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What Is A VPN ?
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a service that allows you to connect to the internet via a server run by a VPN provider. All data traveling between your computer, phone or tablet, and this “VPN server” is securely encrypted. As a result of this setup, VPNs:
- Provide privacy by hiding your internet activity from your ISP (and government)
- Allow you to evade censorship (by school, work, your ISP, or government)
- Allow you to “geo-spoof” your location in order to access services unfairly denied to you based on your geographical location (or when you are on holiday)
- Protect you against hackers when using a public WiFi hotspot
- Allow you to P2P download in safety.
In order to use VPN you must first signup for a VPN service, which typically cost between $5 – $10 a month (with reductions for buying 6 months or a year at a time). A contract with a VPN service is required to use VPN.
Note that using a VPN service does not replace the need for an Internet Service Provider, as it is your ISP that provides your internet connection in the first place.
A note on commercial vs. corporate VPN
VPN technology was originally developed to allow remote workers to securely connect to corporate networks in order to access corporate resources when away from the office. Although VPN is still used in this way, the term now usually refers to commercial VPN services that allow customers to access the internet privately through their servers.
This article (and the BestVPN website) deals exclusively with these commercial VPN services, and use of the term VPN here should not be confused with private corporate networks, which are an entirely different kettle of fish (despite similarities, and crossovers in the underlying technology.)
How does it work?
Normally, when you connect to the internet you first connect to your Internet Service Provider (ISP), which then connects you to any websites (or other internet resources) that you wish to visit. All your internet traffic passes through your ISP’s servers, and can be viewed by your ISP.
When using VPN you connect to a server run by your VPN provider (a “VPN server”) via an encrypted connection (sometimes referred to as a “VPN tunnel”). This means that all data traveling between your computer and the VPN server is encrypted so that only you and the VPN server can “see” it.
This setup has a number of important consequences:
1. Your ISP cannot know what you get up to on the internet
- It cannot see your data because it is encrypted
- It cannot know which websites (etc.) you visit because all internet activity is routed through the VPN server. Your ISP can only see that you are connected to the VPN server.
Your ISP can only see that you are connected to the VPN server.
2. You appear to access the internet from the IP address of the VPN server
- If the VPN server is located in a different country to you, then as far as the internet is concerned you are located in that country (most VPN services run servers located in many different countries).
- Anyone monitoring your internet activity from the internet will only be able to trace it back to the VPN server, so unless the VPN provider hands over your details (more on this later), your real IP address is hidden. This means that websites etc. cannot see your true IP address (just that of the server).
3. It is safe to use public WiFi hotspots
Because the internet connection between your device and the VPN server is encrypted. Even if a hacker somehow manages to intercept your data, for example by tricking you into connecting to an “evil twin” hotspot or packet-sniffing your WiFi data, the data is safe because it is encrypted.
4. Your VPN provider can know what you get up to on the internet
- You are therefore shifting trust away from your ISP (which has no interest in, or commitment to, protecting your privacy) to your VPN provider who usually promises to protect your privacy.
- More privacy-minded VPN services mitigate this issue by employing various technical measures to know as little as they can about you. More on this later.
5. Your internet will slow down because:
- Encrypting and decrypting data requires processing power. This also means that, technically, the stronger the encryption used, the slower your internet access. However, given the power of modern computers, this issue is relatively minor compared to…
- The extra distance traveled by your data. Using VPN always introduces another leg to the journey that your data has to travel (i.e. to the VPN server), and thanks to the laws of physics, the further your data has to travel, the longer it takes.
If you connect to VPN server located geographically nearby in order to access a website also located nearby, then you can expect around a 10 percent hit to the internet speed you get without using VPN. If you connect to a server half way across the planet, you should expect a much greater hit.
It is also a case that some VPN providers do better than others when it comes to speed performance, which is why every review we publish includes detailed speed tests This is due to factors such as server processing power, available bandwidth, and load (how many other people are using the server at the same time as you).
All other things being equal, for best performance when using VPN you should connect to the VPN server closest to the website or service you wish to use, and then as close as possible to your own location.
For example, if I want to access US Netflix from the UK I would connect to a server located in the US, but as close as possible to the UK (somewhere on the northern East Coast, such a New York, would be ideal).
Is it legal?
Yes. In most countries citizens have a legal right to privacy, and as far as I know simply using a VPN service is illegal pretty much nowhere.
More repressive countries such as China and Iran, who understandably do not like the unrestricted and largely unaccountable access to the internet that VPN allows,do ban VPN services from operating in their country, and attempt to block users from accessing overseas VPN services.
Even in China, however, which has the most sophisticated internet censorship system in the world, such blocks are only partially successful (and we have yet to hear of anybody getting into trouble just for using VPN).
