Concern for internet privacy has become an ever-increasing trend as most people seek to browse the web anonymously.
Internet service providers, browsers, search engines, hackers, and governments are among the parties continually monitoring users’ online activities. Even incognito browsing fails to provide the anonymity needed when browsing online.
That said, several ways exist to prevent these parties from tracking your online actions while hiding your identity. Unfortunately, with 2021 being a more technological year, browsing anonymously can seem impossible under any circumstances.
Nonetheless, if you want to stay anonymous online, this guide comes in handy to know effective ways to protect your web anonymity.
Easy ways to browse internet anonymously – quick look
- Use VPN to encrypt your internet traffic.
- Select an appropriate secure browser to avoid tracking.
- Use web proxy to hide your IP address.
- Switch to a secure private search engine.
- Integrate suitable add-ons to your browser to avoid web and ad trackers.
- Be wary of tracking by tech giants.
- Avoid public WiFi. Use private networks only for internet connectivity.
- Use services like BugMeNot to access private sites.
- Avoid email tracking and secure your communication by using an anonymous email account.
- Switch to anonymous payment methods like gift cards and cryptocurrencies.
- Try decentralized networking with I2P.
How you are tracked online
Understanding the methods used to track online activity can help you take steps to protect your privacy and limit the amount of data collected. The most common web tracking methods include;
- Cookies: These are small text files stored on your device. They can serve useful purposes, such as automatic logins to your account. These are called first-party cookies. While first-party cookies can be useful, third-party cookies can be a privacy concern as they track your activities across multiple websites for targeted advertising.
- Web beacons: These are small images embedded in web pages that track user activity. For example, it can monitor the pages you visited and the time you spent on each page, then use this information to suggest products or services similar to the pages you viewed.
- IP address: Your IP address is visible to all the apps and websites that you visit, making it easy to track you.
- Device and browser fingerprinting: WebGL leaks can reveal information about your device, which can be used to create a browser fingerprint. This fingerprint tracks your device and browser settings to reveal your identity and track your activity.
- Canvas fingerprinting: This method is enabled in standard HTML 5, and it tracks users’ activity by collecting details about their device hardware using a script.
- Account tracking: Your browser account stores personal information like bank card details, email addresses, and social media usage. So, it’s essential to log out of your browser account when you’re not using it to protect your anonymity.
Ways to browse the internet anonymously
Whether you want to stream, surf, or download anonymously, there are fitting ways to keep your online experience private.
These methods play a vital role in preventing websites and browser plugins from tracking your IP addresses. You may also avoid geographical locations, device identification, browser, and operating system detection.
So, without any ado, here are some effective methods to stay anonymous online:
1. Use a VPN connection
Today, VPN (Virtual Private Network) has become a standard tool to safely and anonymously browse the internet. Once your device connects to a reliable VPN server, your connection becomes secure and private. In addition, the software uses unique protocols, offering encryption to all your online traffic, making your data inaccessible to individual parties.
Having a robust VPN connection also hides your IP address because the tool allows you to use an IP address from the VPN server.
Typically, IP addresses are unique numbers used to identify internet connections and reveal user location and identity. Hence, a VPN tends to hide your IP address, making those monitoring your online activities only see the VPN server’s IP address. Any website you visit will never see your IP address, in turn hiding your location and identity.
If you need to surf or stream content, either in school or at work, anonymously, using a VPN is ideal. It helps you remain anonymous without compromising your privacy. Notably, many top VPN providers never log your activity or the websites you visit. Hence, they guarantee private browsing through their secure VPN connections.
However, not all VPN providers promise and deliver the anonymity, security, and privacy you need. Therefore, it is crucial to consider trusted and reliable VPN providers only, essentially, the ones with a zero logs policy.