When you browse the internet, your web browser saves information based on what you did during the session. Your browsing history is saved and logged. The browser also remembers what you’ve downloaded, saved passwords, online searches via the web address bar, and web page details to help the page load faster the next time you visit (cache).
Private browsing lets web users visit websites without details of the visit being saved to the browser. For Google Chrome users, this is known as Incognito Mode. Internet Explorer users know this as InPrivate Browsing.
Tip 1: Activate private mode on your web browser
Your favorite internet browser has a private browsing feature you can turn on before you start browsing to prevent storing information. Online services can view your actions but footprints created by your computer won’t be tracked.
This includes web cache, history, and other content. Doing this tip is a great action to get in the habit of doing. When you open up your internet browser do the following action based on the browser you have.
Tip 2: Sign off when accessing online account
Using private browsing automatically signs you out when signing into accounts such as Facebook or Google when using a normal browser. It is important to sign out of your account when using a normal browsing session because another person can access this information if they use your computer to do a search. Other companies tracking your web use can also use this to show web ads when you visit other sites.
Google knows what you are doing on the internet when you stay signed in after logging into your account. This may be harmless but some may not like the idea of a company able to follow them online because they are still signed in.
Tip 3: Use search engines that make privacy a priority
Google search is commonly used by web surfers and it offers a private browsing option. Microsoft Bing is another option but these searches are just a couple options.
Use a website that makes your privacy a priority. People use the internet all the time and the web isn’t useful unless you can do a search. DuckDuckGo is another popular option. This is an option is a hit since it doesn’t show ads, track searches, or show results connected to services via social media. It works like a charm for its users.
Tip 4: Prevent websites from following you
Use a third-party extension you can install that prevents websites from tracking internet use. This option is something to consider if you don’t remember to complete tips 1, 2 or 3. Even if you use the other tips it can be a useful extra-precaution.
Websites track visitors and where they go when they leave their site. If you are looking for a certain product, advertisements for similar products may pop up. If the ads bother you this is a way you can block them.
Tip 5: Use a VPN when web searching
Previous tips mentioned offer to keep web browsing private but not completely. Your computer has an IP address. The website may not know who you are personally with this information, but your internet service provider (ISP) can be identified.
A VPN, or virtual private network, can prevent this information from being known to the ISP. Use a VPN when connecting to the internet and it will allow you to connect to an unknown computer that is secure. The IP address of the connection you obtained through the VPN is tracked and not your own.