Many of your actions on the internet are not as private as you think. These days, many groups try to follow our online behaviour as closely as possible. Our ISPs, our network administrators, our browsers, search engines, the apps we install, social media platforms, authorities, hackers and even the websites we visit all know – to some degree – what we are doing online. If you don’t want your partner to discover that special birthday gift you bought, using incognito mode is enough. However, if you don’t want anyone to know what you’re doing online, a simple incognito mode is not enough.
Do you want to browse, stream and download anonymously? There are a few ways to protect your privacy online. In this article, we’ll introduce you to some methods and tips you can use to stay anonymous online. We’ll tell you all about the effectiveness of VPNs, proxy servers, and Tor, which are tools that help you stay under the radar.
Tip #1: Browsing Anonymously and Safely with a VPN
Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a suitable way to browse the internet anonymously. When you are connected to a VPN server, your connection is secure. The software ensures that all your online traffic is encrypted, using special protocols, so this data cannot be read by others.
Also, your IP address remains hidden because you automatically use the IP of the VPN server used. The IP address is the numerical identification of your internet connection and can reveal your location and even your identity. The VPN hides this IP address behind one of its own IPs. In this way, the websites you visit will not have access to your real IP address and will not be able to identify you.
Many VPN operators do not log your activities while you are using their services. This is the product they sell you: incognito browsing. These operators offer guaranteed anonymity to their users with their secure and secure VPN connections.
Combining a masked IP and a secure connection assures VPN users that their online actions cannot be tracked by anyone. However, not all VPN operators are so strict about this promise. If you want to anonymize your internet connection, it is important to look for a good and reliable VPN provider with “no logs” policies.
A “no logs” policy ensures that the VPN provider does not log any of your online activities. In this way, not even the authorities can compel an operator to provide this information because it simply does not exist. Usually, it’s good to go for a premium VPN, as your private data isn’t always safe in the hands of a free VPN operator.
ExpressVPN: A Reliable Giant
A good example of a reliable VPN provider is ExpressVPN. Has numerous servers all over the world and offers good security options. If you subscribe to their services, you gain access to software that protects all your devices and works with Windows, Mac, Android and iOS.
You can connect to the internet simultaneously with up to five devices with just one subscription. ExpressVPN is very suitable for those who want to browse, stream and download with complete anonymity.
ExpressVPN is very intuitive. After signing up, you can install the app and connect to a secure VPN server with just a few clicks. The app will run in the background on your device while you browse and stream normally, but securely and anonymously. To learn more about this carrier, read our full ExpressVPN review.
CyberGhost: An Intuitive VPN
In the second position, we have CyberGhost. CyberGhost is an intuitive operator that helps you browse anonymously. They have many servers all over the world, making it easy to find a server that suits your needs. The servers guarantee your internet browsing without any restrictions.
You can even use Netflix and download torrents freely with CyberGhost. The CyberGhost app is effortless to use, but in case you run into any difficulties, CyberGhost also has amazing customer service to help you out.
If there is any HTTPS alternative for the HTTP website you are trying to access, CyberGhost will ensure that you are automatically redirected to the secure version of the website. This way, you will be able to browse anonymously and safely at all times. Read our in-depth CyberGhost review to learn more about this VPN.
Tip #2: Use the Right Browser
It is recommended that you go back to basics and make sure it helps protect your anonymity. But which browser would be the best in this case? The different browsers commonly used deal with user privacy in very different ways. They also have very different security levels. In this section, we will talk about the various options of the main browsers.
Stay away from Microsoft Internet Explorer and Edge
When it comes to online privacy and security, we recommend that you do not use Microsoft browsers (Internet Explorer and Edge). Internet Explorer no longer has updates, which makes the browser very vulnerable, exposing its users to various risks, including many forms of cybercrime.
Microsoft Edge is the official successor to Internet Explorer and receives security updates. Even so, the privacy level of this browser is far from ideal. It does not have tracking protection offered by other browsers.
For this reason, among others where Microsoft falls short regarding privacy, we recommend that you stay away from Internet Explorer and Edge if your focus is on protecting your privacy.
Google Chrome: Don’t Use Google If You Want Privacy
Chrome supports several pop-up blockers and other privacy-related extensions. Even so, Chrome is owned by Google, which is not good for your privacy. Google profits by capturing as much data as possible from its users.
This data is used to display personalized advertisements and improve Google’s search engine. Many people criticize Google for the way they treat people’s privacy. For example, one wonders why Chrome users are usually automatically logged into their Google or Gmail accounts. In this way, Google can track all your browsing activity and connect it to you as a person.
This information is then synced across all your devices. Do you use an Android smartphone and apps like Google Maps? Then, automatically Google knows even more about you. If you value your privacy, Chrome is not the best choice.
Apple’s Safari performs well
Currently, Apple’s Safari does very well when it comes to privacy terms. The browser now has new features that avoid fingerprints, making it much more difficult for other groups to follow in your footsteps online. It also features Intelligent Tracking Prevention.
This feature automatically deletes tracking cookies placed by websites in Safari after 7 days. Due to this system, websites can track their visitors for a much shorter period of time. In addition, Safari offers some very useful extensions that optimize your online privacy. We’ll come back to that later.
