Hi Everyone,

I am asked often about which web browser I recommend. That used to be easy to answer. Firefox was my "go to" browser and I pre-installed it on all the computers I sold for about ten years: 2009 - 2019 (or thereabouts).

Why not Google Chrome? ... Good question, I'll answer that in a bit.

Okay then, Why not Firefox?

I still use Firefox some, but not as much and I've stopped recommending it. The issue is a bit complicated and what I am now recommending is still based on Firefox, but with some important differences.

Firefox has started adding things to the browser that I don't think are good, such as some tracking and partnerships with software products I do not find useful (Pocket). Their start page now has promoted news stories and advertisements. Also, they are primarily funded through their partnership with Google Search, so Firefox is not as independent as I believe they initially set out to be. I believe that Mozilla, the makers of Firefox, are no longer the voice of the free and independent web, as their current CEO wrote a blog post claiming that "We need more de-platforming". Things have changed.

I'll share links of browsers I do recommend below, one based on Firefox and one based on Chromium (what Google Chrome is built on).

With the rise of malicious advertising, or "mal-vertising" as I like to call it, blocking most web advertising and tracking isn't just to make the web a more pleasant experience. Blocking ads on the web makes it much less likely that your computer will get infected with malware or that you'll be tricked by some "phone scammer" who convinces you that you need to pay hundreds of dollars to have your computer remotely "fixed".

That's why I don't recommend Google Chrome. The vast majority of the Computer Cleanup services I have done have been on computers where Google Chrome has been the primarily used browser. Chrome seems to be the infection vector for a lot of malware because Chrome doesn't check browser extensions as thoroughly as they should.

Browser extensions are like little "apps" that add functionality to the browser and there's lots of good extensions (like ad blockers). However, there's lots of really trashy browser extensions that trick you into installing them and then do nothing good. They track your browsing history, hijack your browser by injecting ads and sending you to web pages you didn't even want to go to. In my experience, I see that happens much more frequently if you are using Google Chrome than other browsers.

So for a long time, I recommended the Ad Block Plus browser extension paired with Firefox. That did help a lot and is still a good configuration. So, if you like Firefox and AdBlockPlus, feel free to keep using them.

So what do I recommend now?

My first choice is LibreWolf:

LibreWolf is based on Firefox, but with a focus on privacy, security and freedom. It blocks ads and trackers by default and uses the privacy search engine DuckDuckGo by default (which I was manually adding to Firefox). It has a good Windows installer and an optional extension that helps you keep it up to date. It can also be installed on LInux and macOS.

My second choice is Brave:

If you need extensions that are made for Google Chrome, Brave is a good Chromium-based browser to use because it can run Chrome extensions but blocks most ads and tracking, making it less likely to be a vector of malware infection like Chrome is.

The CEO of Brave, Brendan Eich, was the inventor of the javascript programming language, the co-founder of Mozilla, then served as Chief Technical Officer and CEO of Mozilla before leaving to found Brave. So there's some history there.

Brave is also developing a search engine.

In summary, those are the two web browsers that I recommend: LibreWolf first, and Brave second if you need Chrome extensions.


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