These are our current web browser recommendations, settings, and add-ons you can use to preserve your privacy.
Firefox is a fast, reliable, open-source, privacy-respecting browser developed by Mozilla.
Unlike Google Chrome, Firefox won’t track your data and send it to various companies. Firefox also allows you to simply install a number of add-ons that will improve your privacy online.
The choice if you need an extra layer of anonymity. Tor Browser is a modified version of Firefox ESR, which comes with pre-installed privacy add-ons, encryption, and an advanced proxy.
A Chromium-based browser with security and privacy enhancements built in, such as an adblocker and DNS-over-HTTPS support. It includes patches from Ungoogled Chromium and other security/privacy focused Chromium projects. However, Bromite is only available on Android at this time, making it a poor choice for users of multiple devices, especially if you need to sync between a desktop and mobile device.
A browser option on macOS and iOS with a strong focus on security and privacy. We believe Safari is an acceptable choice for Apple users, despite Safari being a proprietary browser, because Apple users are already trusting a proprietary operating system to run their programs on. We do not recommend using iCloud Sync, which saves your bookmarks and history in a way which allows Apple to view them. Additionally, WebKit, the browser engine powering Safari is open source.
A desktop browser based on Chromium which removes all Google integrations, while adding features which seek to enhance your security, privacy, and control of your browser. However, we do not strongly recommend the use of Ungoogled Chromium for most users at this time, because of a lack of official builds and updates from the developer. We strongly believe that auto-updating apps are key for maintaining security, lest you browse the web with outdated builds of your browser which may be susceptible to any number of live exploits.
Chrome is completely controlled by Google, and taps into your browsing history to track you across the web and serve you targeted advertisements. Because of Google’s interest in increased ad revenues, Google Chrome offers no privacy protections out of the box compared to Firefox, and has taken anti-consumer steps to block common extensions like adblockers. It's best to avoid this browser at all costs.
Without signing into a Google Account, the open-source builds of Chromium do relatively well in terms of security and privacy. However, Chromium still does have a number of integrations with Google hardcoded into the source, and because it is designed to be as user-friendly as possible, it operates in a way that compromises transparency and user-control. And, Chromium is still directly developed by Google, who have attempted to introduce anti-consumer measures in the past as mentioned in the Google Chrome section.
Despite being widely touted as a privacy-friendly Chromium browser, we have a number of concerns with Brave’s business practices and future business model that prevents us from recommending them. The Brave team has publicly stated they do not want to be associated with privacy-focused groups like PrivacyTools (PrivacyTools PR #657), which causes us to believe the Brave team does not wish to be under too much scrutiny from the privacy community as they continue to develop their product (Reddit discussion).
Additional Mobile Recommendations
DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser
Browser Fingerprinting - Is your browser configuration unique?
When you visit a web page, your browser voluntarily sends information about its configuration, such as available fonts, browser type, and add-ons. If this combination of information is unique, it may be possible to identify and track you without using cookies. EFF created a Tool called Cover Your Tracks to test your browser to see how unique it is.
Modern web browsers have not been architected to assure personal web privacy. Rather than worrying about being fingerprinted, it seems more practical to use free software plugins to regain control. They not only respect your freedom, but your privacy also. You can get much further with these than trying to manipulate your browser's fingerprint.
- How Unique Is Your Web Browser? Peter Eckersley, EFF.
- Our Firefox privacy add-ons section.
- BrowserLeaks.com - Web browser security testing tools that tell you what exactly personal identity data may be leaked without any permissions when you surf the Internet.
WebRTC IP Leak Test - Is your IP address leaking?
While software like NoScript prevents this, it's probably a good idea to block this protocol directly as well, just to be safe. Note: This disables browser-based call functionality that is used for webapps like Discord, Hangouts, Jitsi, etc.
How to disable WebRTC in Firefox?
In short: Set "media.peerconnection.enabled" to "false" in "about:config".
- Enter "about:config" in the firefox address bar and press enter.
- Press the button "I'll be careful, I promise!"
- Search for "media.peerconnection.enabled"
- Double click the entry, the column "Value" should now be "false"
- Done. Do the WebRTC leak test again.
If you want to make sure every single WebRTC-related setting is really disabled change these settings:
- media.peerconnection.turn.disable = true
- media.peerconnection.use_document_iceservers = false
- media.peerconnection.video.enabled = false
- media.peerconnection.identity.timeout = 1
Now you can be 100% sure WebRTC is disabled.
