When it comes to your privacy, there’s no such thing as being “too prepared.” That’s why we’ve compiled a list of our favorite extensions for boosting your browser’s privacy and security. The best part? They’re all FREE!
Take control of your browsing experience with a good ad blocker. Ad blockers prevent pesky popups and widgets from sending your data to advertisers. While the ad-blocker debate rages on, we believe you have the right to decide which ads to block and which ads to allow. Ad blockers let you do just that!
Our #1 Choice: uBlock Origin
With dozens of free ad blockers out there, what makes uBlock Origin so special? For starters, it uses less memory than the others, so it doesn’t slow down your browsing experience.
It’s also been found to effectively block more ads than any other ad blocker. uBlock Origin also lets you create personalized lists, giving you more control over what ads to block and what ads to allow.
Here’s an example of average load times on Chrome using various ad blockers.
As you can see, uBlock Origin is the clear winner.
Runner-up: Adblock Plus
Oh, Adblock Plus, how we used to love thee.
Until recently, Adblock Plus was our go-to ad blocker. While it takes up a bit more space than uBlock Origin, it performed just as well.
Unfortunately, Adblock Plus has recently come under fire for letting certain ads pass in exchange for money. Cue the sad trombone music. What a letdown.
It goes without saying that uBlock Origin wins out in this category.
Anti-tracking extensions protect your online anonymity by preventing your browsing from being tracked.
With the right anti-tracking extension, you can keep your browsing habits away from third parties by stopping their tracking cookies dead in their tracks.
Our #1 Choice: Privacy Badger
Maybe we’re a little biased, but our pick for the best anti-tracking software is the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s own Privacy Badger.
Privacy Badger keeps an eye out for suspicious third parties tracking you while you browse different websites, then jumps to your defense by blocking their tracking cookies. The little badger is a good buddy to have by your side while you surf the Internet.
Like Privacy Badger, Disconnect helps protect your privacy by blocking third-party trackers.
While Disconnect and Privacy Badger are pretty similar, Privacy Badger takes the #1 spot because of its clever heuristic algorithm. With this algorithm, Privacy Badger learns when and what to block the more you use it, making it much more effective and powerful than Disconnect.
After arming yourself with ad blockers and anti-tracking extensions, the coup-de-grâce in your privacy setup should be a good site-securing extension.
Secure websites use the HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) protocol. Websites secured by HTTPS encrypt your personal information like your credit card details, personal information, and other sensitive data.
But not all websites are HTTPS-enabled, so take your browsing security into your own hands with a site-securing extension. Here are our top picks!
Our #1 choice: HTTPS Everywhere
Stop wondering whether or not the website you’re browsing is safe. Use HTTPS Everywhere!
HTTPS Everywhere is the result of a collaborative effort between The Tor Project and the EFF. The plugin automatically rewrites requests to direct you to HTTPS-secured sites. So if your browsing takes you to unsecured areas of a website, HTTPS Everywhere will redirect you to the encrypted HTTPS site and keep your sensitive data from leaking.
Runner-up: Web of Trust
This crowdsourced extension notifies you when a website is trustworthy by displaying a green “go” light. An untrustworthy website yields a red “stop” light, warning you not to enter any sensitive information on the site.
We gave HTTPS Everywhere the #1 spot over Web of Trust because HTTPS Everywhere goes the extra mile by redirecting you to safety, making it much more effective at keeping your browsing safe.
We hope this helps! If you have any questions about any of the mentioned software, just leave them in the form of a comment below and we’ll do our best to get back to you.