In Europe the threat of terrorism has been seized on by a number governments to introduce wide-ranging surveillance laws, and in many countries (such as France and the UK) VPN providers are required to keep logs of users’ activity. VPN users looking for privacy should therefore avoid any services based in such countries, and use servers located in countries where logs are not legally required.
Where do I start?
There are now a huge number of VPN services vying for your attention, and unfortunately not all VPN providers are created equal (far from it!) The first thing you should do, therefore, is to check out reviews and recommendations on sites such as BestVPN (hey, it’s what we’re here for!). For example, the most comprehensive summary is this page, of the best vpn services.
Probably the first thing to consider is what you mainly want a VPN for. Is it for privacy while surfing the internet? To download without looking over your shoulder? To evade the Great Firewall of China? Or just to access geo-blocked TV streaming services from abroad?
Although pretty near all VPN services cover the main basis to some extent, there is no such thing as a perfect VPN service. Things you should be looking out for include:
- Price (of course!)
- Speed – VPN always entails some internet speed loss due to extra distances traveled and the processing demands of encryption/decryption (as discussed earlier).
- Privacy – all VPN providers promise privacy, but what does this actually mean? See “Does a VPN make me anonymous?” below for a discussion on this
- Security – how good are technical measures used to prevent an adversary (hackers, the NSA, etc.) forcing access to your data. Again, see below for more details.
- Number of servers/countries – If you need to connect to servers located all over the place, then the more the better, and the more likely it is that a server will be located where you want it to be.
- Number of simultaneous connections – Some providers will only let you connect one device to their service at a time, while others allow you connect your PC, laptop, phone, Xbox and girl/boyfriend’s tablet all at once. The more the merrier!
- Customer support – Many VPN users are still learning the ropes, so customer support that a) actually answers your questions in a reasonable timeframe, and b) knows what it is talking about, can be invaluable.
- Free trials and money back guarantees: Perhaps the best way to decide if a service is for you is to try before you buy!
- Software – VPN clients should not only look good good and be easy to use, but can add lots of funky features. The most useful of these areVPN kill switches and DNS leak protection
- Cross-platform support – a service is no use if it can’t run on your device/OS. Support can include detailed setup guides for different platforms, or dedicated apps (as is increasingly common for iOS and Android devices).
- Other bells and whistles – Some providers offer “stealth servers” for evading the Great Firewall of China, free SmartDNS or cloud storage, fancy security options (such as VPN through Tor), and more.
VPN is available for almost all computer-type devices, including desktops, laptops, smart phones, and tablets.
Just about every provider fully supports Windows, Mac OSX, Android and iOS platforms, and many also support Linux and Chrome OS (if only indirectly). Support for Blackberry OS and Windows Mobile devices, however, is much patchier.
To signup for a VPN service, simply visit its website and follow the links. Your provider will give give you instructions on what to do next, or our full reviews all have a “The process” section that runs through the whole process for each provider.
Interestingly, there does not appear to be much correlation between what you pay for VPN and the service you receive, so I again suggest that you read our reviews (including readers comments sections) and take advantage of any free trials and money-back guarantees to help you decide.
Running a VPN service is not cheap, so you have to ask yourself how a free service can afford to operate. As the old saying goes, if you don’t pay for a product, then you are the product…
That said, some reputable free VPN services do exist, most notably CyberGhost’s free offering, which while limited, is enough for many casual users, and is transparently funded through its premium offerings. VPN Gate is another option, and is run by volunteers.
You should be aware, however, that no free VPN will give you anywhere near the performance or privacy benefits of a good commercial service.
Given that VPN typically costs the price of a beer or so per month, I strongly recommend splashing out on a fully featured service.
Does a VPN make me anonymous?
No. VPN does not make you anonymous because the VPN provider can always* know who you are, and can see what you get up to on the internet. Privacy-oriented VPN services go to great lengths, however, to protect their customers’ privacy, which is why we say that VPN provides privacy (rather than anonymity).
The first thing to note is that while many providers promise to protect users’ privacy, such promises are not worth the digital ink they are printed on if they keep logs. No matter what they say, no VPN provider staff will go to jail (or ruin their business) to protect a customer. If the data exists, any VPN provider can be compelled to hand it over. Period.
If you want to use VPN to provide privacy, then only a ‘“no logs” provider will do. Unfortunately, when a provider claims to keep no logs, we just have to take its word for it (which is why the Edward Snowden’s of this world prefer to use Tor).
Choosing a VPN provider therefore comes down to a matter of trust, so how do you know a provider can be trusted? Well… privacy orientated VPN providers have built their business model on promising privacy, and if it becomes known that they failed to do this (for example by keeping logs even when they promised not to, and then being compelled to hand these over to the authorities), their businesses would be worthless (and they might find themselves liable for legal action by the compromised individual).
