Best web browser
Last updated: November 24, 2020

Here's our favorite browser: the DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser, available for iPhones and iPads. (This browser works on mobile devices only, not laptops or desktops.)

Why: This browser is made by DuckDuckGo, the team behind the search engine that doesn't track you, so it has the same commitment to user privacy.

Business model: Ads with no tracking.

• iOS app: DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser for iPhone/iPad

• Android app: DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser for Android devices (though we suggest avoiding Android if possible)

Whatever you do, don't use Google Chrome, which the Washington Post said "looks a lot like surveillance software" (source: Geoffrey Fowler, June 21, 2019). See also No to Chrome, by James Mullarkey.

We also recommend against using Mozilla Firefox, which is largely funded by Google: "Google pays Mozilla for it to be the default search engine on Firefox, and the money accounts for the vast majority of Mozilla's revenue" (Bloomberg Businessweek, Nov 24, 2020). See also the DigDeeper review of Mozilla.

Other options

Safari, created by Apple, a company not fully dependent on surveillance as Google is. Safari is also the web browser compatible with Better, our favorite ad blocker.

Ungoogled Chromium, a special version of the Chrome browser with, it's claimed, all of the Google hooks removed. You need some technical competence to install this. See this Register article (June 9, 2020) with more info.

Vivaldi, a browser that claims not to track users, built largely by the team that built past versions of the Opera browser. Vivaldi was reviewed positively by Ars Technica and has an active user forum. However, DigDeeper reports that Vivaldi still contains hooks to Google spyware and is closed-source.

Brave, which claims to be privacy-focused but still seems strange due to its use of the Basic Attention Token - monetizing attention with a cryptocurrency. Jonathan Sampson, Senior Developer Relations at Brave, responds to us that BAT "is an optional (opt-in) way for web users to passively (and anonymously) support websites . . . When a user opts-in to 'Rewards', their browser is able to display ad notifications without sending any data off-device." Between this and unixsheik's recommendation against Brave, make your own decision.

Other browser reviews

Choose your browser carefully (Oct 2020), by the anonymous "unixsheikh", advises against Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Brave. Recommended options include "tweaking Firefox" (which requires some tech knowledge) and Falkon.

No To Chrome, by James Mullarky, includes our favorite (DuckDuckGo), Apple's Safari browser, and an "Up and Coming" section of smaller independent efforts like Falkon, Basilisk, and Seamonkey.

DigDeeper concludes that "Firefox is absolutely terrible" as it is "dependent on the evil Mozilla," while Chrome is "a massive platform dedicated entirely to data collection." DigDeeper recommends PaleMoon as a "decent" option, though it's only available for Windows and Linux - not OSX or mobile devices.


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