Your favorite internet browser may be protecting you against viruses and other malware. Then again, it could also be tracking your every move online.
Money expert Clark Howard says, “When you have an opportunity to surf the web, you are being tracked all the time all over the place.”
“But there’s a reaction to that,” he adds. “Now there are browsers and extensions you can use with existing browsers that can help protect your privacy a whole lot better.”
Want To Browse the Web Safely? Read On
In this article, I’ll talk about some browsers and browser extensions that safeguard your privacy and won’t track you.
But first, a quick primer on technology. A web browser is a portal you use to access the internet. An extension is a program you can add to a browser that gives it added functionality such as the ability to filter out advertising or to remove trackers that you can’t see.
Clark is a staunch advocate of internet privacy, and he’s been experimenting lately with different digital tools that promise online protection.
“One in particular that I’ve been testing for a number of months is Brave,” Clark says. “It gives you the ability to block all kinds of tracking.”
According to its website, Brave also lets you:
- Load content faster
- Use 35% less battery
- Block unwanted content by setting up “Shields’ that hide you from advertisers
While it’s true that many browsers offer some variation of incognito mode or private browsing, “If you want real teeth with that, you’re going to get it with the Brave browser,” Clark says.
Clark also likes DuckDuckGo, a search engine that lets you surf the web privately without being tracked.
“A lot of people aren’t familiar with DuckDuckGo. They also offer a browser extension that you can use with Google Chrome [more on that below]. They offer their own mini browser as well,” he says.
Free Browser Extensions To Protect Your Privacy
In addition to browsers, there are extensions available to help you protect your privacy on the internet. Let’s look at some free browser extensions that work to prevent you from being tracked online.
Privacy Badger allows you to enable “Do Not Track” features on major browsers including Chrome, Opera, Firefox and Edge. The company website says the extension also stops tracking from advertisers and other third parties like Facebook and Google.
The Privacy Badger extension is offered for these browsers:
The AdBlock Plus extension is offered for use with these browsers:
We talked about the browser earlier, but the DuckDuckGo browser add-on promises to block hidden trackers that record your online activity.
The DuckDuckGo extension is offered with these browsers:
uBlock Origin promotes itself as a “wide-spectrum content blocker,” which means you can customize what you want to block inside the extension. uBlock also promises to minimize the use of your computer’s memory by keeping it from being bogged down.
I’ve used uBlock Origin on some computers I’ve had in the past. My experience is that it makes for a cleaner webpage, which is important when you want to read content.
The uBlock Origin extension is offered with these browsers:
Ghostery is another add-on that promises to stop companies from tracking you. The free version offers basic tracker blocking, ad blocking and more. Ghostery also has a Plus version ($3.99 a month) and a Premium version ($8.99) with more features.
I installed Ghostery’s free version on my current computer, and I’ve found that it allows you to customize which trackers you want to block, from site analytics, social media, comments and more.
The Ghostery extension is offered with these browsers:
If you’re not keen on installing a browser extension, many browsers have settings that can disable a degree of tracking — but not much.
Just follow these linked instructions to turn off some tracking features in these major browsers:
- Chrome: Turn on “Do Not Track.”
- Safari: Prevent cross-site tracking.
- Edge: Set up a “Do Not Track” request.
- Opera: Enable built-in ad blocker.
Before you download any browser or browser extension, do your research to see if it’s compatible with your operating system.
Clark says he’s enjoying the privacy that the Brave browser gives him.
“The Brave browser is very streamlined and simple to use. It blocked 342 trackers for me,” Clark says. “The other thing is that it saves time, because tracking slows you down.“
Do you use a browser that protects your privacy? Let us know in the comments