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Private information is big business. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that everyone is trying to watch you Who Is Tracking You Via Your Smartphone? Who Is Tracking You Via Your Smartphone? Who is actually tracking your smartphone? What methods are they using to track you? Read More . The NSA, the UK government, Microsoft, cyber-criminals, your creepy neighbor from across the street; they all want to know what you’re doing, all the time.

Unfortunately, unless you want to take excessively drastic measures, it’s almost impossible to remove yourself from the global grid completely. But there are some steps you can take to reduce your information footprint.

One of the best places to start is with your browser. It’s your main portal to the web, so using a more secure option will make a big difference to your privacy Find Out What Your Browser Is Revealing About You Find Out What Your Browser Is Revealing About You Your browser gives up more information about you than you might realize. These sites show you just how much. A real eye-opening experience. Read More .

Here are four anonymous web browsers that are (almost) completely private.

1. Tor Browser

Available On: Windows, Mac, Linux

The Tor network has one simple goal: anonymous communication. The network aims to protect a user’s location, browser history, personal data, and online messages from any person or bot that’s performing network traffic analysis.

How it Works

Network traffic analysis is arguably the most powerful weapon in a data collector’s armory. It can track your behavior and interests for advertising companies, it can lead to price discrimination on online shopping sites based on location, it can even reveal your identity to people who might want to silence or harm you.

Basic encryption techniques don’t protect you against traffic analysis. Data sent over the internet has two key aspects: the payload and the header. The payload is the actual data (for example, the contents of an email), the header helps the data get to its destination. It includes information such as source, size, and timestamps. Encryption can only hide the payload, not the header.

And that’s when Tor comes in. It sends your internet traffic through so many individual relays and tunnels that the header is nonsensical to traffic analysis tools. In simple terms, instead of going directly from A to B, the network sends your traffic on a mazy route through lots of locations. A sniffer looking at a single point on that route has no way to tell where the traffic originated or where it’s going.

Browser Features

To access the Tor network Really Private Browsing: An Unofficial User’s Guide to Tor Really Private Browsing: An Unofficial User’s Guide to Tor Tor provides truly anonymous and untraceable browsing and messaging, as well as access to the so called “Deep Web”. Tor can’t plausibly be broken by any organization on the planet. Read More , you need to use the Tor Browser. It’s so secure that the US Navy uses it for intelligence gathering and by law enforcement organizations who want to visit websites without leaving government IP addresses in the site’s log.

You don’t need to install any software on your machine; the browser is a portable app that can live on a USB stick. It means you can use the service regardless of what computer you’re working on, even if it’s in a public location such as a library or university.

The browser itself will be instantly recognizable to Firefox users, but there are a couple of notable changes. The biggest difference is the integration of NoScript; it’s included by default. Unlike the regular NoScript add-on – which can be complicated to use – the Tor version has an easy-to-use slider to manage your privacy.

There are also some downsides to using the Tor Browser. For most users, the biggest issue is speed. Because your traffic is taking such a twisty route to get to its destination, your browsing experience will not be as fast. If you have a good connection, it might not be an issue, but if your internet speed is slow, Tor might become painful to use.

Ultimately, Tor doesn’t guarantee anonymity. Taking online risks – such as downloading torrents or using unscrupulous browser plugins – will still leave you vulnerable. But when compared to the mainstream browsers like Chrome and Safari, there is no contest.

Other Options

No other browser comes close to Tor in terms of privacy and anonymity, but three other options deserve your attention.

They’re ideal if Tor sounds a bit extreme, but you still don’t want to give Google et al a free reign on your personal data.

2. Epic Browser

Available On: Windows, Mac

Epic Browser doesn’t use a specialized onion network, but it does immediately disable lots of the most common ways your privacy is comprised when you’re surfing the web.

For example, it doesn’t save your history, there’s no DNS pre-fetching, it doesn’t allow third-party cookies, there are no web or DNS caches, and there’s no autofill feature.

When you close your session, the browser automatically deletes any associated databases, preferences, pepper data, and cookies from Flash and Silverlight.

3. SRWare Iron

Available On: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android

If you’re a Google Chrome user, SRWare Iron will be familiar; it’s based on the open-source Chromium project, so a lot of the on-screen visuals look very similar.

The main difference between Chrome and SRWare Iron is data protection. Experts have criticized Chrome for its reliance on a “Unique User ID”; every time you start a session, Google is alerted to your data usage.

SRWare strips out the usage of an ID along with other Chrome privacy concerns Is Your Browser Leaking Your Online Secrets? Is Your Browser Leaking Your Online Secrets? Is your browser leaking your online secrets? Could it be letting your train spotting obsession out of the bag, without even an inkling of remorse? And if it is, how on earth would you know? Read More such as search suggestions.

