Best privacy tools and anonymous browsers of 2024

The best privacy tools and anonymous browsers make it simple and easy to protect your privacy and data against unauthorized third-parties access.

Protecting your personal user data when surfing the net has become increasingly difficult. This is a concern due to the sheer amount of personally-identifiable data that internet companies now try to collect from their users.

For companies such as Facebook and Google, the aim is to help them better understand users so they can better target advertising at them. However, businesses in general have become used to see user tracking as a legitimate way of finding out more about potential customers. 

The result is that individual internet users can end up with dozens of tracking scripts download to their browser which follow which websites are being visited. 

Usually this is all installed without even asking for permission, and it's become such a real concern now that the European Union launched GDPR as an attempt to empower users with a choice of which cookies and scripts they actually consent to.

The problem is that a lot of businesses seek to comply with the letter of the law rather than the spirit of it, with the result that most websites now come with a popup asking if you will accept cookies or not, without offering an actual opt-out from any tracking.

While there are browser settings and plugins that aim to help internet users better control their privacy, often more extreme measure are now required.

Other options include using a anonymous proxy server, or a VPN - Virtual Private Network - even a business VPN - in order to provide you with an anonymous web surfing experience. 

We've compared these privacy tools and anonymous browsers across various aspects, like pricing, platform support, server speeds and locations, data limits, and overall performance. We also checked the ease of installation, the number of streaming sites that could be unblocked, and whether the logs were deleted promptly.

For more information on VPNs, check out our best free VPN guide or see our guide to setting up and maintaining a VPN.

We've also featured the best Linux distros for privacy and security.


The best VPN service right now is ExpressVPN. It's the best all-round option for speed, privacy and unblocking websites. A close second place and third place are Surfshark, whose downright simplicity to download and operate make it a really appealing option, and  IPVanish that handles P2P and torrenting particularly admirably. Read more about these VPN services and the competition below.


The best privacy tools and anonymous browsers of 2024 in full:

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Best privacy tool overall

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)
The best all-round VPN service for speed, privacy, and unblocking

Reasons to buy

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Runs on almost any platform
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Enterprise-level encryption
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Speedy VPN servers in 94 countries 
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Superb 24/7 live customer support

Reasons to avoid

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Fewer simultaneous connections than some

Get 3 months free with an annual plan on TechRadar's #1 rated VPN
ExpressVPN delivered outstanding performance in our speed tests and excellent customer support plus a 30 day money back guarantee.

ExpressVPN offers access to more than 3,000 servers in 160 locations across 94 countries, alongside maybe the widest platform support you'll find anywhere.

We're not just talking about native clients for Windows, Mac, Linux, plus iOS, Android and even BlackBerry. There's custom firmware for some routers, DNS content-unblocking for a host of streaming media devices and smart TVs, and surprisingly capable VPN browser extensions for anything which can run them.

All that functionality could sound intimidating to VPN newbies, but ExpressVPN does more than most to help. An excellent support website is stuffed with detailed guides and tutorials to get you up and running. And if you do have any trouble, 24/7 live chat support is on hand to answer your questions. It really works, too - we got a helpful response from a knowledgeable support agent within a couple of minutes of posting our question.

The good news continues elsewhere, with ExpressVPN delivering in almost every area. Bitcoin payments? Of course. P2P support? Yep. Netflix unblocking? Naturally. Industrial-strength encryption, kill switch, DNS leak protection, solid and reliable performance and a clear no-logging policy? You've got it.

Downsides? Not many to speak of. The ExpressVPN service supports five simultaneous connections per user (increased from three), and it comes with a premium price tag. But if you want a speedy service, crammed with top-notch features, and with all the support you need to help you use them, ExpressVPN will be a great fit. While they don’t have a free trial, ExpressVPN has a no-questions-asked 30-day money back guarantee if you aren’t happy with the service.

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

Get the best overall VPN 2021

Get the best overall VPN 2021
Our #1 recommended VPN is the one we would choose if we were getting one: ExpressVPN. TechRadar readers get 3 extra months free when they sign up for a year. And you can also give it a try first with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Best privacy tool for unlimited devices

(Image credit: Surfshark)
Excellent privacy tool with no device limits

Reasons to buy

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Unlimited devices covered
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Generally fast connections
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Reasonable prices

Reasons to avoid

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A bit basic
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Android app unstable at times

Based in the British Virgin Islands, Surfshark has laid-back and playful branding. But when it comes to keeping you and your online identity secure, it's all business.

