If you want to browse the web securely and anonymously, it’s important to install the right browser extensions in addition to the right browser.
We tested 50+ extensions to find the best ones that you can use to improve your privacy and security. Here’s our list of the top 18 browser extensions:
- NordVPN: Overall best VPN browser extension
- ExpressVPN: Fastest VPN browser plug-in
- AdBlock: Best overall ad blocker extension
- uBlock Origin: Top ad blocker for the Opera browser
- AdBlock Plus: Ad blocker available for most browsers
- Privacy Badger: Best anti-tracker and blocker with auto-learning capabilities
- Ghostery: Best anti-cookie plug-in available on most browsers
- Cookie AutoDelete: Best cookie blocker for customization
- PixelBlock: Best Chrome pixel blocker
- NordPass: Best low-cost password manager extension
- Dashlane: Best security-focused password manager extension
- RememBear: Top overall password manager plug-in
- DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials: Overall best browsing security extension
- HTTPS Everywhere: Top browser plug-in for surfing security on Tor
- Unshorten.link: Best browser extension for shortened link safety
- Click&Clean: Fast browser plug-in for clearing browsing data
- ScriptSafe: Ideal for blocking malicious scripts
- Panic Button: Top browser extension for physical prying eyes
Browser extensions can be used to customize your browsing experience, introducing different functions and options that you can use to tailor your browsing experience to your needs. Using browser extensions for online privacy and security is a great way to keep yourself safe online.
The best browser extensions for online privacy and security can protect you from malware, harmful popups, spyware, and more. They also ensure that website trackers can’t access personally identifiable information.
We tested 50+ browser extensions for online privacy and security and shortlisted the 18 best security extensions that you can use to improve privacy and keep yourself secure online.
What is a Browser Extension?
A browser extension (or plugin) is an application that you can add to your browser, for example to Firefox or Safari, to perform a specific task that the browser can’t do on its own.
Most browsers come with a core set of features, and extensions can be used to add specific functionality depending on your preferences. Security extensions can help you remain anonymous and protect yourself when browsing the web, for example by blocking cookies.
What are cookies and how do they work?
Cookies are essentially snippets of code that “stick with you” once you visit a webpage using them. Not all cookies are bad. Most websites use them to serve relevant content to users.
Third-party cookies, unlike their first-party equivalents, don’t come from the website that you’re visiting. Instead, they often come from ads that are displayed on a page (another good reason to use an adblocker extension).
These cookies will often track you wherever you go and gather information on your online behavior. They often come from advertisement companies or companies with more sinister motives: a company might keep track of the products you visit so they can serve you relevant ads and hopefully get you to buy these products.
The 18 Best Browser Extensions for Privacy and Security
Now that you know the basics, here are the 18 best browser extensions for privacy and security that we recommend.
1. NordVPN: The best VPN extension for secure browsing (paid)
- 5,000+ VPN servers across 30+ locations
- 256-bit AES data encryption
- Support for all major VPN protocols, including IKEv2, WireGuard, and OpenVPN
- CyberSec feature: protects against malicious tracking scripts
- Split-tunneling and kill switch
NordVPN is currently ranked at the very top of our list of the best VPN providers. Not only is NordVPN the best overall VPN service, but it also offers a well-designed browser VPN extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Brave. NordVPN’s browser add-on is an affordable VPN option with great protection and premium features.
Virtual private networks (VPNs) have been around for a long time, providing users the ability to hide their location from prying eyes. It accomplishes this by redirecting your traffic through a separate private network on the way to its final destination.
Using the NordVPN extension is great for several reasons. First of all, a VPN lets you hide or change your IP address, increasing anonymity and preventing websites from tracking your original IP address.
The NordVPN extension is also ideal if you’re connecting to unsecured public Wi-Fi networks, such as in libraries and cafes. More importantly, when you change your IP address, you’ll be able to unblock region-locked content, such as US Netflix libraries.
NordVPN also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so it’s definitely worth a try!
- Excellent protection and a large network of servers
- Nice and pleasing application
- No logs
2. ExpressVPN: Unblock all region-locked content (paid)
- 3,000+ VPN servers in 94 countries
- Supports popular VPN protocols like WireGuard, OpenVPN, and TCP
- WebRTC blocking and location spoofing
- Has a kill switch and supports split-tunneling
- Threat Manager: blocks any malicious trackers or sites
ExpressVPN is another popular VPN service that constantly earns top marks in our in-house reviews. Their browser VPN extension is available for popular browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox, Brave, and Edge.
The ExpressVPN browser extension offers an easy and fast way to control your VPN connection, all from your browser. Through the browser extension, you have direct access to settings and features, including changing VPN servers.
