Internet Anonymously

It is difficult to avoid being observed while surfing, streaming and downloading on the internet. Our online activities can be tracked by websites, businesses, and services. Do you want greater internet privacy and to prevent others from researching your online habits? There are a few methods for maximizing your online anonymity, want to know more about this? Then read our in-depth guide explaining everything about this topic.

Ben Grindlow

Ben Grindlow is the founder of ProXPN, a company that provides reviews about VPN products and services. Ben's interest in cybersecurity and privacy led him to start ProXPN, which has become one of the most well-respected VPN providers in the world. Ben is passionate about his work, and he is constantly exploring new ways to improve ProXPN's in-depth guides.

Last updated: 12:12PM 6/19/2022

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In the 21st century, anonymity can be considered very important to people, but it is not easily achieved in most cases. Because of the desire for privacy, most people prefer being anonymous online to avoid a lot of disturbance, including targeted ads.

It could also be because you may not be pleased that your internet provider or the AVID may have access to the things you search for online using various search engines like Google, Yahoo e.t.c. Your search history also affects airfare rates.

The safest and most effective solution is to use VPN to mask your identity and remain anonymous while browsing the web.

NordVPN has proven to be the best VPN provider based on previous tests. It guarantees safety for all your Internet data and makes anonymous surfing of the internet possible.

Difference Between Privacy and Anonymity Online

These two words don’t mean the same; anonymity has to do with your identity, while privacy refers to your actions.

Being anonymous online means your identity remains unidentifiable and untraceable; that is, your identity is unknown.

Being anonymous can be simple and complex because it goes beyond anonymous browsing. Still, you proceed to hide certain personal details like your address, your true name, birthday, and more.

To browse anonymously has become almost impossible because most of our daily activities are connected to the Internet.

For example, most people do their shopping online and interact with friends and loved ones on social media platforms which require their information to engage in these activities. This makes it difficult to stay online anonymously.

You can choose where and when anonymous browsing is necessary and when it’s not. This is the reason for this article. Let’s go on an informative journey on the Internet anonymously.

Private Mode or Incognito Window

The private or incognito mode is the easiest way to surf the web anonymously and allows you to visit multiple websites without being detected.

This mode works the same way irrespective of the browser being used. It never stores search queries, visited websites, and third-party tracking cookies.

With this, there is no historical record of your activities, nor will the previous use of the search engine bring out any information when next someone else is making use of it.

Suppose you plan to prevent searches and website history from being saved and easily accessible or used for retargeting by a website that wants to send ads. In that case, the private or incognito mode is perfect for this task.

Activating the incognito or private mode is mostly alike between browsers. The easiest way to go about it is to use these key combinations designed especially for this task:

  • For Chrome, Opera and Safari, this is CTRL + Shift + N on Windows or CMD + Shift + N on MacOS.
  • For Firefox and Edge, this is CTRL + Shift + P in Windows or CMD + Shift + P in MacOS.
  • You can also use your mouse and the menu bar:
  • In the menu bar at the top, go to File > New Incognito window.

Private Search Engine that Allows You To Stay Anonymous Online

This process may seem stressful, which may be discouraging for you to do it every time to remain anonymous online. Instead, you can use other search engines like DuckDuckGo!

Unlike other search engines (Google), DuckDuckGo seeks to protect its users’ privacy when they browse the web. Do this by showing all its users the same search results. This eliminates the issue of the search results being personalized based on his browsing history.

How DuckDuckGo Function Differently from Google

  • The IP address of its users is not stored.
  • It only keeps records of search terms-related information and not users’ record information.
  • If it is not necessary, it doesn’t use cookies.
  • Every user gets the same result for a specific keyword during web browsing.
  • DuckDuckGo is rich with data from over 400 sources, all compiled together. These sources include Bing, Wolfram Alpha, Wikipedia, Yahoo, its web crawler (a bot that systematically scans the Internet for you) called the DuckDuckBot, and lots more.
  • To make private search results easily available to users, it relies on open source technologies and various projects.
  • A small team of people is in charge of running this search engine, unlike Google, which has a lot of people working back to back.

