How To Browse Privately! [+ tips and tricks]
Well, hello there!
Before we start, here's the table of contents! (Credit to IntellectualGuy's Big Python Tutorial table of contents)
- Table Of Contents (yes, really)
- What are cookies?
- Advertising cookies
- Private Browsing
- Alternatives to Google Chrome
- Blocking cookies
- Should we use AdBlock?
- Should we use DuckDuckGo?
- Clearing cookie data
- Inspecting websites
- Recap (skip here if you want to read less)
What is a cookie?
Simply said (Kurzgesagt reference), a cookie is a piece of information that websites can put to our devices.
Here's an example!
- You are logged in to Replit. (or are you?)
- When you login to Replit, Replit puts some cookies to your device.
- The cookies might contain information about your account and other things
- Even when you shut down your device, the cookies are still there.
- When you open Replit again, Replit sees the cookie in your device and automatically signs you in! You don't need to login anymore!
From the previous example, we can see that cookies are VERY useful to websites we are logged in to!
That being said, some cookies can travel from websites to websites, following us around.
These global cookies include...
Remember that same ad that just creeps you around the websites you visit?
Basically, whatever we search in Google (and YouTube) will be collected to show relevant ads. Google has lots of advertising platforms - AdSense, AdWords, AdMob, AdChoices, and even Doubleclick! That's because Google gets most of their revenue from advertising.
Of course, website owners get money if we click an ad in their websites. (based on my research, website owners get 60% of ad revenue while Google gets 40%)
- To get money, website owners must display ads.
- To display ads, website owners must include Google cookies.
See the pattern here? Yep, Google cookies are (nearly) EVERYWHERE.
Google pretty much knows what websites we visit, where we are right now, etc.
Quite literally, Google is watching us.
Ehm, cue intense music.
Where's the music guy?
(BLUE DANUBE PLAYS)
No, no, not that one...
Fine, whatever. Anyways, onto the next chapter!
Alternatives to Google Chrome
As I said earlier, Google gets tons of revenue from advertising.
Google Chrome is owned by (you won't guess it) GOOGLE!
Thus, Google Chrome allows all cookies by default. You can turn it off in the
Settings > Cookies and other site data, but I don't really recommend this. Why?
We will be signed out from Replit and other websites we have accounts at. To make things worse, we can't login again!
Google products won't work well. We will be signed out from Google Chrome and other Google products we use!
That doesn't stop Google from tracking us. Google Chrome sends data about whatever sites we visit to Google. It's still not private! (This is true according to the many sources I visit and logic. If Google Chrome lets everyone track you, of course they'll also let Google track you!)
(I am aware there are several settings in Google that can turn off tracking, but I seriously doubt that.)
The only way to stop Google from tracking us is to use another browser. (But Google Chrome can still be used for Google products, even though I don't recommend using them)!
A lot. There are:
- Safari (but according to my research, several sources say Safari doesn't care about our privacy!)
- Tor (thanks @BrockTempler for reminding me!)
- Microsoft Edge (thanks @Whippingdot for telling me!)
- Ungoogled Chromium (thanks @xxpertHacker and @smodnix for reminding me!)
- and more!
You can pick whichever browser you like, but remember each comes with its
cons. Here's the pros and cons of each browser! (By the way, the website is owned by Mozilla so it recommends Firefox! If you think Firefox isn't your favorite, then pick another one!)
Also, watch this (in my opinion) hillarious video to learn more!
Those browsers obviously don't belong to Google and they won't give the data to Google. However, Google can still track us using cookies!
Time to block them.
Obviously, we can just go to the settings tab in the browser, then block all cookies. This way we can browse truly privately!
Also, blocking cookies literally make your internet browsing much faster. Great!
However, we can't use our website accounts and Google products in that browser. For that, we can just use Google Chrome!
Congratulations, we can browse privately now! 🥳🥳🥳
As a bonus, I will give you more tips and tricks.
Should we use AdBlock?
AdBlock is used by millions of people worldwide! So, should we use it?
- AdBlock's current owner is unknown. We don't know who owns it (and I personally don't really trust them)
- Several websites force us to disable AdBlock.
