Welcome to ThinkPrivacy. This site is a collection of apps, services, and advice on how to protect your data online. From messaging, emailing, and storage, keeping your data encrypted and private is critical in today's age of national surveillance by both the government and private organizations.

Search Engines

Use Instead Of: Google, Bing, Yahoo.

Name Description Location
DuckDuckGo A search engine that does not track your searches. US
StartPage A search engine that anonymizes your Google searches, giving you Google quality results without giving up your privacy. Netherlands
SearX An open source metasearch engine, aggregating the results of other search engines while not storing information about its users. No logs, no ads and no tracking. Various
Qwant Based and designed in Europe, Qwant claims to be the first search engine which protects its users freedoms and ensures that the digital ecosystem remains healthy. France

VPN

Use: Whenever you're connected to the internet. Most importantly when on any public wifi.

Provider Yearly Cost Trial Jurisdiction
Mullvad 60 € 3 Hour Sweden
Proton VPN Free Yes Switzerland
Nord VPN $83.88 30 Day Money Back Panama
Express VPN $99.95 30-day Money Back British Virgin Islands
IP Vanish $77.99 7-day Money Back United States
Surfshark $71.88 30-day Money Back British Virgin Islands

DNS

Use: Instead of the DNS provided by your ISP.

Name Description
OpenNic OpenNIC is an alternate network information center/alternative DNS root which lists itself as an alternative to ICANN and its registries. Like all alternative root DNS systems, OpenNIC-hosted domains are unreachable to the vast majority of the Internet.
DNSCrypt A protocol for securing communications between a client and a DNS resolver. The DNSCrypt protocol uses high-speed high-security elliptic-curve cryptography and is very similar to DNSCurve, but focuses on securing communications between a client and its first-level resolver.

Email

Use Instead Of: Gmail, Hotmail, Office 365, Yahoo.

Provider Server Storage Cost / Year Encryption Custom Domains
Proton Mail Switzerland 500 MB Free Built-in Yes
FastMail Australia 2 GB $30 Built-in Yes
Tutanota Germany 1 GB Free Built-in Yes
Mailbox.org Germany 2 GB 12 € Built-in Yes
Mailfence Belgium 500 MB Free Built-in Yes
Posteo Germany 2 GB 12 € Built-in No
Kolab Now Switzerland 2 GB $60 No Yes
StartMail Netherlands 10 GB $59.95 Built-in Yes
Disroot Netherlands 2 GB Free Built-in Yes

Web Browsers

Use Instead Of: Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge.

Desktop Browsers

Product Description
Firefox One of the most popular browsers on the market is always thinking privacy first and offers an amazingly fast, reliable browser.
Tor Browser Built on Firefox, Tor gives you an added layer of protection that helps make your location and information nearly invisible online. Why not use Tor daily? Some do, but it's a bit slower as it routes your traffic around the web. It's a great choice for using sites like Twitter and Facebook that are inherently insecure, though. Also, journalist and whistleblowers benefit greatly from this level of security.

Extensions & Settings

Product Description
uBlockOrigin uBlockOrigin is a general-purpose blocker, or most well known as an ad-blocker, though it does so much more. This is a must have on any browser.
HTTPS Everywhere HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox, Chrome, and Opera extension that encrypts your communications with many major websites, making your browsing more secure.
Privacy Badger Privacy Badger blocks spying ads and invisible trackers.
Decentraleyes Protects you against tracking through “free”, centralized, content delivery. It prevents a lot of requests from reaching networks like Google Hosted Libraries, and serves local files to keep sites from breaking.
Cookie AutoDelete Automatically removes cookies when they are no longer used by open browser tabs. With the cookies, lingering sessions, as well as information used to spy on you, will be expunged.
DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials This add-on provides the privacy essentials you need to seamlessly take control of your personal information, no matter where the internet takes you: tracker blocking, smarter encryption, DuckDuckGo private search, and more.
uMatrix uMatrix gives you control over the requests that websites make to other websites. This gives you greater and more fine grained control over the information that you leak online.
NoScript Security Suite Highly customizable plugin to selectively allow Javascript, Java, and Flash to run only on websites you trust. Not for casual users, it requires technical knowledge to configure.

Messaging

Use Instead Of: WhatsApp, Facebook Messanger, Telegram, Text Messaging, Snapchat.

