Understanding Browsing History

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Browsing History

When you are on the Internet, you go through various websites to access the information that you have been looking for. While browsing the Internet, all the web pages you have visited are saved in your browser’s history to make it easier for you to return to those websites with ease. There are many reasons why you don’t want your browser history to be seen or stored. For example, if you are using the public Internet or sitting in an Internet cafe, you want to make sure that you deleted all the browsing history in addition to the cookies to keep yourself secure from the unwanted attention of other users who will be using the computer later.

Furthermore, if you are in a college or a high school and you searched the Internet for your thesis or a project. You want to delete the history so that no one else can figure out the project you’ve been working on. In this article, we are going to show you the importance of browsing history and various methods you can use to delete your browsing history. Besides, we are also going to talk about cookies and their relation to browsing history. So let’s begin.

What Information is Stored by Browser?

Before we move forward, let’s find out what information our browser stores when visiting a web page and surfing the Internet. For all the websites you visit, your web browser stores various types of data such as who you are, where you have been, and even what you did on the Internet. This could be useful in a lot of cases where you need to know which websites you have visited.

It can quickly become an invasion of your privacy as well. There are several methods by which you can control how much information your browser stores while you browse, and you can even edit how long the browser can save your data. There are several key concepts that are used in a browser when it comes to securing your privacy and data. Most of them use automation, but you can make changes to them if you desire. Below is the list of terms that are commonly used in web browsers that you should know about.

History – This is the record of all the websites you visited when you were browsing the Internet. By default, most browsers will keep on saving your browser, and it is up to you to manually set how much time your history will remain in the browser.

Cookies – With the help of cookies, websites can know you and show you the content which is relevant to your liking. There are a few pieces of information that are downloaded in your browser when the site is opened.

Plugins – These are the programs that your browser installs when you visit a website, it is similar to cookies as they can be used by the website to store information about you. But in some cases, it works as an interface bridge between your browser and the website. Some websites have special plugins, so you can only view them when your browser has that specific plugin. Plugins themselves can create substantial security risks if you are not careful enough.

Pop-ups – This is the most annoying part of web browsing. When you open a website, they appear like an advertisement. There is no use of pop-ups from the user’s point of view. Websites do it to get more money from adverts or to show the latest discounts, coupons, and offers that they have for customers. The pop-ups will be stored in your browser for an indefinite time if you allow them access. As a result, it is better to close them as soon as they appear.

Cache – The browser cache is a type of document repository that stores images along with other information that a website holds. This way, when you revisit the website, it will take less time to load all the images, text, GIFs, and videos present on the web page. By default, the cache is stored on your hard drive, and it will be stored there until you manually delete it. Or if your computer is running out of space.

Where Can You Find Browsing History?

Every browser has its method of letting users see their browsing history. In this section, we have mentioned some of the most simple ways to access your browsing history.

1. Google Chrome

85% of the total web traffic comes from Google Chrome, so it is fair to talk about clearing browsing history from Chrome first.

  • First, you launch Google Chrome.
  • After that, on the top right corner of your Google Chrome, you will see three dots on the top right-hand side.
  • You need to click on those three dots and then go to More.
  • When you click on More, you can find a menu list where history is present.
  • Click on history, and you will see the most recent web pages you have visited using Google Chrome.
  • Once you reach the history where you can see all the web pages that you have visited earlier, you need to select each web page link that you want to delete from the history.
  • Another method to clear out a significant chunk of your browsing history is by selecting “clear browsing data”.
  • When you click on it, a new tab will open where you can see history settings and how many days of history you want to delete.
  • You can select from 1 hour, 24 hours, seven days, four weeks to all-time, depending on your requirement.
  • After that, you can check the various boxes from the settings menu to clear the other types of data that Google Chrome has saved from your browsing history.

2. Mozilla Firefox

To find the location of Mozilla Firefox’s browsing history, you need to find its menu, which is present in the top right corner with three straight lines. This is the menu panel button.

  • Click on the Menu button and then locate history from the menu list. After that, clear recent history.
  • Now a popup will appear that will ask you how much of a browsing history you want to delete.
  • Click on the drop-down menu, which is present next to the time range, to clear. This will show you how much of a Firefox history you want to remove.
  • The options are 2 hours, last four hours, current day and everything.
  • Use the checkboxes to find which information you want to delete from the history.
  • Lastly, you have to click on the Ok button to disable the pop-ups, and all the options that you have selected will be cleared from your computer.

3. Apple Safari

  • Safari is quite popular among Mac users, as it is the default browser for every Apple device. The process of deleting history from Safari is pretty simple, and it can be done in less than three steps.
  • To delete the history from Safari, you first need to open the browser.
  • Then go to the history present on the top left menu bar of your macOS. From there, you go to the Clear History button present at the bottom of the history menu list.
  • Click on it, and you will see a popup asking you how much of a browsing history you want to clear. Your options are the last hour, today, today and yesterday, and forever.
  • Choose the option that suits your requirement, and then click on the clear history button in the popup.

4. Internet Explorer

You might not know this, but many companies are still using the old versions of the Windows operating system to run legacy software. For Windows, the preferred choice of web browser is Microsoft Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge. Clearing history is accessible in Edge as compared to Microsoft’s Internet explorer. Edge is based on Chromium, so there are a lot of similarities between Chrome and Microsoft Edge. Given below are the steps to clear the browsing history of Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge.

  • Launch the Microsoft Edge and then go to the settings icon, present on the top right corner with a picture of small metal gear.
  • From there, you need to look for Privacy, Search, and Services with the icon of a lock.
  • Click on it, and then under the clear browsing data, select what you want to delete.
  • Choose the time frame from the drop menu, and then all you have to do is click on the Clear Now button.

5. Opera

Opera isn’t the most common browser that people use in 2022, but still, you can find it to be useful in many cases.

  • Launch Opera on your computer and then go to the Opera menu, which is present in the top left-hand corner of the Opera.
  • Click on Settings, or you can press Ctrl + P keys combination on the keyboard.
  • From the above step, you will open another list of Opera settings to access the Privacy & security option. Click on it.
  • Once you enter the Privacy & Security option, you will end up with a menu that shows you all the different settings, plugins, and cache you can delete along with the browsing history.
  • Choose the time frame of your browsing history that you want to clear. The option ranges from one hour, past day, past week, and forever.

Importance of Clearing Browsing History

We use a web browser to access multiple websites to gain information from the Internet. From online banking to making friends, an online browser is the first thing you open. In many terms, it is your gateway to the Internet. Your browser tends to hold onto the information you provide to web pages when you visit them. And it will fill that information automatically when you revisit the same page.

The importance of clearing your history has been rapidly questioned in recent years due to the increase in the number of cyberattacks.

Alternative to Clearing the Browsing History

If you don’t want to delete the browsing history, then the next best thing you can do is use the incognito mode of your browser. The incognito mode lets you browse the Internet as you usually do, but once you close the browser in the incognito mode, its browsing history will not be saved. As a result, when you are using a public computer, it is best to surf the Internet using incognito mode. So when you leave the computer, your browsing history, preferences, recommendations, and auto fill-ups, will not be saved in your browser’s history.

Conclusion

So this is what browsing history is all about. It is good to have a browsing history saved on your computer, but you should delete it timely to ensure that no harmful plugins, cache files, or any other form of malware are present on your computer.

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