Proxy Server

While using Private mode or DuckDuckGo, one issue remains that does not guarantee total anonymity. The servers of the pages you have visited still have access to certain information like your IP address, location, information about your device, and which websites you have visited.

To prevent this from happening, you can use a Proxy Server. This is more advanced.

It takes the role of a middle man or an intermediate station for your internet traffic. This causes the website you visit not to have access to your IP address and other personal information, but the Proxy Server’s IP address is what they see.

You can get access to free proxy servers, but such proxy servers are not perfect in their functions when it comes to anonymity online.

A simple example is that the ISP can see what you are doing because your traffic is not sent encrypted between your computer and the proxy servers. These free proxy serves can still be very useful and help you remain anonymous online when you use a network that blocks certain websites or when you want to watch geo-blocked content like Netflix, e.t.c.

Another instance where it works is if you don’t want any website you visit or any other server you connect to access your real IP address.

The Virtual Private Network Service (VPN) Service

Here is the real deal: the virtual private network (VPN)

You may wonder what does VPN mean? It’s simply that a VPN can encrypt and route your web traffic to its end destination through the VPN provider’s servers. It happens so fast that your internet provider does not realize that this has happened until it is done.

This means all your internet provider will see while observing your internet traffic is that your data is encrypted.

What Does a VPN Do?

The VPN helps to protect your data and cloaks your IP address. Also, your IP address changes every time you connect to your VPN.

A great piece of advice is for you to go for the zero-logs because it prevents the VPN provider from being able to view your web traffic even when you access multiple websites. This VPN does not store or access your web traffic. This feature distinguishes it from free VPNs that as always willing to sell your data but not this VPN.

The Job of a VPN is to prohibit surveillance from your ISP, hackers, and other individuals monitoring your web connection. The downside is that you can still be partially identified when browsing the web through other data like your browser fingerprint.

What Does a VPN Not Do?

A VPN cannot automatically erase searches from your browser, so if someone else has access to your computer, the person can view your search history.

Another thing that VPN doesn’t do is that it doesn’t make it impossible for you to be identified through your web traffic, but it can be difficult to do so. This means you are not anonymous online.

What is the best VPN When You Want To Stay Anonymous Online?

NordVPN can be said to be the best. This is because of the privacy-conscious Panama. It has a considerable wide range of services worldwide, and it doesn’t log your surfing behavior.

Without causing any issue, it can unblock content behind a geo-block. The client app is user-friendly.

Tor Browser

The Tor Browser gets its name from an acronym, The Onion Router, which describes its multiple layers of security. It is a free network of tunnels designed for passing web requests and downloading Internet pages.

You cannot discuss it without making mention of the Tor Browser. If the Tor Browser is well configured, it can better protect your identity than a VPN.

It has been said that while using it to browse the web, it makes it impossible for the website you are on to know your true identity, which makes anonymous browsing a reality.

But is that truly the case? Part of the Tor browser’s function is the ability to encrypt and route all your web traffic through a network of other Tor users so that your queries appear to come from different IP addresses. This can also be referred to as exit goods.

Matching your search terms with existing data becomes incredibly difficult but not impossible. The downside is that it affects your internet connection speed and slows it down.

What Does Tor Do?

Unlike when you are browsing with Google Chrome, Internet Explorer or Firefox browser extensions, when you search for something on Google through the Tor network, one thing you will discover is that it does not associate your searches with a specific IP address.

What Does Tor Not Do Regarding an Individual Being Anonymous Online?

  • Tor does not execute complete anonymity for people who may be trying to identify you when you are browsing.
  • An identification profile of you can be built using certain terms like location or unique function.
  • Tor cannot refuse all cookies; you may have to delete them yourself.

Dark Web

You can gain access to the unbeatable and dark layer of the internet by using Tor. The Dark Web comprises certain hidden websites not accessible with a normal browser, such as Internet Explorer and Firefox.

When it comes to being anonymous online or engaging in private browsing, the dark web is perfect for this. You can perform legal and illegal activities with complete anonymity on the dark web.

The Internet is massive with millions of web pages, information, and various online activities, but only a small fraction is accessible through search engines like Google and Yahoo.

