into the eight best private browsers for maximum online protection based on all these factors. Use any of them that matches your needs and browse the web without the fear of getting tracked.
So, let’s get started.
1. Tor Browser
The first best privacy browser in our list is the Tor browser. It was founded in 2002 to provide online anonymity and carry out private communications. The private web browser is free to download and compatible with all major platforms and operating systems except iOS. It provides layer encryption in which proxy servers or a system of nodes encrypts your traffic in three nodes to hide your IP address and identity on the web.
Layer to layer routing prevents ISP tracking, and thus it is widely used to access the deep and the dark web, which other browsers can’t access. For this reason, journalists, social activists, and whistleblowers widely use the Tor browser.
Tor browser is privacy-savvy as it enables users to boost their online security by configuring certain web features. For instance, you can adjust your tracking setting to increase your anonymity level. Also, by increasing the security level of the Tor browser, you can achieve the desired level of online protection.
The web browser comes with the following privacy-centered features:
- By default, the browser is set to private browsing mode, which means that it deletes all the cookies and site data when you close the browser.
- It protects against browser fingerprinting.
- It uses No Script and HTTPS Everywhere extensions which come as pre-installed.
Though the Tor browser offers features that other browsers don’t, some severe privacy loopholes need to be patched.
Firstly, the Tor browser fails to provide actual data encryption to the users. Instead of encrypting the entire data, it gives layered encryption, and when the data leaves the exit node, it goes unencrypted. This makes Tor exit nodes vulnerable to attacks. Also, your ISP can see that you’re using the Tor browser so that it can throttle your connection. By using Tor over a VPN, you can fix these issues.
2. Mozilla Firefox
Mozilla Firefox is an open-source private web browser that has been helping users to maintain online anonymity for the last 13 years. It operates on all major operating systems and devices, including Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, and Windows.
Firefox is among those few private web browsers that have undergone a third-party audit. Cure53 and Radically Open Security audited the browser and found no potential security flaws and vulnerabilities. It proves that Firefox lives up to its claim of providing maximum online protection and is reliable to use.
It offers an exceptional level of privacy and security to the users. Like other browsers, Firefox comes with a variety of browser extensions, regular updates, and customization that helps to enhance your online security. It is named as the great all-rounder best private browser because of its privacy-focused features. Some of these features include:
- The Enhanced Tracking Protection feature that blocks all trackers and follows you from one website to the other.
- It offers an ad-blocker extension that prevents intrusive ads from popping up and interrupting your browser experience.
- Like the Tor browser, Firefox also offers a private browsing mode that doesn’t remember your browsing history and logins.
- With the content blocking feature, you can easily block browser fingerprinting.
With all these features, Firefox emerges as the best private browser. The only issue with this browser is that configuring the browser settings takes time, and many users find it challenging.
3. Brave Browser
The brave browser is another private web browser that promises users to offer complete online protection over the web. Its lightweight nature increases its overall efficiency, and thus, it is an excellent choice to use on Android devices.
It is an open-sourced chromium-based browser that adds more functionality to your browsing experience and is available on all major platforms. With approximately 32 million users, the brave browser is quite popular among the users. All credit goes to its ad program for this popularity that benefits users by earning some ad-generated revenue.
It is one of the best private browsers to use that guarantees a top-notch level of privacy because:
- It comes with an automatic script blocker and HTTPS Everywhere that blocks all trackers and protects your data from ISP tracking.
- The private web browser blocks unauthorized fingerprinting attempts and stops unsecured scripts from loading.
- Unlike other mainstream browsers, it offers WebRTC leak protection that prevents IP leaks.
- The brave browser comes with a Brave Shield feature that blocks intrusive ads and cookies and ensures a safe and secure browsing experience.
- Another impressive feature of the brave browser is that it offers a password manager. It manages your passwords across different accounts and prevents them from getting stored in the browser.
- Sandboxing prevents malware or spyware from infecting your devices.
Overall, the brave browser is quite effective, but the thing that is concerning is that it offers a few add-ons, plugins, and extensions.
4. Epic Privacy Browser
Epic Privacy browser is yet another chromium-based browser that offers robust security and online protection and thus is the best privacy browser for privacy. The browser is available on all major devices and platforms and is safe to use because:
- It comes with a built-in ad blocker that efficiently blocks all ads and trackers that contain malware and aims to infect your device.
- When you close the browser, the browser automatically deletes the browsing history and locally stored data within your device.
- The Do Not Track option prevents the browser from tracking you on every website you visit.
- It re-routes the DNS requests via an encrypted proxy which enhances your online privacy.
- The one-click encrypted proxy option hides your IP address and browsing history and stops any snooping eye from tracking you.
Besides this, this private web browser supports add-ons like the Lastpass and other pre-installed extensions. The browser promises not to store your autofill information, DNS web cache, and passwords for more online protection. Moreover, it also blocks all such web analytics that tracks your online activities.
The only issue with this browser is that it is open-source, and some people don’t like it.
Another best browser for privacy on our list is the DuckDuck Go, which is free and open-source. It is the oldest browser available and comes as a complete solution for private browsing.
The browser claims to increase your online privacy and security by blocking the hidden third-party trackers available on the websites you visit. In this way, it also stops ad companies from collecting your data.