Check the table below for a complete list of differences between the two:

4. Comodo Dragon Browser

Available On: Windows, Mac, Linux

Again, Comodo doesn’t come close to Tor Browser, but it does have some built-in tools that’ll make browsing the web a safer experience.

It’ll automatically block all tracking, cookies, and web spies, it comes with built-in domain validation technology that’ll instantly segregate strong and weak SSL certificates What Is an SSL Certificate, and Do You Need One? What Is an SSL Certificate, and Do You Need One? Browsing the Internet can be scary when personal information is involved. Read More , and it uses the Comodo anti-virus suite to protect you from malware, viruses, and other attack vectors.

Like SRWare Iron, it’s based on Chrome, so it’ll be an easy switch for a lot of people.

Which Browser Do You Use?

There are some other privacy-orientated browsers which deserve an honorable mention such as Yandex and Dooble – but in my opinion, the four I’ve listed are the clear winners.

However, I’m sure many of you don’t agree with me. Now it’s your turn to share your favorites; which browser do you turn to when you want to stay anonymous and out-of-sight?

You can get in touch with tips and suggestions by leaving a comment in the box below.

Image Credit: Twinsterphoto via Shutterstock.com

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  1. aleksander
    July 17, 2017 at 10:21 am

    comodo desn't exist in linux or I'm serching it wrong.

  2. Saurabh Ghuge
    June 13, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    You are successfully done! You have crack cicadian code.

  3. Eileen
    June 12, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    BurnerBrowser.com total privacy, no logs. You are in complete control of your servers, they are not shared. When you are done using the internet, click Burn and there is no digital footprint. Everything is wiped clean!
    Burner Browser is the most private browser.

  4. Kojugart
    May 31, 2017 at 4:35 am

    How about Opera (normal, private window, VPN)? I realized that google and some other sites keep flagging Opera as an unsupported browser, while recommending Firefox, Chrome, IE, etc.
    How secured is Opera's privacy?

    • Wilson
      July 13, 2017 at 11:48 pm

      I wouldn't use opera browser. They were bought by a Chinese company.

  5. Sérgio
    May 31, 2017 at 3:57 am

    great article, but I would like your opinion on Brave Browser. It uses a chromium, has phishing blocking, scrip blocking(good to bypass paywalls) and for last finger printing protection.
    It works great(I am even using it right now), however I am not a tech savvy, so I have my doubts about Brave.
    Care to share your toughts??

    Cheers

  6. Kidddas
    March 28, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    I use Google Chrome's incognito web browser.

    • M. Strain Jr.
      July 4, 2017 at 4:53 pm

      That prevents data from being stored on your system, but both your ISP and Google (and therefore the government as well) can see everything you do online.

  7. Ren
    March 6, 2017 at 9:44 am

    sr ware Iron, just work good. it´s a really nice browser, it don use a onion network, but, you know, it beter than chrome.

    tor is great, but only i use it when just is needed, not all the time.

  8. AnonMe
    February 21, 2017 at 2:14 am

    Give Tails a try.It's a varient of Linux you download and burn to cd or usb.Plenty of info on the web site and updated frequently.

  9. glen
    February 21, 2017 at 1:18 am

    opera 43 with built in vpn works for me

    • Jerry
      February 24, 2017 at 6:42 am

      Every site you visit goes through Opera servers first VPN or NOT.

      • ME
        April 12, 2017 at 2:45 am

        And Opera was bought by a Chinese company...

      • Dru1D
        July 16, 2017 at 1:19 pm

        Read Opera's latest Privacy Policy. They track you and then act as "Data Controllers", deciding which 3rd party or government agency they share YOUR data with. I have switched to SlimJet for now.

  10. Mark
    February 20, 2017 at 11:59 pm

    The expression is "free rein" not "free reign".

    • Dummy
      June 16, 2017 at 11:07 pm

      That depends whether you are a King or a Horse...

  11. bettedavis
    September 19, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    how can i torrent moies, tv without ISP and services finding out

  12. davsmith
    July 25, 2016 at 5:38 am

    I wouldn't trust anyone that suggests using incognito mode lmao.

    • white wizard
      February 20, 2017 at 6:11 pm

      U R just a sheep...
      so who cares about your opinion...

  13. DavidH
    May 16, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    I would recommend you using VPN like Hide My IP from My Privacy Tools Inc. They offer excellent service for a fair price. Forget about Tor, Tor is a thing of the past...

  14. Joe
    March 28, 2016 at 9:54 am

    Epic Privacy Browser is the best...TOR is too slow & SRWare is not very good about privacy.

