In a world connected to the Internet, it is very hard to maintain privacy. Every website you visit, every link you click is stored and then sold to various businesses that can post their ads on the websites that you frequently visit. Social media companies such as Facebook, Google, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. use your private browsing data to show you the most relevant ads to increase the chances of your purchase. This also results in individual Internet users ending up with many tracking scripts downloaded on their browser that keep the data of which site they have visited. In this article, we are going to help you find out several methods to make sure that you are doing private browsing.
Need for Private Browsing
With the help of anonymous browsers and privacy tools, you are making sure that it is hard for any website or tracker to find out what you are doing on the Internet. But do you really need to use a private browsing tool to get away from the trackers? Are they all bad, or is there a silver lining?
It doesn’t matter which web browser you are using; whether it is Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari, or Opera, every one of these browsers will store the addresses of the website that you have visited, and you will have cookies that will track all your online activities. Besides, these web browsers are likely to store your passwords for you, so in the future, you don’t need to type them all the time when you visit the website once again. Lastly, these browsers also collect temporary files for the files that you have downloaded.
Private browsing is also known as Incognito Mode in many web browsers such as Chrome, Opera, and more. The information we talked about earlier in the above para will not be tracked or even recorded when you are using private browsing. On the other hand, all the information and the websites you visit in a private mode session will be discarded without a single trace as soon as you close the browser. This could come quite handy when you are browsing the Internet using public computers. With the help of private browsing, once you close the browser, all the data stored for your accounts and other details will be deleted automatically.
Besides, with the help of private browsing, you will also keep your system free from adding new cookies. When you are browsing, usually, Facebook and other social media platforms will inundate you with highly targeted ads based on the sites you visited. For example, when you visit a website such as Amazon, eKart.com, and others. They will take the data of your browsing preferences using the cookies and other forms of plugins to inundate you with the highly targeted ads. But when you are using a private browsing session, your online activity will not be used against your will to help companies succeed in their marketing.
Another benefit of using private browsing is that you can use it to access multiple accounts of the same site at the same time. This could be useful in case you have two separate Google accounts and you want to use both of them for your work-related projects.
Limitations of Private Browsing
Now that we know about the advantages of using private browsing, it’s time to have a look at the limitations or disadvantages of using private browsing or incognito mode.
Cannot Hide Your Online Activity on Network Level
One of the first things you will know about private browsing or incognito browsing is that the browser is not saving your online activity or other information, however, you can still be easily tracked down to your home or your IP address. It’s because the data is sent and received by the same IP address that you were using in everyday browsing.
That way, you are not hiding on the network level, and if the feds want to know what you were looking for online, they will get it from the ISP, even if you are using the private mode of your browser. As a result, if you are using the Internet from your office, school, or college, the staff members will know what you are doing and can’t hide your activities from them.
Some of the users who are not from a technical background don’t even know if there is an incognito mode present or not. The default window or tab which opens when you launch a web browser does not provide you with any form of private browsing whatsoever. So if you don’t know how to open a separate window for the incognito mode in your browser, you will have to visit the browser history, cookies, password management system, and other things so that no other people can see what you were doing using the specific browser to access the Internet.
If you, however, forget to do that, all the history will be kept in your browser, and the next person who will launch the browser can get similar results on the search based on your browsing history. Some browsers always work in incognito mode from the very beginning i.e. you don’t need to open a specific window for private browsing. One of the well-known browsers that do allow private browsing without any special window launch is the Kingpin browser, and it always operates in incognito mode, so you never make the mistake of leaving your browser history open for others to check.
Advertisers Can Track You Down
Even when you have taken the route of private browsing, the websites can still keep track of which websites you have opened and things you have liked. For example, if you have opened Amazon and looked for earphones even in incognito mode, you are still going to see tons of ads after you close the incognito tab. That’s because the IP address is still tracked down by these websites from their end. So you will need to have plugins to block your IP address from being accessed entirely. Or you could use VPN to change your IP address and location to access the content without any worries.
Downloaded Data Will Be Present
It doesn’t matter if you download a file in incognito mode or regular browsing. In both cases, the file you have downloaded will remain in the system, and there is no difference between them. The files will be saved in the exact location, and there is no way you can track down which ones are downloaded using incognito mode or which ones are downloaded using normal browsing.
No Way to Hide Tabs
When you are using incognito mode for confidential research, you cannot close the tab and reopen it after some time because tabs are not going to be stored in your history. So once the tab you closed cannot be opened unless you have memorized the URL of the webpage. This is one of the most common problems that users have to face when they are working in an incognito mode.
