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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Doremus

What is a safe browser?

Most people do not think twice about which web browser they use to access the internet. Heck, many do not know what a browser is when I ask them. So lets start at the beginning.

A browser is a tool in your computer that enables you to access content on the web (internet) much like a library allows you to access books.

Microsoft Internet Explorer came packaged with Windows since 1997 - BUT it has not been supported since January 2016. What does that mean? It is not secure and if you are using it you should stop.

What should you use? Well, that is where the "PC - personal computer" comes into play. It is your computer and you have choices. Many of my customers do not realize this until someone points it out to them but they are thankful once we do. The three most popular choices are: Chrome, Firefox and Edge. But there are many more. Let's break them down starting with the most common:

  • Chrome: Google Chrome is our personal preference for browser among the known browsers. There are many safe browsing features built into the Chrome browser. That being said, Google is the largest advertising company and that is how they make their money. They do not lie about that fact. But not all advertising is from reliable sources and this is where using addon's (extensions) come in handy and there are good choices to block advertising. Chrome updates regularly in the background.

  • Firefox is another choice and handles privacy and security well. As with Chrome you can add extensions to enhance the browser and your internet experience. Firefox also updates regularly which helps with threat management.

  • Microsoft Edge: This young browser has already gone through so many version changes. It was originally released as a replacement to the failed Internet Explorer. It was slow and clunky. Then it was redesigned and although it was a little faster they just could not keep up with the competition (nor could they convince IE users to switch to it). Microsoft then completely rewrote the who browser coding using Chrome as the language of choice. So now Edge can have extensions and is safer than before -- but you should ask yourself a question: Who will keep the browser more up to date and current? The maker of the language (Google) or the company that gave up on their own browser and left people unsafe? I would stick with Google Chrome as the browser of choice.

  • Safari: The Apple owned browser is very buggy and has many compatibility issues. In terms of privacy and security, it's alright, but dodgy at the same time. Apple has been caught storing backup Safari browsing history longer that it should and collected history from users even when in private mode. We recommend our Apple customers to look at another choice. In fact, we suggest you always have more than one browser on the computer (if one breaks there is another one to help fix it).

  • Opera: used to be pretty good. But back in 2016, the web browser was sold to a Chinese corporation for $600 million. The browser has a free VPN - but doesn't offer full-system encryption anymore. The privacy policy is also not what it used to be. That being said, on older computers (such as Windows 7) Opera will still run even though other browsers will not. It is an option if a new computer or an upgrade is not an option for you.


But I did mention there are other choices for SAFE BROWSING. A safe browser is a web browser with extra security measures that help prevent unauthorized third party activity while you are surfing the web. In addition to the browsers listed above, here are a few others to consider:

  • Brave: Brave is a browser with an emphasis on privacy and ad-blocking (and as a bonus lets you earn cryptocurrency while you browse). It runs on Chromium language (the code that powers Chrome) and is compatible with most websites. And it's fast. Definitely worth a try.

  • EPIC Privacy Browser: has a built in VPN similar to Opera. This hides your IP address from the web at large. Extensions can also be installed to improved and personalize your browsing experience.

  • The Tor Browser : This browser is the ultimate in privacy protection as receives a high protection standing with EFF's privacy tests. The encryption is stronger than a VPN and passes through three nodes. So what's the downside? It slows down your browsing drastically - even more than a VPN would.

  • Vivaldi: this browser is an offshoot of Opera and uses the Chromium browser code. It is very innovative allows many interesting features such as split-window view, tab groups, link sidebar, mouse gesture and built-in translation. There is built in ad blocking and tracker blocking. Privacy settings are numerous and able to be set to your preferences. When this browser first became available it was known as the best browser for social media.

  • Ghostery: The newest private browser to join the ranks. I actively have switched over to this browser. It is fast, clean and unobtrusive. We have been recommending the Ghostery Extension for Chrome for a few years now because it uncovers the trackers on each website and empowers you to control the ones you don't want. You browse cleaner, faster and safer. But now they have made their own browser. The Ghostery Browser does not collect any personal data. Period. And they are using their own secure search. There is anti-tracking that keeps your data safe. No third-party tracking.

  • Waterfox: Waterfox has been around since 2011. It is the 64-Bit version of Firefox, built on Mozilla. This is an ethical browser with a focus on privacy and useability. What you do in your browser is your business and they like to keep it that way.

  • Dissenter: It would not be fair to leave this browser off the list. Dissenter is the "free speech" browser. Dissenter blocks big tech ads and trackers by default. Utilizing the DuckDuckGo search engine for private search, and the ability to comment on every URL online, this does bring some new and interesting features to the table. And in case you are not ready to make the switch to something so new, there is a Dissenter extension for other browsers.

So if you want to try something different to see if it might be a better option for your needs, click and download. Once installed give it a whirl. In fact, download and try a couple of them. Worried about favorites/bookmarks? Import them from your current browser. If you don't like it, go into your control panel and uninstall it. There is no harm in trying new things - and it's your computer. You can use what works for you. For the time being I will test a few of the lesser known browsers but I really do like the feel of Ghostery Browser.

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