When you go on the internet you leave traces anyway. But maybe you don’t want advertisers or housemates to know what you do on your computer. With these tips you surf a lot more anonymously.
It can just happen: you buy a gift for your partner, but are then chased by advertising banners of what you have achieved – which he or she can see again. And to make matters worse, the buy link is simply in your search history, which basically ruins the surprise.
Clear your internet history
A good tip to avoid the above is to clear your internet history after you’ve finished surfing. It is useful to do this on a regular basis anyway because it always creates some space on the internal memory.
In Safari on macOS, choose History, then choose Clear History. In the subsequent dialog box, you can clear your browser’s memory for the past hour, the past day, the past two days, or from the beginning of time. Always choose the latter option. In Microsoft Edge, click the three dots in the top right corner of the browser interface, then choose History and Clear Browsing History. Here too, simply select Delete all.
In Chrome, open the browser menu by clicking the three dots in the top right corner and then choosing Settings. Click on ‘Clear browsing data’ and you will have the option to delete browsing history and other data such as cookies. With Firefox you will find these options by clicking on the three lines in the top right and then on ‘Preferences’. Click on ‘Privacy & Security’, then ‘Clear history’. Firefox also offers the option to never keep a log of your browsing history, regardless of whether you’re using private mode.
Surf in private mode
Do you immediately want your actions to be followed much less online? Then surf in private mode. Although the exact implementation differs from browser to browser, incognito modes have in common that once you close the browser, the visited websites, cookies and entered information are not saved.
In fact, every time you open a new Private Browsing window, you get a fresh, “clean” browser window. As a rule, people mainly use private mode when they are looking for a gift for someone or when certain internet behavior could be experienced as embarrassing.
Not completely anonymous
What is important to report: it certainly does not make you anonymous online. Anyone who can see your internet traffic — a school, employer, ISP, government agencies, or people watching over a public wireless connection — can see your browsing activity. Shielding that activity requires more sophisticated tools that use encryption, such as virtual private networks.
In Firefox, you can invoke a private window with Shift + CTRL +P on Windows and Shift+ CMD+P on macOS. Shift + CTRL + N applies to most browsers on Windows and Shift + CMD + N on macOS usually lets you open an incognito or private window. On mobile devices, on Chrome, Firefox and Edge, go to the settings (top right) to open New Incognito window, on Safari, click the Archive icon and then click Private on the left.
Surfing even safer
If you want to be even safer, you can apply different options, but they require a little more work. You can set up a VPN, there are free and affordable variants. A VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and it provides a secure connection between you and the internet. When you go online via a VPN, all your internet traffic is sent through an encrypted virtual tunnel.
You could also use a different search engine instead of the well-known, big names. An example of this is DuckToGo. This search engine never collects your personal information and thus does not share it with others. The search history is not saved, so there is no data to sell to greedy advertisers. We previously wrote about alternative search engines here.
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Surfing the internet and without prying eyes? This is how you do it | Tech
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