A safe and secure surfing experience has become a necessity of the hour, given the rising threat to online privacy. The best ways to browse sites privately and safely on any web browser are to select a privacy-enhanced browser, opt for a private browsing mode, use a VPN, or proxy server, tweak the browser’s privacy settings, and disable extensions.
With the ever-looming danger of online privacy, a safe and secure browsing experience has become the need of the hour. One should worry about these aspects not only during a data breach or when unauthorized users access our accounts.
Instead, these security measures should become integral to your daily browsing sessions. Recently, I searched for a product online, and right after that, my social media feed was flooded with ads related to that product itself.
While these curated ads are shown based on my browsing history and the sites I interacted with, this is the aspect that I am truly against. And I wouldn’t be the only one belonging to this segment.
So what could be done to counter this and get a private and safe browsing experience? Well, a few privacy tips should be incorporated into your daily browsing habit immediately. And this guide shall make you aware of just that.
So without further ado, let’s get started —
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Select a Privacy Enriched Browser
First, if a private and secure browsing experience is at the top of your priority list, you should choose a browser that respects these factors. And one shouldn’t look any further than Tor.
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 However, all this might come at the cost of a tad outdated UI/UX experience.
So if you are looking for a more balanced option, you may also opt for the Firefox browser. 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 in Chrome, or private in Firefox; while the name may vary, their goals stand the same. These modes offer a more secure browsing experience as they won’t record your browsing history, cookies, session data, or 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 alternative, as your browsing activities would still be visible to your ISP and network administrator.
So for a much safer approach, you should 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; hence, your location stands secure.
So if you are looking for a secure and anonymous browsing experience, VPN becomes necessary.
In this regard, there are pretty standalone VPN apps that you could try out. Or even better, some browsers, such as Opera, have a built-in VPN activated with just a single click without downloading additional dependencies.
Use Proxy Servers
Now that we are discussing VPNs let’s take a moment and talk about its other half, Proxies. These act as an intermediary between the client and server and can carry out the data transfer on your (client’s) behalf.
While they don’t encrypt the data exchange process like VPN services, they could still be useful if you 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 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 Firefox – about:preferences#privacy and Edge – edge://settings/privacy likes to call the Strict Mode
Once enabled, it will block nearly every tracker and script and even stop cookies from collecting data. However, it could also break some site components, and the ones dependent on Java scripts are known to suffer the most. So decide on this trade-off accordingly.
Extensions are small software programs that add more functionality to your browser. However, they could be giant red flags whenever the question of 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. So the safest bet is to remove all the installed extensions.
Or if that’s way too aggressive, you should 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.
So this was all from this guide: You could browse sites privately and safely on the web browser of your choice.
As you might have noticed, there’s no universal method; instead, you must combine two or more to get a secure browsing experience.
That said, do let us know which is the optimal setting for you in the comments section.
Lastly, if you've any thoughts or feedback, then feel free to drop in below comment box. You can also report the outdated information.