From booking a surprise holiday for your significant other to just shopping for underwear, there are literally thousands of reasons to keep your browsing private. Perhaps you don’t mind if the whole world knows you’re a My Little Pony nut, but all the closet Justin Bieber fans out there will know exactly what we’re talking about – there are some things best kept to yourself. And you ultimately have a right to privacy.
The tips below will not only help you keep your online surfing habits to yourself, but will also help you avoid being tracked by websites that may, and probably, will share your browsing behaviour with others.
Use the private browsing feature
For some this is basic internet common sense, but there are quite a lot of people that will read this, slap their forehead, and say “you can do that?”
Google Chrome’s “incognito browsing” setting omits pages you visit from the browser’s history.
In Firefox you can also open a new window in “private” and in Safari, IE, and Opera you will find similar features. But keep in mind that using this private browsing feature doesn’t mean that the websites you visit will not collect or share information about you and your web activity.
Log out of Google
Another simple one, and yet we forget it all the time. Once you leave your computer for the day you should ALWAYS sign out of your google or even yahoo account. A couple of clicks is all it takes a nosey-parker to find your history and search queries. When you are signed in Google is collecting cookies from all the sites you visit, a privacy seeker’s worst nightmare. For complete incognito browsing you should log out first, but remember even if you’re logged out Google can still see your IP address. This might be a pain in the neck at times, but if you really want to keep things on the low down, just log out when you’re done.
Fly under the radar with Tor
The Tor network uses multiple encrypted pathways to move your data back and forth and keep your IP address and other sensitive information hidden. The Tor project was originally designed to help those that find themselves under scrutiny from oppressive governments find a level of freedom and security previously unavailable to them. Basically it protects anyone using it from any form of analysis of their online behaviour. Quite handy if you’re looking for online privacy.
Use a VPN
A VPN service like the one we provide helps keep your browsing anonymous by allowing you to use an IP address other than your own. Most commonly used by the average Joe as a means to access online content unavailable outside certain countries, it’s also a great way to protect yourself from those prying eyes. VPNs encrypt your traffic making it virtually impossible to track your online activity. And if you often find yourself using a hacker’s goldmine like the public Wi-Fi at your local coffee shop, then a VPN can add a level of protection that will keep your traffic safe and secure.
Use a Proxy site
A proxy site works as a buffer between you and the site that you are visiting. It allows you to get access to sites that may be unavailable due to work filters or your geographic location. There are quite a few proxy sites about but here’s an extensive list of the best at the moment. You can use any of these sites to hide your online activity but proxy sites such as those listed are known to be unstable at times so they’re not always something to be relied upon. Another option would be to sign up with a provider such as those that are listed on proxy.ie. Signing up with a provider brings with it such advantages as customer support, and IP addresses in more countries than you can shake your proverbial stick at.
So whatever your reasons for keeping your browsing private, it takes just a few relatively simple steps to ensure that your activity and traffic remains yours and yours alone !