Text / Chat

Compare Messenger Apps
Product Description Skill Level
Signal Signal is a mobile app developed by Open Whisper Systems. The app provides instant messaging, as well as voice and video calling. All communications are end-to-end encrypted. Beginner
Wire A free software End-to-End Encrypted chatting application that supports instant messaging, voice, and video calls. Beginner
Riot Riot.im is a decentralized free-software chatting application based on the Matrix protocol, a recent open protocol for real-time communication offering E2E encryption. Intermediate
Jami One of the closest Skype replacements out there. Encrypted text and video chats. Great for podcasters. Beginner
Keybase A great messenger for more technical users, Keybase's integrated file sharing is robust and convenient for sharing files across the web. Intermediate

Password Managers

Use Instead Of: Using the same password for every website login.

Password Managers

Name Description Skill Level Cost
Bitwarden So easy to use, cross-platform (Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android) application. The web app and browser plugin are fantastic and the password generator is incredibly helpful. Beginner Free
KeePassXC The thing computers can do best is storing information. You shouldn't waste your time trying to remember and type your passwords. KeePassXC can store your passwords safely and auto-type them into your everyday websites and applications. Intermediate Free
Master Password Master Password is based on an ingenious password generation algorithm that guarantees your passwords can never be lost. Its passwords aren't stored: they are generated on-demand from your name, the site and your master password. No syncing, backups or internet access needed. Advanced Free

Two-Factor Authentication

Use Instead Of: Google Authenticator.

Name Description
OTP Auth iOS based 2FA that respects your privacy.
Tofu An easy-to-use, open-source two-factor authentication app designed specifically for iOS.
andOTP andOTP is an open source two-factor authentication App for Android 4.4+.
FreeOTP FreeOTP is another open source two-factor authentication application for systems utilizing one-time password protocols. Availabe on both Android and iOS devices.

Cloud Storage

Cloud Storage

Use Instead Of: Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive.

Self-Hosted

Name Description Cost
Nextcloud This is the top option for those more interested in self-hosting their cloud files. While some services do offer NextCloud as a subscription, I highly recommended going the self-hosted route with this. Free - Enterprise

Need a server? We recommend hosting at DigitalOcean

Third-Party

Name Description Cost
Tresorit If you're not able to self-host, I can't think of a better solution than Tresorit. Well priced and feature rich, this will make you forget about Dropbox the first time you open it. $12/mo
SpiderOak One Secure, encrypted, zero-knowledge cloud file storage. Cross platform and easy to use. This is a great solution for backing up your files, but does not work as a great solution for a Dropbox replacement as the mobile app lacks features. $5/mo
Sync Sync makes it easy to store, share and access your files from just about anywhere. Best of all, Sync protects your privacy with end-to-end encryption — ensuring that your data in the cloud is safe, secure and 100% private. Free

File Sharing

File Sharing

Use Instead Of: Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive.

Name Description
OnionShare File sharing using the Tor network. The best way to share files that require the utmost protection and security.
Firefox Send Send uses end-to-end encryption to keep your data secure from the moment you share to the moment your file is opened. It also offers security controls that you can set. You can choose when your file link expires, the number of downloads, and whether to add an optional password for an extra layer of security.

Notes & Office

Notes

Use Instead Of: Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft Office 365, Evernote.

Product Description Skill Level
StandardNotes Standard Notes is a simple and private notes app that makes your notes easy and available everywhere you are. Features end-to-end encryption on every platform, and a powerful desktop experience with themes and custom editors. Beginner
Joplin Joplin is a free, open source, fully featured note taking and to-do application, which can handle a large number of markdown notes organised into notebooks and tags. It offers E2EE encryption and can sync through Nextcloud, Dropbox and more. It also offers easy import from Evernote and plain text notes. Advanced
Turtl Turtl lets you take notes, bookmark websites, and store documents for sensitive projects. From sharing passwords with your coworkers to tracking research on an article you're writing, Turtl keeps it all safe from everyone but you and those you share with. Beginner

Office

Use Instead Of: Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft Office 365, Evernote.

Product Description
LibreOffice Open Source office replacement. While not necessarily privacy driven, unlike Office, you don't need any accounts with Microsoft and it doesn't need to report back data.
CryptPad CryptPad offers secure, collaborative document sharing and storage. Editing text documents, spreadsheets, and presentations are a snap.

Team Chat / Collaboration

Use Instead Of: Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook Messanger, Slack.

Product Description
Rocket.Chat A self-hosted team chat solution for those who want to keep files and conversations safely on their own servers.

