What is the most secure browser for Windows?
If you were to check which apps you use the most on your Windows PC, the browser would probably top the list. Chances are, that browser is Google Chrome, as it’s by far the most popular app of its kind in the world.
But if you care about security, there are many better options than Chrome. So, what are the safest and most secure web browsers for Windows that also protect your privacy?
Launched around 20 years ago as a more secure and lightweight alternative to Internet Explorer and similar browsers, Firefox quickly rose to fame for its security and privacy features. Today, Firefox has millions of users and remains a great option for those who want a fast and reliable browser, but care about privacy and data protection.
Firefox is open source, frequently updated, and supports all sorts of extensions and add-ons, which should be more than enough for the average user.
But Firefox appealed to more advanced users for a reason: it’s highly customizable.
Even simple tweaks, like improved tracking protection (the browser has Standard, strictand Custom privacy levels, which you can tinker with in the Privacy and Security settings area), can make all the difference.
Through the Privacy and Security you can also choose how Firefox handles the files you download, enable or disable automatic updates, manage tracking and cookie exceptions, and tinker with various other security and privacy features.
Firefox has power for a reason. Even after two decades, it’s one of the best privacy and security-focused browsers on the market, suitable for both novice and advanced users.
To download: Firefox (Free)
Brave has grown rapidly since its release in 2019, first attracting tech enthusiasts and then tens of millions of users, and for good reason.
What makes Brave unique is that you don’t need to change settings or install ad blockers and other extensions to search the web safely and privately: it’s all built in.
For starters, Brave automatically tries to change all websites to HTTPS (more secure than HTTP sites, due to encryption), blocks ads, scripts, and trackers
Not having to install ad blockers and extensions is obviously great, but the downside is that some pages don’t always load completely, although you can easily work around this by disabling the Shields feature.
But because it blocks ads, trackers, and scripts by default, Brave is blazingly fast, so the potential hassle of disabling Shields on occasion is well worth it.
Additionally, Brave has built-in access to the Tor network, which not only conceals your location, but also makes it much harder for anyone to track your online behavior. Admittedly, Tor itself isn’t completely anonymous, but just by having this feature available out of the box, Brave is miles ahead of most browsers in terms of privacy and security.
To download: Brave (Free)
3. Pale Moon
If you love Firefox for its customizable features, then you’ll love Pale Moon, which was originally a fork of Firefox and is by far the most customizable browser available today.
Pale Moon’s official motto is “Your Browser, Your Way”, which says a lot about its user base: This is a browser for advanced users, computer enthusiasts, people who love play with software in general. If you belong to this category, you will hardly find a better browser than Pale Moon, which has synchronization capabilities, security indicators and a detailed permissions manager.
In the permissions manager, you can prevent any domain from storing your cookies and data, showing pop-ups, installing extensions, loading images, and more.
Most browsers allow users to set a general cookie and data policy, but few allow you to set specific rules and limitations for each domain you visit. Pale Moon is therefore certainly unique in this respect.
Pale Moon also has its own plugins, as well as a number of custom themes. And more importantly, as an open source program, it has a very active community of developers, which means it is regularly updated and therefore improved.
Pale Moon’s biggest strength is also its biggest weakness: it’s a one-of-a-kind browser with strong privacy and security features, but it’s just not for everyone. If you’re a tech enthusiast, you’ll probably like it. And if not, you’re better off with Firefox or Brave.
To download: Pale Moon (Free)
Tor, short for The Onion Router, is basically a protocol that enables anonymous internet communication by sending user traffic through different servers, thereby obfuscating their browsing.
The Tor Browser is the official browser for this project, and just like Pale Moon, it’s basically a modified version of Firefox.
By default, Tor will mask your IP address, location, and other data that would be used to identify you or track your online behavior and Internet browsing habits. You can easily improve these default privacy and security settings by clicking the Shield next to the browser URL bar and changing the icon security level of Standard at Safer Where Safest.
Through the Security settings page, you can also disable certificates, enable HTTPS mode onlyand modify the other privacy settings according to your preferences.
While essentially offering maximum security and privacy, Tor is very simple and easy to use, so it’s a good option for casual and intermediate users.
So what are the downsides? In short, performance. Tor is much slower than other browsers – Firefox and Brave, for example, are about twice as fast.
As an online privacy tool, Tor is a must, but if you care about performance and speed and need a secure browser that you can use every day to browse the web, consider other options.
To download: Tor (Free)
The best browser for security and privacy
Windows is the most widely used operating system in the world, and like all systems, it has its vulnerabilities, so it will always be targeted by cybercriminals. Since security and privacy go hand in hand, your web browser is the first line of defense against cyberattacks and data tracking.
Firefox, Brave, Pale Moon, and Tor are all great browsers that will improve your security and protect your data, but none of them are perfect or completely anonymous.
Ultimately, your online security and privacy is in your hands, so make sure you always follow basic cybersecurity rules when browsing the web.