Private web browser: Is your privacy protected on Internet?

You know I attach great importance to Internet privacy. The Internet is a wonderful place. You can have a blog, meet people, buy stuffs and waste your time like there's no tomorrow. But browsing Internet is not without risks. Without protection, you leave a trail of information. Information that could be used to identify you, even without explicitly disclosing your name. Today we'll see how private is so-called private browsing.

Private browsing? Not really

Everybody knows about private browsing. Most web browsers offer this feature: Incognito Mode on Chrome, Private Browsing on Firefox and Safari and InPrivate Browsing on Internet Explorer. I think it was the worst idea ever to name it private browsing. We have to thank Apple for that, with their Safari 2.0 version. Most people believe this feature protects them from prying eyes. Unfortunately, it's only partially true.

What is private browsing?

It's a mode, or a window, where your web browser disable the history and the web cache. In other terms, your browser does not save the sites you visit when this mode is enabled. Here's the list of the information not saved by your browser:

  • Visited pages
  • Form and Search Bar entries
  • Passwords
  • Download List entries
  • Cookies
  • Cached Web Content
  • Offline Web Content
  • User Data

It's a nice feature. And it can be useful. Because the next person who browse on your computer will never know where you connected and what websites you visited. Your privacy is safe locally, on your computer.

what is private browsing

How to turn on private browsing?

In the main browsers: Open the menu and you will have the opportunity to open a new private window. Once launched, the color code of your window will change, so that you know when your using a private window.

See below to turn on the feature on Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox.

Others can still see your information

Private web browser or incognito mode only prevents your browser from saving your activity. It won't stop other sources from seeing what sites you’ve visited. Among them:

  • Your Internet service provider (ISP)
  • Your employer (if you're using a computer at work)
  • The websites you visit themselves
  • Your government (it is monitoring, and you know it)
  • Hackers and Snoopers

These sources can access all your traffic data, you history and your IP address. That's why I say that private browsing is only a local privacy. You can hide from your friends and family, but not from Big Brother. You can prevent potentially embarrassing links from appearing on suggestions, tabs or search history. That's about it.

what is private browsing

Despite private browsing, your information are available online

Your ISP is saving your browsing data for years. What information? The websites you visit (online streaming, adult sites, torrents sites, banks, communications…) and your communications: For each email, they know the sender's address, their IP address (and location) and the recipient's address.

Here's a list of information you constantly share online:

  • The IP address of your computer (and all your meta data)
  • Your phone number (when connecting from a smartphone)
  • Your communications
    • What media you use (the social network used, VoIP, P2P, websites, emails, messenger…)
    • When you send your messages
    • Who you send your messages to
  • The time you spend on each service
  • Your geographical position (thanks to Wi-Fi and data connection points)

I bet you're also using P2P software and downloading torrents, am I right? Your ISP knows what you download and from where. Sometimes ISPs use these information to filter your connection and to slow it down. It's called P2P filtering.

In fact, these data are used to systematically document the habits of millions of people. Most of the time for marketing purpose.

what is private browsing

How to really browse privately?

The fundamental rules to browse privately

If you want a true private browsing, you need to follow these fundamental rules to protect your privacy:

1Hide your browsing habits (even your screen resolution can be used to identify you – even if that sounds a little bit paranoid)
2Hide the IP address of your computer (your IP address is geo located – anybody can know where you're browsing from)
3Protect your personal communications (emails and intant messages are sent over the Internet without encryption – anybody can open your letters)
4Secure your browsing data (by default, your ISP can have access to all your traffic data – the data are not encrypted, anybody can read them)

Your browser's incognito mode DOES NOT cover any of these points. If you thought it was, I'm sorry to disappoint you. But at least, now you know!

private web browser

Use a VPN on all your devices

One finds it quite normal to install an antivirus and a firewall on a new device. However, nobody cares about protecting their data online… That's a shame. Because encrypting data traffic is now a priority. We are connected 24/7 and our data are spread everywhere. With only two sources, providing anonymous data, it's possible to identify a user.

The only way to protect your privacy is to follow the rules above. And the only way to follow the rules above is to use a VPN. What is a VPN? It's a private network to which you connect to reach the internet. A VPN encrypts all your data, which make it difficult or downright impossible to decipher them. Furthermore, a VPN hides your IP address and anonymize your connection. Therefore, it's impossible to track your activity and your habits.

what is private browsing

I said: On ALL your devices

A VPN is mandatory on your computer. But what about your tablet, or your phone? All the details of your personal life are stored on this little device. What if people can access your pictures, contacts, mails, banking information from the app store, etc.? Yet most people leave their Internet connection unprotected. They connect to free Wi-Fi networks and share data. And these data are in the clear.

In this configuration, even a 12 year old with a free Trojan horse could access these data. I'll repeat again: Free Wi-Fi are dangerous. You could be connecting to a trap without paying attention. The only protection is A VPN. Most VPN now offer native apps for Android and iOS. And if you have another operating system, you can setup your VPN manually.

If you can afford a £700 iPhone, you can afford a £50 annual subscription, can't you? A good protection is not free, but it's cheap.

The best VPNs to protect your privacy on Internet

If you don't know what VPN to choose, pick one below. Also you can read my VPN reviews and check my TOP 20 VPN.

VyprVPN Review and cost

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

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? ...

3 NordVPN Review and cost (Feb 2018)

NordVPN Review and cost (Feb 2018)

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

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 ...

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 ...


With a VPN, you have a total control on your data and your online life. Surf with peace of mind with a VPN.

Now you know what is private browsing and how to turn on private browsing. You know what you're hiding and what you're not. You should be fully protected, locally and globally with a VPN. And enjoy a safe Internet.

This was my guide: Private browsing: Is your privacy protected on Internet? 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:
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