How to disable WebRTC in Safari?
Safari is far stricter with WebRTC than other major browsers, and it does not leak your IP address in its default configuration. If you'd like, you can follow these steps just to double-check your browser:
- Choose "Preferences" under the Safari menu in your menu bar.
- Select the Advanced tab and check the "Show Develop menu in menu bar" box.
- Exit Preferences and open the Develop menu in your menu bar.
- In the drop-down menu, open the "WebRTC" submenu and ensure "Enable Legacy WebRTC API" is unchecked. If it's grayed out, even better.
How to disable WebRTC in Google Chrome?
WebRTC cannot be fully disabled in Chrome; however, it is possible to change its routing settings (and prevent leaks) using an extension. Two open-source solutions include WebRTC Leak Prevent (options may need to be changed depending on the scenario), and uBlock Origin (select "Prevent WebRTC from leaking local IP addresses" in Settings).
What about other browsers?
Chrome on macOS and Internet Explorer do not yet implement WebRTC.
uBlock Origin: Block Ads and Trackers
uBlock Origin is an efficient wide-spectrum blocker that is easy on memory, and yet can load and enforce thousands more filters than other popular blockers out there. It has no monetization strategy and is completely open source. Advanced mode allows for dynamic filtering. Dynamic filtering allows for extended blocking similar to NoScript and uMatrix (E.g. medium or hard) blocking.
HTTPS Everywhere: Secure Connections
Decentraleyes: Block Content Delivery Networks
xBrowserSync synchronizes bookmarks across devices and browsers with end-to-end encryption. Data is encrypted and decrypted on the device, no one but you can read it. No registration is needed, just enter a randomly generated id or QR code on all devices. Different servers are available, and it can also be self-hosted.
- floccus - Synchronize bookmarks across browsers via Nextcloud, WebDAV or a local file (and thus any file sync solution). For Firefox, Chrome, Edge.
Terms of Service; Didn’t Read: Be Informed
Terms of Service; Didn’t Read is an addon that believes "I have read and agree to the Terms of Service" is the biggest lie on the web, and wants to fix it by grading websites based on their terms of service agreements and privacy policies. It also gives short summaries of those agreements. The analysis and ratings are published transparently by a community of reviewers.
Snowflake is a new pluggable transport from the Tor Project. If you have an uncensored connection, running this extension volunteers your connection to be used as a Snowflake proxy to help users unable to connect to the Tor network. Your IP will not be visible to the sites users visit using your proxy, as this extension will not make you an exit node. If your access to the Tor network is blocked, this extension will not assist you, and you should use the Tor Browser instead. Note: This add-on does not work with WebRTC disabled.
Persistent storage management
Temporary Containers allow you to open tabs, websites, and links in automatically managed disposable containers. Containers isolate data websites store (cookies, storage, and more) from each other, enhancing your privacy and security while you browse: Enhance your privacy in Firefox with Temporary Containers.
Firefox Multi-Account Containers
Firefox Multi-Account Containers allow you to create containers for specific websites. These containers are isolated from eachother. This add-on can be used in conjunctiuon with Temporary Containers to allow persistent logins to websites you specify.
ETag Stoppa Prevents Firefox from storing entity tags by removing ETag response headers unconditionally and without exceptions.
Cookie AutoDelete: Automatically Delete Cookies
Cookie AutoDelete automatically removes cookies, lingering sessions, and other information that can be used to spy on you when they are no longer used by open browser tabs.
For Advanced Users
uMatrix: Stop Cross-Site Requests
uMatrix gives you control over the requests that websites make to other websites. Many websites integrate features which let other websites track you, such as Facebook Like Buttons or Google Analytics. uMatrix allows 1st party scripts in its default configuration. If you want the default functionality of NoScript consider blocking 1st party scripts everywhere by default. This addon has been discontinued.
- Enter "about:config" in the firefox address bar and press enter.
- Press the button "Accept the Risk and Continue" [FF71+] or "I accept the risk".
- Copy and paste each of the preferences below (for example "webgl.disabled") into the search bar, and set each of them to the stated value (such as "true").
- privacy.firstparty.isolate = true
- A result of the Tor Uplift effort, this preference isolates all browser identifier sources (e.g. cookies) to the first party domain, with the goal of preventing tracking across different domains. (Don't do this if you are using the Firefox Addon "Cookie AutoDelete" with Firefox v58 or below.)
