Having an online presence plays an important role in building the image of both brands and users. When it comes to creating a persona online, it entirely depends on you what kind of perception you want to trigger. However, our online lifestyles are much more than we share intentionally. Typically, just by visiting a sequence of websites, we end up sharing more than we know.
Different sites get to learn details about us, such as the type of device we use, our location, and our shopping preferences. Thus, the profile we create online is not something we have total control of (or so it seems). Most of the information about us is generated automatically, sometimes without our explicit consent. Hence, it is natural for people to look for ways to become more private and anonymous online. However, these goals are not always so easy to achieve.
Difference between staying private & staying anonymous
Being anonymous and being private are two different things and users usually misinterpret them to be the same. That’s because both of them come with a similar existential concept, but there is a fine line between the two.
If you are staying anonymous online, it means you want to be active. However, you do not want to reveal your identity. You might have no problem with the data collection happening all around you. The premise here is that you do not want that information to be linked back to you. However, in most cases, deanonymizing information is fairly easy, especially if services do not implement this practice properly.
Privacy and private online lifestyles mean that your data is kept secret from entities outside your selected scope. For instance, many services might encrypt information. As a result, it prevents external entities from reading the contents of your communications online, as seen in instant messaging apps. Both anonymity and privacy are preferred but achieving them both require some dedication.
Ways to Stay Anonymous and Private Online
The online space is a mysterious place, and you might not always be aware of the ways your privacy is broken. Here are some of the tips that will help you become more invisible online.
Use a private browser for browsing
Private browsing mode first appeared in 2005, and it aims to provide an alternative browsing experience. You can browse in private windows of the browser and make sure that you are more anonymous while surfing the web.
Change your Search Engine
When we search for something online, most of us prefer to use the Google search engine. That’s because of the popularity and broad user base it has gained over the years. Yes, search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo are convenient for use, but they also collect user data for security purposes. Therefore, to avoid such instances, it’s better to look for a search engine that does not store data.
DuckDuckGo is one of the best alternatives to Google as it provides assurance of not collecting data by any means. Also, it is giving tough competition to Google in terms of searches as it has crossed 100 million searches in January 2021. This search engine claims it has no information that needs to be sold to advertisers, so you won’t be targeted by the classified ads while using the internet.
Hide location and IP address
If you seek to keep your identity anonymous online, then hiding your IP address is another great thing that can help you. Anyone aware of your IP address can find the server geographic location that is hosting the address. This will provide a rough idea about the place you are located in. There are multiple ways to protect your IP address, and one of them is using the Tor browser.
Tor browser makes it next to impossible for any server to snoop into your web traffic by hiding your IP address. However, this browser is fairly difficult and slow to use, especially for day-to-day operations. Thus, you might consider getting tools that perform a similar anonymizing task and maintains brilliant speed overall. A VPN for browsing is one of the best alternatives, giving you the chance to manipulate your IP address. You can choose preferred locations you want to switch to, and this helps to bypass geo-blocks as well. Thus, it is one of the simplest ways to elevate anonymity online.