Most Secure Web Browsers: Stay Safe Online

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#1

tor3

BEST OVERALL

Tor

#2

brave logo1

Brave

#3

Firefox

#4

epic privacy logo

Epic

#5

chrome

Google Chrome

You might not worry about your privacy online when using various browsers because hacking and identity theft only happens to other people.

Or so you assume, even though you know that anyone can be vulnerable to online threats.

What’s one of the most common online privacy threats? Unsecured web browsing is one of the most common and dangerous threats to your privacy (via Pocket-Lint).

This is because your personal information should be secured so that it doesn’t go to people who want to use it maliciously.

But, where do you start to make your online browsing safer?

If you want to protect your online privacy, one of the most important things you need to do right now is choosing a safer web browser.

Read on to discover five of the most secure web browsers that are free and have many features to keep you safe. 

Best Overall: Tor

Tor

Tor makes the top spot in our reviews of the safest and most secure web browsers for good reasons. Let’s check them out. 

Specs

  • Size: 69.3MB
  • RAM Usage: 2MB
  • Free: Yes

Pros

  • Tor is completely free to use. This is as a result of how it was made by volunteers. As a bonus, it also has open-source code that anyone can review and change. This is also valuable because it ensures that people can report bugs they’ve experienced so that Tor can become better. 
  • This is the most secure web browser because it directs your data through the Onion network, which is basically a series of nodes to make your traffic completely untraceable. This means that criminals won’t be able to find out your identity or track what you do online.
  • Tor has a private server network that’s decentralized. Why that’s important is because it requires you to not have to trust a private company with your sensitive data.
  • Tor makes use of DuckDuckGo. This is a search engine that’s focused on maintaining people’s privacy. It refrains from collecting or sharing your information. This also has the benefit of preventing your search results from having ads, which are not only annoying to have to deal with when you’re working but can contain malware.
  • Tor has nice security features in place. These include HTTPS Everywhere, which opens safer versions of websites that you visit. It also makes use of NoScript, which blocks Flash and Javascript. Since these can be manipulated by online hackers, you’ll be much safer using Tor.

Cons

  • While you’ll be able to enjoy much safer web browsing if you use Tor, the downside is that your browsing experience will be a bit slower. This is because of how the web traffic has to move through the network nodes, so pages will take a bit longer to load.
  • You might not be able to access all websites. This is because how some websites block Tor, so they won’t load properly or they might give you error messages. Why do some websites do this? Some fraudsters tend to use Tor so that they can mask their true identities, and so illegal usage has caused some websites as well as ISPs to block Tor.

Runner Up: Brave 

Brave

Brave is a safe browser that’s loved by many, mainly because it keeps you safe online while ensuring that you don’t have to slow down when searching for information you need.

Safe and fast internet browsing is possible! Here’s what you need to know about Brave and why it’s one of the best web browsers for privacy. 

Specs

  • Size: 28MB
  • RAM Usage: N/A
  • Free: Yes

Pros

  • One of the features of Brave that you’ll love is that it allows you to browse three times faster than what you’ll experience with other browsers, such as Chrome. This is great for when you’re working.
  • This is the most secure internet browser because not only does Brave enable faster online searches, but it blocks online monitoring and uses 35 percent less battery (via Brave), such as when using it on your mobile device. This means that you don’t have to worry about recharging your device when you’re on the move.
  • Brave has an ad and cookie blocker, known as Brave Shield, which makes it impossible for advertisers to track you. When ads are blocked, this contributes to making the Brave browser much faster because the loading of ads can slow down your browsing.
  • However, Brave makes use of its own advertising program that will show you certain ads. You’ll be rewarded with a percentage of the ad revenue in Brave’s cryptocurrency known as BAT. The good news is that this information doesn’t leave your browser so you won’t be vulnerable to privacy issues.
  • Brave is a version of Chromium that’s based on Google’s Chrome. It has many security features to offer users, such as upgrading websites to HTTPS, which is safer, and preventing malware from leaving your browser and affecting your computer or another device.
  • Since it’s based on Google Chrome, Brave can work with Chrome extensions. This is great if you’re a Chrome fan.
  • Brave prevents browser fingerprinting, which means that sensitive details about you are blocked. These can include your IP address and your operating system information, so your online activity can’t be monitored. 

Cons 

  • While using Brave, you might have to deal with some bugs. Luckily, these are not happening as frequently as they used to because Brave has been doing regular updates to fine-tune its product.
  • There’s also the issue of battery life that you have to deal with. Brave focuses on hardware acceleration, and that comes with the drawback of using more battery as compared to other web browsers. So, even though Brave is said to use less battery, this isn’t always the case.

Alternative: Firefox

Firefox

You’re probably familiar with Firefox, but what makes it safe? Here are some important features to know. 

