These are our currently recommended desktop web browsers and configurations for standard/non-anonymous browsing. If you need to browse the internet anonymously, you should use Tor instead. In general, we recommend keeping your browser extensions to a minimum; they have privileged access within your browser, require you to trust the developer, can make you stand out, and weaken site isolation.
Firefox provides strong privacy settings such as Enhanced Tracking Protection, which can help block various types of tracking.
Firefox includes a unique download token in downloads from Mozilla's website and uses telemetry in Firefox to send the token. The token is not included in releases from the Mozilla FTP.
Tor Browser is the only way to truly browse the internet anonymously. When you use Firefox, we recommend changing the following settings to protect your privacy from certain parties, but all browsers other than Tor Browser will be traceable by somebody in some regard or another.
These options can be found in → Settings → Privacy & Security.
Enhanced Tracking Protection¶
- Select Strict Enhanced Tracking Protection
This protects you by blocking social media trackers, fingerprinting scripts (note that this does not protect you from all fingerprinting), cryptominers, cross-site tracking cookies, and some other tracking content. ETP protects against many common threats, but it does not block all tracking avenues because it is designed to have minimal to no impact on site usability.
Sanitize on Close¶
If you want to stay logged in to particular sites, you can allow exceptions in Cookies and Site Data → Manage Exceptions...
- Check Delete cookies and site data when Firefox is closed
This protects you from persistent cookies, but does not protect you against cookies acquired during any one browsing session. When this is enabled, it becomes possible to easily cleanse your browser cookies by simply restarting Firefox. You can set exceptions on a per-site basis, if you wish to stay logged in to a particular site you visit often.
- Uncheck Provide search suggestions
Search suggestion features may not be available in your region.
Search suggestions send everything you type in the address bar to the default search engine, regardless of whether you submit an actual search. Disabling search suggestions allows you to more precisely control what data you send to your search engine provider.
- Uncheck Allow Firefox to send technical and interaction data to Mozilla
- Uncheck Allow Firefox to install and run studies
- Uncheck Allow Firefox to send backlogged crash reports on your behalf
Firefox sends data about your Firefox version and language; device operating system and hardware configuration; memory, basic information about crashes and errors; outcome of automated processes like updates, safebrowsing, and activation to us. When Firefox sends data to us, your IP address is temporarily collected as part of our server logs.
Additionally, the Firefox Accounts service collects some technical data. If you use a Firefox Account you can opt-out:
- Open your profile settings on accounts.firefox.com
- Uncheck Data Collection and Use > Help improve Firefox Accounts
- Select Enable HTTPS-Only Mode in all windows
This prevents you from unintentionally connecting to a website in plain-text HTTP. Sites without HTTPS are uncommon nowadays, so this should have little to no impact on your day to day browsing.
Firefox Sync allows your browsing data (history, bookmarks, etc.) to be accessible on all your devices and protects it with E2EE.
The Arkenfox project provides a set of carefully considered options for Firefox. If you decide to use Arkenfox, a few options are subjectively strict and/or may cause some websites to not work properly - which you can easily change to suit your needs. We strongly recommend reading through their full wiki. Arkenfox also enables container support.
Brave Browser includes a built-in content blocker and privacy features, many of which are enabled by default.
Brave is built upon the Chromium web browser project, so it should feel familiar and have minimal website compatibility issues.
- We advise against using the Flatpak version of Brave, as it replaces Chromium's sandbox with Flatpak's, which is less effective. Additionally, the package is not maintained by Brave Software, Inc.
Tor Browser is the only way to truly browse the internet anonymously. When you use Brave, we recommend changing the following settings to protect your privacy from certain parties, but all browsers other than the Tor Browser will be traceable by somebody in some regard or another.
These options can be found in → Settings.
Brave includes some anti-fingerprinting measures in its Shields feature. We suggest configuring these options globally across all pages that you visit.
