How do you browse websites privately and securely in any web browser?

With the constant threat of online privacy compromised, a safe browsing experience has really become the order of the day. These issues should not only be considered during a data breach or when unauthorized users are accessing our accounts.

Rather, these security measures should become an integral part of your daily browsing sessions. I recently 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 websites I’ve interacted with, that’s the aspect I’m really against. And I wouldn’t be the only one belonging to this segment.

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So what could be done to counteract this and, in turn, achieve a private and safe surfing experience? Well, there are a few privacy tips that you should incorporate into your daily browsing habits right away. And that is exactly what this guide is intended to make you aware of.

So let’s start without further ado –


Choose a browser with advanced data protection

First things first, if a private and secure browsing experience is high on your priority list, you should choose a browser that actually takes these factors into account. And look no further than a gate.

It offers three levels of encryption and forwards all data through random nodes before it is brought to its intended destination. However, all of this can come at the expense of a somewhat dated UI / UX experience.

So if you’re looking for a more balanced option, you can go for the Firefox browser too. That being said, there are some other notable options that you can check out our guide to the best privacy-conscious web browsers.

Opt for a private browsing mode

Private mode in Safari, incognito mode in Chrome, or private surfing in Firefox, while the name may vary, but their goals are the same. These modes provide you with a safer browsing experience because your browsing history, cookies and session data, and the information you share on other websites are not recorded.

However, this mode only ensures your local privacy by storing this data locally on your PC. When it comes to online security, they are not a good alternative as your browsing activity would still be visible to your ISP and network administrator.

Therefore, for a much more secure approach, you should also consider using a proxy or VPN, as mentioned in the following sections.

Use a VPN

A virtual private network creates an encrypted tunnel for data transmission. In addition, as soon as you connect to a VPN server, your original IP address is hidden behind that server, making your location safe.

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

Opera    Enable VPN browsing

In that regard, there are pretty standalone VPN apps that you can try out. Or better yet, some browsers like Opera come with a built-in VPN that activates with just one click, with no additional dependencies to download.

Use proxy server

Now that we are talking about VPNs, let’s take a moment and talk about the other half, also known as proxies. These act as intermediaries between client and server and are able to carry out the data transfer for you (customers).

Server hardware setup with cables

Although they don’t encrypt the data exchange process like VPN services do, they can still be useful if you want to surf anonymously at the application level rather than the entire operating system level.

Optimize your browser’s privacy settings

Web browsers have different levels of privacy that are set to a balanced / standard level by default. While it may be sufficient for general everyday use, it is not the most secure.

Fortunately, you can easily change the security level and go for extreme privacy, which Firefox – about: Settings # Privacy and Edge Chrome – edge: // settings / privacy likes to call strict mode.

Microsoft Edge    Privacy settings set to Balanced

Once activated, it will block almost every tracker, script, and even prevent cookies from collecting data. However, it can also damage some site components and those that rely on Java scripts are known to suffer the most. So choose this compromise accordingly.

Deactivate extensions

Extensions are small software programs that tend to add more functionality to your browser. However, they could be the biggest red flags when the browser privacy issue comes up.

This is because most malicious trackers or programs with malicious intent usually have the path to access your browser through the extension gateway itself. Therefore, in this regard, it is safest to remove any installed extensions.

Disable the extensions in the web browser

Or, if that’s too aggressive an approach, you should at least consider removing the ones that aren’t from trusted developers. Likewise, you can go through the user reviews of these extensions to get an honest opinion about them.

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Conclusion: surf safely and privately

So that was all from this guide onwards. You can browse websites privately and securely using the web browser of your choice.

As you may have noticed, there is no one-size-fits-all method, you need to use a combination of two or more for a safe browsing experience.

To the example, I chose that Firefox Browser, keep all extensions disabled, and occasionally use a VPN service to access geo-restricted content.

Let us know in the comments section about what turned out to be the optimal settings for you.

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

windowMac OSiOSAndroidLinux
Chrome windowChrome MacChrome iOSChrome AndroidFirefox Linux
Firefox windowSafari MacSafari iOSEdge AndroidChrome Linux
Edge windowFirefox MacEdge iOSSamsung internetEdge Linux

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