It should be understood that even when a provider keeps no logs, it can and will be able to monitor users’ internet activity in real-time (this is essential for trouble shooting etc. – all the more so when no logs are kept).
Most no logs providers also promise not to monitor users’ activity in real-time (unless necessary for technical reasons), but most countries can legally demand that a provider start to keeps logs of an individual (and provide a gag order to prevent the company alerting their customer of this).
This is, however, a specifically targeted demand or request (most providers will happily cooperate when it comes to catching pedophiles, for example), so only specific individuals already identified by the authorities need be too concerned.
In addition to keeping no logs, any company that cares about protecting their users’ privacy also uses shared IPs. This means that many users are assigned the same IP address, so matching identified internet behavior with a specific individual is very difficult to do, even if a provider should wish (or is compelled) to do so. This goes a long way towards addressing the privacy issue outlined above.
What does ‘no logs’ actually mean? Usage logs vs. connection logs
When many providers claim to keep no logs, what they really mean is that they keep no (what we term) ‘usage logs’. They do however keep ‘connection logs’:
- Usage logs – details of what you get up to on the internet, such as which web sites you visit etc. These are the most important (and potentially damaging logs)
- Connection logs – many ‘no logs’ providers keep metadata about users’ connections, but not usage logs. Exactly what is logged varies by provider, but typically includes things like when you connected, how long for, how often etc. Providers usually justify this as necessary for dealing with technical issues and instances of abuse. In general we are not too bothered by this level log keeping, but the truly paranoid should be aware that, at least in theory, such logs could be used to identify an individual with known internet behavior through an ‘end to end timing attack’
Some providers claim to keep no logs of any kind (“no logs providers”, and it is these that are generally considered best for protecting privacy. It should be noted that some critics argue it is impossible to run a VPN service without keeping logs, and those who claim to do so are being disingenuous.
However, as mentioned above, with a VPN provider everything comes down to trust, and if a provider claims to keep no logs at all we have to trust its ability to run to run the service in this way…
Mandatory data retention
Something to be aware of when choosing a privacy-friendly VPN provider is where it is based (i.e. under which country’s laws does it operate). Many countries (including many European countries) require communications companies to keep logs for a certain amount of time, although whether these laws apply to VPN providers can vary somewhat (in Europe the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Romania, and Sweden are popular places to base a VPN service because VPN providers in these countries are not required to keep logs).
If a VPN provider is based in a country which really requires it to keep logs then it will do so, no matter what other impression it tries to give.
Paying for VPN anonymously
More privacy-minded VPN companies allow you pay for their services anonymously. The most common method is using Bitcoins**, but companies such as Private Internet Access will accept anonymously purchased store cards, and Mullvad will even take cash sent by post!
This adds an extra layer of privacy, as the VPN company does not know your real name, address, or banking details. It will, however, still know your real IP address*
In addition to the direct privacy benefits of paying anonymously, accepting anonymous payment is often a good indicator that a VPN takes privacy seriously (this is hardly a guarantee, but not accepting anonymous payment is definitely poor show!)
** Paying by Bitcoin is not inherently anonymous, but if the correct steps are taken then a high degree of anonymity can be achieved. Please see my guide to Buying Bitcoins to pay for VPN anonymously for more details.
An exception to the rule*
An exception to the rule that VPN providers always know who you are is if you use VPN through Tor. This means that you connect to the VPN service via the Tor anonymity network, so that your VPN provider cannot see your true IP address.
If you also signup using Tor, and use an anonymous payment method, you can achieve a very high level of true anonymity with this setup. Do be aware, however, that doing this combines the speed hit of both VPN and Tor, making internet connections very slow.
So… am I “safe” if I use VPN?
Using a good no logs VPN service does provide a high degree of privacy. It will protect you from blanket government surveillance, prevent your ISP knowing what you get up to on the internet, prevent you being tracked by copyright owners when pirating stuff, and will even provide a fair bit of protection when engaged in low level criminal activities.
It will not, however, protect you if the police, your government, or the NSA, are specifically interested in you, and are willing to spend time and resources investigating what you do on the internet.
Journalists, whistleblowers, and others who need a very high level of anonymity should therefore use Tor instead (although VPN through Tor does provide some concrete benefits).
How secure am I?
VPN protects your data using encryption. I have two core articles discussing VPN encryption and the various terms used to describe it. They are rather technical for this beginners guide, but if the subject interests you then please do check them out:
The TL:DR version, however, is to use OpenVPN (or maybe IKEv2) wherever possible. L2TP/IPsec is fine, but PPTP should be avoided at all costs (in my view it is irresponsible for a provider to even offer customers PPTP as an option!).