Shields' options can be downgraded on a per-site basis as needed, but by default we recommend setting the following:
- Select Prevent sites from fingerprinting me based on my language preferences
Select Aggressive under Trackers & ads blocking
Use default filter lists
Brave allows you to select additional content filters within the internal
brave://adblockpage. We advise against using this feature; instead, keep the default filter lists. Using extra lists will make you stand out from other Brave users and may also increase attack surface if there is an exploit in Brave and a malicious rule is added to one of the lists you use.
(Optional) Select Block Scripts (1)
- Select Strict, may break sites under Block fingerprinting
- This option provides functionality similar to uBlock Origin's advanced blocking modes or the NoScript extension.
Social media blocking¶
- Uncheck all social media components
Privacy and security¶
- Select Disable non-proxied UDP under WebRTC IP Handling Policy
- Uncheck Use Google services for push messaging
- Uncheck Allow privacy-preserving product analytics (P3A)
- Uncheck Automatically send daily usage ping to Brave
- Uncheck Automatically send diagnostic reports
- Select Always use secure connections in the Security menu
Uncheck Private window with Tor (1)
Sanitizing on Close
- Select Clear cookies and site data when you close all windows in the Cookies and other site data menu
If you wish to stay logged in to a particular site you visit often, you can set exceptions on a per-site basis under the Customized behaviors section.
- Brave is not as resistant to fingerprinting as the Tor Browser and far fewer people use Brave with Tor, so you will stand out. Where strong anonymity is required use the Tor Browser.
Disable built-in extensions you do not use in Extensions
- Uncheck Hangouts
- Uncheck WebTorrent
InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) is a decentralized, peer-to-peer network for storing and sharing data in a distributed filesystem. Unless you use the feature, disable it.
- Select Disabled on Method to resolve IPFS resources
Under the System menu
- Uncheck Continue running apps when Brave is closed to disable background apps (1)
- This option is not present on all platforms.
Brave Sync allows your browsing data (history, bookmarks, etc.) to be accessible on all your devices without requiring an account and protects it with E2EE.
We generally do not recommend installing any extensions as they increase your attack surface. However, uBlock Origin may prove useful if you value content blocking functionality.
uBlock Origin is a popular content blocker that could help you block ads, trackers, and fingerprinting scripts.
We suggest following the developer's documentation and picking one of the "modes". Additional filter lists can impact performance and may increase attack surface.
These are some other filter lists that you may want to consider adding:
- Check Privacy > AdGuard URL Tracking Protection
- Add Actually Legitimate URL Shortener Tool
Please note we are not affiliated with any of the projects we recommend. In addition to our standard criteria, we have developed a clear set of requirements to allow us to provide objective recommendations. We suggest you familiarize yourself with this list before choosing to use a project, and conduct your own research to ensure it's the right choice for you.
This section is new
We are working on establishing defined criteria for every section of our site, and this may be subject to change. If you have any questions about our criteria, please ask on our forum and don't assume we didn't consider something when making our recommendations if it is not listed here. There are many factors considered and discussed when we recommend a project, and documenting every single one is a work-in-progress.
- Must be open-source software.
- Supports automatic updates.
- Receives engine updates in 0-1 days from upstream release.
- Available on Linux, macOS, and Windows.
- Any changes required to make the browser more privacy-respecting should not negatively impact user experience.
- Blocks third-party cookies by default.
- Supports state partitioning to mitigate cross-site tracking.1
Our best-case criteria represents what we would like to see from the perfect project in this category. Our recommendations may not include any or all of this functionality, but those which do may rank higher than others on this page.
- Includes built-in content blocking functionality.
- Supports cookie compartmentalization (à la Multi-Account Containers).
- Supports Progressive Web Apps.
PWAs enable you to install certain websites as if they were native apps on your computer. This can have advantages over installing Electron-based apps, because you benefit from your browser's regular security updates.
- Does not include add-on functionality (bloatware) that does not impact user privacy.
- Does not collect telemetry by default.
- Provides open-source sync server implementation.
- Defaults to a private search engine.
- Must not replicate built-in browser or OS functionality.
- Must directly impact user privacy, i.e. must not simply provide information.
Brave's implementation is detailed at Brave Privacy Updates: Partitioning network-state for privacy. ↩