Looking to hide in plain sight and learn how to browse the web anonymously?
Protecting our online anonymity and privacy is becoming increasingly harder and challenging.
With each passing day, more and more people are concern about their internet privacy and looking for a way to surf the web anonymously.
Today, every search queries you type, websites you visit, your browsing habits are being tracked for many reasons.
Why Browse Anonymously?
The answer might differ for every person, but it all boils down to privacy and that you don’t want anyone to see your activities.
People usually associate anonymous browsing with malicious hacking, extramarital affairs, hacking, and other illegal stuff.
However, that is not always necessarily true. As a matter of fact, there are so many benefits and legitimate reasons why one needs to browse anonymously and remain anonymous online.
- You don’t like the thought of search engines collecting your every search query.
- Freedom to be able to visit any websites and hide your activities.
- Avoid unwanted targeted advertisements from online advertisers targeting your every move.
- You can fully exercise freedom of speech and helps you from anyone else to censor your activities without the backlash that can affect them in the real world.
- Personal safety from being compromised by your online activities.
- Anonymity can prevent hackers from getting hold of your personal data such as name, address, email, credit card, and banking info.
- To add an extra notch, using a VPN can further hide your activities and internet traffic from even your ISP, nosy marketers, NSA, and other government Surveillance.
Even if you have nothing to hide or cared about it, you can take comfort in knowing that your internet habits aren’t being tracked for whatever the reason may be.
Anonymous Browsing Methods
Luckily, there are several internet privacy methods and tips you can adapt to surf the web and stay anonymous.
Private Browser/ Incognito Window
The most common, simplest, and quickest way to hide your online search is to use an incognito window.
Incognito/private window helps you browse the web without storing your search history, cookies of the websites you visit, log in details, and browsing data on your browser.
Incognito mode removes and forgets the data when you close the private browser window.
However, your bookmarks and downloads will still be saved.
This is a quick way to hide your activities from others using the same device.
However, your search activity might still be visible to:
- Your employer or school
- Your ISP (internet service provider)
It doesn’t hide your web traffic from third parties like your ISP, government agencies, or the network admin at your school, university or office.
So, Incognito mode is not exactly anonymous-anonymous which gives you some sort of superpower of online invisibility as many thought it to be.
Recommend for: Best suited for a quick way to hide your search queries and websites you visit.
How to Activate Incognito Mode
- Chrome: Ctrl+Shift+N
- Safari: Ctrl + Shift + N
- Firefox: Ctrl+Shift+P
- Internet Explorer: Control + Shift + P
- Safari: Ctrl + Shift + N
- Opera: Press the Ctrl+Shift+N
Kill all Cookies
Cookies are not necessarily a bad thing. They make your browsing experience faster & easier.
They can tailor your internet experience based on browsing habits, your location. Cookies also make filling out your forms much quicker, serving up personalized content, etc.
There are both pros and cons to this.
However, if you are more concerned about your privacy and your user data, it is best to clear them out regularly.
Follow the steps to clear cookies in Google Chrome:
- Click the settings button or head to chrome://settings/
- Under Privacy and security, tap on Clear Browsing data
- Tick the checkbox for ‘Cookies and other site data’.
- Click ‘Clear data’
Follow these steps to clear cookies in Firefox:
- Click the menu button < Options < Preferences.
- Tap on Privacy & Security < Cookies and Site Data section.
- Click the Clear Data button.
- The Clear Data dialog will appear. Click Clear.
Stop Browsers From Tracking Your Location
If you think that Google has stopped tracking your location once you turned off Location History in your account settings, you are seriously wrong.
Report from AP investigation shows that even after you have disabled your Location History, Google can still track you every time you open Google Maps, automatic weather updates, etc.
There’s really not much you can do as long as you are using their products.
However, you can stop websites asking for your location through the geolocation feature in Google Chrome or most modern browsers in general.
Hence, the reason why a flight or train ticket comparison site automatically knows where you’re booking from.
Of course, again it has it’s own pros and cons. But you can still deny location requests from the websites.
- Google Chrome: Settings < Show advanced settings < Content Settings < Location < select “Do not allow any site to track your physical location”.
