Browser Suggestions

The web browser has become a staple of the modern computer for its ability to access websites and web based programs. Many people simply need a good browser that gets them through their web traveling easily and simply. Sadly, most web browsers are filled to the brim with spyware, bloat, tracking, or lack some basic features. For this, I have compiled a list of browsers that, based on categorization, I suggest.

What you shouldn't use

If you are using any of the following browsers, you should likely swap as soon as you can! These are all bad news for user freedom and some even contain outright malware that actively works against you.

Google Chrome

Unsurprisingly, the program made by Google is bonified evil garbage. It's non-free software that builds upon the permissively licensed Chromium engine. Not only is Google Chrome non-free software but also it is software that spies on the end user. In their privacy policy, it enumerates "If you are signed in to a Google site or signed in to Chrome and Google is your default search engine, searches you perform using the address bar in Chrome are stored in your Google account." It also has a key-logger built right into their search engine: When you search using the address bar in Chrome, the characters you type (even if you haven’t hit "enter" yet) are sent to your default search engine. If Google is your default search engine, predictions are based on your own search history, topics related to what you’re typing and what other people are searching for." This sort of creepy behavior is the tip of the iceberg and much more can be read on Chome's Spyware Watchdog page.

Opera

Opera out of the box is a non-free spyware program. Upon launch it makes a request for your geolocation and then from there it sends you through tracker upon tracker upon tracker, with one of the, The Yandex One, giving you a uniquely identifiable cookie for the purpose of tracking. Later it gives another uniquely identifiable ID to Cxense, an ad company. Opera's privacy policy is not shy from admitting their tracking too. They collect telemetry that contains uniquely identifiable information such as a unique install ID for the browser, hardware data, operating system, and usage data. They also outright admitting to selling data for ad revenue. They also obtain location data from the news you read and save that data for up to three months. All this, and more, can be found in their privacy policy. Much more can be found in terms of losing rights in the EULA and the ToS. Remember to read your papers or else suffer the consequences.

Vivaldi

This popular, non-free, and spyware browser is heralded as a better alternative to the crap given by other browsers of its kin, but it, like all the others, is rotten to the core. It claims to be what Opera should have been (bit is very much outclassed by Otter) and fails on every level respect the users privacy and freedom. Vivaldi is, by admission of its own privacy policy, spyware: "When you install Vivaldi browser ('Vivaldi'), each installation profile is assigned a unique user ID that is stored on your computer. Vivaldi will send a message using HTTPS directly to our servers located in Iceland every 24 hours containing this ID, version, CPU architecture, screen resolution and time since last message. We anonymous the IP address of Vivaldi users by removing the last octet of the IP address from your Vivaldi client then we store the resolved approximate location after using a local geoip lookup.". To explain in easy to understand terms, they get a unique ID of you, your hardware and software information, and your ip address and send it off to some server they own in Iceland. This ip address is "anonymized" by removing the last digits of your ip address, so instead of being the usual 192.53.356.284 or something similar, its instead 192.53.356.*. So, in the end, Vivaldi only has most of your location and a bunch of information about your hardware. Vivaldi also willingly forks over your URLs to Google to check if they're "fishing or malicious" for you (when editing your host file or installing a pihole would do equally as good). Now if this isn't bad enough, one of the forum masters gave a hilarious comment on how their spyware company (Piwik) who works with them isn't spyware. He accomplishes this by means of total non-sequitur. He lists a bunch of spyware-providing companies as to prove his point of Piwik not being spyware. He then weakly insults those who claim these spyware-providing companies are what they are. His tantrum can be seen in full force below:

Stop spreading FUD. Piwik as employed by Vivaldi is not "spyware." Piwik is not a "spyware company" (unless Google, Facebook, Yahoo, TVGuide, Microsoft, Apple, NYT, Huffpo, Ancestry.com, WaPo, CenturyLink and McAfee are "spyware companies" — in which case just disconnect your computer and go to bed). It is irresponsible and malicious of you to lie about Vivaldi in this fashion. If you want to know what a connection does, ask. But don't sling around reckless accusations.

Internet Explorer

This old boomer browser is a relic of the past that really should be ditched. It too is non-free software and should be avoided. Not only this, it is likely to be deprecated soon as Microsoft is slowly pulling support from this forgotten browser in favor of Internet Edge. H however, if you wish to stick with this garbage rather than upgrading, you should be well aware that this software is spyware. The Privacy Policy for Internet Explorer 10 enumerates that "When you turn on flip ahead, your web browsing history is periodically sent to Microsoft and used in the aggregate." To use a simple feature of the browser, your data will be blatantly sent to Microsoft and saved. Worse yet, Microsoft gets acc ess to your location through their location services: "Internet Explorer will contact a Microsoft location service to attempt to determine your computer’s physical location. This service uses your IP address and dat a from nearby Wi‑Fi access points, if available." The Privacy policy doesn't even enumerate what will be done with the data, if its anonymized, or how long it will be stored. So using Internet Explorer gives Microso ft total access to your location without restraint if you use their location services. More problems are listed on IE's Spyware Watchdog page.

Mozilla's Firefox

In spite of being free software, Mozilla's Firefox is a very user hostile experience when not mitigated. Firefox sends a "phoning home" request home upon launching to Mozilla. This means that, every time you launch the browser, Mozilla gets a notification that you have. Not only does Mozilla get a nice ping when you use their browser, but so does Google when you're browsing for addons. The devs refuse to remove this anti-feature either. Mozilla also collects user data on even simple, blank pages of both a mix of uniquely identifiable information and what the user is doing. This is down to even simple tasks as preforming a search, bookmarking, and deleting items from your history. This sort of behavior is absolutely ill of a free software application such as Firefox. If you wish to read more on Mozilla's sins in the browser, check out its Spyware Watchdog page. If you wish to liberate your Firefox from Mozilla's control, you can always use Spyware Watchdog's mitigation guide as to fix Mozilla's problems. Though, if this is too much for you, you could always check out the Normalfren-friendly browsers or any other of the listed alternatives below as great replacements for this freedom disrespecting software.


