Sick of being tracked? Want to stop sharing ALL your data with Big Tech? It’s probably time you switched to the Brave web browser. Here’s everything you need to know…

Brave is an open-source web browser developed by Brave Software Inc. Its the brainchild of Brendan Eich, the creator of JavaScript and former CEO of Mozilla, and has it one, simple mission: provide a fast, free, secure web browsing experience free from trackers and targeted advertising.

Think of it as the ANTI-CHROME browser. Or, as one of the core components of your data privacy tools stack.

Unlike Safari and Edge, while Brave is built on Chromium it packs in a raft of unique features like a built-in ad blocker, a paid-for native VPN service, and a whole host of additional accoutrements. Did I mention it is also absolutely rapid compared to Chrome?

Here’s a quick and simple breakdown of what makes Brave one of the best web browsers on the market right now.

Key Features

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Brave comes with several powerful features out-of-the-box:

  • Built-in ad blocker to remove intrusive ads and improve page load times
  • Intelligent Tracking Prevention to stop cross-site tracking and protect privacy
  • Upgrades connections to HTTPS wherever possible for enhanced security
  • Ability to block scripts and prevent browser fingerprinting
  • Customizable blocking of cookies, scripts, and other site elements

Brave Shields

Brave Shields is the collective term for the browser’s suite of privacy and security protections. Shields can be configured globally or on a per-site basis, giving users granular control over their browsing experience.

This isn’t something you need to mess around with, though, so please do not think it is integral to using the browser – it’s just there in case you want to get a little more granular. 

By default, Shields blocks ads, trackers, fingerprinting attempts, and upgrades connections to HTTPS. This results in faster loading, less data usage, and improved privacy without significantly breaking site functionality in most cases.

Brave Rewards

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One of the cornerstone principles of Brave is that online advertising is broken, not fit for purpose. 

Brave proposes an alternative, more modern way of doing things using the blockchain and something called Basic Attention Tokens (BAT). 

When you download Brave, you can opt into viewing privacy-respecting ads and earn Basic Attention Tokens (BAT), an Ethereum-based cryptocurrency, as payment for your attention on articles and posts displayed inside the Brave browser

What The Heck is BAT?

BAT (Basic Attention Token) is a digital currency designed as an alternative to traditional forms of online advertising.

By using blockchain technology, BAT connects users, advertisers, and publishers in a fair, transparent ecosystem.

It rewards users for their attention while ensuring privacy and security, making ads more relevant and less intrusive. BAT’s number one aim? Fix the broken ad industry, reduce fraud, and share ad revenue more equitably.

Earned BAT accumulates in a built-in wallet and can be used to automatically support favorite content creators, fund their own browsing, or even be cashed out after verifying your identity. I accumulate BAT for browsing the web using Brave and also as the publisher of this site – KYM is a registered creator on Brave‘s BAT platform.

BAT isn’t worth much compared to things like the USD ($) or Bitcoin, but the concept is brilliant: it creates a fair value exchange between users, advertisers, and publishers.

User Privacy Focus

For those looking to bolster their online privacy and get away from things like retargeted ads, this is the big one. 

If you’re switching from a Big Tech browser like Chrome or Edge, you will immediately notice a difference in your web browsing experience. 

Brave does not store any personal data on its servers. Browsing data never leaves the user’s device and is not accessible by Brave or third parties.

Brave‘s business model does not depend on collecting user data, a key difference from mainstream browsers. The browser provides Privacy Reports showing the trackers and ads blocked over time.

Performance Optimization

Things like tracking codes, ad codes and all that other jazz need to be processed by your browser whenever you access sites online. 

Get rid of all this, and guess what happens? Browsing speed goes through the roof. 

By blocking resource-heavy ads and trackers, Brave typically loads pages 3-6 times faster than Chrome and Firefox on desktop. The browser is also less taxing in terms of memory and CPU usage which is why I run Brave on both my iPhone and my Mac Studio.

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On resource-constrained mobile devices, Brave‘s performance metrics over Chrome and the like is even more pronounced. And if that wasn’t enough, Brave also implements other under-the-hood optimizations to further improve speed.

I have found some contradictory reports online, claiming Brave is not as fast as Edge or Chrome but I have struggled to replicate these results on my machines.

Generally, in my experience – whether talking about actual benchmarks or just real-life performance – Brave does have a significant speed advantage over both Chrome and Edge.

Cross-Platform Availability

Brave supports all major desktop and mobile platforms including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. It provides the ability to sync bookmarks, extensions, autofill data, and BAT rewards across devices in an encrypted manner.

On iOS, Brave supports a content blocker that allows applying ad and tracker blocking to other browsers and apps.

Customization and User Experience

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Brave supports custom themes and allows modifying the position of various interface elements. It maintains extension compatibility with Chrome, allowing users access to a large library of addons.

The user interface bears similarity to Chrome and other Chromium-based browsers, providing some familiarity, while introducing new iconography and menus for Brave-specific features.

Security Features

One of the more annoying aspects of using other privacy-focussed browsers is that they don’t tend to store your passwords which means you tend to flip flop between them and something like Chrome

This isn’t an issue with Brave

Brave includes a built-in password manager with auto-fill functionality. It also blocks WebRTC calls by default to prevent IP address leaks. It also randomizes fingerprint parameters to make every browser instance appear unique, preventing cross-site tracking.

With updates, these are done automatically and pretty regularly which means if an exploit is found or there are new vulnerabilities, they’re patched up pronto. The browser receives automatic security updates to patch vulnerabilities.

Community and Open Source

Brave is built on top of the open-source Chromium project, with additional functionality implemented through extensions. Brave‘s source code is publicly available on GitHub and, like all good open-source projects, the company welcomes contributions from the community, so long as they’re in line with current development plans.

On top of this, Brave is also teamed up with partners with from privacy-focused organizations like DuckDuckGo and Let’s Encrypt.

Brave Browser FAQs

  • What is Brave and how does it differ from other web browsers? Brave is a free and open-source web browser known for its focus on privacy and security. It differentiates itself with built-in ad blocking, tracker prevention, and an innovative reward system that lets users earn cryptocurrency for viewing ads.
  • How does Brave protect my privacy online? Brave includes several privacy-protection features like tracker and ad blocking, HTTPS Everywhere, script blocking, and fingerprinting protection. It also minimizes data collection to protect user privacy.
  • Can I really earn money by using Brave? Yes, through Brave Rewards, users can earn Basic Attention Tokens (BAT) for viewing privacy-respecting ads. These tokens can be used to support content creators or converted into fiat currency.
  • Is Brave faster than Chrome or Firefox? Brave is often faster than other browsers due to its aggressive ad and tracker blocking, which reduces page load times and minimizes memory usage.
  • How can I contribute to the Brave community or its development? Users can contribute by participating in the community forums, reporting bugs, suggesting features, and contributing to the open-source codebase.

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