10 Methods to Help You Stay Anonymous Online

Protecting one's anonymity when using the Internet is a significant challenge. In fact, the current Internet culture, which is based on ads and extensive monitoring, aims to do the opposite.


Protecting one's anonymity when using the Internet is a significant challenge. In fact, the current Internet culture, which is based on ads and extensive monitoring, aims to do the opposite. Governments and corporations are interested in learning as much as they can about you, whether it's for national security reasons or so they can make the sale of a product.

There are several advantages to maintaining your anonymity. To an extent, anonymity grants one freedom from being tracked or identified. The reality is that, while you are online, you can't expect to remain anonymous or private without making an effort. Online anonymity is feasible for those who seek it, but doing so isn't the easiest thing in the world. Here, we explain the methods you'll need to take to ensure your online anonymity and security.

Online Anonymity

Difference between Anonymity and Privacy

There is a clear differentiation between anonymity and privacy, despite the fact that the two concepts are sometimes used interchangeably. Anonymity refers to wanting people to know what you're up to but not your true identity, whereas privacy refers to the ability to keep things to yourself. Many Internet users value privacy when using the web. However, Internet whistleblowers often prefer anonymity, which allows them to disclose sensitive material while keeping their identities secret.

Methods to Maintain Anonymity Online

In order to achieve complete anonymity while surfing the web, you will need to switch many aspects of your digital workflow. However, here we focus on some simple and easy ways to become anonymous on the internet.

Use Different Email Accounts for Different Services

A good method to safeguard your anonymity is to utilise a variety of email addresses, even if you use a service like Gmail that tracks your every move. You can use one for your private life, another for business, and a third for things like Internet shopping and account creation.

This could ‘fragment’ your data profile, making it more difficult for advertisers to get a complete picture of who you are even if your email provider does gather your data. In theory, this should maintain anonymity from sites that share your data between them or from any third-party marketers who gain access to your data.

Encrypted Messaging Apps

There are many good privacy-focused messaging services that encrypt all of your chats. The most popular messaging apps, including Signal and Telegram, provide end-to-end encryption. You may, though, have trouble getting your peers to switch over because they aren't nearly as widespread as Facebook Messenger or Instagram DMs. Facebook and Instagram chats are not encrypted by default, but you can switch to secret/vanish mode to encrypt your conversations.

Avoid Google Search

Google is not only the most popular search engine but also a massive data harvester. It is impossible to achieve any level of anonymity on the Internet using such a tool.

Employing a virtual private network (VPN) or some other device can reduce the amount of data that search engines acquire about you. However, using a private search engine will prevent them from collecting any data about you at all. You can choose from popular options like DuckDuckGo, StartPage, and Qwant.

Quit or Reduce Social Media Usage

According to the findings of a study that looked into the link between families and social media, more than three-quarters of people post stories, pictures, or videos on social media that involve their families. More than 80 per cent of these people use their real identities, including name and address, online. Furthermore, social media corporations store this information permanently, making it easier for identity thieves to target people. If you truly value your privacy, disconnecting from social media is your best option.

Use a Privacy-oriented Operating System

Using a major tech company's operating system means that your data could be logged even if you use a secure email server, browser, search engine, and so on. By contrast, Linux and other open-source OSes provide users with their personal barriers. It's also possible to use a secure operating system like Tails or Whonix. Tails routes all its traffic through the anonymising Tor network, not simply web searches. Everything you do on your computer, from messaging to sending emails, is encrypted, and the operating system leaves no traces.

Use a VPN Service

Virtual private networks, or VPNs, encrypt all data sent or received from a device over the Internet and reroute it through a server in a location chosen by the user. The result is that the IP address of the device is hidden, making it impossible for anyone, even the user's Internet service provider, to snoop on its communications.

It's common practice for VPN companies to assign clients the same IP address on multiple servers. Multiple users (tens, hundreds, or even thousands) share a single IP address. In this way, tracking the actions of a single person is next to impossible. Your data is encrypted as soon as it leaves your device and stays encrypted all the way to the VPN server.

Opting Out of Data Collection

Organisations known as ‘data brokers’ collect data from a variety of sources for the benefit of their own partners or to resell to others. There are services available, such as Incogni, that are specifically aimed at these data brokers. Incogni optimises the process of opting out of data collection by contacting data brokers and asking that data be deleted from their systems. Simply sign up, select the data you wish to be deleted, and the service will do the rest.

Use Cryptocurrencies for Payment

Cryptocurrencies are more secure than PayPal and, naturally, credit cards, when it comes to making anonymous purchases or donations. Make use of a Bitcoin mixing service, which will combine your bitcoins with those of other users and randomly shuffle them before sending them on to the recipient.

As Bitcoins can only be purchased with fiat currency, maintaining anonymity while doing so may prove to be the most daunting task. To acquire coins anonymously, private transactions and peer-to-peer swaps like LocalBitcoins are the ideal options. While Bitcoin is the largest cryptocurrency, it is important to remember that it is not the only option. The anonymity offered by Monero is one of its main selling points.

Disable JavaScript 

The use of JavaScript, a programming language, enables dynamic content like moving images, clickable maps, and more on websites. JavaScript has security flaws that can be exploited by hackers to manipulate and steal user data; if you're using a popular browser like Microsoft Edge or Firefox, you should turn it off.

Double-Check Permissions

When deciding whether or not to provide someone access to your private data (including app permissions), ask yourself the following questions.

  • Do you really need to provide that data for it to work?
  • Can you legally refuse to provide them with the data if that's the case?
  • Is there any service that meets your requirements but does not require this additional data?
  • Is the benefit of using this service or buying this product sufficient to justify the danger that could arise from sharing the personal data it seeks?

Even a VPN has its flaws when it comes to maintaining your anonymity online. That, however, does not mean that they are ineffective. While a government or organisation with huge resources may spend years poring over VPN traffic, in an effort to track down an individual, the odds are much higher that the person would make a misstep and leave a trail of evidence that will lead authorities straight to them.

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