Since Google Chrome became king of the browsers, it’s been really hard to shake its hold on the world’s population. Although it suffered a very slight decline between 2019 and 2020, these days, Chrome still has over 63.5% market share across the globe (and all device types). As a point of comparison, the next most popular browser is Apple’s Safari, and it only has 19.37% of the global browser market cornered.
There are a few good reasons why Chrome became many people’s go-to browser. Because it’s a Google product, Chrome has many dedicated engineers assigned to its continuous development. Chrome was an innovator, ringing in the era of individual tabs being individual processes, so you only needed to kill one tab if it became unresponsive. On top of that, this (then) super lightweight and fast browser could also stay up to date with all the newest web standards.
Unfortunately, despite many of Chrome’s fantastic features, it still isn’t perfect. There have been privacy issues surrounding the Google browser. And, these days, many might tell you that Chrome is no longer as fast or as lightweight as it used to be.
If you aren’t happy with your current browser, whether it’s Chrome or Safari or something else, there are a few alternative web browsers you can check out. There are even a few alternative browsers for Chromebook on this list.
Why You Might Want to Consider Alternative Browsers
“Alternative internet browsers” is a term unofficially used to describe a browser that isn’t one of the big five — Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge (formerly Internet Explorer), and Opera.
Many alternative browsers for Mac and Windows are tweaked versions of the bigger browsers. Because they can often be open-source projects or passion projects, a lot of these alternatives might be behind in terms of updates and web standard adoption. We know that doesn’t sound very enticing when you’re thinking about switching from a mainstream browser, but alternative browsers have their own benefits.
For example, some alternative browsers to Chrome may offer better privacy protection for their users, and others may focus more on providing a better performance all around. And then, you have alternative browsers that offer additional features to enhance a user’s online experience.
Below, we’ve put together a list of some of the best alternative browsers for Windows and other operating systems that could be the next option for you.
The Best Alternative Browsers
Avast Secure Browser
Avast is well known for being a big name in cyber security. They have anti-virus and anti-malware solutions to help keep your computer free from anything malicious. And now, they also have the Avast Secure Browser, which is available on Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS.
As time goes on, it’s becoming more and more apparent that privacy is turning into a complete luxury that not all can afford. The Avast Secure Browser works to provide its users with a secure and private browsing experience to combat this. This browser claims it can improve your internet experience by reducing or even completely getting rid of spammy ads.
The Avast Secure Browser claims to keep your browsing data, history, and activities private and secure from hackers. Advanced multi-layer security features built right into the browser can help force websites you visit to use encryption. It also has an option to allow you to block websites and malicious downloads.
When it comes to finding a Chrome browser alternative, your best bet might be Brave. This browser advertises itself as being 3x faster than Chrome. Additional features it claims to have are better privacy and improved energy efficiency. It’s available for download on your Windows, Linux, or macOS machines, and users can also install it on mobile phones.
Brave claims that it blocks malicious scripts and ads and allows its users to send a “do not track” request as they browse. There are other options and settings available so users can set up individual per-site shields (or they can simply configure a global one). Brave also has a built-in password manager (like Google Chrome) to help you keep track of all your logins.
If you like Chrome’s incognito browsing mode, you might like the fact that Brave has a similar feature.
Unfortunately, Brave hasn’t had the best track record or reputation regarding data privacy lately. Users have reported that Brave had been autocompleting URLs into affiliate links in June of 2020, which the CEO has apologized for.
You might have heard of Tor (The Onion Router) before. Tor is one Google Chrome alternative that has been around for quite some time — since 2002, in fact. It’s long been known as a tool that people use to browse the internet anonymously. Tor’s also known for being one of the only ways to browse the dark web.
If you have no interest in the dark web, Tor still provides you anonymity thanks to layers of encryption (which is why Tor means The Onion Router, as an onion has many layers). Thanks to the anonymity that Tor affords its users, many people seeking safety on the internet use this alternative browser. For example, a journalist looking to protect their source may use Tor as a means of communication.
Tor is available on Linux, Windows, and macOS. Many reviews still consider this browser to be one of the best, if not the best, browser for anonymity on the interwebs. Don’t let its reputation scare you away — if you’re just an average internet user, this browser provides plenty of security for you.
Comodo Ice Dragon
Comodo’s Ice Dragon browser might have a bit of an edgy-sounding name, but don’t let that fool you. This browser was created and based on Mozilla Firefox, and it even allows full compatibility with any Firefox plugins.
It’s fast, lightweight, and user-friendly to boot. One of the features of Comodo Ice Dragon is that it scans webpages you’re browsing in the background, making sure there isn’t any malware.
Unfortunately, it seems that Ice Dragon only works on Microsoft Windows. However, it is free to use the company’s public DNS if you want a safer, faster browsing experience.
Epic Privacy Browser is another option available to keep your privacy secure as you go about browsing the internet. Epic claims it is a private and secure browser that has many features to prevent tracking. They also state that they are one of the only three companies focused on privacy software with a record of putting their users’ privacy first, ahead of their own business and financial interests. True enough, Epic is free to download and install for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.
