2 star rating

Pirate Browser Review

Pros: Gets around blocks to torrent sites
Cons: Does not access all blocked sites; Sketchy Defaultsear.ch search engine
The Verdict: Created by The Pirate Bay, the Pirate Browser is designed to get around censorship to offer unrestricted access to any site, but it doesn't quite live up to the hype.



For its 10th anniversary, the makers of torrent download site The Pirate Bay have launched a new Web browser that's designed to allow users to access sites blocked by governments. This includes the company's own site. Essentially a bundled package of the Tor Vidalia client and Firefox portable (with a foxyproxy add-on), the Pirate Browser promises to let you explore the farthest reaches of the Web without restrictions. But there's promises, and then there's reality.

Article Continued Below


Pirate BrowserSince it's simply a tweaked version of Firefox 23, Pirate Browser looks almost exactly like the regular Firefox browser, save for some small differences. The Pirate Browser logo is on the Menu button at the top left instead of the usual Firefox logo, and several sites are already listed on the bookmarks toolbar. These provide quick links to popular torrent sites such as The Pirate Bay, EZTV, IsoHunt and BitSnoop.

Instead of Google as the default search engine, Pirate Browser uses defaultsear.ch, which has been known to automatically change your search engine and homepage to defaultsear.ch, and may collect your search terms. You can install an add-on to replace the default search bar with Bing, but we weren't able to find an add-on for Google.

MORE: 5 Free PC Maintenance Programs Worth Downloading

Pirate BrowserWhile you can still access browser settings by typing "about:config" into the URL bar, some of the features cannot be edited. We tried accessing "keyword.url," which changes the default search engine used by the URL bar in Firefox, but couldn't find it on Pirate Browser.

Pirate Browser also offers additional privacy settings in its Options window, allowing you to either tell sites whether you want to be tracked, or not tell them anything at all. In Firefox, your only choice is toggling the option to "Tell websites I do not want to be tracked."


Pirate BrowserPirate Browser's makers are careful to warn that the browser will not allow you to surf the net anonymously. Instead, the browser is supposed to help you circumvent "the censoring / blocking of websites your government doesn't want you to know about." In many cases, this means the Pirate Bay's site itself.

We put this claim to the test, getting our friends in Singapore to attempt to access government-blocked sites with Pirate Browser. They were unable to access restricted sites such as YouPorn and Redtube, seeing the same government warnings on those sites as they did on other browsers.

Pirate BrowserHowever, we had greater success in the U.S. After our administrator temporarily blocked access to torrent site Fenopy.se, we were unable to access the page on Chrome, but could view it on Pirate Browser. However, Pirate Browser did not get around a block on Games.com.

MORE: 5 Free PC Security Programs Worth Downloading

While it's not designed for this purpose, we also attempted to watch an episode of "Dragon's Den" using BBC's iPlayer, which is only open to U.K.-based visitors. Unfortunately, the site detected our location and blocked access to the episode. The same happened when we tried to watch full episodes on CBS.com on a Time Warner Cable Internet connection.


Pirate BrowserThe freedom to access any site is an idea we find admirable, and while the Pirate Bay's Pirate Browser may be somewhat self-serving, we can appreciate its ultimate goal. Unfortunately, the Pirate Browser doesn't fully deliver. You would be much better off installing the Tor browser bundle. That software not only allows you to get around IP blocks, but also hides your tracks when you surf the Web.

Tags: PirateBrowser, Internet Browsers, security, web browsers, business, Pirate Bay, reviews

Technical Specifications
Pirate Browser

Cherlynn Low, Staff Writer
Cherlynn Low, Staff Writer
Cherlynn joined the Laptopmag team in June 2013 and has since been writing about all things tech and digital with a focus on mobile and Internet software development. She also edits and reports occasionally on video. She graduated with a M.S. in Journalism (Broadcast) from Columbia University in May 2013 and has been designing personal websites since 2001.
Cherlynn Low, Staff Writer on
Twitter Google+
All Product Types Accessories eReaders Laptops Networking Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS AVADirect Averatec BeagleBone BenQ CTL Corp. CyberPowerPC Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Eurocom Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Google Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo Maingear MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Razer Sager Samsung Sony Sony PlayStation Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv Vizio VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating Editor's Choice 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 21 4 5 6 7 8 9
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1136 x 768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1792 x 768 1900x1080 1920x1080 1920x1200 2560 x 1440 2560 x 1600 2560 x 1700 2880 x 1620 2880 x 1880 3200 x 1800 3840 x 2160 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options