Your first thought might be Chromium, which is a more private version of Chrome. The difference between Chrome and Chromium is that the latter collects less data and is an open-source web browser project. However, Chromium is still a Google product, so take its privacy claims with a grain of salt.
However, Chromium’s open-source code has allowed many developers to create more privacy-friendly and secure browsers. These alternatives provide great browsing experience and let you keep Chrome extensions. We reviewed the most popular alternative browsers, and here’s what we recommend:
Opera browser review
Opera is an excellent option if you are looking for an all-rounder Chromium browser. It has an integrated ad-blocker and a VPN, and you can sync your settings, bookmarks, and passwords between Opera and any other Chromium-based browser. Opera also has improved browsing speeds as it compresses your web traffic by routing it through Opera’s servers.
Opera offers its own extensions, but you can use Google Chrome ones as well. However, you’ll first need to install an extension for Google Chrome extensions.
Vivaldi browser review
The former CEO of Opera created Vivaldi as he wasn’t happy with the direction Opera was taking. Therefore it’s no surprise that this chromium project brings back some forgotten Opera’s features and allow a lot of customization.
It provides a built-in notepad, and you can bookmark folders and organize notes, keep your tabs as vertical thumbnails, and even have your social media channels running on the side. It also changes the color scheme based on the website you’re visiting, or you can switch to dark mode, which is great if you are working or studying in places with dimmed lighting. One of Vivaldi’s best features Vivaldi is mouse gestures for faster navigation and tab hibernation, which hibernates the tabs you’re not using.
Because of Vivaldi’s focus on privacy, you cannot sync your browsing history or passwords from other browsers. However, you can still add Chrome extensions.
Epic browser review
Epic is another browser that focuses on privacy. It collects and saves only the minimum amount of data required for your browsing session. It’ll delete everything else, including browsing history, cookies, and cache, the moment you close the browser.
It doesn’t allow Google or any other companies to track you, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there’s no Google integration. Widgets and extensions are limited too.
Brave browser review
Brave supports almost all Chromium extensions, which you can enable or disable by going to its extension page.
Opera Neon browser review
Opera Neon advertises itself as the browser of the future, and it’s understandable why. Their interface is easy to use and even blends in with your desktop background. Tabs and shortcuts are presented as bubbles that you can drag to the main page and save them as your favorites. It also allows you to split the browser window and have two tabs open at the same time, and you can keep your videos playing in the background as a little pop out window. Opera Neon also has a built-in crop feature that saves your cropped images in a gallery for later use.
Even though Opera Neon looks good compared to Opera and other browsers, it’s still missing some basic features, and it deliberately doesn’t support any extensions. It probably won’t be a go-to choice for many users.
Comodo Dragon browser review
Comodo Dragon was developed by a security company and is positioned as a privacy-oriented browser. It removes questionable Google features such as address bar suggestions, the bug-tracking system, and Google user tracking. However, it has previously received a lot of criticism, and it might not be as safe as you’d like to think.
When developing the browser, Comodo’s team left in a bug that disabled the same-origin policy. The same-origin policy is essential for browser security as it ensures that scripts access data from a second web page only if the two pages have the same origin. Disabling could corrupt HTTPS encryption and make your browsing session unsecure. Developers eventually patched this vulnerability, but the damage to their reputation was done.
SRWare Iron review
SRWare Iron keeps users down by stripping down some Google Chrome features such as Google-hosted error pages, Google Updater, DNS pre-fetching, address bar suggestions, etc.
However, it isn’t foolproof, and SRMWare has previously received a lot of criticism. It takes much longer for their team to issue updates or patch vulnerabilities than for other browsers, especially Chrome.
How to choose your browser
There are many great Chromium alternatives, but each has its shortcomings. Before choosing one, consider the following:
- Do you only need basic features or do you need access to all Chrome extensions?
- Is it user-friendly? The most secure browser is the one you’ll actually use.
- Does it have a mobile app? You can find this information on each browser’s website.
- How often does it issue updates?
- Have they previously patched any vulnerabilities? What were they and how quickly were they patched?
- Can you trust the company that developed the browser? What does their reputation say about them?
If you couldn’t find a browser here that suits you, check out our post about privacy-oriented browsers. Many of the browsers featured here can be found there as well, but there are also good browsers not based on Chromium’s code.
A private and secure browser is only one small part of your security toolset. Here are some other tips so you can use to browse with peace of mind:
- Install Chrome plugins such as ad-blockers so websites cannot track you. This is a good option if you’re not ready to part with Chrome.
- Don’t sign into your Google or Facebook accounts so they won’t be able to track you.
- Use a VPN to hide your IP and location so that websites and snoopers can’t spy on you. Even incognito mode is not private and your data can be collected by third parties. With one NordVPN account, you can protect up to six devices: laptops, smartphones, tablets, and more. It also comes as a browser extension for Chrome.