What is the safest web browser to use? Is there such a thing as secure browsing? These are essential and perfectly logical questions to ask especially considering the number of activities we now accomplish online. On top of searching for information, people now go online to socialize and connect with people, shop and pay bills, go over business transactions, and more.
Going online is pretty much inevitable. However, there are threats and dangers, from cybercriminals to malware, continuously lurking on the internet. To protect yourself, read on to learn about the best web browser options for safe and secure browsing.
What Is A Web Browser?
A web browser or internet browser is a software program or application that allows people to locate, access, and access web pages. In essence, a browser is your window to the World Wide Web.
Web browsers are primarily utilized for displaying and accessing websites on the internet, but most have evolved to include additional functionalities through plugins. Such plugins may have something to do with security and accessibility and conveniences and data aggregation.
The fact that browsers are utilized for all sorts of web searches and other online activities makes security and privacy a top priority. Most major web browsers have a private browser feature wherein a temporary session, isolated from the main session and user data is created. A secure browser or safe browser, in general, is a web browser that has extra security measures in place. Secure web browsers essentially prevent unauthorized third-party activities while you surf the web.
Web Browsers Ranked Based On Safety, Security, & Privacy
A perfectly secure browser for everyone is something that is yet to exist. There are web browsers, however, that go beyond in terms of safety, security, and privacy. The best browsers certainly have security features proactively keeping users safe as they explore online. Still, the best browser may not be the same for everyone. There are several factors to consider like the device or operating system you use, the activities you typically perform, and what you need from a web browser.
We have here some of the best browsers chosen based on their safety, security, and privacy features. You’ll notice later that each browser has its own strengths so you can choose which one to use based on that.
Here are some of the things we took into consideration in choosing the browsers that made it to the list:
- Warns about “unsafe” sites and downloads.
- Provides ad-king.
- Provides tracker blocking.
- Gives users control over browsing history and cache.
- Enables users to disable cookies.
- Has regular updates.
This privacy browser works on both Android and iOS devices. The DuckDuckGo browser features and utilities are perfectly optimized for mobile browsing. This privacy-focused browser generates ads solely on search results instead of tracking user data to tailor ads. It flags unsecured websites and those with an untypically high number of trackers.
Launched in 2018, DuckDuckGo’s Privacy Browser is built around key features dubbed as “Privacy Essentials” which includes the following:
- Built-in tracker blocking.
- Forced HTTPS whenever possible.
- Privacy Grade website ratings.
- Private search engine.
- Has a “Fire Button” which erases all browsing data in just one tap.
This is another excellent privacy-friendly browser but it only works on Android. Bromite is Chromium-based and provides users with a set of security tools enabled by default.
Here are some of Bromite’s best features:
- Comes with full ad-blocking capabilities (EasyList and uBlock Origin).
- Default stripping of “smart search” for a completely private browsing.
- Always on “Incognito” mode (browsing history and cookies are never stored)
- DNS over HTTPS support.
Epic Privacy Browser has a myriad of privacy features activated by default. The closed-source code aspect might be an issue for more advanced users, but it does have several redeeming features including the following:
- Blocks ads and trackers.
- Blocks browser fingerprinting.
- Does not store browsing history or cache any visited website.
- Deletes browsing history and clears accumulated cookies.
- Comes with an encrypted proxy that effectively secures data.
Waterfox is a Firefox fork without the default data collection. It’s a customizable browser twitch excellent privacy and security settings. This is an exceptional privacy-focused browser but is ranked rather low due to it being acquired by System 1 which is an advertising company. The conflict of interest might be a deal-breaker for some, so we believe it merits mentioning here.
Waterfox, which works on Windows, macOS, and Linux does have good security features which landed it on the list.
- Does not gather user information and browsing history.
- Provides the freedom to run extensions and add-ons of the user’s choice.
- Enhanced privacy and security features.
#6 Microsoft Edge
Edge is a Chromium-based browser, a big improvement over Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. It’s available on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS and comes with good security tools and features including the following:
- SmartScreen anti-phishing tool.
- Three levels of tracker blocking – Basic, Balanced and Strict. The Strict level blocks the majority of trackers and cookies, even those that might be necessary for a website to function. The Balanced level is by far the best as it detects and blocks almost all invasive cookies.
- Supports DNS over HTTPS as a default.
#5 Google Chrome
The Chrome Browser is certainly fast and secure but it does have some privacy issues hence it didn’t rank higher. It is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. Chrome also has a excellent user interface along with tons of useful extensions.
Here are some features and practices that landed Google Chrome on the list:
- Constant updates patching network vulnerabilities, browser glitches, exploitable security holes, and other vulnerabilities.
- Uses Safe Browsing (Google’s massive database of unsafe sites), which is updated daily, to flag suspicious web pages.
- Uses sandboxing to prevent malicious web scripts and invasive trackers from stealing data or hacking devices.
- Provides the option for DNS over HTTPS (DoH).
- Has dozens of ad-blocking and tracker-blocking plug-ins available.
#4 Pale Moon
Pale Moon is an open-source browser offering a myriad of customization options that make it greatly appealing for advanced users. This, however, also implies it is not as easy to use as other browsers on this list.
Pale Moon is available for Windows and Linux and has the following excellent features among others:
- Ad-blocking and tracker-blocking capabilities.
- Minimal data collection.
- Provides several proprietary browser extensions and a range of add-on options.
Brave is a fast browser that works on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. It has a buy-in program called Brave Rewards where users can watch or click on sponsored ads to accumulate BAT (Brave cryptocurrency). The BAT will then be tipped out to sites and content creators of the user’s choice. This is a great way for BAT ads to generate income for content creators without using trackers and pop-ups or selling user data.
Here are Brave’s most promising features:
- Built-in ad-blocker and tracker-blocker in the form of “Shields”.
- Forces HTTPS connections over HTTP whenever possible.
- Has Private Browsing mode which automatically encrypts traffic and hides browsing from your ISP and other snoopers.
#2 Tor Browser (Best Browser for Anonymity)
Tor or The Onion Routing may not be as fast as other browsers but it is the best browser for anonymity or privacy. As advanced as the Tor Browser is, it has a user-friendly interface.
It works on Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android. Tor has the following amazing features:
- “Onion Routing” hides a user’s IP address by routing all web traffic through multiple encrypted servers.
- Hides user activity from ISPs, hackers, trackers, and even governments.
- Only collects usage data to assess browser performance (one of the least intrusive data collection out there).
Mozilla Firefox: The Best and Safest Web Browser
Firefox takes the top spot as the best and safest web browser. It’s fast and lightweight and a very convenient browser that works on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. Moreover, Firefox is an open-source browser and its codebase has been thoroughly scrutinized by those with the proper skill set further ensuring its safety and security.
Many browsers offer intensive security have steep learning curves. Firefox, on the other hand, is a highly-secure browser that comes with many optimization options and is also one of the most intuitive and user-friendly browsers you can find. These characteristics make Firefox an excellent choice for advanced users and non-tech-savvy ones as well.
Here are some of Mozilla Firefox parental controls and security features that landed this browser on the top of the list:
- Protection against malware and phishing.
- Minimal data collection.
- Automatic Blocking of third-party tracking cookies.
- DNS over HTTPS (DoH) encrypted browsing.
- Compatibility with proprietary and third-party security extensions.
Firefox is not a perfect browser but it’s the best choice to answer the question “What is the best and safest web browser?”
None of these browsers are perfect. Each has its strong points as well as weak points. Still, some are certainly better than others. It will be up to you, in the end, to choose the web browser that best fits your needs.