Operating Systems

Use Instead Of: Windows

Desktop

Linux

If you have a choice in your OS, we strongly recommended ditching MacOS or Windows and moving to a Linux driven system. Yet, even with Linux you have choices to make.

Name Description Skill Level
Tails Tails is a portable OS that you leave installed on a thumbdrive and use when you have access to a computer. This is a pretty secure option and it uses Tor as a default connection to the web, but is not realistic for most users. It is the most secure of the bunch, and is a great option for those who need the utmost security. Advanced
Qubes OS Qubes is an open-source operating system designed to provide strong security for desktop computing. Qubes is based on Xen, the X Window System, and Linux, and can run most Linux applications and utilize most of the Linux drivers. Advanced
Debian Debian is a Unix-like computer operating system and a Linux distribution that is composed entirely of free and open-source software, most of which is under the GNU General Public License, and packaged by a group of individuals known as the Debian project. Advanced
Fedora Fedora Workstation is a reliable, user-friendly, and powerful operating system for your laptop or desktop computer. It supports a wide range of developers, from hobbyists and students to professionals in corporate environments. Companies all over the world trust Red Hat Inc. because of their transparency throughout the whole development process. Intermediate

Not sure which Linux distro is right for you? Check out Compute Freely and learn all about the options available to you.


Mobile

Mobile Browsers

Product Description Platform
Firefox & Firefox Focus Firefox for iOS and Android is a fast browser with great security settings. Firefox Focus is a private browser that doesn't track you and forgets everything you did when you close it. iOS, Android
Onion Browser Tor's recommended iOS browser. Use this on your mobile when you needed added security and privacy. iOS
Tor Browser Tor's recommended iOS browser. Use this on your mobile when you needed added security and privacy. Android
DuckDuckGo A completely private browser that won't track you and burns it's memory with the click of a button. iOS, Android

Security Apps

Product Description Platform
Better Blocker Better is a privacy tool for Safari on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. It protects you from behavioural ads and companies that track and profile you on the web. iOS
DNSCloak DNSCrypt is a protocol that authenticates communications between a DNS client and a DNS resolver. It prevents DNS spoofing. It uses signatures to verify that responses originate from the chosen DNS resolver and haven't been tampered with. iOS
Disconnect Tracking protection for your desktop or mobile browser. iOS includes SmartVPN features to encrypt all HTTP and DNS connections. iOS & Samsung

Mobile OS

If you're using an Android device, it is highly recommended you install an alternative OS, which are listed below.

Name Description
LineageOS A free and open-source operating system for smartphones and tablet computers, based on the Android mobile platform.
Sailfish OS Sailfish OS offers a true independent alternative to the existing dominant mobile operating systems.

Blogging

Use Instead Of: WordPress, Tumblr, Medium, and Blogger.

Blogging

Service Description Skill Level
Write.as Write.as is a minimalist, privacy-focused, writing and publishing platform. It's a lot like Medium in layout and ease of us, yet highly respects your privacy and your readers privacy. It's also compatible with the federated network. Beginner
Plume Plume is a federated blogging network that respects privacy rights. Intermediate

Social Media

Use Instead Of: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat.

Facebook / Twitter

Service Description
Mastodon Mastodon is a social network based on open web protocols and free, open-source software. It is decentralized like e-mail. It also has the most users, and the most diverse (in terms of interests) users, looks good, and is easy to setup.
Diaspora* diaspora* is based on three key philosophies: Decentralization, freedom and privacy. It is intended to address privacy concerns related to centralized social networks by allowing users set up their own server (or "pod") to host content; pods can then interact to share status updates, photographs, and other social data.
Friendica Friendica has an emphasis on extensive privacy settings and easy server installation. It aims to federate with as many other social networks as possible. Currently, Friendica users can integrate contacts from Facebook, Twitter, Diaspora, GNU social, App.net, Pump.io and other services in their social streams.

Instagram

Service Description
PixelFed PixelFed is an open source federated alternative to Instagram. This is a photo-oriented social network with filters, comments, likes, shares without the ads and tracking.

Reddit

Service Description
Prismo Federated link aggregation powered by ActivityPub. Prismo is under heavy development.

YouTube

Service Description
PeerTube PeerTube is an open source alternative to YouTube. While it's still new, it's part of the federated network along with Mastodon and PixelFed, meaning it's growing every day. It's a wonderful, privacy respecting alternative.