Using standard ways of browsing on a search engine can reveal your searches, online transactions, and other personal data to third parties. Many people know that internet browsing is not always safe, especially if you are dealing with business or personal information. Typical web browsers track your information without your knowledge. Your search preferences and website visits are analyzed and stored. So, the next time you do a similar search, the search engine will provide you with automatic results and ads, which isn’t a bad thing all the time. Let’s say you searching the web for a method of making income and then the search engine provides you with casino bonus as a result then that is fine however, the issue is that your search engine is always evading your privacy so in this article we will show you how to set your privacy on.
Here are a few of the main things that might get tracked:
- IP Address: An IP address is a unique series of numbers assigned to the device connected to a network. When you visit any site, it logs on to your IP address which can be used later to trace you and your location.
- Logged in Accounts: The online sites and web pages you signed in, can use your data to track your activity on those respective sites. Tools like “Google Analytics” can track your actions on behalf of companies like Instagram and Facebook on which you have accounts.
- Online Fingerprint or User-Agent: Every time you request a new website on your browser, it evokes the User-Agent string, which has information such as the browser name, operating system, device name, IP address, and several other pieces of information. Although fingerprints are unique, they can track user data.
- Cookies: These are small text files that websites send you when you visit them. These can monitor you and keep some of your data. Accepting cookies can sometimes give websites data that can be harmful to your privacy.
There are quite a lot of ways in which you can be tracked during web browsing. If you’re concerned with maintaining your privacy, one way is to use an encrypted search engine. In this guide, you will learn how to use a search engine privately.
What is a private search engine?
Private search engines are almost like primary search engines, except they do not analyze, store or track any of your searches or other personal information. These contain special features to make browsing as private as possible. Whenever you search using a private browser, your search history does not get linked to your computer or email account.
Using a Private Browsing Mode
A private browsing mode and a private search engine are not the same. A private browsing mode such as Google Incognito takes you to a private browser, where all cookies and search histories get cleared once the browsing completes. A private browsing mode also logs out of all signed-in accounts. For instance, if you use your google account search on a regular browser and then switch on its private mode and do more searches, the browser history won’t show any of it. However, your searched websites can still track your information, and your browsing data is still getting shared by your ISP.
On the other hand, a private search engine is a safe place for you to do searches and do browsing without the fear of your information getting leaked. Now that you know how a private search engine works, let’s see how you can use them.
1. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN):
If you want to protect your privacy and use the web anonymously, a VPN is a must-have privacy tool. While searching through a VPN, your web traffic gets encrypted and routed by the servers of the VPN. Another cool feature of a VPN is that it masks your IP address. Each time you browse through a VPN, your IP address changes. This way, online sites cannot identify or track you and your search history and spam you for targeted or preferred ads.
VPNs do not necessarily stop your web traffic and active sites from being logged into it. Moreover, it cannot efficiently stop cookies from tracking you. Hence, it is better to opt for a paid-for service VPN that does not track or store your traffic. NordVPN and ExpressVPN are two great VPN providers in this regard. Both of these have a wide range of servers which means a wide range of IP addresses that you can use while searching.
A VPN doesn’t provide you security from all sorts of tracking but makes tracking difficult. There are a lot of VPN users using the same IP address while browsing. A hacker might find it hard to identify a single person behind it. A VPN is regularly researching, routing your traffic through any VPN server.
Use Tor Browser:
For maintaining high-level anonymity on the internet, use the Tor browser. It is an alternative to Firefox, focusing on user security and privacy. Tor encrypts your traffic over the web, and your IP address routes it through different IP addresses known as exit nodes. Use Tor to browse through the web, especially when privacy becomes a must. It is a non-private browsing platform which means no saving of email and passwords, search histories, and cookies.
Tor is compatible with all OS like Windows, Linux, Mac. It eliminates finger-browsing and provides pre-configured protection so that users can browse and visit websites without the tension of revealing any personal information. There’s also a possibility that you can avoid slowness by accessing the Tor browser without connecting to a Tor network.
Tor has experienced tracing web traffic, but after analysis, it is discovered that it was due to some user activity. To prevent such harmful activities, Tor recommends looking after the following:
- Avoid downloading Torrents over Tor. This might reveal your IP address.
- Try not to enable any browser plugins in Tor. Plugins like Adobe Flash can trace your original IP address.
- It is a good idea to use encrypted versions of sites. Tor comes with HTTPS Everywhere, which makes sure to encrypt and secure your browsing.
- While online, avoid opening any documents downloaded via Tor. These can also track you from outside the software and find your actual IP address.