Epic blocks trackers, ads, crypto mining, fingerprinting, and other things such as ultrasound signaling. The browser claims that it can block as many as 600+ attempts to track users’ data during an average session. If you use Epic, you can even turn on their free VPN, which has servers available in eight countries.
Incognito mode on many other browsers doesn’t necessarily provide as much protection as you might think. Epic claims that, unlike those browsers, your browsing history gets deleted from your computer when using their product. They also claim that you are protected from any spying done by your ISP, tons of data collectors, and even people like your employer.
The Yandex Browser is a product of the company Yandex, which many might consider the Russian version of Google.
Yandex browser offers a few different features compared to other browsers, such as a unique “new tab” page that uses a Windows 8 type interface. This page has special widgets that also show notifications for some popular services. For example, the widget for Gmail might show a number notification for the amount of unread messages in the user’s inbox.
In terms of security, Yandex provides DNS spoofing protection. This spoofing protection also scans websites and files for viruses, protects sensitive data like credit card information and passwords, blocks fraudulent websites, and secures online payments. It also has DNSCrypt technology (which you can enable in the settings) that encrypts any DNS traffic, effectively protecting its users from tracking and hacking.
Unfortunately, although the Yandex browser provides significant security, Yandex has access to any letter you type into the address bar and every URL you visit — a fact that many users find to be a dealbreaker.
Less Popular Mainstream Browsers
The browsers mentioned below are some of the more well-known and mainstream browsers around today. They currently don’t have very large market shares, but they still deserve a mention thanks to their reputations and the features they bring to the table.
If you’re simply looking for the best alternative to Chrome without necessarily needing a more “alternative” product, you might like one of these. Unsurprisingly, as more people have begun ditching Google Chrome, the popularity of these browsers has grown.
Mozilla Firefox is a free, open-source browser that’s been around for quite some time. It came out on September 23, 2002, a solid six years before Google Chrome came out. For a while, it was one of the most popular browsers in use worldwide. To this day, Mozilla works hard to make their browser available to everyone — it’s been translated into more than 90 languages, and it works with Windows, macOS, and Linux.
During their most recent updates, Mozilla has paid much more attention to the needs of its users. More specifically, they’ve added more features to help users retain their security and privacy online.
For example, Firefox now blocks third-party cookies and tracking automatically, preventing social trackers from acquiring your data. That means there are no backdoors that advertisers can get through so they can sell you targeted ads.
Other security features include:
- Fingerprinter blocking
- Private mode
- Cryptominer blocking
- Alerts for breached websites
- Built-in password manager
Firefox also has other features that can make your browsing experience much more pleasant.
Here are some of them:
- Faster browsing
- Search features such as searching from the address bar, search suggestions, search engine options, etc
- Productivity features such as Google product compatibility, pinned tabs, spell check, device synchronization, reader mode, and more
- Screenshot tool built-in for convenience
- Block audio and video autoplay
- Picture-in-picture feature
And, of course, Firefox also offers a host of customization features so you can make the experience your own.
Firefox Focus is a dedicated mobile browser that helps to protect your browsing privacy. It automatically protects you against online tracking. Focus also has ad blockers to reduce ads, prevent popups, and ensure you don’t have to deal with malicious advertisements. Thanks to the automatic browsing protection and ad blockers, websites will load faster and require less data overall.
When you use Firefox Focus, you can very easily “disappear” your browsing history all with the tap of one button. Not only will this button delete your browsing history, but it will also delete your passwords and cookies.
It’s also worth mentioning that you can customize many of the security features available on this browser by simply going to settings.
Firefox Focus is another free and open-source Mozilla product.
The Opera browser is one of the oldest around, having been released on April 10, 1995. It’s a multi-platform browser that works on Windows, macOS, and Linux. Opera has built up a reputation for being fast and reliable, but it had unfortunately lost much of its market share when some of the bigger browsers came out.
Opera brings a variety of features to its users. It claims it can allow you to browse faster thanks to the lighter hardware demand on your system. Opera also has a built-in ad blocker, which can help reduce or eliminate unwanted ads, which can sometimes slow down your system. To secure your privacy while you browse the internet, Opera has a 100% free VPN that can help reduce tracking.
There is another feature that you might find handy. Opera has built-in messengers that allow you to stay in touch with coworkers, friends, and family right from your own browser. That way, you won’t have to keep switching between tabs to do some of your communicating. The built-in messengers are quite a unique feature that not many other browsers have, although they are slightly on the niche side.
Additionally, if you enjoy being able to customize your browser, you’ll like Opera for its light and dark themes, bookmarks, and keyboard shortcuts.
Regardless of your reason for wanting to switch to a Chrome browser alternative, one thing’s for sure: there’s an alternative out there that’s just right for you.
When looking for the right browser to suit your needs, consider all the features each one has to offer.
You can always take each one for a test drive before committing since these browsers are, after all, free to install and use. Different browsers provide different experiences, and in the end, the choice is yours!
Related reading: How to Reopen Closed Tabs in Chrome, Safari, and Other Browsers