For The Normalfren

Browsers for the average Joe-shmoe. All are solid picks and put functionality and simplicity over bloat, spyware, and features.

Librewolf


GNU/Linux M$ Windows MacOS

(Almost) The best out-of-box experience for privacy you can get that isn't TTB. It's quite normalfren friendly, keeps all the Mozilla spyware out of the browser, is quick, responsive, and over all properly works for most use cases. Its all someone could ever wish for in a browser as its just Firefox minus the garbage. If you need a browser that just works, use this. I'd also suggest installing No Script if you want a browsing experience that is ultra secure in private.

By default, Librewolf comes with some nasty features like contacting other services to verify domains and search suggestions. I'd suggest going to the preferences as you would any other Firefox-like browser (look up how to edit preferences in Firefox if you don't know how) and swapping the search feature's provide search suggestion to off, and go to privacy/security and turn off blocking of dangerous/deceptive content and turn off querying OCSP respond servers. From here, this should be good enough to mitigate some of the undesirable aspects of Librewolf.

The Tor Browser


GNU/Linux M$ Windows MacOS Android

Imagine Librewolf, but it also allows you to use Tor. That's simply what this is. It's a modified and hardened version of Firefox that uses Tor to connect to the internet. It is of note that you shouldn't sign in to anything with this browser nor should you install too many extensions besides what is needed. It is also suggested that you use NoScript to its fullest potential for maximum anonymity. The only downside would be that you cannot sign into anything as it would deanonymize you (you could use Librewolf for this however) and that TTB is extraordinarily slow due to its usage of Tor. However, TTB is really good for browsing the internet anonymously and maybe even watching a video or two with invidious.

Ungoogled-chromium


GNU/Linux M$ Windows MacOS

Ungoogled Chromium is similar to Librewolf as it tries its best to patch out all the Google tracking junk in Chromium rather than the Mozilla tracking junk in Firefox. It does a pretty good job, but, because Chromium is a massive codebase, it shouldn't be relied on totally. For every day use for privacy, it's pretty good. It also has the benefits Chromium has in terms of sandboxing and security. If you simply do not like how Firefox-like browsers function, then Ungoogled-Chromium is the ideal choice of the three. It should be noted that, out of box, it doesn't come with some features and you will have to configure it a bit yourself.

For The Boomer

Browsers for the older generation (or at least those who like to larp as if they're from an older generation). All browsers here have a dated look, but are still strong picks.

Otter


GNU/Linux M$ Windows MacOS

Otter browser is a reimplementation of Opera's old look and feel in a modern light. It is built off QT and the developers suggest building from source, but the devs offer precompiled binaries from sourceforge. Otter is perfect for boomers who loved Opera, but hate its modern direction.


Pale Moon

M$ Windows

Pale Moon is a forked version of Firefox pre-UI changes. The developers of Pale Moon have made some very strange and over all poor choices in regards to development. Namely the biggest sins would be them blocking NoScript and Ad Nauseum along with their extraordinarily cringe and tracker filled start up page. If the software is properly mitigated it becomes very usable and isn't spyware, though, if you are using GNU/Linux, you might as well use Werefox.


Werefox/WebBrowser


GNU/Linux

A GNU/Linux only browser that's a fork of Pale Moon. This fork strips out out much of the issues that Pale Moon had by default. No configuration needed. This browser must be built from source though, but has stupid simple build instructions that anyone with basic terminal knowledge should be able to use.

For The Minimalist

Browsers for the autist. Most are terminal based and some don't even support JavaScript. With these, simplicity comes absolutely first. Perfect for systems constrained on resources or really quick web searches.

W3M


Source Code

A very minimalist web browser that runs in the terminal. It has an image plugin to be able to display images (not shown in picture). No JavaScript. It's a great browser for browsing simple websites such as this one.

Surf


Source Code

Surf is a dead simple browser that does one thing, and one thing alone: Browses the web. No extensions, no bookmarks, no tabs, nothing. It's easy to patch and hack and the website and has many community maintained methods of gaining some features you might miss. It has the ability to run and not run JavaScript depending on the flags you give it. One of the most bloated of the suckless programs, but that's more of a statement about the web rather than a statement about this software. Must be compiled from source.

Extensions of Note

Ublock Origin


Chrome Firefox

An addon that blocks trackers, ads, malware, and other garbage from your browser. A must-have for any reasonable browsing experience.

NoScript


Firefox Vintage Firefox

The nuclear option to privacy and security. Entirely disabled JavaScript (the bloated glue of the web) on your browser. Breaks many sites. If you use this extension, it is suggested that you find local software for doing your normal doings in a browser. Certain pages can be white or blacklisted temporarily or permanently if you wish to use their JavaScript.

AdNauseam


Chrome Firefox Opera

Trolls advertisers by both blocking ads and giving false clicks. Actively drains advertisers pockets AND protects your privacy by giving a stream of garbage analytic to these companies. Some will whine that its "fraudulent" to bill the advertisers, but if you're a bit of a rebel that might make you happy. Pisses off advertisers, pisses off moralfags, and pisses off consoomers who want a cringe, advertiser focused internet.