  15. gerry
    February 15, 2016 at 5:37 am

    There is no privacy in Google. .read their policy. Not even in incognito!

  16. millicent
    January 1, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    what is the best browser apart from tor

  17. Mr.Ri8x
    December 12, 2014 at 2:34 am

    i cannot find any useful proxy or any VPN which will alow me to view https websites because my ISP doesn't allows me to open https websites and most of vpn use this secure protocol to connect to their services :(

    • Beta.Guy
      January 1, 2015 at 12:11 pm

      @Mr.Ri8x

      Stop using your internet now and find a new ISP. If they are truely blocking HTTPS then that is just fishy. Just my 5 cents.

      • AppleMacViking
        July 8, 2016 at 2:30 pm

        I agree this sounds fishy that your ISP does'nt allow https sites...... very fishy!!!

    • davsmith
      July 25, 2016 at 5:40 am

      Throw your computer off a cliff

      • Sandinista
        February 22, 2017 at 1:16 am

        Like you did?

  18. Ian Lim
    December 10, 2014 at 9:23 am

    I agree. Did you also know by using a VPN Service your ISP wont even know what you are doing online. Find the best ones at http://thebestproxyserver.com/hide-my-ass-vpn-review/

  19. Ian Lim
    December 10, 2014 at 9:07 am

    This info has been awesome. To find the most useful tool to make yourself anonymous then you need to check this out. http://thebestproxyserver.com/hide-my-ass-vpn-review/

  20. Ken_jk67
    June 27, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Ultrasurf is the BEst!

    • Jessica Cam W.
      June 27, 2011 at 9:54 pm

      I haven't used Ultrasurf, but hmm, there are usersthat say that their antivirus programs flagged UltraSurf.

      • Brian
        February 21, 2017 at 2:18 am

        I am a network administrator and UltraSurf flags antiviruses and other flags that end up causing bans from the carrier. We were having all sorts of temporary bans on our public IP because of UltraSurf. Once we disallowed the use of UltraSurf in our firewall, all stabilized.

  21. Lotdn
    May 22, 2011 at 8:36 pm

     Can Tor be used to watch Hulu from Canada? 

    • Tina
      May 24, 2011 at 11:22 pm

      Yes, that can work if Tor creates a connection for you that uses a US IP address. That's not guaranteed, though. Besides, the transfer rates might be too slow to watch streaming video.

      I would recommend other means to watch Hulu, for example Hotspot Shield or Ultra Surf. Check out this article.

  22. Baracki Lasshot
    May 20, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    whoops, sorry about that one folks....posted wrong place, what the heck happened to my browser window just then.........whoaaaaaaaa! 

    • Tina
      May 20, 2011 at 7:26 pm

      I gladly removed that comment for you.

      • Jessica Cam W.
        May 21, 2011 at 3:31 am

        Thank you, Tina. :)

  23. ibemedia
    May 18, 2011 at 9:29 am

     it's slowing down my internet connection...

  24. Jasonked2
    May 18, 2011 at 12:24 am

     Using Incognito mode has nothing to do with surfing the net anonymously...

    All it does is prevent storing your browsing history on the local machine. It's still possible for companies inc. your ISP to see exactly what you're doing unless you take further measures as you do explain, although you do give the wrong impression saying Incognito mode is like a half step towards anonymity.

    • Jessica Cam W.
      May 18, 2011 at 2:02 am

      You got me there. Thanks for noticing the distinction. :)

      When I was writing that portion, what I was trying to say is that using Incognito mode can help protect our information FROM Google's scrutiny, but this would actually require a few more steps, like installing the Google Analytics Opt-Out Addon, and pausing Google Search Web History.

  25. Cell Travis
    May 17, 2011 at 6:04 am

    I prefer the Tor bundle when it comes to anonymity online. It's been actively maintained over the years and has a very credible development base.

    • Guest
      May 17, 2011 at 1:47 pm

      tor FTW! 

  26. Electronic Cigarette
    May 17, 2011 at 4:27 am

    thanks for this post, only use the firefox and chrome~~~

  27. AZB
    May 16, 2011 at 11:54 pm

     I just started using the MagusNet Public Proxy. It uses Tor with OpenVPN and seems to be pretty good so far.

    • Jessica Cam W.
      May 17, 2011 at 1:30 am

       That's an interesting find! Is it easy to use? I can't seem to find a lot of blog coverage on it on Google.

  28. Chloe Austyn Holley
    May 16, 2011 at 11:37 pm

     Thanks! I'm totally addicted to Chrome, but I've always been a little suspicious of it knowing what I want seemingly before I do.