As a point of reference, the minimum default settings for the OpenVPN protocol are:
Hash authentication: SHA-1
This is more than sufficient for most users, but if you are the sort of person who worries about the NSA, then my minimum recommendation for a “secure” VPN connection that should be resistant against any known form of attack for the foreseeable future is:
VPN Protocol: OpenVPN with Perfect Forward Secrecy enabled
Hash authentication: SHA256
IP leaks & kill switches
If your VPN is working properly then it should completely hide your IP address from any website you visit. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, this is not always the case. If a website can somehow detect your true IP address even when using VPN, you have what is known as an IP leak.
To determine if you are suffering an IP leak, visit ipleak.net. If you are connected to a VPN and you can see your true IP address (or even just your ISP’s name) anywhere on this page then you have an IP leak. Note that ipleak.net does not detect IPv6 leaks, so to test for these you should visit test-ipv6.com.
If you detect a leak please consult A Complete Guide to IP Leaks in order to find out why its happening, and how to fix it.
A related issue is VPN dropouts, as every VPN connection will occasionally fail. With a good VPN provider this should not happen very often, but it occasionally happens even to the best. If your computer continues to remain connected to the internet after a dropout,, then your real IP will be exposed.
The solution is a “VPN kill switch” which either monitors your internet connection and shuts it down when it detects a VPN dropout, or uses firewall rules to prevent any internet traffic leaving your computer outside of your VPN connection.
Many VPN providers include a kill switch as part of their VPN software, but third party options are available. Alternatively, if feeling brave you can configure your own using firewall rules. Please see here for more discussion on kill switches, including how to configure OpenVPN for Android as a kill switch.
Can I torrent safely using VPN?
Yes, as long as you use a provider that permits it (not all do, so check!) With VPN your data is encrypted so that your ISP cannot see what you are doing online, and your IP is shielded by your VPN provider.
When P2P downloading via BitTorrent (or streaming using Popcorn Time) everyone else downloading the same file can easily see the IP address of everyone else who is downloading that file (hence the names P2P and filesharing!) When using a VPN, someone tracking that file will only see the IP of your VPN server, not your real IP address.
VPN companies get bombarded with DMCA-style copyright infringement notices due to users’ activities all the time. Some prefer to cooperate with copyright holders, to the point of handing over the names of infringing customers for further legal action, while others simply try to keep copyright holders happy by issuing warnings, and ultimately disconnecting repeat offenders.
Some providers, however, are happy to let customers P2P download, and make a good business out of protecting their identities (keeping no logs is always a good start here!) If your VPN provider allows P2P then you can download in safely.
Perhaps more than anyone, however, downloaders should be careful to use a VPN kill switch as they often leave torrents to download unattended for hours at time…
When SmartDNS is better
Many people use VPN primarily to evade geo-restrictions in order to watch TV streaming services that are blocked to international users (or which offer better catalogs to users in certain countries).
If this is the only reason you want VPN for, and you are not interested in the privacy and security advantages that VPN brings, then you may be better off using a SmartDNS service instead.
SmartDNS uses much simpler technology and does not encrypt your connection, which makes it faster than VPN (so fewer buffering issues, but distance remains an issue). It can also be configured on many internet devices that cannot run a VPN client, such as Smart TV’s, media streaming devices, and games consoles (as every internet capable device has DNS settings that can be changed).
SmartDNS services are also usually cheaper than VPN ones. For more information please visit SmartDNS.com.
If you are already using the best browser such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera or Safari, which are well known well then you, could avoid the hassle of installing an added browser. These browsers are efficient in working, however, they could not be considered as most secure browsers.
Most secure browsers ensure your privacy and security never compromised or decreases the risk factor, after passing the Net Neutrality people more concerned about their online privacy. Secure browsers suppose to encrypt your browsing data and evade all tracking activity that is not disabled in the regular browser.
There is only one difference between secure and regular browser, the secure browser comes with built-in proxy and that will only secure your browser history and activity, also using another browser its frustrating to use. Instead of that, you can use VPN App which will secure your whole network, whether you are steaming, or browsing anything with high-end encryption
3 Simple Steps To Secure Your Browsing
- Get the recommended (nordvpn app or cyberghost pro App
- Install the app or software
- Connect the app! That’s it.
A secured internet has become the most wanted desire of an individual, especially after the overturned FCC privacy rules. These rules have given unfair powers to the IPSs which has seriously threatened the internet user’s privacy. Therefore, an overwhelmed urge has been noticed regarding people seeking privacy tools to have a secure internet.
Some of these people have also reached us for some good recommendations. To cater our readers we have filtered out some Best Secure Browsers which we update regularly to maintain the efficiency. However, while exploring these browsers we have discovered some of the general issues people face. The regular browser users such as Chrome, Firefox and Opera do not use the complications these secure browsers have. On the other hand, you have to download it as added software, which will take extra space and ram to your system.
Instead of downloading and installing another secure browser software, you can simply install virtual private network (VPN) software. It not only provides you security while browsing but also encrypts your traffic, which leaves you almost untraceable for the ISPs, government, and snooping eyes.