To use this extension, you’ll have to first purchase an ExpressVPN subscription by clicking the button in the box below. After downloading the app and the extension on the ExpressVPN website, you’ll be able to surf and download safely with just a few clicks.
- Very easy to use VPN
- Perfect for anonymous browsing, downloading, and streaming (i.e. Netflix)
- 3000+ servers in 94 countries
3. AdBlock: Block annoying ads on websites and in videos (free)
- Lets you set customizable privacy rules
- Automatically blocks ads, including YouTube advertising
- Opportunity to create a whitelist
- Provides malware protection by default
AdBlock is one of the best ad blocker Chrome extensions. The extension is also available for Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Safari. It’s free and used by over 65 million users.
Ads can be annoying, even if they are usually harmless to the user. However, some ads also contain malware or redirect to pages that do.
An ad blocker gives you more control over the content you get to see when you visit web pages. AdBlock is easily one of the best Chrome extensions if you’re looking for secure browsing and greater privacy.
4. uBlock Origin: Block tracking scripts and cookies (free)
- Open-source application
- Comprehensive default blocking list that’s updated regularly
- Completely free to use
- Lets you block specific elements on screen by selecting them
- Import custom cookie-blocking lists
uBlock Origin is a very popular content blocker. The extension is available for Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Opera. It has preset lists for tracking cookies from different sites.
uBlock Origin is one of the best extensions for improving your privacy and security online. It can block tracking scripts and cookies, so they can no longer follow you as you move from website to website. uBlock Origin will show you a warning, with the possibility to look into highlighting trackers.
5. Adblock Plus: Lightweight ad-blocking extension (free)
- Comprehensive default cookie-blocking list
- Perfect for blocking scripts and ads online
- Possibility to whitelist sites or choose specific scripts
- Lets you block custom elements on a site
- Ability to import cookie-blocking lists
The most popular ad blocker on the market is AdBlock Plus, and for good reason. For starters, this is a completely free extension available for every major browser (Firefox, Chrome, Edge, Safari, and Opera). It’s also available on others, such as Yandex, Chromium, or Maxthon.
Adblock Plus allows users to whitelist sites. This can be incredibly useful. After all, blocking ads directly affects the revenue of the sites you visit. Instead of blocking all ads, you can use Adblock Plus to only block intrusive ones. Always whitelist your favorite websites, as that helps them stay afloat!
Unfortunately, there is a negative side to Adblock Plus: their “Acceptable Ads” initiative. This is essentially a selection of ads they don’t filter out because they have been deemed “non-intrusive.”
The companies that created these ads pay Adblock Plus for viewership. This is one of the primary ways in which AdBlock Plus makes money. In other words, even though you’re using Adblock Plus as an ad blocker, you can still be served ads if a company pays enough. For us, this completely defeats the purpose, and we recommend seeking an alternative, like uBlock Origin.
6. Privacy Badger: Anti-tracker tool that learns on the job (free)
- Uses machine learning to block trackers
- Tracks third-party domains that embed trackers in site elements
- Sliders (red, yellow, green) indicate levels of tracking
- Automatically sends a “Do Not Track” signal to sites
Privacy Badger is our current favorite free anti-tracker extension. Developed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the browser extension gradually learns which cookies to block as the user surfs the web.
It even keeps track of which third-party cookies are following you across multiple websites without your permission and subsequently blocks them. Privacy Badger is available for Opera, Chrome, Brave, Firefox, and Firefox on Android.
It’s important to note that the extension won’t block any cookies at first. Instead, Privacy Badger will use the information it collects to learn which third-party cookies are following you on the web constantly and block them.
You’ll need to keep it active so that it can gather data and block invisible trackers and cookies that follow you from site to site.
7. Ghostery: The best cookie control extension for most browsers (free)
- Free, lightweight extension
- Prevents ads from customizing tracking based on user behavior
- Lists all tracking entities on a page
- Has an extensive database of online trackers
Ghostery is one of the best extensions for controlling website trackers. It reveals any tracking cookies active on the websites you’re visiting and gives you the opportunity to block them.
If you block cookies, websites will be able to collect less information about you. Therefore, Ghostery increases your online privacy and safety. It’s compatible with all popular browsers and systems, including Firefox, Chrome, Brave, Opera, Safari, Edge, Internet Explorer, Android, and iOS.
If you’re tired of constantly seeing ads about stuff you may or may not have clicked on once, using a content-blocking extension like Ghostery is a great way to protect yourself.
