Best Anonymous Web Surfing Tools: Incognito Mode VS Proxy Servers VS VPN VS Anonymous Private BrowsersReading Time: 5 minutes
Safe and anonymous web surfing is a hot topic these days, and rightfully so! High-profile data breaches, rampant data collection, and unclear privacy policies can lead many netizens to second guess their data’s safety — even when it’s safeguarded by respected institutions. Reports show that Americans trust credit card organizations more than the federal government when it comes to the safety and anonymity of their personal information.
To fight this uncertainty, security experts recommend using best anonymous private browsers and VPNs (virtual private networks) to keep your personal information and browsing history off the grid. It is, however, important to sort out the terminology here and understand when these solutions are enough to keep you safe and your activities – private.
For example, many mistake private browsing mode in mainstream browsers (also known as Incognito mode) for anonymous web surfing. The difference is that the former only deletes your browsing details and history from your computer. That’s nice, but it doesn’t delete information stored outside of your computer. Which means that anyone can see your browsing history and trace your online activities, even if you were browsing in private mode.
So, how can we keep our online browsing private? Let’s take a look at different existing anonymous browsing tools and see how secure your information is and what can be done to keep your information secure.
Incognito Private Browsing
As mentioned before, popular browsers like Firefox and Chrome have a form of private or incognito browsing that many users consider a form of anonymous web surfing. This is only partially true. These sessions do delete stuff like cookies and browsing history at the end of each session. Unfortunately, this data is only deleted from your device – this doesn’t affect any other places it may be stored.
Benefits of Incognito Private Browsing
Incognito private browsing is an option when you need to hide your activity from others sharing that device with you. For instance, it is a huge help when you’re searching for a present for your relatives and they suddenly need to use your computer. With your browsing history deleted, they won’t see anything that could spoil the surprise, e.g. targeted ads. Incognito browsing is also good for logging into accounts on shared computers without logging everyone else out of their accounts.
Drawbacks of Incognito Private Browsing
A large drawback of incognito browsing is that information is only deleted from your device. This private browsing mode ≠ anonymous web surfing. It cannot delete records anywhere outside of your PC, including your ISP’s records, any networks you used to connect to a site, and the website’s server. Additionally, private browsing mode does not protect you from any internet threats, such as malware.
Proxies are a gateway between users and the internet. To this end, your requests and information are routed via the proxy server. After that, the proxy server makes a web request on your behalf, gets the response, and forwards you the resulting data.
Benefits of Proxy Servers
Proxies offer a handful of anonymity and security benefits. Depending on the type of the server, you can change or hide your real IP address to make tracking your activities online quite difficult.
Some proxy servers also allow you to manage internet usage on your corporate network – for instance, to restrict access to social media services and stop employees from spending too much time in their accounts. Additionally, it’s possible to block malicious or compromised sites to avoid potential threats they might carry.
Drawbacks of Proxy Servers
Different kinds of proxy servers offer different levels of anonymity and privacy. You’ve got to check what type of proxy you’re using, how it works and what information it records. For instance, transparent proxies block blacklisted sites but do not conceal your IP address.
Caution is advised when using free proxy servers – these are naturally more prone to security and anonymity issues. For example, some proxies log your web requests and the original IP address without ever encrypting any of the data.
VPN, or Virtual Private Networks
Virtual Private Networks establish a secure “tunnel” connection to the internet using a VPN server as an intermediary between you and the internet. This ensures great anonymity, since your real IP address is masked as the VPN’s.
In that, VPNs share some similarities with proxy servers, but both have important differences as well. For one, VPNs also encrypt all internet traffic that comes through your device, while proxies only encrypt your browser’s web requests. This alone makes VPNs a far more preferable choice as an anonymous browsing tool than proxy servers.
Benefits of VPNs
Virtual Private Networks are great for elevating your security and anonymity. They can grant you privacy benefits where other anonymous browsing tools like proxies fall short. VPNs are handy when working remotely or traveling since they help you connect to public WiFi without compromising your personal information. VPNs also allow you to access work or home network while you’re away to look like you’re connecting through it. It’s a strong layer of security that impedes malefactors and bots from accessing your personal data.
Drawbacks of VPN
Unfortunately, VPNs can be prone to drops in connection speed and performance, which depends on the user’s proximity to the VPN server and current server workload. Decent VPNs can also be more expensive to use and maintain (especially the corporate solutions) than other options on this list.
Another thing to keep in mind is that not all VPNs are created equal. It takes time and experience to find a VPN service that actually doesn’t log your online activities and provides good encryption and connection speeds.
Best Anonymous Private Browsers
Anonymous browsing tools such as Private Browser route users’ internet traffic through their network to protect and anonymize the information. Various browsers use various methods. For instance, Private Browser is a safe proxy browser – it routes users’ traffic via VPN servers + add extra layers of encryption. Another popular browser, TOR applies the “onion” method of bouncing traffic through a number of their nodes.
Benefits of Anonymous Private Browsers
The most obvious benefit of using an anonymous browsing tool is its A-class security and anonymity. The information passing through an anonymous browser online is difficult to your real identity. Download Private Browser and see for yourself!
Drawbacks of Anonymous Private Browsers
Because of the privacy such tools provide, some web services and countries block the best anonymous web surfing. Otherwise, these services make it possible for people to live under the radar of the government or regime, or for journalists to investigate and report on corruption. Anonymous browsers can also be slower than the mainstream ones due to the extra anonymity and IP-masking measures that they take.
Conclusion on Anonymous Online Web Browsing
As you can see, every anonymous browsing tool has its own pros and cons when it comes to privacy and security. One should strive to learn what these strengths and weaknesses are, and how to best apply these tools to ensure anonymous web surfing. Also, a good way to overcome part of the weaknesses is combining the tools, e.g. simultaneously using an anonymous private browser and a VPN.