Best Secure Browsers VS VPN
Although, the secure browsers like TOR are also obscuring your IP address and encrypting your traffic like a VPN. However, while using secure browsers your data is also being transferred to the third party. Whereas, a VPN is the only source where your data is dumped when you use a virtual private network for data encryption and privacy.
For instance, a secure browser has a service like VPN to protect their user data. This is how your Internet history goes to the browser software as well as VPN server. Therefore, the ones who opt a VPN are more secure and protected from vulnerabilities than the private browser users. In addition, to that, the Best VPN services offer their customers with zero logging policy which almost vanishes your data history from every spot.
Browse the web with security and privacy with these 5 best secure browsers and have a carefree internet surfing experience.
HTTPs Everywhere it’s not a secure browser its another addition of Project TOR, it’s a plugin for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Android, user’s which is developed and authorized by EFF.
This plugging helps you to determine if the website you are visiting is encrypted or not.This plugin or extension can be download from Official EFF website.EFF always bring tools for cybercrime prevention, which are created by millions of volunteer supporters of EFF from all over the world. This plugin basically designed to prevent to open malicious and affected sites, which could inject or steal something from our system or cache.
It’s also the reason for un-secure websites which are having encrypted and non-encrypted versions of the website, but for that user’s would have to find out about it.The main function of this extension to forced non-secure sites to secure sites by adding HTTPS request to the server, which means you only see HTTPs version of the website instead of HTTP.
It will simply rewrite the URL and request the server to returned it.By default, it will not occur any issue when you open website with HTTP, it will allow you to open it as it is, but it will show you if it’s secure or not.
However; you can check the “Block all unencrypted requests”By clicking the extension icon top right on chrome.Note: Like other anonymous web browsers, it will also be the new addition to your software list.
2. Tor Browser
Working Of Tor BrowserData traffic analysis is the most desired armament in a hacker’s arsenal. It can help a hacker gain access to your most sensitive information. The fundamental encryption techniques don’t provide security against traffic scrutinization. The payload is the actual data gets encrypted. Whereas the header, that is information including source, size etc helping the data getting to its destination, is exempted from encryption.
Tor, being the best web browser in our view, prevents unauthorized surveillance by its built-in ‘hidden’ relay servers. It sends your data traffic through these relay servers which fulfills the purpose of a labyrinth. Also, the data is made unrecognizable for nosy pocket sniffers to determine the origin and destination of the traffic.
What are its browser features?Tor browser makes you accessible to Tor network. It works in affiliation with U.S Navy and other law enforcing organizations for intelligence gathering as well as visiting websites without leaving a trace of government IP addresses in the site’s log.
Tor is a portable app which means that it can be installed on any removable storage device (like a USB). Hence, its service can be used on any computer you are working on, regardless of the location.Tor is an advanced privacy browser that has an easy-to-use slider unlike the regular NoScript add-on, which is included by default. The browser is immediately recognized by Firefox users with a few evident changes.
Drawbacks You May Face While Using TOR
The major drawback is speed. Since your data traffic has to pass through a labyrinth before reaching its destination, your browsing performance will be affected. If the internet connection is poor; Tor might become troublesome. However, if the connection is good; it might be the easiest browser to carry on with.
Another problem is that Tor does not assure anonymity. Using Tor on public Wi-Fi, you need to make sure that you are using a VPN app to boost up your security. This browser is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
3. Epic Browser
Epic browser instantly disables many passages which might compromise your web browsing and strengthens your security Being one of the best secure browsers, it has a built-in proxy that helps you become anonymous and hide your location. It uses an active Do Not Track and exempts the traces, once you end a browsing session.
This browser is available on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android.
4. SRWare IRON BROWSER
It is a Chromium-based web browser that’s the reason why many on-screen visuals appear identical. It keeps your data secure through the usual security methods. The major difference between Chrome and SRWare is data protection. This is the reason why it is one of the best secure browsers.
SRWare excludes the use of an ID along with other Chrome privacy concerns such as search suggestions. This browser is available on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android.
5. Comodo Dragon Browser
Comodo Dragon Browser is one of the best secure browsers but still, it is no match again for Tor Browser, but with its specialized assets, it makes web browsing much safer. It provides on-site malware scanning, secure DNS, SSL and domain validation, and block all tracking, cookies and web spies. It is also a Chromium-based web browser, like SRWare. Therefore, it will not be a completely different adventure but rather will be a safer one. This browser is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
6. Avira Scout
Among the best secure browsers, Avira Scout is a devoted Chromium-based web browser. Avira Scout is built with the focus on security and privacy. It piles up a variety of third-party security plugins within the browser.
