How to browse the web anonymously?

Last updated on January 10th, 2024

What is online anonymity and privacy?

Online anonymity and privacy refer to the ability to use the internet without revealing your personal information or being monitored by third parties.

Anonymity means that you can use the internet without revealing your real identity, such as your name, address, phone number, IP address of your device or your geographical location. This can be useful if you want to express an opinion or discuss a sensitive topic without fear of retaliation or harassment.

Privacy refers to the control you have over your personal information online, such as your browsing history, search queries, content of emails and chats, online purchases, etc. It means that you can choose what information you share with others and have the right to keep that information private.

In countries with non-democratic regimes, online anonymity and privacy may be a matter of survival.

Who can see my online activity?

When you visit some website in internet, your web activity can be seen by at least the following two parties:
– your internet provider
– the website you visit.

Note: There may be third parties who can see what you do online or request information about your web activity.

Most sites collect data about their visitors. This is important for site owners to improve their pages. This is also important for advertisers, because this way they can better target and individualize their advertising messages. Search engines collect data about you so that they can offer you not only more relevant ads, but also more relevant search results. There is actually nothing wrong with this and many people find it useful.

Your browser stores a history of your internet browsing – a list of all the sites you’ve visited, a list of saved passwords and downloaded files. The sites you visit send small pieces of text called cookies to your browser in order to remember your visit, to learn your browsing habits and preferences, and to facilitate future browsing of the same site.

When you send an email, along with the message, the recipient also receives hidden data called email metadata. Similarly, when you send a file, such as a photo, video, or document, along with the file, the recipient also receives a package of hidden data called file metadata.

Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) not only sees everything you do online, but also stores the data about your Internet activity for a certain period of time. This data may be given to a third party upon request – for example to a government agency.

What can they learn about me from my internet activity?

When you access the Internet, your computer, laptop, or smartphone is assigned a unique number called an IP address. Your exact or approximate geographic location can be determined from this IP address. In addition, information about your browser and your operating system can be seen – the version of the software, the language you use, the dimensions of your monitor, even the fonts that are installed on your computer and many other data. All this information creates your unique digital fingerprint, by which you can be quickly identified.

When you create any document, for example a DOC or PDF file, or take a photo, for example a JPG file, or record a video, for example an MP4 file, etc., the document, video, and photo files may contain very detailed information such as: the author of the file, the time the file was created, the software with which the file was created, the device with which the photo or video was taken, the geographic location where the photo or video was taken, etc. This data in the files is called metadata. If you upload these files to the Internet or send them by email, you upload and send the files along with their metadata.

When you write texts in emails, documents, social networks, chat rooms, forums and discussion boards, you probably use some of your favorite phrases, idioms, metaphors, euphemisms, slang expressions, etc. Maybe you structure sentences in a certain way. Maybe you always make the same spelling and punctuation mistakes. Maybe you use the same parasitic words over and over. Maybe you have favorite usernames, etc. All of this creates your writing style in internet. A competent linguistic expertise can easily reveal your identity.

It is quite a separate issue that when creating an account on Google or Facebook, for example, people voluntarily give very detailed information about themselves, their location, their travels, their interests, etc. We are not talking about that in this case.

Why do I need anonymity on the internet?

You have to answer this question for yourself. Of course, most people believe that there is no need to hide anything from anyone. But there are also people for whom anonymity on the Internet is a necessity.

Maybe you have an important and sensitive information about corruption or other crimes and want to send it to someone anonymously. Maybe you live in a country where the government prohibits visiting certain websites. Or maybe you just need a little privacy online. There are probably hundreds of reasons why some people want to be anonymous on the Internet.

What do I need to do to be anonymous on the internet?

The basics of anonymity and privacy can be summed up in a few sentences:

  • You need to hide your IP address. By hiding your IP address, you hide your geographic location.
  • You need to encrypt your internet traffic. When your traffic is encrypted, no third party can see your online activity.
  • You need a browser that doesn’t keep a history of your internet browsing.
  • You need a search engine that does not collect information about what you search on the Internet.
  • If you send emails, you need an encrypted email service.
  • If you send files, you need to remove the metadata from those files.
  • If you want to write anonymously in social networks, chat rooms, discussion boards, etc., you will need to change your usual writing style by which you can be identified.

Although this list is very simple, it is still a good start.

How to hide my IP address?

There are three easy ways to hide your IP address:

1. Proxy server
2. VPN (Virtual Private Network)
3. Tor browser

For detailed information, read the pages:

What is Tor and how to use it?
What is a VPN? What is a proxy?

How to encrypt the internet traffic?

There are two easy ways to encrypt your internet traffic:

1. VPN (Virtual Private Network)
2. Tor browser

For detailed information, read the pages:

What is Tor and how to use it?
What is a VPN? What is a proxy?

What is the difference between VPN and Tor Browser?

On the one hand, a VPN encrypts traffic from your entire device, while Tor browser only encrypts traffic through the browser.

On the other hand, Tor browser provides a much higher level of anonymity than VPN services.

How to surf the web without allowing the browser to save browsing history?

Browsers have an option called Private Browsing. When you turn it on, the browser does not save your web browsing history. For example, to turn on Private Browsing in Mozilla Firefox, click the Menu button at the top right and select the “New private window” option.

Note that this will not make you anonymous on the internet. To combine a high level of anonymity and private browsing, use the Tor browser. For detailed information, read the page:

What is Tor and how to use it?

How to search the internet without allowing the search engine to collect data about me?

Instead of the Google search engine, which collects data about what you search on the internet, you can use a search engine that does not collect such data. One such search engine, for example, is DuckDuckGo ( Keep in mind that just using such a search engine does not make you anonymous on the Internet. Also, DuckDuckGo will show you search results that are different from the results that Google gives you.

DuckDuckGo is the default search engine in the Tor browser. To combine anonymous search with anonymous browsing, use Tor. For detailed information, read the page:

What is Tor and how to use it?

How to send email anonymously?

To send an email anonymously, you need to use an encrypted email service, such as Proton Mail (

For detailed information, read the page:

How to send email anonymously?

How to send/upload files anonymously?

To send/upload files anonymously, you need to delete the metadata from those files.

For detailed information read the page:

What is metadata and how to remove it?

You can also use the SecureDrop service ( to anonymously send files to some media. A list of media that use SecureDrop software can be found at the following address:

What is the best option for anonymous browsing?

Perhaps the best tool for anonymous web browsing at the moment is called Tor Browser. The Tor browser combines several features – it reliably hides your IP address, encrypts your traffic, does not store your browsing history, and has a built-in DuckDuckGo search engine for private searches.

Apart from all this, Tor is the only browser through which you can access the so-called dark web (dot-onion sites).

For more information read the pages:

What is Tor and how to use it?
What is Deep web? What is Dark net?
List of verified and safe Darknet sites

What else can I do for my anonymity and privacy online?

There are many more things you can do to have an even higher level of anonymity and privacy. It is recommended to use the Linux operating system instead of the Windows operating system. For example, you can install the anonymous operating system Tails or the anonymous operating system Whonix (both are Debian-based Linux distributions). You can use PGP software (Pretty Good Privacy) to encrypt your documents, files and text messages. If you do not know anything about the Linux operating system, it is recommended to start with the Ubuntu Linux distribution. All these software are free and open source. For more information visit the pages:

Official Linux site –
Official Ubuntu site –
Official Tails site –
Official Whonix site –
Official PGP site –