DuckDuckGo offers an easy-to-use interface and is a feature-packed browser that offers impressive privacy features such as:
- It allows users to use HTTPS Everywhere as it encrypts the data while it reaches any website.
- They’ve their tracker blocker that prevents advertisers from tracking your online behavior.
- The browser also comes with a privacy rating meter. It is a new feature that many other browsers lack. Whenever you visit any website, this meter will inform you whether the website you’re using is secure to use or not.
- DuckDuckGo uses the Smarter Encryption Technology that upgrades your connection automatically. By doing so, you can use the encrypted version of the websites and remain secure from all snooping eyes.
- With the data burn and fire tab button, you can clear all your browsing data and boost your security level.
There is a minor drawback of this browser, and it is that it doesn’t have a standalone browser for desktop.
6. Iridium Browser
Iridium browser is also among the best privacy browsers developed by members of the Open Source Business Alliance. Like DuckDuckGo, it has a clean user interface and offers various plugins to use from the Chrome Web Store.
It offers some fantastic privacy-enriched features that make your online web browsing experience worth amazing. These features include:
- It automatically blocks all cookies and trackers that collect and sell your data to third parties.
- It is up to the users to use Qwant or DuckDuck Go as their default search engine instead of Google. By doing so, it prevents storing your location and other browsing data.
- The safe browsing option transfers the data from any unsecured sites to the developers, and then they maintain a list of harmful URLs.
There are two issues with the Iridium browser. You need to install the updates manually, and many found this pretty annoying. Moreover, it is only available on Mac and Windows platforms so, if you’re an Android or iOS user, you have to look for other alternatives.
7. Puffin Browser
Developed by the American-based mobile technology company CloudMosa, the Puffin browser is another choice to consider for private browsing. Puffin Browser has been in the market since
2010 and is quite popular among the users because of its multi-platform nature. It not just works well on Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows but is also the right choice for Android TV and Raspberry Pi.
This private browser is safe to use because of the following reasons:
- Under the private browsing mode, it keeps your browsing activities private.
- It comes with an encrypted cloud system that prevents data leaks.
- You can utilize the cloud service to combat malware invasion and other possible threats with the isolation feature.
However, there are some severe drawbacks to using the Puffin browser. It doesn’t offer any browser extension for enhanced online protection. It uses proxy servers that hide the IP address but don’t provide data encryption. Hence, you should always use a VPN along with the Puffin browser for enhanced online protection.
8. Pale Moon
The last best private browser in our list is the pale moon. It is a lightweight, highly customizable, and open-source fork of Firefox whose codes are separated from Firefox. It supports many of the Firefox add-ons but not all of them.
Although it lacks privacy features still, it is the best private web browser because:
- The browser doesn’t contain any privacy-invading software.
- It has superior fonts and gradients.
- It offers speedy and smooth page drawing and script processing.
The private web browser is only available for Linux and Windows platforms. Users often complain that Pale Moon lags behind security updates. In reality, it takes up to a week before Mozilla Firefox allows the Pale Moon developers to access the latest patches and soon implement them when they’re released.
Are Private Browsers Safe Enough?
Admittedly private browsers allow you to enjoy browser security and ensure anonymous browsing. They provide privacy by blocking malicious ads, malware, or trackers. Apart from that, most of these browsers also come with crypto-jacking protection and browser fingerprinting protection.
However, attaining complete anonymity online is a challenging task. Even after using private browsers, any app you might be using in the background might disrupt your online anonymity. Moreover, while the private browser might protect you from malware and data tracking, they don’t encrypt your data, so you are essentially sending out your information unprotected even with a private browser.
The best solution is to pair a private browser with a reliable VPN provider to mitigate these issues. A VPN is the best privacy-enhancing tool that encrypts data traffic. It obscures your IP address and location, making it impossible for anyone to detect what you’re doing online.
What Browser Has the Best Privacy?
As per features, Mozilla Firefox and Tor browser are the best private browsers for privacy. Both of them offer a wide variety of privacy and security-focused features that ensures maximum online anonymity. They come with browser extensions for enhanced protection. Moreover, they have an ad blocker that blocks all tracks and ads that want to collect their data and later sell it to third parties.
Mozilla Firefox is better than the Tor browser because it doesn’t cause any speed throttling issues. But for enhanced protection, it is better that you should use a VPN first and then use private web browsers. A VPN, by encrypting the data, leaves no room for tracking and online surveillance.
Why Should Not Use Private or Incognito Mode?
To deal with this privacy issue, people use their secure browsers in privacy-protecting modes, Incognito in Google Chrome, InPrivate in Microsoft Edge, and Private Browsing in Apple Safari and Opera. Sadly, using popular browsers in incognito or private mode will not protect you.
Your IP address and other sensitive information can be visible to the data collectors, and third parties can easily track your activities. In June 2021, Google issued a lawsuit of $5 billion for monitoring US internet users in Incognito mode. Other drawbacks of using private browsing or incognito mode include:
- Websites can track you using the browser fingerprinting method.
- The malware and keylogger installed on your system can track your online activities.
- Anything you download or bookmark is saved as normal.
- Websites can see your real IP address.
For all these reasons, don’t use private browsing or incognito mode.
Finding out the best private browsers all comes down to your unique needs and specifications. You should use a private web browser to control your data and boost your digital privacy wholly based on your needs.