Want to be safe online? Just install more browsers!

Want to be safe online? Just install more browsers!

The numbers are clear: almost 60% of internet users prefer Google Chrome as their browser. As usual, Google is leading the pack, trailed by other crowd favorites like Safari, Firefox, and Edge. There’s only one problem with this statistic: the fact that we can’t tell how many browsers people actually use. We might have more than one browser installed on our system. Why shouldn’t we? Why should we stick with just one brush to paint the Internet, if we could use as many as we’d like?

In fact, that’s what we recommend. If you want to become more productive, keep a better overview of your different activities and be more secure online, it’s time to choose more than one browser. Here’s why. 

Add more browsers

One of the most important reasons to start thinking about adding more browsers to your system is privacy. Let’s take Google Chrome as the prime example: yes, it’s a fast, stable and free browser. Its predictions are smart and artificially intelligent. Did I mention it’s free? But it’s also owned by the biggest search engine in the world, which tracks you wherever you go. After all, that’s how they get to know you, to advertise to you, and to make their money. It all begins with tracking.

Yet, there will always be moments online you’d really prefer to be by ourselves. When you communicate with your bank, for example, or with your medical professional. Google doesn’t need to know everything. Sometimes it’s better to block Google entirely.

Extensions overload

Do we really need this many themes?

Another problem is the fact that Google Chrome really isn’t a dull browser, despite its initial appearances. You can personalize just about everything: background, buttons and a lot more. This is where the Chrome Web Store for Themes comes in. Here you can find ‘Pretty Patterns’ and ‘Cats of Chrome,’ but also ‘Minimalist Themes’ and even straight out ‘Dark & Black Themes’ to ‘Darken your browser.’ For any mood a theme.

The Chrome web store - more extensions and themes than you could possibly handle.
The Chrome web store – more than you could possibly need

The same goes for the extensions section of the Chrome web store: if you haven’t checked it out, you’re really missing out. Just about every company and their cat (dogs not excluded) can be found there. All of them ask you to click and install their app, tool or widget. Before you know it, the little buttons on the top righthand corner of your screen start clogging up every bit of available screen real estate. There’s a reason why there’s an option ‘Hide in Chrome menu’ there.

Browsers with clutter

The problem with many extensions, you’ll find them in Firefox and Edge also, is that they’re not really vetted for safety or security. Even worse, they might just compromise your privacy. All the more reason to be careful and alert. One of the ways to make sure you’re safer online is to separate your data streams. Just use different browsers for essential jobs.

Don’t connect to your bank from a browser with third-party extensions installed. Don’t search for sensitive products or items without an active VPN connection. Even the Incognito mode might not stop companies from tracking you.

If you really want to be safer online, you should pick and choose multiple browsers. These are the lesser known candidates we propose.

Opera browser

One of our favorite browsers for personal surfing.
One of our favorite browsers for personal surfing.

All browsers we use are connected to the internet by their unique IP address, provided by a service provider. This means that you really aren’t anonymous online. No matter where you live, everything you look for, look at, or download gets registered somewhere. And not just on the site you’re visiting. There’s only one way to bypass this situation: the use of a VPN-service. You could use a paid service, but Opera happens to provide a built-in free version. You could toggle it right there in the Omnibox, and feel a bit safer.

Editors Note: “a bit safer” doesn’t mean you’re completely protected. In fact, according to PCMag, there might be some issues. Use at your own discretion.

Some other useful features are the possibility to use Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger right there on the sidebar. Opera is built on the open-source Chromium project, which makes it just as reliable and stable as Google Chrome.

Iron browser

The Iron Browser claims to be even more optimized for privacy and security.
The Iron Browser claims to be even more optimized for privacy and security.

Built on the same Chromium platform as Google Chrome and Opera, Iron Browser kicks up the privacy level of its users a notch or two. They’ve managed to disable many of the background tracking methods Google uses, so you might just feel even safer. And since it’s Chromium, you can also install a few handpicked and useful extensions, all geared at your online security. Like a free VPN-service and other security options. Discover them all on their blog.

Vivaldi browser

Vivaldi is a browser with a completely original look and feel.
Vivaldi is a browser with a completely original look and feel.

A hugely different experience is delivered by the Vivaldi browser. It’s decisively colorful, as it adapts to the website you’re viewing. The search engine isn’t geared to privacy or security (even though they still respect it), but to ecology. Even better: the built-in search engine is Ecosia, a very sympathetic company that transforms searches into adverts, into trees. That’s right: Vivaldi users have managed to plant over 30.000 trees over the last 12 months! If your heart is even a little bit green, you should check it out.

Other unique features are the possibility to take notes right there in your browser. You can stack your tabs, to keep them organized. You might also want to try out the History overview, that’s a lot more informative than you’re probably used to.

Pale Moon browser

Pale Moon makes you feel like using good old Nescape again.
Pale Moon makes you feel like using good old Nescape again.

Another modern browser we’d like to introduce is Pale Moon. It’s but entirely on the solid foundation of Mozilla Firefox. No Google to be found here, not even in the search bar, where they partnered up with DuckDuckGo. In short: anonymous searches by a search engine that doesn’t track you, but still managed to process over 15 billion searches. No small fish.

Pale Moon is fully customizable so you can decide on its themes, buttons, and bookmarks. It’s Open Source and free to use. We’ve spotted some ads on their pages, but also a friendly request to support their efforts by donations. This makes it a decidedly independent project.

Kinza

Kinza, especially for Japanese users.
Kinza, especially for Japanese users.

Especially for our Japanese users and readers, we’d like to mention Kinza, a Chromium browser, with some unique features like Mouse Gestures and Super Drag. Apparently, the word Kinza translates to Gold Mint, which not only explains the color in their cute little logo but also illustrates their ambition: “We hope we can provide Internet users with values and experiences worth gold coins.” Some of these delightful features are their built-in RSS reader and side-bar. If you can read Japanese, look no further!

Torch Browser

Torch Browser, if you really want more from the web. Literally.
Torch Browser, if you really want more from the web. Literally.

The last browser we’d like to present here is the Torch Browser. This one takes a whole different approach to the internet, by offering lots of free access to music, games, video and even torrents. This makes it the perfect personal entertainment browser. Just remember that there’s no integrated VPN, so use at your own discretion.

Full disclosure

Of all the mentioned browsers, start.me has partnered up with several of them: VivaldiPale MoonIron Browser, Kinza and also the Torch Browser. We did this because we really feel these browsers are worth giving them a try. Who knows, you might even want to switch entirely to some or even one of them.

Our partners also make it easier than ever to keep your digital life well-organized, as they all come with start.me pre-installed. This means you can effortlessly switch between browsers.

You can trust us with providing access to your own favorite bookmarks and other widgets. No more syncing, no hassle. Your personal pages are available in every browser. Your browsing experience will be seamless, organized and safe. Enjoy it!

 

Stefan van Dierendonck

Stefan van Dierendonck

For many years Stefan has been active as a blogger, building and maintaining his own and other websites. He is also the author of two well received novels. Wherever possible he tries to combine modern technology with literary or at least pleasantly legible content.


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2 Replies to “Want to be safe online? Just install more browsers!”

  1. Torch browser is considered a adware/spyware infected browser and has bad reputation everywhere. SO why start.me partnered with them?

    1. Hi Jasmin. Can you please point me to some sources about Torch’s reputation. In short, we partnered with them, because Torch has a huge audience and small companies like start.me cannot do without strong partners. The extra visitors Torch brings help us reach a larger audience and keep the product free.

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