When online, you’re more vulnerable than you’ve ever been. Not only is your privacy massively under threat, but you’re also a sitting duck for hackers when using a conventional browser. Or are you?

When it comes to secure browsers, Tor is the first name that comes to mind for most. If asked to name another browser, people tend to blank out.

But surely, there must be more? As a matter of fact, there are. And that’s what we’ll explore in our list of the most secure browsers.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

What’s a secure browser, anyway?

Contrary to popular belief, today’s mainstream browsers are no longer the easiest of targets for attackers to exploit and compromise. Built-in security features like download protection, malicious website detection, and automatic “do not track” requests made browsers like Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome a lot “safer” from a security standpoint.

Alternative (or private) browsers as we understand them today are more focused on giving users more control over their online privacy. On the other hand, mainstream browsers that enable you to browse in so-called “private” windows can still track your activity and send your data to third parties.

With that in mind, private browsers like Tor and Brave usually come with additional protective features or simply without Google integration and can better address the privacy needs of more demanding users.

Secure web browsers are those that don’t track your activity and do their best to avoid vulnerabilities that might allow hackers to exploit loopholes in their coding. That said, which browsers are the most secure?

Rating the competition

First, let’s go over our criteria. Here’s what we looked at:

  • Security features
  • Privacy options
  • Number of available secure extensions and add-ons
  • Multi-platform support

With these criteria in mind, let’s see which browsers are secure, and which you shouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole.

Which mainstream browser is the most secure?

Before we dive into the nuts and bolts of specialized privacy browsers and their security features, let’s start with the mainstream elephants in the room. After all, these are the browsers used by the absolute majority of people online.

That said, are they actually secure? Should you uninstall your copy of Microsoft Edge right now, or is it in fact absolutely safe to use?

Let’s go over the mainstream browsers and see if their security and privacy features stack up to their claims.

5. Microsoft Edge

Leaving Internet Explorer and its numerous vulnerabilities behind, Microsoft built Edge on the Chromium platform and upped the ante in terms of technical security. That said, its sparsely timed updates and lack of tracking protection features still put it behind most browsers.

  • Security rating: medium. Running your tabs in a sandbox Chrome-style, limiting extension support, and adding the SmartScreen Filter from Internet Explorer is all well and good. However, Edge’s long list of vulnerabilities knocks it down a couple of notches when it comes to security.
  • Privacy rating: low. For some weird reason, Microsoft Edge has not included any tracking protection features in its InPrivate browsing mode, which means you’re being tracked and monitored even when you think you’re “incognito.” Verdict: avoid Edge at all costs.
  • Available secure extensions: many.
  • Supported platforms: Windows 10, Android, iOS.

4. Opera

Opera

For a long while, Opera was a fairly underrated browser. Launched back in 1995, Opera has been considered as one of the faster and more secure of the non-default browsers for decades. After including a dubious VPN in 2016 and being acquired by a by the China-based Golden Brick Capital company back in 2017, however, Opera raises continues to raise concerns about its privacy practices.

  • Security rating: high. Opera has built-in features such as the ability to route your traffic through their servers if you want to and a very robust ad-blocker. It’s also very good at compressing your traffic so it might be great if you have a slow connection. The main problem with Opera is that it needs plugins to be completely secure. This may not be a huge problem, but Firefox has way more plugins than Opera due to its higher user-base, making finding the right plugins much harder.
  • Privacy rating: low. As we’ve already mentioned above, a pre-installed VPN that logs your online activity and a bunch of opt-out tracking options pretty much speak for themselves. If you want to keep your browsing private, don’t use Opera.
  • Available secure extensions: some.
  • Supported platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS.

If you’re still undecided, read our full Opera review to learn more about how Opera compares to other secure browsers on the market.

3. Google Chrome

Google Chrome

Over a decade since its introduction, Google Chrome is now the most popular web browser on the planet. While this browser scores exceptionally highly in terms of security because of frequent updates and an abundance of useful features, many (including us) would hesitate to call Google Chrome a “secure browser.” Here’s why.

  • Security rating: high. With features like automatic download scanning, automatic updates, automatic phishing and malware website warnings, Incognito mode, and sandbox tabs, Chrome is certainly no slouch when it comes to security. Not to mention the fact that Chrome has been the back to back winner of two Pwn2Own hacking events. Despite trying their hardest to find vulnerabilities within the browser, hackers just couldn’t crack its defenses.
  • Privacy rating: low. All the privacy options in the world couldn’t make us recommend Chrome as a privacy-friendly browser. Why? The primary reasons for that are Chrome’s interaction with your Google account and the Sync feature, which automatically collects your data and sends it back to Google, including things like your browsing history, website permissions, and search history. What’s more, the mobile version of Chrome provides Google with your location data as well.
  • Available secure extensions: many.
  • Supported platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome OS.

If you want to learn more about Chrome’s privacy concerns and its security features, check out our full Google Chrome review.

2. Apple Safari

Safari

Since Google’s Chrome exploded onto the web back in 2008, pretty much every default browser has suffered in its wake. Safari is no exception. That said, we still consider it as a fairly secure browser in general, and probably the most secure default browser in particular.

  • Security rating: high. Safari runs websites in a sandbox, which prevents unauthorized data access and malicious code from one of your tabs taking over your entire browser. This is done by separately quarantining each open tab. Other cool features include a built-in password manager, protection from phishing and fake websites, as well as a private browsing mode.
  • Privacy rating: medium. Although Apple is known to have been accused of data collection in the past, the company’s decision to have users opt into data gathering techniques made Apple’s products a lot more attractive from a privacy standpoint.
  • Available secure extensions: few.
  • Supported platforms: macOS, iOS.

For a complete overview of everything Safari has to offer, be sure to read our full Safari review.