Privacy Add-ons For Secure Browsing:
This is another great extension or add-on for Firefox, also available for Chrome, Safari, and Opera. UBlock Origin is a really powerful tool because of the list of filters they got. It’s an open source project and the surprise is that they won’t expect a donation for this. As they say;
“Free. Open source. For users by users. No donations sought. Without the preset lists of filters, this extension is nothing. So if ever you really do want to contribute something, think about the people working hard to maintain the filter lists you are using, which were made available to use by all for free.”
Its basic function is that this extension not just blocks the advertisement but will also protect your system from malware.
This will give your browser another security layer by giving you the control to handle cookies. By this cookie handler, you can whitelist and greylist the sites so whenever you close the tab it will automatically remove the cookies.
The unused cookie will remove whenever you leave the tab or close the browser, which prevents spy activity behind your browsing by using cookies.
This is the great extension developed and maintained by EFF supporters and developers, it’s free to use and gives great security to you and enhances the user experience.
HTTPs Everywhere is designed to render the only secured version of the website, in which extension will enforce all HTTP request to HTTPs version. For example, if you wish to open http://www.abc.com it will forcefully handle the request by adding HTTPS link, you open from everywhere.
The only purpose behind this is to make sure you visit the encrypted page of the website. There are thousands of websites having valid SSL Certificate but they do not redirect HTTPS version, so in that case, HTTPS Everywhere will redirect you to that page first which is encrypted.
Purpose of the extension is to prevent malware from visiting trusted sites.
Apart from these best secure browsers, you have many others to choose from, like Dooble, Opera, Yandex etc. But, reviewing the performances of best browsers with most benefits and efficient privacy, we have listed them accordingly.
It is crucial for business owners to develop a relationship with their customers based entirely on trust. Therefore, while choosing the best secure browser you need to make sure that your web browsing is not compromised at all.
Did you know that your Browser selections has a lot to do with you overall browsing experience and pc security?
If you are like me, typically we limit ourselves to the browsers that come on pre loaded on our PC's assuming that it must be the best because it was included with the pc or integrated into our Operating System. Microsoft did this with the release of Windows 10 by bundling Explorer and Edge into it's new operating system. Many of us concluded that the new os and browers must be better because they were new. were better without ever thinking twice about it.
There are 2 features we all want from our browsers: Speed and Security
Is Microsoft Edge Really Safer than Chrome or Firefox?
Microsoft is heavily pushing their Windows 10-exclusive browser, Edge. Ads built into Windows 10 are now claiming that Edge is “safer” than Chrome and Firefox.
How did Microsoft determine that, and is it really true?
Microsoft’s claim is based on a report by NSS Labs, a business that sells threat intelligence and risk mitigation guidance to companies. The report tested 304 examples of Socially Engineered Malware (SEM) and phishing pages. They found that SmartScreen, a security feature in Edge, blocked 99% of the SEM samples. Chrome blocked 85.8%, and Firefox blocked 78.3%.
SmartScreen Is Just Part of the Picture
To understand what this means, you need to understand how SmartScreen works. Microsoft SmartScreen was first introduced in Internet Explorer 7 as “Phishing Filter,” and has been improved upon in each release since. Chrome and Firefox have similar warnings, but nothing quite like the bright red pages in Edge. These features check web pages and applications against lists of known good and bad items. So NSS Labs’ test essentially found that when it comes to malware and phishing pages, Microsoft has better lists
So yes, Edge may “block 21% more Socially Engineered Malware,” but that doesn’t mean it’s 21% more secure, or that security is even quantifiable. There’s a lot more going on in modern web browsers to keep you safe.
The Other Security Features That Matter
With that in mind, let’s talk about some of the other security features you’ll find in modern browsers, and how Edge stacks up to Chrome and Firefox.
Sandboxing is an important security technique that isolates programs, preventing malicious or malfunctioning programs from damaging or snooping on the rest of your computer. The software you use is already sandboxing much of the code you run every day.
You can also create sandboxes of your own to test or analyze software in a protected environment where it won’t be able to do any damage to the rest of your system.
How Sandboxes Are Essential For Security
A sandbox is a tightly controlled environment where programs can be run. Sandboxes restrict what a piece of code can do, giving it just as many permissions as it needs without adding additional permissions that could be abused.
For example, your web browser essentially runs web pages you visit in a sandbox. They’re restricted to running in your browser and accessing a limited set of resources — they can’t view your webcam without permission or read your computer’s local files. If websites you visit weren’t sandboxed and isolated from the rest of your system, visiting a malicious website would be as bad as installing a virus.
Other programs on your computer are also sandboxed. For example, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer both run in a sandbox themselves. These browsers are programs running on your computer, but they don’t have access to your entire computer. They run in a low-permission mode. Even if the web page found a security vulnerability and managed to take control of the browser, it would then have to escape the browser’s sandbox to do real damage. By running the web browser with fewer permissions, we gain security. Sadly, Mozilla Firefox still doesn’t run in a sandbox.
Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome have both fully implemented sandboxing tech. Sandboxes break up each component of the browser—tabs, windows, and plugins, for example—into individual processes. These processes are prohibited from interacting with each other or with outside processes, making it much more difficult for malicious code to spread across your computer.
Splitting a browser into several processes can also improve performance with modern multi-core processors, though it comes at the expense of higher RAM usage.
Firefox, on the other hand, launched in 2004, when the concept of sandboxing was very new. Right now, it only sandboxes media plugins, but Mozilla is working on Electrolysis, a project to make Firefox multi-process and sandbox the browser. Unlike Internet Explorer, though, which was able to introduce sandboxing in version 10, Firefox had to worry about maintaining compatibility with almost 13 years of extensions, which is why this transition has been so slow.
So when it comes to sandboxing, Edge definitely has an edge (pun intended) over Firefox, but it’s on pretty level ground with Chrome.
Ever wonder why your browser updates so often? Developers are constantly patching to fix security flaws. Of course, only users who install the updates are protected. Automatic updates help ensure that most people run current, protected versions of the web browser.
Google Chrome is the poster child for automatic software updates. They are installed quickly and quietly when users close the web browser. Firefox introduced a similar silent updates feature in 2012.
Microsoft Edge updates automatically as well, although those patches are delivered through Windows Update. (This is one of the big reasons you shouldn’t turn off automatic Windows updates.) There’s one downside to Edge’s approach, though: Windows updates generally come at a slower rate than Chrome or Firefox’s browser-only updates, and you must restart your computer for Edge’s updates to take effect. Microsoft has said that in the future, they will start delivering some Edge updates through the Windows Store, which will help ensure Edge users stay up to date.
All three major web browsers feature some sort of privacy mode (InPrivate on Edge, Incognito on Chrome, and Private Browsing on Firefox). When the privacy window is closed, all history, cookies, and cached data is removed, leaving nothing behind on your computer. However, this doesn’t prevent websites or advertisers from tracking you.
Firefox has a clearer advantage in this area. In 2015, Firefox introduced Tracking Protection, which removes known tracking elements from pages visited in Private Browsing.
In addition, the Tor Browser is based on Firefox’s source code, and adds new privacy and security features to help protect the anonymity of its users. Because it uses the same code base, it’s possible to port changes back from TOR to Firefox. Called the “uplift” program, the two teams started working closely together in 2016. First Party Isolation is the first anti-tracking feature brought from Tor to Firefox, with more in the pipeline.
It’s also worth noting that unlike Google and Microsoft, Firefox does not make money from tracking users or selling targeted ads. The larger companies are incentivized not to improve your privacy.
The Bottom Line
Right now, Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge have very similar security features. The claim that Edge is “safer” than Chrome merely comes from the fact that Microsoft keeps a better list of bad websites than Chrome does, though if you’re protecting yourself well with antivirus and anti-malware software, you should be pretty safe.
Mozilla Firefox is behind the other two large browsers, but is on track to catch up in 2017. It is, however, currently better at protecting your privacy, so at least it has its own advantages.
Alternative Browsers We Use
The latest version of the Opera web browser has a built-in client for SurfEasy's VPN service, and it's entirely free to use. SurfEasy, a Canadian company, is also behind the free Opera VPN apps, which are developed and operated separately from the browser version.
The Opera browser-based VPN isn't a true VPN, though; it protects only the traffic going to and from the Opera browser itself. Other applications on your computer will not be protected. However, the mobile apps are the real thing and will protect all the traffic going through your phone.
We can't argue with the price of either the desktop or mobile Opera VPN services. But the desktop-browser VPN service shouldn't be used for truly sensitive matters, as its security is no stronger than that of an HTTPS web link. We like the Opera VPN mobile apps, but desktop users will want to consider a paid alternative, such as Private Internet Access.
Costs and What's Covered
The Opera VPN service is entirely free, although the mobile apps are ad-supported. The desktop browser is available for Windows, Mac and Linux, while the apps are for iOS and Android. There's no Opera VPN client for Chromebooks or routers, but there's a SurfEasy VPN client extension for Chrome browsers.
Users of other mobile platforms, such as Windows Phone or BlackBerry, are out of luck. However, you can find ways to make the desktop service work with other browsers if you do a little Googling.
Features and Interface
Of the VPN services we've reviewed, Opera VPN is the easiest to get started with. But it can connect to the internet only through five countries: Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Singapore and the United States. In contrast, the full-featured PureVPN service lets you choose from 141 countries.
A representative for the Chinese company that owns the Opera browser told us that the number of VPN servers scales with the number of users, and can be as many as 500. A representative for SurfEasy told us that the Opera VPN mobile apps have access to 586 servers.