8. Cookie AutoDelete: A highly customizable cookie blocker (free)
- Free extension
- Lets you whitelist or greylist (temporary block) websites
- Ability to import and export cookie-blocking lists
- Lets you clear site data for specific domains
The name of this extension pretty much speaks for itself. Cookie AutoDelete ensures that any cookies in your browser are automatically deleted after you close a tab. This extension is available for Firefox, Chrome, Brave, Opera, Safari, Edge, Internet Explorer, Android, and iOS.
Although it’s important to regularly delete cookies gathered from online browsing, keeping some cookies longer can actually be quite useful. For example, they might stop you from having to log in every time you visit a specific website, such as Netflix.
Whether you choose to delete all cookies or go the white or grey list route, this extension takes the pressure off you. Now you don’t have to remember to clear out your cache. Simply let Cookie AutoDelete handle it for you!
9. PixelBlock: Best pixel blocker for Chrome users (free)
- Free extension
- Doesn’t collect any data
- Blocks anyone from tracking your email activity
- Shows a “red eye” when a tracking pixel is detected
PixelBlock is a very simple extension that blocks the tiny, often invisible pixels that emails sent by large companies tend to contain. These tiny trackers are meant to let these companies know when you’ve opened their emails.
Companies presumably use pixels to keep track of different statistics and consumer behavior. If you do not wish to be used for marketing research, install PixelBlock. PixelBlock is a Gmail extension available to Chrome users.
10. NordPass: Reliable password extension (paid and free)
- Military-grade AES-256 bit encryption
- Basic version is free to use
- Easily store credit cards
- Can be used for access management by business owners.
NordPass is a secure password manager from NordVPN, the best VPN provider. Using just one master password, you’ll get access to all of your saved passwords, across all of your devices that have NordPass installed on them.
Many of us have several online accounts for things like banking, social networks, message boards, email, and others. Ideally, you should have a different username and a unique, secure password for each account. It can be difficult to remember all of them, and a password manager like NordPass easily solves this issue.
NordPass offers extensions and plugins for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Edge, Brave, Opera, and Safari. NordPass is ideal for business users, as it provides a centralized access management solution for distributed accounts. Feel free to check out our NordPass review to see if this password manager could be right for you.
11. Dashlane: A suitable password manager extension for security (paid and free)
- AES-256 bit encryption
- Locally stored passwords
- Free version supports up to 50 passwords on a device
- Offers dark web monitoring to look for stolen account info
Dashlane is another great option for anyone looking for a simple, easy-to-use password manager. It uses AES-256 encryption to keep your passwords secure and stores all contents locally (on your device), so there’s less chance of a hack.
Dashlane is a great choice if you want a password manager that takes privacy and security seriously. It works on all popular browsers, including Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Edge, Opera, Brave, and Google Chrome.
The premium plan can be used on an unlimited number of devices. It also offers dedicated secure file storage to put all your sensitive information in. Aside from that, you can use its options for remote account access and two-factor authentication.
12. RememBear: Best overall password manager extension (free)
- AES-256 bit encryption
- Sync passwords with multiple devices
- Lets you save sensitive notes
- Dedicated apps for iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows
- Successfully passed an independent security audit
Update: TunnelBear has announced that the RememBear service will be closed down. New customers already won’t be able to sign up, and existing users will only be able to download the extension until July 18, 2023.
Both RememBear and TunnelBear are known for their user-friendly, engaging interfaces. Everything is thematized: when you use RememBear, you’ll be assigned your own “bear” who keeps your passwords safe.
13. DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials: The best all-in-one security extension (free)
- Automatically blocks unwanted trackers
- Blocks access to unsecured sites (only HTTPS sites)
- Shows a site’s security protocols
- Lets you use the DuckDuckGo privacy search engine
DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials is an excellent extension that helps you block trackers, ensure your traffic is encrypted, and prevent search engines from tracking you. Most notably, DuckDuckGo created an alternative search engine to Google that actually respects your privacy.
Privacy Essentials is the latest addition to their portfolio. DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials is free and is available for Firefox, Chrome, Brave, Opera, Android, and iPhone.
14. HTTPS Everywhere: Improve surfing security on Tor (free)
- Lightweight, free extension
- Automatically rewrites HTTP requests to HTTPS when possible
- Uses the DuckDuckGo Smarter Encryption database for greater protection
HTTPS Everywhere is another important browser extension to use for online privacy and security. A collaboration between the Electronic Frontier Foundation (developer of Privacy Badger) and the Tor Project, HTTPS Everywhere increases your online security by ensuring that you connect to the HTTPS version of a website when available.