- privacy.resistFingerprinting = true
- A result of the Tor Uplift effort, this preference makes Firefox more resistant to browser fingerprinting.
- privacy.trackingprotection.fingerprinting.enabled = true
- [FF67+] Blocks Fingerprinting
- privacy.trackingprotection.cryptomining.enabled = true
- [FF67+] Blocks CryptoMining
- privacy.trackingprotection.enabled = true
- This is Mozilla's new built-in tracking protection. One of it's benefits is blocking tracking (i.e. Google Analytics) on privileged pages where add-ons that usually do that are disabled.
- browser.send_pings = false
- The attribute would be useful for letting websites track visitors' clicks.
- browser.urlbar.speculativeConnect.enabled = false
- Disable preloading of autocomplete URLs. Firefox preloads URLs that autocomplete when a user types into the address bar, which is a concern if URLs are suggested that the user does not want to connect to. Source
- dom.event.clipboardevents.enabled = false
- Disable that websites can get notifications if you copy, paste, or cut something from a web page, and it lets them know which part of the page had been selected.
- media.eme.enabled = false
Disables playback of DRM-controlled HTML5 content, which, if enabled, automatically downloads the Widevine Content Decryption Module provided by Google Inc. Details
DRM-controlled content that requires the Adobe Flash or Microsoft Silverlight NPAPI plugins will still play, if installed and enabled in Firefox.
- media.gmp-widevinecdm.enabled = false
- Disables the Widevine Content Decryption Module provided by Google Inc., used for the playback of DRM-controlled HTML5 content. Details
- media.navigator.enabled = false
- Websites can track the microphone and camera status of your device.
- network.cookie.cookieBehavior = 1
- 0 = Accept all cookies by default
- 1 = Only accept from the originating site (block third-party cookies)
- 2 = Block all cookies by default
- network.http.referer.XOriginPolicy = 2
Refererheader when the full hostnames match. (Note: if you notice significant breakage, you might try
1combined with an
XOriginTrimmingPolicytweak below.) Source
- 0 = Send
Refererin all cases
- 1 = Send
Refererto same eTLD sites
- 2 = Send
Refereronly when the full hostnames match
- 0 = Send
- network.http.referer.XOriginTrimmingPolicy = 2
Refereracross origins, only send scheme, host, and port in the
Refererheader of cross-origin requests. Source
- 0 = Send full url in
- 1 = Send url without query string in
- 2 = Only send scheme, host, and port in
- 0 = Send full url in
- webgl.disabled = true
- WebGL is a potential security risk. Source
- browser.sessionstore.privacy_level = 2
This preference controls when to store extra information about a session: contents of forms, scrollbar positions, cookies, and POST data. Details
- 0 = Store extra session data for any site. (Default starting with Firefox 4.)
- 1 = Store extra session data for unencrypted (non-HTTPS) sites only. (Default before Firefox 4.)
- 2 = Never store extra session data.
- beacon.enabled = false
- Disables sending additional analytics to web servers. Details
- browser.safebrowsing.downloads.remote.enabled = false
- Prevents Firefox from sending information about downloaded executable files to Google Safe Browsing to determine whether it should be blocked for safety reasons. Details
- Disable Firefox prefetching pages it thinks you will visit next:
- network.dns.disablePrefetch = true
- network.dns.disablePrefetchFromHTTPS = true
- network.predictor.enabled = false
- network.predictor.enable-prefetch = false
- network.prefetch-next = false
- network.IDN_show_punycode = true
- Not rendering IDNs as their Punycode equivalent leaves you open to phishing attacks that can be very difficult to notice. Source
- Looking for TRR, DoH or ESNI?
- They have moved to our DNS page.
Firefox user.js Templates
- arkenfox user.js (formerly ghacks-user.js) - An ongoing comprehensive user.js template for configuring and hardening Firefox privacy, security and anti-fingerprinting.
- Firefox Privacy: Tips and Tricks for Better Browsing - A good starting guide for users looking to keep their data private and secure.
- ffprofile.com - Helps you to create a Firefox profile with the defaults you like.
- Privacy Settings - A Firefox add-on to alter built-in privacy settings easily with a toolbar panel.
- Firefox Privacy Guide For Dummies - Guide on ways (already discussed and others) to improve your privacy and safety on Firefox.
Privacy Guides is a socially motivated website that provides information for protecting your data security and privacy.
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