When you are surfing the web from a private spot, like your own home, it is easy to assume that you are surfing anonymously.
The problem is, this is rarely the case.
Nowadays, our activities are often far from private, as our private data, IP address, and physical location are easily ascertained by our ISP, hackers, and even the government.
The good news is, if you want to ensure your privacy and anonymity online, there are some pretty quick and easy steps that you can take to do so.
Based on our experience, a VPN service is the best way for Internet users to keep their identity and personal information away from third parties and prying eyes.
A reputable VPN service encrypts your Internet traffic so that your personal data will be completely indecipherable to anyone who manages to get their hands on it.
Keep on reading to find out more details about the best way to keep your web browsing private and the best way to ensure online anonymity anytime you access the Internet.
There’s No Anonymity On The Internet
The key to improving your online privacy is to first realize that online anonymity is a luxury — not a given.
Today, between the rise in cyber-scams, the lack of privacy afforded by ISPs, inescapable online ads, trackers, and constant snooping by our government agencies, remaining anonymous online seems like an impossibility.
While you might feel like everything you are doing on the web is being done in the privacy of your home — or even your bedroom — your online identity, IP address, user data, and browser data are very easily accessed by too many people to count.
Once you've accepted the reality that anonymous surfing is a rarity, you can begin to empower yourself to change this reality and upgrade your level of privacy.
What Is Anonymous Surfing?
Anonymous surfing (or browsing) is the luxury of accessing your web browsers without being tracked or visible to any third parties, essentially making you invisible online.
When you are surfing anonymously, you are not able to be seen by any hackers or prying eyes, and if they can't see you, they can't target you and they can't track your surfing habits.
Why You Should Care About Surfing Anonymously
If you are interested in surfing anonymously, this does not mean that you are paranoid or over-cautious.
In fact, it's completely understandable to want to protect your anonymity online these days given the reality of our times.
Here are some of the reasons why this is so important:
Conceal your IP address:
Typically, when you are surfing the Internet, your IP addresses are visible to your ISP and other prying eyes.
If your IP is visible, it can reveal to outsiders where you are located, which puts you in a vulnerable position.
By tracking your IP, your ISP can monitor your activity and even sell your browsing habits to 3rd parties for a profit.
When you conceal your IP address, no one will be able to tell where you are located, or what you are doing online, which keeps you safe from many cyber threats.
Ensure online privacy:
Because so much of our private information is visible online — whether our bank details, identification, browsing history, or IP — surfing anonymously is the only way to protect ourselves from breaches that could put us in personal or monetary danger.
Unlimited access to the web:
In some countries, certain websites are blocked due to geographic restrictions.
If this is the case, if your IP address alerts a site to the fact that you are not in the right location, your access to this site will be blocked.
When you surf the web anonymously, you can access sites that are ordinarily geo-blocked without having to actually travel to the appropriate country to get an IP address in that region.
This means that you will have unlimited access to your typically blocked streaming sites or to regional markets that are typically out of your reach.
How Can You Surf The Web Anonymously?
Hopefully, by now you have realized how vital it is to surf the web anonymously.
Now, the important question is, what can you do to improve your privacy and anonymity?
Use an anonymous search engine:
While your first instinct, if you want to remain private online, is to use your web browser incognito mode, you have to realize that this is not a proven way to keep you private online.
While your browser's incognito mode ensures that your web browser isn't logging your data, your activity is still being tracked.
Another letdown is that the search engines that we've come to rely on, like Google, are often working against us by storing our information.
Some search engines are known to be more trustworthy, like DuckDuckGo.
This option doesn't track you or sell you out to any third party for a profit.
Use a VPN:
While proxy services may hide your IP addresses, a reputable VPN not only masks your IP address but also encrypts your online traffic and information.
While proxy websites or proxy services can help you access geo-blocked content online, a VPN actually sends your traffic through an encrypted tunnel to a VPN server in a remote location.
This gives you the IP of the server location — not your actual location.
It's important to remember that a free VPN is usually not as beneficial as a paid VPN — in terms of both effectiveness and privacy.
