Anonymous Browsing | How to hide your traces online?

Anonymous browsing is a little bit different from your usual browsing activities. The difference stands in the anonymous part, as you guessed. When you’re surfing on the web, you leave traces of your visit. A bit like a snail leaving its slime trail. If you want to surf anonymously, you must hide all traceable information. You can achieve that by using online security tools like proxy servers, VPN services and anonymous web browsers.

Why do websites track your activities?

First of all, it’s important to understand why would websites track your online activities. Indeed, they could focus on their main activity: Providing news or offering products for example. But they don’t. Instead, they use tools to keep track of what pages you’re browsing and what links you’re clicking. They’re doing so for these main reasons:

  • Improve the user’s experience: Behind websites are business like any other business. With the data they gather, they can work on their interface and content. In order to answer their users’ need and make more sales.
  • Reduce redundant tasks: Don’t you like the auto-fill feature? Thanks to data tracking, websites can offer to complete the forms for you. Isn’t that sweet? And they can remember your settings too, from one day to the next!
  • Display targeted adds: You’re a male between 35 and 40 who likes football and Belgium beers. Do you want to see ads about waxing deals, cooking recipes or yoga classes? Not really… And the advertisers would rather spend their money on real potential customers too!
  • Promote local services: Websites can track your location with an IP address. Therefore, they can offer a localized version of their service (with the right language or with local activities fro example).
  • Make money: Some websites only track your data to be able to resell them to advertisers… That’s why your Spam folder is always full of useless messages about drugs and dating sites.

This list is not exhaustive. There can be thousands of legitimate reasons to track your activity. Just keep in mind that information is power. When websites access your traffic data, they can use it for their own good. And sometimes to your detriment…

anonymous surfing

How do websites track you?

Now that you know why they do it, we can focus on how they do it! And you’ll soon understand why you need to browse anonymously… Here are some of the techniques websites use to track your location and activities online.

IP Address: To locate your position

Tracing your IP address is the most convenient way to know your geo-location. Because IP addresses are distributed geographically. Just visit What’s my IP to see what information is available easily. It can be a shock for you, kind of scary… Be aware that every time you visit a website, your address is saved in a database. Then, determining your location is easy as pie!

Cookies: A recipe to make tracking easy

Cookies are small logfiles stored in your computer by certain websites. They help websites keep your settings and your login details. If you’re visiting a website for the second time, you don’t need to enter your username again. Because the website will automatically fill in the details.

Not all cookies are bad. Every modern browser uses cookies as an essential part of its design. But cookies can be an invasion of privacy, and you should be wary about them.

User Agent:  Your browser is giving away some information

When you connect to a website, your browser sends its user agent on your behalf. In this user agent, the website receives information about your browser and your operating system. This allows the web site to customize content for the capabilities of a particular device. But it also raises privacy issues.

surf anonymously

How to browse anonymously?

I must admit it’s quite complicated to achieve supreme anonymity on the Internet. If you forget just one settings, you can be victim of a DNS leak and fail in protecting your privacy. However, there are different methods available. And if you follow my recommendations you should be just fine.

Turn on private browsing for local anonymity

I wrote an article about private browsing. I couldn’t not mention it here, as most people get confused between private and anonymous browsing. In brief, you can achieve local anonymity with this feature from your browser. As a result, your data won’t be stored on your computer.

However, your online activity will not be protected. You’re still in the clear! This is just the first step, you can hide your dirty habits from your friends and family, but not from Big Brother.

Most web browsers offer a Do Not Track feature. You can always activate it, but most websites don’t honor it.

Use a VPN for global anonymity

That’s no secret: A VPN is the only way to surf anonymously. What’s a VPN? It stands for Virtual Private Network. It’s a subscription based software which protects your privacy when surfing.

It keeps your data safe through encryption and security protocols. Therefore, websites and third parties (ISP, government, hackers) can track your activity. In addition, it hides your IP address with the address of their server, so websites can’t track your actual location.

You can easily find many VPN services online. Most of them will ensure anonymous surfing. And some of them (like PureVPN) will even provide you with a stealth browser. It’s a browser designed specifically to ensure you’re browsing anonymously.

Wondering which VPN service to choose? Take a look on the list below for the best VPN for anonymous surfing. Want more choice? Check my Top 20 VPN and read my VPN reviews.

VyprVPN Review and cost

VyprVPN is the VPN of a Swiss company, which promotes privacy, security and access to a free and open Internet. It's ...

9.3
2 Express VPN Review and cost

Express VPN Review and cost

ExpressVPN is one of the oldest and most popular VPN available on the market. And it's one of my favorites. Why? First ...

9.5
3 NordVPN Review and cost (Aug 2017)

NordVPN Review and cost (Aug 2017)

NordVPN has been on the market only a few years. But it's growing fast lately. The VPN is provided by a company in ...

9.4
4 Pure VPN Review and cost

Pure VPN Review and cost

Pure VPN is provided by a company from Hong Kong. It's been on the market for almost 10 years now. And it's one of the ...

9.1
5 VPNArea | Review and cost

VPNArea | Review and cost

Offshore Security is a Bulgarian company that launched VPNArea in 2012. While providing a serious solution focused on ...

9

This was my guide: Anonymous Browsing | How to hide your traces online? Stay tuned for more articles coming soon.

Privacy is a right, protect it!

If you are genuinely interested in thwarting the tracking efforts of your ISP, your government and other advertisers, you should read the articles below:
2 Comments
  1. Reply
    Lashunda April 9, 2017 at 12:51 am

    Wow, amazing blog layout! How lengthy have you been blogging for? You made running a blog look easy. The overall look of your web site is excellent, as smartly as the content!

    • Reply Al
      Al April 10, 2017 at 4:20 am

      Thanks Lashunda, it’s been 2 years on and off. Even if it looks easy, it requires a lot of work!

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