Another distinctive feature Tor contains is connecting you anonymously to the dark web. The dark web is a collection of internet sites not accessible with a typical browser. People presume that the dark web is dangerous, and by connecting to it, you can become the target of hackers and murderers; however, it is not correct.
3. Asking sites not to track you:
Do Not Track is an option available in your browser that allows you to prevent your web traffic from being traced. You can turn on Do Not Track from your browser settings. It is on most browsers available under the Privacy and Security option. The user uses this option to indicate sites that they are not comfortable revealing their information. Some of these sites agree not to monitor your browsing.
However, if you think that using Do Not Track will keep you safe from any track, then sadly, it’s not true. The number of sites that respect Do Not Track is reasonably low. Hence, even after turning in this option, you can’t be sure of which site still tracks you and which doesn’t.
Some alternative extensions can ensure to block ads, trackers, and any other way of revealing your information. The top extensions to use are Ghostery and Privacy Badger. Using these alternative extensions, you get to see which sites are tracking your traffic while you are browsing the web, so you can easily turn them off.
4. Using DuckDuckGo
When it comes to tightly secure searching, DuckDuckGo is considered one of the best private search engines. DDG does not save any piece of information that can be used to track you, nor does it sell it to any of the third parties. It a top-notch private search engine, claiming not to make a user profile. This means it doesn’t retain any user data such as IP addresses, Passwords, and device information.
DDG is identical to the Google search engine and is faster than Startpage. Using this search engine, you can find ads on display, but these ads do not contain any tracking cookies and are based on search results rather than the overall profile. These results are also filtered. DDG warns you whenever there is a chance of tracking from a site. For instance, while searching for a video, you might get a warning of the trackers that can be left by YouTube or Google.
To use the DuckDuckGo search engine, go to www.duckduckgo.com and do your searching. If you want to keep using it, you can also set it as your home page and enjoy safe searching.
- They don’t keep tracks or logs
- Easy-to-use interface (Just like Google)
- Provides contextual filters
- Displays non-targeted ads
- Doesn’t allow tracking cookies
- Warns you of tracking sites
DuckDuckGo is a popular search engine because of its strong security and protection to keep user information anonymous. The only thing to note here is, searches you make using DuckDuckGo get saved in the search history of your browser. Moreover, it doesn’t stop anyone monitoring your browsers, such as your Internet Service Provider or a spy on the public Wi-Fi. Nonetheless, DDG still serves as an efficient private search engine to cater to your privacy needs.
Staying Anonymous Over the Internet
Wanting to keep you and your web traffic private with trackers all around while browsing through the internet can be a challenge. Even some of the most trustworthy sites can jeopardize your identity. Searching through a typical browser is fine, but when it comes to browsing about businesses or making transactions, privacy becomes a key concern. In such cases, you want to protect any information getting leaked. This might not be possible using your regular browser because sites try their best to track as much of your information as they can.
There are some privacy tools available that claim secures searching, so your confidentiality aren’t available to sites and third parties. None of these tools can protect your privacy to the full but can aid in personal searches. If you don’t want to reveal your identity or location, then the best way to do so is using a VPN. It changes your IP address which makes it difficult for sites to track down the original user. Another way is to use extensions that give you the opportunity to stop a site from tracking you. This option is great when you want a site or two not to trace and record you.
Privacy-oriented search engines are a great alternative that can protect your privacy to an extent. They can’t tailor search results according to your profile and provide unbiased results. Recently, private search engines are becoming more popular among users as they shift to them from their regular low-security browsers. Like government and advertisers, these search engines respect your privacy and don’t forward your information to third parties. DuckDuckGo and Tor browsers are two of the most famous browsers that aim to protect your private data and web traffic.
Tips for making internet browsing safe
You can use the privacy tools separately or use some of the tips we have gathered to make your browsing more secure.
- Use a private browsing window along with DuckDuckGo
- Combine a private browsing window with a VPN and search with DuckDuckGo
- Use Tor browser with a VPN
- With the VPN on, use a private browsing mode
Using these tips, you can hide your information from your ISP, government, third parties, and any person who can access your device.
Nowadays, online security has become critical to maintaining. Even a single move you make on the internet is being analyzed and stored. The web traffic is tracked by sites to send search results and ads. If you are concerned about your information being tracked, you must keep yourself updated with all types of security dangers. The privacy tools mentioned above can provide you with durable protection, but it is better to keep your software regularly updated. We hope this article made you understand the technicalities of a typical and private search engine!