It’s important to know the difference between the terms used while referring to the invisible web. This is important if you intend to venture safely into the dark web.

Deep Web vs. Dark Web

The deep web is the visible part of the internet and contains everything behind closed doors of the internet. The deep web is vaster than the surface plain of the internet.

Imagine search engines are like fishing boats that fish for websites, and the large ones can only access websites that are close to the surface and can’t reach websites in the deep part of the internet.

Certain information and sites are beyond their reach, like your personal email or professional file to a private database. On the dark web, URLs end in .onion to indicate hidden sites.

The dark web is like a community of illegal sites, but there is more to the dark web than only illegal activities; it comprises just a small portion of the dark web. To access this hidden part of the internet, you require a special browser.

Tails

If you are genuinely interested in the most infallible solution to stay anonymous online, you should go for Tails.

Tail is an acronym that stands for The Amnesic Incognito Live System. This operating system runs on Debian and is easy to use on macOS and Windows PCs from a USB stick.

Tails can encrypt all local files; it also handles any Internet connection through Tor, obstructs all non-secure connections, and provides secure communication tools like the Tor Browser to aid online anonymity.

Using Tails has some added advantages, like preventing your hardware and software data from being filtered via the Tor browser.

Certain things must be put into perspective to completely enjoy tails’ functions because their uses may not be suitable for a layman.

They include:

  • Have a clear understanding of what tails are about, what they can do, and what they cannot do. You can get this by reading Tails’ description and warnings.
  • Do a study on the frequently asked questions about tails and other documentation. It’s also important to ensure that your system meets the minimum requirements.
  • It is also expedient for you to join the tails users community, which comprises other developers, and interact with them through the Tails XMPP chat room.

Honestly, it is practically impossible to remain 100% anonymous online.

Different Ways to Stay Anonymous Online

Private Mode

Advantages

  • Private Mode deletes cookies after you are done browsing, it also does save history and searches.

Flaws

  • Your IP address is not hidden.
  • It doesn’t encrypt your information.

DuckDuckGo

Advantages

  • Your data remain encrypted.
  • It doesn’t save your search history and has a minute number of cookies.

Flaws

  • It stored cookies and history once.
  • It does not mask your IP address.
  • Your data is also not encrypted.

Proxy Server

Advantages

Your IP address is masked.

For this reason, it can be used effectively to bypass blockages.

Flaws

Do not encrypt your data.

It saves your history, searches, and cookies.

VPN

Advantages

  • Your IP address is not visible.
  • It encrypts your data

Flaws

  • The safety of your data is only guaranteed with a paid, zero logs VPN
  • Saves cookies, searches, and history

Tor Browser

Advantages

  • Your searches and history are not saves
  • Your IP address is invisible
  • Your data is encrypted

Flaws

  • Your internet connection is slower than a normal browser
  • Saves cookies

Tails

Advantages

  • The Tor Browser handles all internet connections
  • It hinders a situation where your hardware and software can be viewed through your browser.
  • It can run independently via a USB stick

Flaws

  • It cannot be used by laymen

Finally, you can eliminate some flaws by combining some options. For example, Private mode and VPN.

Conclusion

In this article, you have been provided with enough options to enable your to surf the Internet anonymously.

A little advice, VPN provides an avenue to get security and anonymity and is easy to use. Browsing anonymously has been made easy with NordVPN.

Frequently asked questions

Con: You can easily distort the facts before sharing them since you are posting anonymously. This also applies to internet communities. When you meet someone online, it’s difficult to know if they’re being honest. People may attempt to sell you things by claiming to be able to offer specific services.

Any interaction a user has on the Internet, whether it’s seeking information, conducting business, or participating in social media activities, is considered anonymous on the Internet.

On the Internet, it’s near to impossible to remain anonymous. Because of the methods used for Internet communication, some details about your device’s configuration are sent to your internet service provider and frequently to the site or service you’re utilizing.

When you go to a website, your browser transmits at least a few data to it every time: the type of browser you’re using, the particular version number, and your operating system. And that’s not counting engaged tracking.

Anonymous communications have a crucial role in our political and social discussions. The First Amendment protects the right to anonymous free speech, according to the Supreme Court.

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