Data sent over HTTP sites is generally exposed, and malicious actors could steal it. With HTTPS Everywhere, the chances of this happening are much slimmer. You can download the extension and use it on Firefox, Edge, Opera, Tor, Brave, and Google Chrome.
15. Unshorten.link: Prevent tracking through short links (paid and free)
- Automatically expands shortened links
- Analyzes links for malware
- Previews shortened links before you open them
- Free version available
Unshorten.link helps secure users against one of the more common online risks: shortened links. Shortened links like “bit.ly” and “goo.gl” links are risky, because cybercriminals can easily inject malware into them. Many of these shortened links are not properly secured and can therefore be dangerous.
Unshorten.link solves this problem. Whenever you click on a shortened link, it first guides you to a page where you’ll be notified if the link you want to visit has been deemed safe or not. After that, you’re free to continue to the page or not. It works on Firefox and Chrome.
For private users, we recommend using the basic version, as this will suffice.
16. Click&Clean: Quickly clear your browsing data (free)
- Automatically clears cookies and browser history
- Erases temporary files
- Deletes client-side Web SQL databases
- Removes Flash cookies
- Cleans all traces of internet activity
Click&Clean is a useful extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge that allows you to delete your browsing data with just one click. Depending on your chosen settings, the cleaner will shut down your browser, delete your browsing history, empty your cache, remove indexed databases, and more.
The extension is free to use. There are tons of different options to customize exactly what you want Click&Clean to close and delete, such as browsing data, specific cookies, or tracking for particular sites.
17. ScriptSafe: The best extension for blocking malicious scripts (free)
- Completely free app
- Safe browsing mode to protect against browser fingerprinting
- Antisocial mode to remove social media trackers from web pages
- Blocks clickthrough referrer data
- Option to whitelist or blacklist sites
ScriptSafe is a great free browser extension that allows you to block malicious scripts. Malicious scripts on web pages are the origin of a lot of serious issues, as they might contain malware, such as cryptojacking malware. The ability to block these scripts is a huge advantage.
ScriptSafe gives you granular control over all the scripts running on a page. You can choose to remove certain domain elements that include unwanted content. It also lets you unblock the automated refreshing of websites.
18. Panic Button: Protection against snooping (free)
- Instant closing of all tabs
- Lets you define a “safe page”
- Map the panic button to a keyboard shortcut
- Option to add a password to reopen closed windows
Panic Button is a simple extension that closes all windows and tabs at the touch of a button. This is great when you quickly want to shut everything down, for example when you’re working on sensitive information and someone’s approaching your screen.
In short, this extension is for internet users who have been in the unfortunate situation where someone saw something on their screen they weren’t supposed to see.
Why You Need a Security and Privacy Browser Extension
Surfing the web from a personal computer might seem private and secure. Unfortunately, most websites use tracking technologies that can be considered a gross invasion of privacy. Even your browsing data can be viewed by other parties.
Governments and other online parties use tactics like logging your IP address and browser fingerprinting to collect your identifying information without your knowledge. Some of the personal information they collect include:
- Your ISP
- Search engines used
- Search history
- Websites you visit
- The social networks your use
- Local network administrators
- Apps used
- Your operating system
With all of this private information being tracked and logged, you need to protect yourself. That’s why you should use browser extensions for privacy and security. They’ll protect you from malicious ads, keep your passwords safe, and make you more anonymous online.
Using the right browser extensions can make your online life easier and safer. Do you want to get the most out of your internet experience? You can do this by actively using the following programs and extensions:
- Internet browser: We recommend Firefox, Brave, or Tor.
- VPN service (and its matching browser extension): NordVPN is our absolute favorite.
- Anti-tracker: Privacy Badger will get rid of trackers and cookies that try to trace you across the web.
- Adblocker: uBlock Origin will filter annoying and pushy ads off your screen.
- Password manager: NordPass will generate and store any (strong) passwords you use.
These are our recommended extensions for staying secure online. Of course, there are many other ways to increase your online anonymity and safety. Do you have any recommendations? Let us know in the comments below!
Are you looking for an answer to a question about browser extensions? Have a look at our frequently asked questions below. Check whether your question is listed and simply click on it to read the answer.
A browser extension is a program you can download and add to your browser. Each extension has a specific function and is meant to perform a task that the browser can’t do on its own. For example, some extensions block certain advertisements so you can browse without constant popups.
A VPN browser extension can be used to protect your IP address when using a browser such as Chrome or Firefox. Some VPN providers, such as NordVPN, offer their own browser extensions.
The best browser extensions that you can use to increase your online privacy include NordVPN, ExpressVPN, Privacy Badger, and Ghostery. Here’s our full list of the best browser extensions to improve your online privacy and security.