The basics are all in place for starters. So that includes OpenVPN UDP and TCP, IKEv2 security protocols, AES-256 encryption, and a kill switch ready to stop your details leaking if ever your connection fails. In addition, Surfshark boasts a private DNS and an extra security blanket via a double VPN hop. Not to mention a logging policy whereby only your email address and billing information are kept on record. It's fast, too, whether you're connecting to a US or UK server or somewhere further away - say in Australia and New Zealand. Handy if you're trying to access your Netflix account from abroad.

If you're somebody who is easily bamboozled and, ultimately, put off by complicated menus and myriad options, Surfshark could be the best VPN for you. It keeps its interface completely stripped back and free from complication. All you'll really see are options for 'Quick connect' and 'All locations', accompanied by a Settings icon, and nothing else at all really. Whether that level of detail (or lack thereof) is a boon or a drawback entirely depends on your perspective.

One of our favorite things about this VPN service (other than the price) is the fact that your subscription covers an unlimited devices and services. So if you plan to use your VPN on your laptop, desktop (compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux), tablet, a couple of mobile phones (iOS and Android both covered) and Amazon Fire TV Stick for watching overseas TV, the one account will cover you on all of them simultaneously.

Surfshark offers a 30-day money back guarantee, giving you plenty of time to give it a try before committing for a longer period. And even then, annual plans are very reasonably priced indeed.

Read our full Surfshark review.

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One of 2021's best value VPNs
While Surfshark loses out to Express when it comes to sheer all-round quality, security and support, Surfshark has bite when it comes to pricing. Subscribe to a longer plan and you can bring the monthly spend down to less than $2/£2.

Best privacy tool for speed

(Image credit: IPVanish)
A solid privacy tool that's speedy and highly configurable

Reasons to buy

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Owns and manages its own servers
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Speedy live chat support
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Powerful, configurable apps
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Excellent download speeds

Reasons to avoid

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Some usability issues on desktop apps

IPVanish is another strong performer in our VPN tests. The service also has some impressive stats: 40,000+ shared IPs, 1,500+ VPN servers in 70+ countries, unlimited P2P traffic, unlimited simultaneous connections and 24/7 customer support. On the subject of support, we really like that you can access it directly from your Android or iOS app on mobile.

The apps are a powerful highlight. Not only are there loads of them (Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, even Fire TV), but they're absolutely stuffed with unusual features, options and settings, trampling all over the horribly basic "list of flags and a Connect button"-type apps you'll usually get elsewhere.

The good news continued when we tried some real-world tests. Servers were always up, and connected quickly; download speeds were above average; torrents are supported on every server, and we were able to unblock US Netflix with ease.

There are some issues, too. The apps are powerful, but that means there's a lot to learn, and we noticed a few small usability issues. A small number of servers didn't appear to be in the advertised locations, and there is no kill switch in the iOS app.

Overall, if you need its ten simultaneous connections, or the power and configurability of its apps, take the plunge with this VPN service, and if somehow you end up unhappy you're protected by a 30 day money-back guarantee.

Read our full IPVanish VPN review.

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Unlimited VPN connections and free cloud storage
IPVanish has been loitering around our top few best VPN services for some time now. Even with it's huge discount for an annual plan, it comes out a bit higher in price than some. But you're paying for high quality here, as many simultaneous connections at any one time as you can handle and a whole year free of SugarSync cloud storage - so fantastic value overall.

Best privacy tool for user-friendliness

(Image credit: Hotspot Shield)
User-friendly privacy tool to hide your IP address from prying eyes

Reasons to buy

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Impressively user-friendly
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Fast VPN network

Reasons to avoid

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Restrictions and adverts with free app

Hotspot Shield is available in two flavors: a free, ad-supported one, and a paid-for version that offers unlimited bandwidth. Hotspot Shield hides your IP address and provides encrypted traffic tunneling (ideal for use on public Wi-Fi networks) to improve security and ensure privacy.

You may not want to use Hotspot Shield at all time. For instance, you may only be interested in using it to access certain sites that are blocked in your country. In this case you can create shortcuts to individual sites in the Hotspot Shield window, which will enable protection before launching the sites. Protection can also be toggled on an off with a single click.

The paid-for product, Hotspot Elite, only costs a few dollars or pounds a month, but it's worth trying the free edition first before opening your wallet. The premium version's additional features, including ad-free browsing and dedicated customer support, make it a tempting proposition.

Read our full Hotspot Shield review.

Best privacy tool for additional security