How to Browse Sites Privately and Safely on any Web Browser?

Learn how to browse websites safely and privately using these tips. You can use the web browser's built-in privacy setup or extensions for enhancing privacy.

With the ever-looming danger of online privacy being at a risk, a safe and secure browsing experience has really become the need of the hour. It’s not only during a data breach or when our accounts are being accessed by unauthorized users that one should worry about these aspects.

Rather, these security measures should become an integral part of your daily browsing sessions. Recently, I searched for a product online and right after that, my social media feed was flooded with the ads related to that product itself.

While these curated ads are shown based on my browsing history and the sites I interacted with, but this is the aspect that I am truly against. And I wouldn’t be the only one belonging to this segment.

Related: 6+ Best Microsoft Edge VPN Extensions (Data Privacy)

So what could be done to counter this and in turn get a private and safe browsing experience? Well, there are a few privacy tips that should be incorporated into your daily browsing habit right away. And this guide shall make you aware of just that.

So without further ado, let’s get started —

Select a Privacy Enriched Browser

First things first, if a private and secure browsing experience is right at the top of your priority list, then you should choose a browser that actually respects these factors. And one shouldn’t look any further than Tor.

Tor Project Privacy Browser

Providing three levels of encryption, it passes all the data via random nodes before taking it to the intended destination. However, all this might come at a cost of a tad outdated UI/UX experience.

So if you are looking for a more balanced option, then you may opt for the Firefox browser as well. Apart from that, there are a few other noteworthy options that you could check out via our guide on the best Privacy-Focused Web browsers.

Opt for a Private Browsing Mode

Private Mode in Safari, Incognito Mode in Chrome, or Private Browsing in Firefox, while the name may vary, but their goals stand the same. These modes offer you a more secure browsing experience as they won’t record your browsing history, cookies, and session data, as well as the information you share on other sites.

However, this mode only secures your local privacy by storing these data locally on your PC. When it comes to online security, they aren’t a good alternate as your browsing activities would still be visible to your ISP and network administrator.

Incognito Browsing in Google Chrome browser

So for a much safer approach, you should also consider using a proxy or VPN, as mentioned in the subsequent sections.

Use a VPN

A Virtual Private Network creates an encrypted tunnel for the data transfer. Furthermore, as soon as you connect to a VPN server, your original IP address will be disguised to that server’s and hence your location stands secure.

So if you are looking for a secure and anonymous browsing experience, then VPN becomes an absolute necessity.

Opera Enable VPN Browsing

In this regard, there are quite standalone VPN apps that you could try out. Or even better, some browsers such as Opera come with a built-in VPN that gets activated with just a single click, without the need to download any additional dependencies.

Use Proxy Servers

Now that we are discussing VPNs, let’s take a moment and talk about its other half aka Proxies. These act as an intermediary between the client and server and are able to carry out the data transfer on your (client’s) behalf.

servers hardware setup with cables

While they don’t encrypt the data exchange process like VPN services, they could still come in handy if you are looking to browse anonymously on an application level rather than the entire operating system level.

Tweak the Browser’s Privacy Settings

Web browsers come with different levels of privacy, which, by default, is set to a balanced/standard level. While it may suffice for general everyday usage, it doesn’t translate to the most secure one.

Fortunately, you could easily change the security level and opt for extreme privacy, which Firefoxabout:preferences#privacy and Edge Chromiumedge://settings/privacy likes to call the Strict Mode.

Microsoft Edge Privacy Settings set to Balanced

Once enabled, it will block near about every tracker, script and even stop cookies from collecting data. However, it could also lead to the breaking of some site components and the ones that are dependent on Java scripts are known to suffer the most. So decide on this trade-off accordingly.

Disable Extensions

Extensions are small software programs that tend to add more functionality to your browser. However, they could well be the biggest red flags whenever the question over the browser’s privacy arises.

This is because, for most harmful trackers or programs with malicious intents, the path to enter your browser is usually via the extensions gateway itself. So the safest bet in this regard is to remove all the installed extensions.

Disable the Extensions on Web Browser

Or if that’s way too much of an aggressive approach, then you should at least consider removing the ones that aren’t from trustworthy developers. Likewise, you could also go through the user reviews of those extensions to get an honest opinion about the same.

Related: 7+ Best Apple Safari Extensions [You Must Have]

Bottom Line: Browse Safely and Private

So this was all from this guide on you could browse sites privately and safely on the web browser of your choice.

As you might have noticed, there’s no universal method as such, rather you would have to use a combination of two or even more to get a secure browsing experience.

For example, I have opted for the Firefox browser, kept all the extensions disabled, and occasionally use a VPN service to access geo-restricted contents.

With that said, do let us know in the comments section which turned out to be the optimal settings for you.

Lastly, here are the recommended web browsers for your computer and mobile phone that you should give a try.

WindowsMacOSiOSAndroidLinux
Chrome WindowsChrome MacChrome iOSChrome AndroidFirefox Linux
Firefox WindowsSafari MacSafari iOSEdge AndroidChrome Linux
Edge WindowsFirefox MacEdge iOSSamsung InternetEdge Linux

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