5 Ways To Browse The Internet Anonymously
When you go online, your browsing history can potentially be seen by a range of different people. Your searches are saved on your device, where anyone else who has access to that device can see it. Your internet service provider sees your searches as well, as do the companies running the browsers you use. For example, if you do a search in Chrome, it gives the information to Google, and if you do a search in Edge, it gives the information to Microsoft.
If you feel that having everything you do online tracked and recorded is a violation of your privacy, you’re not alone. Many people are opting to browse anonymously for a variety of reasons. There are several ways to keep your online activity from being tracked, with varying levels of anonymity. Here are five of the most popular options to stay private as you explore the online world.
1. Go Incognito
A common option for anonymous online browsing is using a private or incognito browsing window. While your internet service provider and other agencies can still see your activity if they want to, your history won’t be saved on your device for others to find. Incognito windows are good for things like shopping for gifts on a shared family computer, looking up a concerning illness that you haven’t yet disclosed, or any other browsing sessions you’d like to keep from the prying eyes of family and friends.
2. Switch to TOR Browser
One of the best options for anonymity when browsing online is switching to TOR browser. TOR browser encrypts your online searches through multiple users. Your searches appear to come from multiple IP addresses, which prevents any passive surveillance and thwarts companies efforts to gather your data as you browse their sites.
3. Search with a Private Engine
Not everyone appreciates having ads based on their latest search query following them around like sales minions. Using a private search engine like DuckDuckGo, which doesn’t save your searches or sell your data to advertisement companies, can stop you from being bombarded with annoying, and sometimes creepy, personalized ads.
4. Use Public WiFi
If you don’t want your internet service provider to see what you’re doing online, one way is to use public WiFi instead of your home internet connection. Users on free, non-password-protected WiFi, like at a cafe or public library, aren’t required to set up an account to get access. Any online browsing you perform cannot be traced back to you. Only use public WiFi sources that you know and trust, though, as hackers will sometimes set up fake public WiFi hot-spots to spy on your activity.
5. Connect Via a VPN
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is one of the safest ways to go online without being tracked by anyone from outside, such as your internet service provider. It completely masks your IP address when you’re online, acting as a middle-man between you and your browsing activity. VPNs do cost money, but if you don’t want your internet service provider spying on you, they are worth the price. To make sure that the VPN itself isn’t tracking your information, use a zero log VPN, which doesn’t record user activity.
Going online shouldn’t have to mean giving up your right to privacy. For surefire protection against prying eyes, consider combining some of the anonymous browsing methods above, such as a VPN against outside tracking and private browsing windows so that others sharing your device can’t see what you’ve been up to. Your level of anonymity is up to you!