Free VPNs can actually slow you down online since they typically have fewer servers, with can cause server crowding.
They are also infamous for selling user data to make a profit, making your online activity less private instead of more.
It is also important to take into consideration where your VPN is located.
If your VPN is located in a privacy-friendly country, like the British Virgin Islands, you can feel more sure that your private data will not be given to authorities if requested.
If it is located in the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance, you need to be extra sure that your VPN provider has an iron-clad no-logs policy so that your information is secure.
If a VPN has a solid zero-logs policy, you can rest assured your private information will be protected regardless of its location.
The top VPN services work with any operating system, and some even allow you to connect unlimited devices to a single user account.
This means that unlimited devices can access most websites throughout the world without being geo-blocked.
Clear your cookies:
Clearing or deleting your third-party cookies is a simple way to help increase your privacy.
To do this, all you have to do is go to your privacy settings in your browser. If the sites you visit are using super cookies, these collect your browsing information to store permanently on whichever device you are using.
You can use a specialized cookies cleaning tool to get rid of both kinds of cookies.
Use the Tor Browser:
A Tor browser, otherwise known as an Onion Router, is a way to let you browse the web privately by keeping your IP address hidden and also sending your information through the process of encryption.
Like the layers of an onion, your traffic is actually sent through a multi-layered process of encryption on different servers, ensuring a high standard of security and privacy.
So, why not use a Tor browser all the time?
The extra layers of encryption mean extra time, which makes your connection slower.
On top of this, the Tor browser actually has a reputation for being used for the Dark Web since it has a higher level of security, so if it is visible to outsiders that you are using a Tor browser, this might raise suspicions.
Try using a web proxy site:
A web proxy server or proxy website will be able to conceal your IP address and personal information.
Proxy websites or proxy servers do this by switching your actual IP address with a new IP address.
When your actual IP address is masked, you can't be tracked online.
You can use an HTTP proxy website or proxy server with Safari, Internet Explorer, Opera, or other browsers.
Unfortunately, while proxy servers are commonly free services, a proxy site is often full of annoying ads, and some proxy sites don't support URL encryption.
While using a free service — like a web proxy server — may work when trying to unblock certain content on the web, it does not actually encrypt any of your information, so it may not be as safe as you would expect.
In any online transaction, you are revealing your personal details and your payment info to the site you are on, and potentially to hackers just waiting to get their hands on your information.
If you want to make a purchase online that is not detectable and not traced to you, try using Bitcoin, which isn't connected to your personal identity in any way.
Even more secure than Bitcoin, digital currencies, or cryptocurrencies, are becoming a trend for those who are more concerned with anonymity.
While this is not quite as readily accepted online as Bitcoin, we imagine it soon will be.
In today's world, we have all heard about the horrors of people who have been scammed, stolen from, or compromised online — or related stories.
The most important thing to remember whenever you are using the world wide web is that not only does it open up a world of possibilities for you, but it also opens up a world of danger.
Hackers, authorities, prying eyes, and even the Internet Service Provider that you pay are all looking over your shoulder each time you access the Internet, waiting to take advantage of your moment of weakness when you forget to secure your online connection.
So, each time you think you are doing something private online — like sending an anonymous email, accessing a risque website, or entering your bank details, think twice.
The key to being smart online is to first recognize how vulnerable you actually are.
Of the suggestions listed above our top recommendation to ensure you are browsing anonymously and with the utmost protection is to use a reliable, vetted virtual private network.
A reputable VPN will encrypt your traffic with military-grade encryption, have a no-logs policy, and have IP and DNS leak protection to ensure that your real IP and identity are not leaked on the web.
By using a VPN provider, while your activity may slow down slightly as it is sent through the process of encryption, the slowdown if you are using a reputable provider will be unnoticeable and insignificant.
We recommend trying SwitchVPN, which uses AES 256-bit military-grade encryption.
You can get a 3-day trial of SwitchVPN for only $1, and if you decide to subscribe, you will still have 30 days to change your mind with our 30-day money-back guarantee.