Online tracking is so prevalent nowadays that your every move is being tracked. How do you browse anonymously and start to feel like you don’t have eyes looking over your shoulder right at your screen all day and night?
First, there are two types of tracking that take place: local and remote. Local tracking is your search history stored in your browser, and cookies on your computer. Remote includes all of the dozens, perhaps hundreds, of companies which track web activity. Not to mention every website on earth has some sort of tracking as well.
This article is going to help you with both types of anonymous browsing quickly and simply.
What does anonymous browsing have to do with cookies?
A cookie in computer terms is actually a small package of information stored in your web browser. It is placed there by websites. It is the reason you can go and search for something on Google, go to a website that uses the Google ad platform, and wind up with ads about the thing you JUST searched for.
Cookies are the main way that things are tracked locally on your computer. You’ll need to clear them to take care of this aspect of tracking. You will need to go into your browser Preferences and select something named ‘Privacy and Security,’ or something similar. Clear cookies and you’re all set.
Use a VPN to hide your IP address and encrypt traffic
The most directly associated piece of information about who you are online is your IP address. It is your unique fingerprint that anyone can use to track you. A VPN will hide your IP address and give you a new one. This simple step will do so much to help you browse anonymously it should be one of the first things you consider. See our list of the best VPN providers now to get started.
The second thing that a VPN will do is encrypt your traffic. Having people track you is one thing, but having hackers snoop on you is quite another. The value of encryption can not be ignored, even the most basic VPN will give it to you. Don’t believe it’s worth your while to end all this surveillance? Listen to this guy:
Ask yourself: at every point in history, who suffers the most from unjustified surveillance? It is not the privileged, but the vulnerable.
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) October 12, 2015
Turn your browser to privacy mode
Every browser has some sort of privacy feature for anonymous browsing. When you use it, your browser will not store your browsing history, and it disables cookies from tracking you. This is great for multiple user computers as the last person on the computer won’t have their privacy imposed upon by the next one.
This doesn’t underscore the need for a VPN. Your ISP can still track you without one. The major browsers use:
- Firefox has Private Browsing.
- Internet Explorer has InPrivate.
- Chrome has Incognito mode.
- Safari has Private Browsing.
- Opera has Private Browsing.
Whichever browser you use, there’s a way to increase your privacy, lessen tracking, and further secure your activity.
Turn off search engine tools, search anonymously
Google are watching you more than anyone else online. Every time you log into one of their services they build a profile of the searches you do. This is what they do for ad targeting reasons.
Cuter logo too.
Feature image via Creativa Images / Shutterstock