99 Free Privacy Tools That Will Keep You Safe Online

Privacy is one of our main concerns here at Cloudwards.net. We tout the best tools to maintain it, too, many of which come with a price tag. While we do our best to mention free tools, as well, many of the options fly under the radar.

That’s why we’ve put together a guide of 99 free tools to protect your privacy. While most come with some downsides, the options we found will maintain your anonymity on your desktop and online.

While we’ve tested most of the tools on the list, we haven’t tested them all. We’ll lead each section with our top recommendations, then, as the list continues, we’ll venture into tools we’ve read about online that should be safe. If you like to be cautious, though, stick to our first 10 or so recommendations in each section.


free privacy tools

virtual private network secures your internet connection with military-grade encryption and other VPN securitymeasures, protecting you from internet service provider or government snooping. The best VPN providers come with a no-logging policy, too, meaning that your traffic is untraceable. Undoubtedly, this is the first line of defense in protecting your online privacy.

There’s an interesting disconnect, though. As you can see in our worst free VPN guide, many options come loaded with malware and data collection tools. On the other hand, the top provider in our VPN reviews, ExpressVPN, is over $10 a month. Read our ExpressVPN review to see why it’s worth it.

This is the most important, and trickiest, area to navigate. We pulled from our best free VPN services to create a comprehensive list of options for this section. There’s a drawback with each, as is to be expected for a free service, but it’s better to be protected than not, even if that comes with limitations.

Be mindful of budget options on the market like Private Internet Access, though. You can learn about that service in our PIA review.

Password Managers

Password managers are the antithesis of VPNs. While they also increase your privacy and security online, there is a sea of free options that are excellent. In most cases, you’ll be restricted in the number of entries, but the low price of the best password managers usually means upgrading can be justified.

We pulled options from our password manager reviews to find the best free offerings on the market. Unlike the previous section, some of the best options are free.

Antivirus Software

Antivirus software is mainly used as a check against cybercrime, protecting against nasty malware, such as ransomware (read our what is ransomware guide). That said, other schemes, such as browser hijacking and phishing, can put your personal information at risk, as you can read in our what is phishing and what is browsing hijacking guides.

The best antivirus software can protect you against desktop-based threats, such as ransomware, and data mining scams, such as adware. We scanned our antivirus reviews to find the free tools that do the job best.

Secure Messaging and Email

If you want to know how to encrypt text messages, this is the section for you. We’ll be running through the most secure messaging apps for your phone and desktop. While they’re different, both use the same basic protection concepts, so make sure to read our guide to email security to get up to speed.

Ad Blockers

Frankly, ads are annoying. Ignoring the obvious privacy issues in cross-website tracking, display advertising slows down your browsing experience and crowds the pages you land on. We’re going to look at the best free ad blockers next, though check out our article on the best pop-up blockers, too.

Secure Search Engines

Search engines gather a lot of data. While the data is mostly gathered for marketing purposes, it poses a major security and privacy risk. Because search engines keep it on record, anyone who can bust down the server walls can see you and what you search for online, incognito or otherwise.

There are a lot of “secure” search engines, many of which are just a form of browser hijacker. Discrete Search is an example. The results we’ve included are safe, so we recommend sticking to them.

Secure Web Browsers

Secure search engines are a good start, but using a secure browser can often take you further. In addition to providing anonymous search results, secure browsers usually come with ad and tracker blocking, built-in malware protection and, sometimes, a secure password manager.

Windows Privacy Tools

Windows 10 gives up a lot of your privacy before you even open a browser, its privacy settings notwithstanding. Even if you’ve blocked every tracker, bypassed every geoblock and secured every password, Microsoft can still gather your usage data. We’re going to look at Windows tools that protect against that data mining.

Other Privacy Tools

There are plenty of other tools for protecting your privacy, many of which are unique. We’ve rounded up the miscellaneous options that couldn’t fit neatly into another section.



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