Tor browser in standard/safer/safest mode. Which one to use

I recently tried surfing through some onion websites on tor browser. I had kept the defaults as it is after the install , thinking that any change in settings might make it fingerprintable.

But while browsing i saw some onion websites show a warning that its best to use safest mode when browsing onion sites on tor browser.
It made me wonder why default security mode was set to standard when tor browser is exclusively made for surfing onion websites. Even there was no prompt to the user about different security settings choices on the welcome screen , maybe trying to educate new users about various use cases.
So my question is which security level should a newbie user use while browsing through tor browser and if the browsers default settings are appropriate or could have a better way of informing users to make sure they are safe while browsing.
I would have the same question for mullvad browser as well.


The Tor Browser is designed to prevent fingerprinting, or identifying you based on your browser configuration. Therefore, it is imperative that you do not modify the browser beyond the default security levels.

(implying they can be changed)

Although yes, technically which level you’re set to is fingerprintable, but enough Tor Browser users are on all three levels that it doesn’t matter.

You should use the highest security level as possible and lower it when needed if it breaks websites you visit. The same advice applies to Mullvad Browser.

This isn’t true, because Tor Browser is made for surfing onion websites and clearnet websites, and many clearnet websites will break in safest mode.


Most people will find Safest too cumbersome and end up simply not using the browser at all or sticking with Standard.

I really strongly suggest people instead just use Safer, and I wish it would be the default.


I mostly get the reason for the choice , but i expected that the browser could have prompted the users to switch to “safest” level for best security practice (also stating downsides if it) right at the start of first launching the tor browser through a pop-up or startup menu , instead of users figuring out themselves later.