1. Mozilla FireFox

Mozilla FireFox

Although Tor may be the most battle-ready private browser out of the box, FireFox has such massive plugin support that you might be able to make it compete with the best of them. Like Tor, FireFox is also open-source. Unlike Tor, it’s fully audited.

  • Security rating: high. Mozilla FireFox may not be the most secure browser out of the box, but if you want to know which browser is safest, then download a few privacy plugins, and FireFox is your answer. The main reason that FireFox is a great alternative to Tor is that you can use it for secure browsing whenever you want, and use it as a fully-featured browser in other cases.
  • Privacy rating: high. Like Tor and unlike Google’s Chrome browser, FireFox doesn’t track your browser history. It’s also updated regularly to deal with new security threats. Unless you’re looking for hardcore security, Mozilla FireFox is your best choice.
  • Available secure extensions: many.
  • Supported platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS.

Mozilla Firefox is mostly based on customization and is perfect for those who want a completely personalized browsing experience. Remember that it can take a fair bit of time to find all of the right plugins that you require, so make sure you’re willing to invest the time needed to make Firefox the perfect browser that it can be.

You can learn more about its security and privacy features by reading our full Mozilla FireFox review.

Which private browser is the most secure?

Now that we’ve dealt with the mainstream, let’s delve a little “underground” into the world of private browsers. These are browsers built specifically for privacy aficionados and are usually designed to block all manners of trackers and potentially hazardous scripts.

Which one takes the cake, though? Let’s find out.

3. Brave

Brave is a relatively new Chromium-based private browser mainly developed by Brandon Eich, a former Mozilla contributor and the creator of JavaScript. It’s lightweight, secure, and made specifically with privacy in mind. Overall, Brave is an excellent choice for those who don’t mind using an experimental piece of software and don’t struggle with minimalist functionality.

  • Security rating: high. Out of the box, Brave blocks browser fingerprinting and cookies by default, has a solid ad-blocker, and provides HTTPS Everywhere integration, as well as relatively frequent security updates. Its only downside is its comparatively low number of supported browser extensions.
  • Privacy rating: high. As we’ve mentioned above, Brave’s security and privacy features are top-notch. With a completely de-Googled codebase and customizable private windows, Brave further boosts its credentials with its complete lack of privacy scandals and/or concerns. That said, it’s still an unfinished product. Until Brave reaches version 1.0 and adds more entries to its collection of secure add-ons, it’s difficult to recommend it as the most secure browser available.
  • Available secure extensions: few.
  • Supported platforms: Windows, Linux, macOS.

2. Epic Privacy Browser

Another browser based on Chromium, Epic Privacy Browser clears cookies and trackers after each session. Also, Epic uses a built-in proxy to encrypt your traffic, which might slow down your connection for the sake of privacy. That said, Epic’s proxy servers are based in the US, which may be worrisome to privacy purists.

  • Security rating: high. Apart from the inbuilt proxy, Epic automatically prioritizes SSL connections and offers a competent ad-blocker that prevents potentially malicious scripts from running while you browse the web.
  • Privacy rating: high. To keep your privacy protected, Epic runs exclusively in Incognito mode. As soon as you close the browser, all your cookies and browsing data are deleted. What’s even better than blocking trackers, you ask? A built-in report that shows who’s tracking you and how. Overall, Epic’s privacy credentials are as solid as its security features.
  • Available secure extensions: few.
  • Supported platforms: Windows, macOS.

1. Tor Browser

 Tor Browser

Often hailed as the undisputed king of private browsers, Tor is an open-source web browser that comes with a plethora of security features which protect against browser fingerprinting. On top of that, it’s regularly updated to deal with all of the new security issues.

  • Security rating: very high. By default, Tor blocks all scripts and runs in the private browsing mode. When you close your browser window, nothing is saved. This includes cookies, history, and passwords. Which means a less streamlined, but more secure browsing experience. Flash and Quicktime are also blocked by default to prevent anyone from hacking into your device.
  • Privacy rating: very high. Tor is built with privacy protection at its very core. By using a vast network of “relays” to bounce traffic around the world, Tor makes it virtually impossible to track and identify what you’re doing online. And HTTP Everywhere integration ensures that your data is encrypted whenever you connect to a website. These features and more make Tor the absolute champion of secure browsers in terms of out-of-box privacy.
  • Available secure extensions: some.
  • Supported platforms: Linux, Windows, macOS, Android.

Although Tor might be the safest web browser, it alone won’t make you 100% safe online.

Here’s why.

Secure your browser with a VPN

No matter which browser you choose, securing your connection with a VPN is still a must.

A VPN routes your traffic through a remote server, encrypting your connection in the process. This means that anyone trying to spy on you will only be able to see that you’re connected to a VPN, and not have any information as to which websites you’ve been visiting.

Top 3 VPNs for securing your browser

Flawless privacy practices, advanced security features, and reliable geo-unblocking capabilities make NordVPN the undisputed industry leader. Whatever your needs, this VPN has you covered – all starting from just $3.49/month.
  • Excellent security
  • Largest server list on the market
  • Awesome for Netflix
  • Good for torrenting
  • Very easy to use
  • Affordable prices
For such an affordable price, Surfshark is great at protecting your privacy whenever you go online. Unbreakable encryption, a reliable kill switch, MultiHop – Surfshark offers all the features you need to increase your security online.
  • Strong encryption
  • Almost zero logs
  • Unblocks Netflix
  • Torrenting allowed
  • Very affordable
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
Unassailable security, reliable geo-unblocking, and above average speeds make ExpressVPN one of our favorite VPNs overall. A premium tool in every respect, including the price.
  • Watertight security
  • Massive server list
  • Great for streaming
  • Very good for torrenting
  • Very fast
  • 24/7 customer support