Mozilla Firefox: the best and most popular browser for those who want privacy
If you ask us, Mozilla Firefox is the best browser among the “common” for users who value their privacy. For starters, Firefox has a number of security features, such as phishing and malware protection. Additionally, Firefox users automatically receive an alert when a website tries to install extensions. When it comes to privacy, Firefox is a very safe option because it offers very useful extensions that protect its users from all sorts of tracking and privacy violations. These extensions are most often specifically for Firefox.
Unlike most browsers, Firefox is open source. This means that anyone has access to the source code that makes up the Firefox software. Because of its transparent way of operating, Mozilla couldn’t just integrate tracking features even if it wanted to. Someone would notice, and it would become a scandal, which would be bad for Mozilla’s reputation.
Incognito Browsing Another Level: The Tor Browser
If incognito browsing is what you really want, the Tor browser might be an interesting option. Tor (The Onion Router) is an online network for anonymous and encrypted communication. Tor basically operates in the same way as other browsers such as Firefox, Safari and Chrome.
However, unlike other browsers, Tor allows you to browse completely anonymously. The Tor network consists of thousands of servers all over the world. All data traffic passing through it is separated into small pieces that are later encrypted and sent to various servers before reaching its destination.
This process takes time, so Tor software can be relatively slow. But no matter how slow it is, it makes sure no one can see what you do online.
An important comment about using Tor is that it only encrypts part of what you do online. Only internet traffic passing through the browser is protected. Services like Skype and WhatsApp access the internet without using a browser. Tor cannot protect you in these cases.
Another thing worth mentioning is that Tor gives its users access to the dark web. Browsing the dark web should always be done with great caution. This “dark/obscure” part of the internet is unregulated, which means there are many risks to your security.
For example, it is very easy to find malware there. So for most of us, using a VPN alongside Firefox is a better, easier, and safer alternative.
Tip #3: Browsing incognito with a proxy
Using a proxy server also provides online anonymity. When using a proxy, you send a request for information to this proxy server, which then sends it to the right website. The website will only be able to see the IP address of the proxy server, not yours. The proxy does not have the same level of encryption as a VPN.
Although the website you are visiting cannot directly see who you are, your IP address and online traffic are still much easier to crack than if you were using a VPN. Other groups will still be able to see what you are doing. The only thing that prevents them from discovering your identity is the proxy IP. This is all because proxies do not protect your connection.
Proxy servers are generally seen as free and lighter alternatives to VPNs. They may suit your needs, but keep in mind that they don’t have the same security standards as a VPN .
Tip #4: Use an anonymous search tool
We also have the option of using an anonymous search tool. DuckDuckGo is probably the best-known anonymous search tool. Anonymous search engines like DuckDuckGo are alternatives to Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines that like to collect and use your data. When you use DuckDuckGo, your search terms and the links you click will not be tracked.
Also, the websites you visit will not be able to see the terms you used in your search. However, they will still know that you have visited their pages. This registration takes place through your IP address. With DuckDuckGo you will be able to search the internet with much more anonymity than with common search tools, but it does not offer complete anonymity and privacy.
DuckDuckGo doesn’t have the same budget and workforce as big companies like Google. This means that the search results presented will not be as optimized. However, some say this is actually a good thing for those whose focus is on privacy.
Still, DuckDuckGo shows the same results for everyone who enters the same keywords. Google, on the contrary, adjusts the results to your user profile. DuckDuckGo’s inaccuracy, consequently, is proof that they do deliver on their promise of anonymity. We recommend that you use DuckDuckGo and see if it suits your needs.
The second anonymous search tool is Startpage. It’s a privacy-focused search engine that pulls its results from Google but doesn’t use tracking. We also recommend that you try this tool.
Tip #5: Minimize tracking with the right browser extensions
There are a lot of browser extensions out there that help increase your security and privacy online. These extensions are generally easy to install and use. In addition to an ad blocker, password manager, and VPN browser extension, you can also try specific add-ons and extensions that minimize tracking.
Privacy Badger and Ghostery
0 Privacy Badger and Ghostery are browser extensions that detect and block third-party tracking cookies that are placed on your computer as you browse. Blocking these cookies prevents you from being tracked online. Have you installed Privacy Badger and Ghostery and visited a webpage that tries to install tracking cookies? That’s where these extensions come into play. Good for you, bad for online marketers, and very good for your privacy.
Tip #6: Be careful with Facebook and Google
Facebook is known for sharing its users’ personal information with advertisers. That’s why there are usually ads with feminine hygiene products for women and not for men. However, Facebook takes this practice much further: they also track what you do even when you’re not on the site.
If you’ve searched for car insurance online, chances are you’ll see a related ad on your Facebook feed. Facebook allows you to make a small change to this in your account’s privacy settings. After changing these settings, they may stop showing selected ads, but you will still see ads. Also, they will continue to gather information about you. It is not possible to disable tracking from the services.
Google also allows you to opt out of personalized ads. It also doesn’t mean that all ads will disappear, nor that Google will stop tracking your data traffic. At first, you can say that these ad revenue-based companies will not stop tracking us unless we make it impossible through a VPN connection.
There are several steps you can take to protect your privacy and security online. Do you want to browse the internet anonymously? These are our tips for you:
- Use Mozilla Firefox or Tor browsers
- Use a VPN
- Use an anonymous search tool
- Minimize tracking with the right browser extensions
By combining these tips, your online privacy will be more assured. You will be able to browse the internet completely anonymously. Using a proxy is also an option, but it becomes unnecessary if you are already using a VPN (a much better alternative).