Ranked: The Top Browsers for Security you can use at Home

Have you ever wondered if you are using the best browser for security? Have a look at our list, we’ve researched so you don’t have to! Have a read, you may reconsider your browser of choice.

7. Opera

At the bottom of the list sits Opera. Founded in 1995, Opera is a free web browser for Microsoft Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, and Linux operating systems.

Pros:

Opera markets itself on being secure. The browser has a customisable built-in ad-blocker and uses a tracker blocker, which prevent users from being tracked by advertisers and other websites.

The browser runs on an open-source chromium system which provides fraud and malware protection as well as script blocking.

The browser updates every 4-5 weeks.

Cons:

Opera’s default window caches your data, and its private one will not. Opera does provide ways to customise the default page and it is possible to adjust the settings to make it so the default acts like a private window. But instead of having to opt-out in order to privatise and secure your browsing experience, there are other browsers that do this by default.

In 2016, Opera bought and installed a free built-in VPN. This tracks bandwidth and logs usage, sharing your data with third parties.

Opera was sold and now owned by a China-based company, a country with not the best internet freedom and privacy record and well-known for privacy violations.

Our star rating (out of 5):

6. Edge

Edge was launched in 2015 by Microsoft having collapsed Internet explorer. The free browser has expanded beyond Windows 10 and is available on more operating systems such as Mac, Android and IOS.

Pros:

Like Opera, Edge uses chromium-based coding which means part of its coding is open-source.

The browser updates its security every 6 weeks.

Edge allows you to block pop-ups and send “Do Not Track” requests. The browser does contain security features, albeit basic ones.

Cons:

It was revealed this year that Edge communicates with backend servers. A company spokeswomen had said: “Microsoft Edge sends diagnostic data used for product improvement purposes, which includes a device identifier. On Windows, this identifier enables a single-click ability to delete the related diagnostic data associated with the device ID stored on Microsoft servers at any time (from Windows settings), something which is not offered by all vendors.”

The Browser itself collects the user’s data and can identify your device. you can see more of what is collected here.

Our star rating (out of 5):

5. Chrome

Chrome was launched in and has since been the leader in the browser market share. Its prevalence of Google services, (web search, YouTube, Gmail, Google Docs, etc.), means it has become the most widely used web browser today.

Pros:

Chrome is the best browser for functionality, moreover Google automatically updates Chrome to the latest version every 6-8 weeks, constantly updating its security features.

Google has also encouraged hackers to find faults in its own browser, offering $1 million in rewards for those who succeed, so that the company can improve its product.

It is possible to tweak Chrome’s privacy preferences, and choose among the many extensions for additional security, but this needs research because not all extensions can be trusted.

Cons:

Google is notorious for data collection, tracking and other privacy violations, for example, one of its highest revenues comes from user profiling for ad targeting.

The browser is not open-source, which means its implicit if or how Google might be tracking its users.

Our star rating (out of 5):

4. Brave

Brave was founded in 2016 and marketed as fast performing and privacy focused.

Pros:

Brave like many others is based on open source coding but configured for privacy. It includes features such as ad-blockers, protection against browser fingerprinting, a built- in script blocker and the browser automatically updates to HTTPS. Brave settings give plenty customisation options to make browsing secure as wanted by the user.
Brave uses the chromium codebase which makes it easier for users to use chrome extensions.

Cons:

While Brave blocks ads, it launched its own ad program in April 2019. This has attracted criticism because it uses personal ads over the ads found on websites, therefor profiting from sites without giving credit or payment.

Our star rating (out of 5):

3. Firefox

Firefox was established in 2004 and is the only browser in the ranking that is developed by a non-profit organisation, Mozilla. The browser is highly customisable and is the favoured alternative from Google, Microsoft and Apple browsers.

Pros:

Mozilla is non-profit so its impressive to see its coding volunteers constantly working to ensure Firefox is loaded with the latest security and browsing features, it is updated every 6-8 weeks.

Firefox offers security features such as phishing and malware protection, blocking reported attack websites/ web forgeries and warns users when a site is trying to install add-ons.

While Mozilla markets itself on strong default secure settings, it is still optional to customise a detailed list of privacy and secure settings, which include features such as blocking cookies and third party trackers.

Cons:

None that you cannot overcome by tweaking the settings.

Our star rating (out of 5):

2. Safari

Safari was founded in 2003 and is only available on Apple products, it is also widely used daily by iPhone users since its introduction in 2007 on IOS devices.

Pros:

Safari prevents suspicious sites from loading while alerting users of potential danger while offering a range of useful extensions to secure your privacy.

The browser includes Intelligent Tracking Prevention which prevents websites from tracking users, making it hard for advertisers to target users. It also helps camouflage digital fingerprinting and helps users stay anonymous online.

Cons:

Safari is not open source, so outsiders cannot scrutinise any of its coding.

Safari updates on average 6 times a year, this is a very irregular updating system for the world’s largest technology company. However, Mac users are arguably exposed to fewer internet susceptibilities than PC users.

Our star rating (out of 5):

1. Tor Browser

Tor, released in 2002, is a free and open-source browser that markets itself on anonymous communication. Tor is the acronym “The Onion Router”.

Pros:

Tor is based on Mozilla Firefox’s browser, therefore most of Tor’s updates follow Firefox’s bug fixes and security patches.

No one watching your connection can track your internet activity, Tor does not track your browsing history and clears your cookies every time the user closes the browser. Tor also can reduce the uniqueness of the user’s fingerprint.

Tor is updated frequently and has been praised and the best browser for privacy.

Cons:

Law enforcement and ISPs can see who uses Tor, even if they are not aware what its being used for. For the best security combine Tor with a VPN first and then set up the browser.

Our star rating (out of 5):