- Best overall
- Best for unlimited devices
- Best for speed
- Best for user-friendliness
- Best for additional security
- Best for advanced users
- Best for feature variety
- Best free anonymous tool overall
- Best free anonymous tool for ease of use
- Best free anonymous tool for performance
- Best free anonymous tool for low-level configuration
- Best free anonymous tool for data allowance
- Private Browsing
- Privacy tools and anonymous browsers FAQs
- How we test
The best privacy tools and anonymous browsers make it simple and easy to protect your privacy and data against unauthorized third-parties access.
1. Best overall
2. Best for unlimited devices
3. Best for speed
4. Best for user-friendliness
5. Best for additional security
6. Best for advanced users
7. Best for feature-variety
8. Best free anonymous tool overall
9. Best free anonymous tool for ease of use
10. Best free anonymous tool for performance
11. Best free anonymous tool for low-level configuration
12. Best free anonymous tool for data allowance
13. Private Browsing
15. How we test
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.
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.
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:
Why you can trust TechRadar
Best privacy tool overall
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
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.
Best privacy tool for unlimited devices
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
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.
Best privacy tool for speed
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
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.
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
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
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.