It’s only been within the last few years that people have begun paying attention to how much their web browsers track what they do.
Whether it’s a recommended product on Facebook based on your Google search history, an overly personal advertisement, or another privacy intrusion, more people than ever are abandoning Chrome and heading to its rivals instead.
Two of the most popular and privacy-centric alternatives are Tor and Brave. However, though both do a much better job of keeping your data to yourself than Chrome, they do have some significant differences.
In this article, let’s dive into Brave vs. Tor to help you pick the best one for your internet needs.
An Essential Tip Before We Dive In
Regardless of whether you use TOR or Brave, they both are not 100% private and anonymous. While they do a much better job, it is still possible to track your IP address with Brave.
Likewise, in some places, it is illegal to use TOR. While the authorities may not be able to see exactly what you’re doing, they may be able to detect its TOR connection and take action accordingly.
For that reason, whether you opt for either or both Brave and TOR, you should further enhance your security and privacy by using a VPN.
A VPN or virtual private network encrypts and masks your IP addresses to enable both of these browsers to deliver on their privacy promises fully.
TOR vs. Brave: How They Work
The most significant difference between TOR and Brave is how they connect to sites on the web.
TOR Connection Basics
As you may know, TOR stands for The Onion Router. With TOR, your internet data is encrypted and then travels through a network of relays operated by volunteers worldwide.
This network of layers is why it’s called an onion. While making your data extremely secure, this process also takes a long time, which is why streaming video or playing games via TOR can be a very slow process.
At the same time, TOR automatically blocks all ads and scripts while deploying NoScript and HTTPS Everywhere, which further enhances security.
How Brave Connects You to The Internet
Brave works a little differently and more like a conventional browser.
It also blocks all ads, request, and third-party cookies, while also using NoScript and HTTPS everywhere. But it doesn’t run your data through multiple layers as TOR does.
The result is a much more private than usual experience, but it doesn’t mean you’re 100% anonymous.
However, this also means that Brave generally performs much better than Tor.
Fundamentally Different Revenue Model
TOR was initially developed by the US Navy and is now operated by a non-profit. Their goal is to ensure a free and open web, especially for people looking to overcome censorship or report government abuses. To support research and development, they rely on donations.
On the other hand, Brave is a for-profit company. This isn’t necessarily bad, but they have done a few things that should concern privacy skeptics.
First, they whitelisted domains like Facebook and Twitter for ad-tracking. But they’ve also experimented with alternative revenue models to support content curators and their platform.
What does this mean?
Just compared to Chrome or Opera, Brave is lightyears better. They’re not only transparent but also trying to develop win-win situations for everyone.
For example, they introduced Brave rewards that you can earn by viewing privacy-respecting ads and then redeem for cryptocurrency. It’s different from the old day of getting flooded with ads when you open Internet Explorer.
However, they’ll be the first to tell you that Brave isn’t as private as TOR. In fact, in Brave’s version of private mode, they’ve introduced a “New Private Window with TOR” feature to appease their critics. It’s basically Brave browser with TOR enabled.
The Bottom Line: Brave vs. Tor
Both Brave and TOR represent a bright future for internet users. Mainstream browsers have noticed and have followed suit by integrating more privacy features into their apps.
TOR will always be the more private option, especially when used with a VPN. But for most daily activities, Brave will be much more secure than Chrome or any other mainstream alternative. It will also be a much better experience since it performs much faster than TOR.
Then when you do need additional protection such as using public WiFi, you can use TOR with a VPN enabled. But since both TOR and Brave are free, why choose when you can have both?