Your web browser is a critical but oft-overlooked component of online security. Protecting yourself with a VPN, secure passwords and a malware blocker is great, but wouldn’t it be even better if your browser itself could join the fight?

Good news: thanks to today’s growing awareness of online security, dedicated experts are working to make that possible. This means some browsers are a lot more secure than others — and some are even built from the ground up with security in mind.

However, these secure browsers are less well-known, and in some ways less accessible, than classic choices like Chrome, Safari and Edge. That raises a lot of questions. Are the typical browsers good enough for security? Can you customize them to be safer? If not, how do you get into the world of secure browsers, and how secure are they in reality?

In the guides below, Privacy Journal offers all the answers.

Most Secure Browsers

The question of which browser is most secure is really two questions. First, how secure are the most mainstream browers (Firefox, Edge, Chrome, Safari and Opera)? Second, which is the best of the dedicated secure browsers (Brave, Epic, Tor, Vivaldi, Puffin etc.)?

To answer the first question, Privacy Journal has gathered the best available information about mainstream browser security and how to bolster it. In our fact-checked articles, you’ll learn what Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge and their competitors do (or don’t do) to guarantee your safety.

Spoiler alert: Chrome and Edge aren’t doing much by themselves. Both browsers regularly tag and track user activity, even as Google says it’s ending support for third-party cookies that follow you between sites.

Firefox is significantly better. Its open source code leaves nowhere for tracking to hide, and it doesn’t make money from ad sales, removing the biggest incentive to stalk its users. It also blocks a huge range of trackers by default.

Read Our Browser Reviews

VPN Browsers

If you want more protection, VPN browsers are one fantastic option. We’ve curated a list of the best browsers with virtual private networks built-in, including UR Browser, Epic Privacy Browser and Opera.

However, VPN browsers can be misleading. Many otherwise strong products, including Epic and Opera, don’t actually reach the level of VPNs since they lack encryption. They can still be key components of your security stack, but you’ll need to back them up with a real VPN and other measures.

Even though we recommend you use a VPN in conjunction with any secure browser (especially Tor, given the risk from malicious nodes), we greatly respect several of them as privacy tools. The ingenious Puffin uses a cloud-based method to process everything on its own servers, giving trackers and malware no chance to get anywhere near your device.

We’ve also got the lowdown on Brave, a highly secure browser built to block anything you may not want — ads, trackers, malware and more. When you’re ready for the next steps to secure your digital life, Privacy Journal’s secure browser articles have your back.