The Opera desktop browser can block ads, as can the Opera VPN mobile apps. Both versions can also block web trackers.
The desktop interface is simply the Opera web browser, which is bright and clean-looking, and also lets you connect to Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp directly from the browser.
You can toggle the VPN function off and on by clicking a small button marked "VPN" at the left end of the address bar, which then pops up a small dialog box with a toggle switch.
When you're connected, the VPN button in the address bar turns blue — a reassuring notification. The dialog box also lets you choose among connection counties and shows how much data you've used recently.
Epic Privacy Browser is based on Chromium, is open-source, and is available for Windows and OS X. While there's good, genuine skepticism about the browser—and its roots in Chromium (the open-source platform upon which Chrome is also based), overall Epic does what it promises. The browser blocks ads, tracking cookies, social boxes and widgets (until you interact with them), blocks tracking scripts and modules from loading (which results in faster-loading web pages), and sandboxes third-party processes and plugins. Epic Browser even encrypts your connection whenever possible (largely by shunting to HTTPS/SSL whenever it's available), routes your browsing through a proxy, and protects you from widgetjacking or sidejacking when you're browsing over Wi-Fi.
Comodo is an internet security company that's been in the business of protecting data for decades. You may know them best for Comodo Internet Security, their desktop antivirus and antimalware product, or Comodo Firewall, their lean, lightweight software firewall. Comodo also maintains three web browsers as well, and each of them offers additional protection that you won't find in a standard download of Chrome or Firefox.
Comodo Dragon (Chromium)
Comodo Dragon is a Chromium-based browser that was one of Comodo's first browsers. It incorporates a number of Comodo-branded tools into the browsing experience, like the company's own SSL validation, where every site you visit has its SSL certificate and identity validated by Comodo. You'll get a notification if everything is on the up and up or if Comodo thinks the site you're trying to visit is questionable. If you allow it to, Comodo will route all of your browsing through its secure, encrypted DNS, so you leave fewer traces of your movements around the web. Comodo Dragon also blocks third party tracking cookies, widgets, and other site components from loading. Of course, because it's branded by Comodo, it'll prompt you to use Comodo's other security products as well to compliment it, which is a little ironic if you're using a privacy-focused browser in order to not be sold to all the time. It's worth noting that Comodo says that Dragon will only run on Windows 7 and below (although we had no issues with it in Windows 8.)
Comodo Ice Dragon (Firefox)
Comodo Ice Dragon is another version of Comodo Dragon that's based on Firefox instead of Chromium. If you prefer the look, feel, or features of Firefox, this is the version you'll want to download. It offers the same level of protection, and like Comodo Dragon, it supports third party extensions. Also like Dragon, it'll scan pages for tracking elements and malware as soon as it loads, and warn you in advance if you're about to download something malicious. It does suffer from the same drawback as Comodo Dragon though—in the form that its branding can be a little aggressive. It supports Windows 7 and below (although again, we had no issues with it in Windows 8.)
Comodo Chromium Secure (Chromium)
Comodo Chromium Secure is a more up-to-date version of Comodo Dragon—if you want to ditch all of the branding, keep all of the protection, and go back to basics, Chromium Secure is the browser for you (and, if you're okay with a Chromium base, the one we recommend.) It looks and behaves like Chromium, and includes all of the best features of Comodo Dragon, including the on-site malware scanning, secure DNS, SSL and domain validation, and tracker blocking. It's just faster, strips out the Comodo branding (although it still suggests Comodo's additional products from time to time), and looks more like the Chrome you know and love, as opposed to a completely different and new browser.
The Tor Browser is based on Firefox, open source, and comes preconfigured to access the Tor network. The vast majority of built-in plugins and services have been disabled or stripped out, and it's important that you leave them that way, or else data you mean to keep private can leak to the sites you're visiting. Available for Windows, OS X, Linux, and in portable forms for all of those, it's a great way to surf when you're using an untrusted system, want to keep your identity close to pocket, get around content filtering or site-specific blocks, or keep your physical location a secret from the sites downstream (or anyone who may be watching along the way.) Remember though, Tor is designed for physical and digital anonymity, not security and encryption. What you do while you're using it may give away that anonymity (sending emails, logging on to web services, etc), and while communications inside the Tor network are encrypted, as soon as you leave the network, your data is in the clear (if it's not encrypted another way.)
Tor is going through a rough period right now, but overall, the service is still excellent if you're looking to preserve your anonymity and privacy from the sites you visit, and from malicious tracking cookies and ads. For those unfamiliar, Tor routes your traffic across a series of relays designed to keep your real identity and computer as anomymous as possible. It's not perfect and it certainly has its drawbacks (which we don't have room to get into here), but if anonymity is your end goal, the Tor Browser (more specifically, the Tor Browser Bundle) is a great way to go.