Even when you are not signing in on anything, the websites you have been using during the incognito mode are still able to track you down via IP address, device type, and so on. This type of online tracking is known as fingerprinting. This is a more intrusive form of online tracking, and it is more advanced than the standard cookie-based tracking. A website owner will create a specific profile for you based on the hardware, software, and add-ons you have been using as your preferences. With the help of these user fields, a website can create an online fingerprint and then track you down on the network to push ads on your browsing.
The more specific your add-ons are, the easier it is for websites to track you down, even if you are using incognito mode. The fingerprinting technique can cause you to be monitored for a very long time, even when you have cleared your browsing history or using a private browser to access the websites that you don’t want to have in your history log.
No Protection from Third-Party Apps
As we said earlier, incognito modes are not going to conceal your browsing history from the network operator and the websites that you have visited using incognito mode. Also, it does not delete any of the files you have downloaded while being incognito. Anyone who has access to your system will not know what you were doing, but apart from that, everyone on the network can track you down. So keep in mind that you are not fully protected when you go incognito. A person managing the network can see what websites you have visited and the links you opened.
5 Methods to Securely Use Private Browsing
Private browsing is one thing, but to keep yourself protected from unwanted eavesdroppers, you need to be more vigilant. The tools and the software that we have provided in this list can help you remain undetected throughout your private browsing. So you can freely access the Internet the way you want and open websites without having to worry about leaving any tracks or history to be resurfaced in your browser.
1. Express VPN Service
With the use of VPN services like ExpressVPN, you are open to more than 3000 servers that are located in 160 locations spread across 94 countries. This is one of the widest platforms to keep you anonymous online. This software can work with Windows, macOS, and Linux, and you can even use it for DNS content-unblocking, streaming media files, using it with smart TV, and more.
There are so many new features added to the ExpressVPN that it might feel a little intimidating for new users. But ExpressVPN does take care of it and helps you out in the best way possible. So you can take advantage of its software to the fullest. It comes with industrial-strength encryption, kill switch, DNS leak protection, solid and reliable performance for all the different OS, along with a clear no-logging policy. So, all in all, you are getting 100% secured from online attackers and eavesdroppers who are trying to track you down on the Internet.
2. Stop Searching from Google
If you don’t want yourself to be tracked online, the first thing you need to do is stop using Google and find an alternative. StartPage is one of the online search engines, and it calls itself the world’s most private search engine. The company that developed StartPage pays Google for the use of its search algorithm, but when it comes to tracking the user data and ads, the StartPage strips it out and makes sure that the person using their search engine will not suffer because of ads and tracking. DuckDuckGo is another option if you don’t want trackers to have your information as Google does. The DuckDuckGo does not allow any form of targeted advertising, and the results are not based on your search history, meaning you will not see ads based on the previous websites where you went to.
3. Delete Your Browsing History
If you don’t want to switch to any other search engine or a web browser, then the next best thing which is left for you to do is to delete your history after every use. If you are buying a gift for someone and don’t want to ruin the surprise, then deleting the browsing history is the way to go. Clearing out the history along with cookies can be done in just a few clicks, and every browser allows it to be done.
4. Use Privacy-Focused Browsers
To go one step above in private browsing, you can install browsers that are specifically designed to give you much better privacy by not sharing your IP address and other fields of information to websites, plugins, and extensions. Tor Browser is one of the browsers that do the dirty work for you; most people know Tor by its ability to give users access to the dark web. With the help of the Tor web browser, your history and cookies will be cleared after every browsing session. In addition to this, you are also able to see blocked websites that your government doesn’t want you to see. Furthermore, every website is encrypted three times before you visit it.
5. Learn More About Privacy
The last thing we want our readers to do is to learn more about their privacy and how to keep themselves safe on the Internet. Attackers and companies are always looking for new methods to get your data out of your browsing history. You need to understand the concept of online privacy and how private browsing works. In addition to this, keep a lookout for the latest data breaches that are happening across the world and secure yourself proactively before anything happens to your data.
So this is what private browsing is all about; you can keep your browsing hidden from the users who have access to the same computer. But you are still not all clear from the ISP, websites, and third-party apps that are tracking you through your system’s IP address. It is best to use a VPN service if you want to enjoy private browsing, as VPN will shield your data packets by changing the IP address. So no website or even your ISP provider will be able to see what you are doing when browsing the Internet.
It is hard to keep your privacy intact in the world of connected devices. But with a little bit of knowledge and extra steps, you can ensure that nobody except you has access to your browsing history. The methods mentioned here will help you keep your browsing history safe from companies and advertisers.
We hope this article has helped you in answering all your questions about private browsing. If there is anything specific to private browsing that you believe is left untouched in this article. Feel free to provide us with the question in the comment section, and we will reply to you at the earliest. Till then, happy learning!