When it comes to the browser domain, there are quite a few notable names. Each has managed to carve out its niche segment based on its USP. While some focus on many customizations, others could brag about being the most stable. However, it is no secret that a privacy-focused browser is the need of the hour.
While there’s always an option of using ad and tracker blockers extensions, browsing in incognito mode, and using VPN software or proxy services, these aren’t closely knitted together and instead work as standalone entities.
On the other hand, privacy-centric browsers usually encapsulate all these features into one package, providing a much more secure working environment. In this regard, quite a few browsers could claim their dominance in this segment.
However, this ultimately creates a problem for the end-user regarding which one to opt for. Well, it’s now time to put all those doubts to rest. This guide will inform you of the best browser from the privacy perspective for your PC and smartphone devices.
So without further ado, let’s get started —
Tor is highly regarded as among the most privacy-enriched browsers, and there are quite a few reasons through which it could justify this claim. One shouldn’t look further than how it can relay the network connection.
Data packets are encrypted and transferred via three layers when they leave your device. In each of these layers, the traffic passes through a random node before ultimately reaching its destination, where it is then decrypted.
Apart from that, Tor Browser also beholds some other valuable features, such as:
- The automatic clearing of all your browser history and cookies as soon as the session is complete.
- They are blocking all the third-party trackers.
- Then by using NoScript, it can protect your device’s unique ID (Fingerprints) from unauthorized access.
- The fact that it doesn’t support most of the plugins is added to its good books, at least if we keep our focus on privacy.
However, the fact that each data packet gets transferred via three separate layers before reaching the intended destination might lead to a slower data exchange rate. The lack of support for extensions might also disappoint a few users. So some trade-off has to be made if you’re going to settle with this browser.
Download Tor Browser: Windows | Mac | Linux | Android
This browser seems to have taken a rather ‘brave’ approach; whether or not it pays off, only time will tell. The browser has replaced all the ads with its own for the unaware.
And if the users are willing to view these ads, they will be rewarded with the browser’s cryptocurrency, Basic Attention Token. You could also send these BAT as a gratitude token to your preferred publishers and sites.
Now, if we turn our attention toward the Brave Browser feature, here are some of the noteworthy ones:
- Built-in blockers are known to stop all disruptive and intrusive ads, and trackers constantly search for your online activities.
- Then it can also hide your fingerprint ID from being read by unauthorized users or scripts.
- Talking about scripts, the browser is known to block most, if not all, harmful scripts.
- Furthermore, it would automatically escalate your connection to the much more secure HTTPS than compared with the native HTTP.
That said, there has been some uncertainty regarding its functionality. One primary concern is how the website owners would benefit from these BATs compared to the tried and tested Ad agencies. As a result, there’s still some reluctance from a significant chunk of the users.
Download Brave: Windows | Mac — Intel/ARM64 | Android | iOS
Some users think Tor becomes overprotective and hence falls short on the UI/UX aspect. If you echo these thoughts, Firefox shall be your go-to choice.
Making a rich balance between user privacy and the GUI, it has managed to checkmark most security flags.
Here are its most helpful privacy features that Firefox could proudly boast of:
- Blocking the annoying popups and harmful trackers.
- Protecting from malware, phishing, and anti-fingerprinting.
- A strict Privacy Level is known to block all the trackers it comes across during your browsing session.
- The ability to customize the security level based on the user’s needs. These include creating your profile and deciding which trackers and cookies you need to block.
However, the browser default sends your interaction and technical data directly to Mozilla. In its defense, it has provided the option to disable the sharing of telemetry data (via the about:preferences#privacy page). But if a browser is focused on privacy first, it should have instead opted to keep this option disabled from the start.
Download Firefox: Windows| Mac | Android | iOS
This browser/extension has climbed the ladders of the best privacy-enriched browsers in no time. While it is majorly known for its hybrid search engine, its standalone browsers are already giving tough competition to Firefox and Tor.
Beholding stringent security measures in its arsenal, it could do full justice to the abovementioned statement.
Then you could also add its below feature set to cement DuckDuckGo’s claim further:
- It automatically checks for the site’s HTTPS version, which shall automatically take you there if found.
- Likewise, it can block all the ads and trackers that pose a risk to your online activities.
- Its Privacy Grade feature gives a rating from A to F to all the sites you visit. So if a browser has a grade of E or F, then it isn’t known to respect user data, and you should probably maintain a safe distance from it.
- It has also baked its search engine, which many consider a much safer alternative to Google and Bing.
- Regarding ease of usage, you can delete all tabs and browsing history with a single button.
However, it isn’t available as a browser for Windows and Mac setups. So while Apple and Android device users could enjoy all its functionalities, PC users would have to settle for its extension, which in the true sense, is just a shadow of its browser.
Download DuckDuckGo: Chrome [Extension] | Safari [Extension] | Android | iOS
While it has been over a decade since this browser first launched, little is known about it. Well, it could even be the least popular browser on this list.
But keeping all that aside, it deserves credit where it is due. One of its most striking features is the inbuilt proxy that cants your data and even maps your IP Address, allowing access to geo-restricted contents.
Apart from that, there are a few other nifty baked-in privacy features, including:
- The ability to block data trackers, ads, and cookies
- Likewise, it offers the DuckDuckGo search engine as the default one.
- There are no auto-fills, support for plugins, or sync functionality. As a result, it doesn’t save any data on its server, not even the auto-suggested keywords.
However, these restrictions are a lot for some users, even if they consider privacy. We leave that decision up to individual users, but if you believe the restrictions are crossing the limits, then the five other browsers in this list have covered you.
Download Epic Browser: Windows | Mac | Android | iOS
The entry of this offering from Microsoft in the Privacy segment might raise a few eyebrows. However, since it transitioned from the legacy to the Chromium build, it has taken some great strife toward strengthening user privacy.
While it has already established itself as a handy alternative to Chrome, it might soon stand next to Firefox in the priority queue.
On that note, here are some of the browser’s essential security features that managed to give it a place in this list:
- It comes with three levels of privacy: Basic, Balanced, and Strict. As evident from their names, the third level (Strict) blocks all the trackers and scripts from loading. It may also result in the breaking of some old sites, so choose accordingly.
- There’s also an option to block those intrusive popup ads that disrupt the typical workflow.
- However, its Defender SmartScreen feature takes away all the limelight. This recently added functionality will warn you if the site you are about to visit belongs to the phishing or malware category.
- Likewise, it will automatically block all downloads from untrusted and dangerous sources.
But there is one area of concern: the browser will send the data related to how “you use the browser, websites you visit, and crash reports.” This option has been enabled by default and can only be disabled by digging deep into the Settings page (Optional Diagnostic Data section), which might easily escape from the eyes of the general users.
Download Microsoft Edge: Windows | Mac | Android | iOS
So this was all from this list of the best browsers for privacy-focused users. As you might have noticed, each has unique ways to counter online privacy and protect user data.
In this regard, some have gone to the extent of restricting the standard browser functionality in exchange for a privacy-centric approach.
As per my preference, I have settled with the Firefox browser since it acts equitably, giving equal weightage to the security/privacy aspect and the UI/UX.
If you still want to enhance the privacy and security of your browsing data, then you should consider using a VPN service. No matter which browser you use, the data is protected and safeguarded from intruders.
Well, this was from my end; what’s your take on this? Do let us know which browser you ultimately settled for.
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