Specs

  • Size: 40MB
  • RAM Usage: 8MB
  • Free: Yes

Pros

  • Firefox has many extensions that you can make use of if you want to bump up your online security. A popular one is HTTPS Everywhere and another one worth having is NoScript.
  • It also makes use of fingerprinting protection and crypto-jacking protection. The latter prevents cryptocurrency miners from being able to invade your device via Javascript.
  • Since it updates its browser on a regular basis, Firefox ensures that your security will always be at its best and you’ll have the most up-to-date software to use.
  • Firefox only collects its users non-identifying data to ensure its software can become better. So, no identifying details of yours will be handed over to third parties.
  • Firefox is the best web browser partly because it’s been fully audited. This is important because it ensures that no security issues were identified that could be damaging to its users.
  • One of the best things about using Firefox is that it doesn’t compromise your online activity with a lack of user-friendliness. For example, you can make use of features you’re used to with browsers such as tabbed browsing. It also has embedded memory, so that if you lose a browsing session it will be resumed when you reboot your machine. It’s these little things that make Firefox a user-friendly and convenient browser.
  • Firefox is also one of the best web browsers for Mac because it improves the battery life of Mac laptops. 

Cons

  • One small gripe with Firefox is that its padlock icon that signifies a secure connection online is really small and quite difficult to notice. This could result in you using an unsafe website without realizing it.
  • A bigger gripe is how Firefox doesn’t perform well on all platforms, and this has especially been found to be the case on mobile devices. In addition to that, some websites won’t be compatible with Firefox, which will result in them not being displayed properly.

Alternative: Epic

Epic

This is another Chromium-based and secure browser. Let’s check it out in greater detail to see what it has to offer.

Specs

  • Size: 1.83MB
  • RAM Usage: 8MB
  • Free: Yes

Pros 

  • This browser has an in-built VPN so it redirects internet traffic through it. This benefits you because it decreases your online footprint, and you won’t be able to get tracked.
  • Don’t you hate having to clear your browser history daily? Epic will automatically do that for you after every internet session. It also blocks all third-party cookies.
  • Epic stores all your browsing activity on your device instead of on the browser, which is safer (as long as you ensure your device is protected).
  • Epic fares well when keeping you private online as it blocks web trackers, crypto mining, and ads.
  • With just one click, you’ll be able to redirect your internet surfing through Epic’s built-in proxy. This is useful if you want to hide your IP address so that you can’t be monitored online.
  • Epic is all about user-friendliness. Its home page contains eight panels that can be designated to your favorite sites. Just bear in mind that you’ll have to click the panels to input the URLs you want, as Epic doesn’t keep any of your browsing history.
  • Epic won’t give you suggestions when you’re typing in the search bar and it doesn’t send data to websites that you link to from the results it gives you during a search. These features definitely make you feel more secure online.

Cons

  • Something you might find a bit frustrating with Epic is that it doesn’t make use of some search modifiers. This can slow down your online searches.
  • Since Epic doesn’t work with password managers, you’ll have to ensure you keep track of all your passwords. While this can prove frustrating, at the end of the day it’s a small price to pay for greater privacy online. 

Alternative: Google Chrome

Google Chrome

Chrome is familiar and popular all over the world and it’s considered to be one of the most commonly used browsers. This could make you feel inclined to use it. But is it safe? Here’s what you should know.

Specs

  • Size: 30.3MB
  • RAM Usage: 8MB
  • Free: Yes

Pros 

  • Although you might worry about your online privacy, Google Chrome does bring good safety and security features to the table. For example, it will warn you about malware and phishing attempts that are made on your device.
  • It updates itself regularly, which ensures greater protection. In fact, Google Chrome gets automatically updated every six to eight weeks. This means that you’ll always have the most up-to-date features to enjoy when browsing the internet, and the most recent security features. 
  • If you take your security into your own hands (which you really should), you can block cookies and trackers in the Google Chrome settings.
  • You also have the chance to download various browser extensions, which will boost your online security. An example of a good extension to download is Privacy Badger which blocks malware, ads, and trackers.
  • Interestingly, in the past, Google encouraged hackers to find any weak spots in its browser. This is one of the ways in which the company has continued striving to improve its product.
  • Google has an incognito browsing window that you can use to further increase your privacy. When you leave this browsing option, your browser history, cookies, site data, the information you’ve entered in online forms, and permissions that you’ve given websites won’t be saved by Chrome. 

Cons

  • One of the biggest concerns with Google Chrome is that people worry about how safe and private it is because it’s owned by Google, a company known for tracking users. For example, Google is now making use of a tracking mechanism called Federated Learning Of Cohorts (FLoC), which groups users who share similar interests together based on their browsing histories.
  • Another thing you might not like about Google Chrome is that it uses more RAM than other popular browsers. This can put a strain on your device.
  • Although Google’s Incognito Mode can make you feel safer when you search anonymously, it does have some loopholes. While it prevents browser history from being stored on your device, it doesn’t protect you from websites that collect your data. 

