Two people using two laptops at a desk.

If you think you just need a single web browser, think again. We recommend using multiple web browsers on your computer, especially if you work and perform personal tasks on the same system. Here’s why you should consider adding another web browser to your daily rotation.

Separate Work and Personal Tasks

Using multiple web browsers will make it simple to separate different types of tasks from others. For example, if you work from home, you’ve probably logged into all your work-related websites and have bookmarks set up to all the necessary services you have to keep track of.

In many cases, you may have separate accounts for work and personal tasks. For example, your job may give you a Google Workspace account and you may also have a personal Gmail address. Rather than constantly switching back and forth between Google accounts in the same browser window, you can simply have a work browser and a personal browser. Each would stay signed in to the appropriate account.

As a bonus, this will make it easier to turn work off after business hours—and easier to keep personal distractions at bay when it’s time to work.

How It Works

It’s simple. Each web browser on your computer has its own settings, including cookies (login states), browser extensions, bookmarks, and history entries.

If you currently use Google Chrome, you can add Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or another browser to your taskbar and run both at once. Each will get its own taskbar icon and you can run both at the same time signed into different accounts. Just install the browser you want to use and you can run multiple browsers at once.

Modern web browsers have easy-to-use “profiles” that let you set up different browser states for different tasks. For example, in just Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge, you could use profiles without using multiple separate browsers. Just click your profile icon at the top right corner of the browser window to find profile options and add new profiles. (Unfortunately, profiles are harder to find and use in Firefox.)

Using multiple profiles is similar to using multiple browsers: You get different Windows taskbar icons for the different browser profiles on Windows, for example. It’s easy to switch between them.

Chrome's profile switcher menu.

You can also install a different browser theme in each browser (or browser profile) you use. This can help you identify which browser is which so you can easily keep them separated.

You Can Keep Extensions Separate, Too

With multiple browsers, you can use different browser extensions or add-ons in each browser.

Perhaps you need to use a browser extension for work. If you don’t feel comfortable with a work tool also running on websites you use for personal tasks, no problem: Just install the extension in your work browser and not in your personal browser.

Or, perhaps you like using a lot of browser extensions but you know that they can be a security risk. For maximum security, you could use a separate browser with no extensions for your online banking and other sensitive tasks, minimizing the risk that a malicious browser add-on could capture your online banking password.

The Benefits Are Clear

If you do a lot of different things on your computer, the benefits of this approach should be obvious. You can keep certain types of browsing activity isolated from other types of browsing activity, stay signed into different sets of accounts in different contexts, and just generally configure each browser to work best for the task you’ll be using it for.

If you aren’t sold, however, that’s fine! Perhaps this trick isn’t for you. But, especially if you work from home on your Windows PC or Mac, we think it’s worth a shot. It may sound strange at first, but using multiple web browsers can help make your life simpler.

Bonus: Route Specific Web Browsers Through a VPN

If you want to use a VPN to help protect your privacy online, there’s another bonus to using multiple web browsers. Through the use of split tunneling, you can have only some apps on your computer send their traffic through a VPN.

You can easily configure most popular VPNs to send traffic from one browser through the VPN. You could skip the VPN when accessing normal work websites, for example, and use it only for your personal browser. Or you could use a VPN for most of your browsing but access Netflix and other services that don’t function properly in a VPN through a browser that isn’t configured to use the VPN.

If you want to do this, be sure to use multiple different browsers and not just browser profiles. It won’t work with different profiles in the same browser app—you’ll need different applications.

Profile Photo for Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader's Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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