- Mozilla Firefox: Menu < Options < Privacy & Security < Permissions < Location < Block new requests asking to access your location < Save Changes.
- Safari: Select Preferences < Click Privacy < Website use of location services < Deny without prompting.
- Internet Explorer: Tools menu < Internet Options < Privacy < Never allow websites to request your physical location < OK.
Avoid public Wi-Fi networks
From the local coffee shop to the airports and hotels, they do indeed make lives easier. But I would be against it.
Most of the modern Wifi encryption standard has a massive flaw discovered in WPA2, really showing the possibility that anyone near you could easily access your information.
It’s so much harder to know who’s monitoring the traffic and what are their privacy protocols.
- Don’t access sensitive personal data, on unsecured public Wifi networks.
- Don’t shop online using public Wi-Fi.
Use a VPN.
Connect to a VPN
VPN allows you to surf the web privately and more securely by routing your online traffic through an encrypted virtual tunnel.
Basically, when you connect to a VPN server of your choice, a hidden tunnel is created between the client and the server which makes it virtually impossible for ISPs, search engines, and advertisers to track your movements.
Advantages of VPN Services
- VPN hides your IP address and encrypts your internet traffic.
- The encrypted tunnel will keep away hackers and your device will be less vulnerable to attacks.
- Protect Private Data Over Public Wi-Fi
- Access to Geo-Restricted Content.
- Prevent Bandwidth Throttling.
- Avoid Online Price Discrimination.
Use Private Search Engines
If you always feel like Big G, Yahoo, Bing are always at your back tracking your every move, you can always opt for a Private Search Engines.
They are basically search engines similar to Google but they do not track your steps on the internet and neither store your search queries.
We have listed some of the best Private Search Engines that are worth noting.
DuckDuckGo is common and one of the best known Private search engines. It basically aggregates your search from Yahoo’s, Bing, Yandex search engine, and 400+ other sources.
- Protect The Privacy Of Your Searches
- SSL encryption
- Search queries are sourced outside and brought to users by secure search interface.
- Doesn’t collect cookies or User data.
- It doesn’t collect any personal information- your IP address, browser information, or device info.
- Search queries or terms are not recorded or analyzed.
- All search terms and history are deleted immediately when the session is done.
- SSL and AES-256 encryption
- Does not track or share info with any third parties.
- Users are protected by Dutch and EU privacy laws.
- Hide your IP address to other sites by “Anonymous View” feature.
Use a Web Proxy
Web Proxy basically acts as a middleman.
Here is how it works.
- First, you search for a query through a web proxy.
- Then the web proxy goes off and finds the particular web page by encrypting and hiding your IP.
You are completely anonymous to your ISP, government agencies or whoever is tracking you.
It will seem like you never left the site while you can access the whole internet inside the web proxy, kinda similar like having a backdoor.
The destination server doesn’t have any clue on who made the original request. The website has no details about you, and you leave no trace of the sites you visit which helps keeps your personal info and browsing habits private from prying eyes.
- SSL layer to all connections even for non-SSL websites.
- Unblock websites.
- Lightning-fast speed.
- 100% anonymous, guarded with 128-bit encryption.
- This web proxy is completely free.
- Do not store IP addresses or logs.
- Supported by all BitTorrent clients.
- 100% free.
- Hide your IP address.
- Bypass government or workplace censorship.
- Kproxy Encrypts the connection between your browser and your server.
Go dark with TOR
If you already have an idea of what Tor Browser is, I am guessing you know the importace of online privacy and anonymity.
But what exactly is Tor?
Tor was initially developed with the help of the US navy to enable the US Navy and other military organizations to communicate safely and anonymously online.
Tor Browser encrypts the traffic and routes it through multiple servers or layers of security before reaching its final destination.
Fun fact: Edward Snowden use Tor when he released the information on the NSA’s PRISM program to news organizations.
Internet and Web browsing is an essential part of our daily life. From sending a simple email to looking up your favorite sports team, watching your favorite YouTuber.
It is practically impossible to achieve complete anonymity considering the apps and online products we consume. However, there are a few things you can do to at least get back even a small portion of your privacy.
Stay anonymous and safe!