Most Secure Web Browsers FAQ

If you have your heart set on getting the best web browser for increased privacy online, there is some important information you need to know.

Here are some of the most common questions pertaining to secure browsers, such as what web browsers use the least amount of RAM. Let’s explore them.   

Is DuckDuckGo a Browser?

Is DuckDuckGo a browser?

DuckDuckGo is actually a search engine. So, you might be wondering what the differences are between search engines and browsers.

Here’s the lowdown: a browser gives you access to the internet while a search engine enables you to search the internet. You need to have a browser in order to make use of a search engine.

In order to use DuckDuckGo, you’ll have to open its webpage in any web browser of your choice. You can also set DuckDuckGo as your preferred search engine or even make it an extension in your current web browser. 

When you use the DuckDuckGo search page, you’ll find it’s similar to other search engines, such as Google.

There’s one field in which you will enter your search and the results that come up are taken from hundreds of sources, such as Yahoo, Bing, and DuckDuckGo’s web crawler.

There are also menus at the top of your search results that you can use to customize your results.

DuckDuckGo is big on privacy. It has many features in place to ensure this, such as the following:

  • DuckDuckGo ensures the complete anonymity of its users, thanks to how it follows strict privacy rules. Whenever you search for something on DuckDuckGo, there’ll be a blank search history.
  • DuckDuckGo doesn’t store any information about its users that can be tracked to them personally. It doesn’t even log any information that could tie anonymous searches together into an anonymous search history, and which can end up being de-anonymized. 

It’s therefore clear to see that with all these privacy measures in place DuckDuckGo can’t know how many people use its service! 

Is Firefox Owned By Google?

Is Firefox Owned By Google?

Firefox is not owned by Google. Rather, it’s owned by Mozilla. This is a free software community that was established in 1998 by members of Netscape.

Some people assume that Firefox is owned by Google because Mozilla and Google have an agreement to keep Google as the default search engine in the Firefox browser, and this is said to last until at least 2023.

The partnership between the two companies is continuous and doesn’t seem to be on the cards to change for the time being.

Can I Have Firefox And Chrome On The Same Computer?

If you’re a fan of both Firefox and Chrome, you might wish to use both on the same computer. The good news is that you can do this, and you can add a few other browsers without causing any harm to your computer.

However, if you want to have Firefox and Chrome on the same computer, there is a catch. One of them will have to be your default browser.

Your machine, such as if it’s running on Windows, will need to know the browser it should use when you open links in programs.

And, certain programs might need to be coded to only use Internet Explorer, so it’s actually advised that you don’t delete that from your machine.

Which Web browser uses the least RAM?

When it comes to choosing a safe web browser that will increase your online privacy, one of the drawbacks is that some browsers will consume a large amount of RAM on your computer.

Luckily, there are web browsers that consume the least amount of RAM. Let’s check them out.

  • Pale Moon. This browser needs 300MB of disk space and 256MB of RAM, so it’s really light on your device.
  • K-Meleon. This is a browser that works well on Linux and Win64 machines. It’s lightweight and fast, and only needs 70MB of disk space, although it’s recommended that you use 256MB of RAM.
  • Opera. This internet browser can be customized with add-ons and it loads web pages much faster than other browsers. Opera is light on your computer, and only uses approximately 790MB. 

However, it’s worth noting that low RAM usage isn’t enough to look for in a browser. The above browsers don’t offer as much in terms of features and privacy, which are more important.

That’s why trying to find a browser that’s safe to use, protects your data, and is light on RAM is worthwhile.

A good example is Epic. We featured Epic in our reviews earlier in this article, and it only makes use of 1.8MB of RAM. This is quite a lot less than other private browsers we featured in our article. 

Conclusion 

Think of everything you do online on a daily basis – yup, it’s a lot! You therefore want greater privacy online, so you need to ensure you start using a secure web browser.

In this article, we’ve outlined five of the most effective web browsers that prevent tracking, monitoring, and other privacy concerns.

These will ensure you can achieve better privacy and protect your sensitive information so it doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.

We’ve also looked at some important information to know about safe browsers so you can learn more about them and choose the best one for your needs, such as when it comes to its RAM requirements.

Resources


Paul Stephens

Paul Stephens

Paul Stephens is a veteran internet security expert who has worked with many security research companies across the world. During his career, he has helped thousands of individuals and organizations to retrieve their infected devices and stay away from potential threats. He wants to continue his legacy via ComputerPrivacy.org, focusing on privacy-related news, how-to guides, and hands-on reviews. With the core objective of making the internet a safer space, Paul Stephens keeps himself up to date about everything related to digital security and privacy. When he is not checking out new hardware or doing some research, Paul can be found with his favorite piano lessons.

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