- From my research, YouTube has bypassed AdBlock. We'll probably still see ads! As @OatMilk has pointed, there is a separate AdBlock for YouTube. However, it still doesn't stop Google (which owns YouTube) from tracking us!
Also, you probably won't see ads if you block all cookies.
Should we use DuckDuckGo?
DuckDuckGo is a search engine that doesn't track us!
I'll explain in the following table!
|Tracking||Lots of cookies||No cookies|
|Results||Biased results||Unbiased results|
|Content||Has graphs, diagrams etc||No graphs, no diagrams|
Simply, we just need to type an exclamation mark
!, then tons of shortcuts will appear.
!w, for instance, is for Wikipedia. Searching
!w replit will bring us to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Replit
Yes, Replit also has its own bangs! Use
!repl and type a language to create a new repl with that language (kinda unnecessary, but actually kinda cool!) Type
!repl c for a new C repl!
However, some inappropriate results may appear in DuckDuckGo. That's why we should set SafeSearch to strict! Searching in safe.duckduckgo.com sets SafeSearch to strict by default!
Also, the Tor browser uses DuckDuckGo as its default search engine!
Should we use DuckDuckGo? Yes, yes we should.
Clearing cookie data
Since we have blocked cookies in our other browser, we don't need to clear cookie data there.
But we can actually clear cookie data in Google Chrome!
Settings > Cookies and other site data > See all cookies and site data). There, we can clear selected site data! But don't clear Replit's site data (or we'll be signed out!)
The internet is full of scams. If we can get money by a survey or see a random website with a weird URL pop up, 99% of the time it's a scam (or even virus!)
Also, there's the 'CLICK ALLOW TO VERIFY YOU ARE NOT A ROBOT' scam. If we click allow (hence allowing them to send notifications), they will use the notifications to scare people into doing something! (Thanks @caaaab for telling me!)
There are scam products as well!
So, how do we identify the scams?
But of course, we also need to see the website source files.
Firstly, search how to inspect websites in your chosen browser. You can use Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Ungoogled Chromium etc! Find a tutorial.
Then, follow the steps in the tutorial. You will see a large window appear on the side of the website!
Anyways, you can see the console, source files etc in that website. Read the code. If you think it's fake, then you can be sure it's a scam. Be a detective! 😎
By the way, go to your chosen browser settings and enable HTTPS-Only Mode. This is because URLs that start with
https:// are more secure than
http://! Thanks @CodeLongAndPros for reminding me!
Cookies are bits of information that websites can put to our devices. Websites can see what information the cookies contain.
Google's main source of revenue is advertising. Thus, Google tracks us across the web to see what websites we visit and give us relevant ads based on the data collected.
In other words, Google is watching us.
To stop that, we must use another browser like Firefox, Safari, Brave, Tor, Ungoogled Chromium (which is not the same as Chromium), or Microsoft Edge and disable cookies for private browsing.
Use Google Chrome for websites where you have an account and Google products.
Using AdBlock is risky since the owner is unknown and websites have found ways to stop users from using AdBlock. There is a separate AdBlock for YouTube but it doesn't stop Google from tracking us.
Using DuckDuckGo (a search engine that doesn't track you) doesn't matter when in Google Chrome since Google Chrome sends data to Google.
Using DuckDuckGo to search in another browser is a good idea since the results are unbiased, it loads faster, and there is the bang feature. However, strict SafeSearch must be used to hide inaproppriate results. This can be done by visiting safe.duckduckgo.com. DuckDuckGo also has a browser for mobile that can only block a fraction of the cookies. Other search engines such as Searx can be used as an alternative.
Enable HTTPS-Only Mode in your chosen browser since URLs starting with
https:// are more secure than those starting with
Tor is risky to use since we can access THE DARK WEB using Tor.
Ungoogled Chromium is not the same as Chromium, so beware. Chromium possibly tracks us!
I downloaded Tor in mobile. It randomizes my location to several countries (so far all the countries are in Europe!) Also, it doesn't block cookies but deletes cookie data after exiting the browser.
DuckDuckGo has a browser for mobile! It can only block a fraction of the cookies though (I tested it in one of my repls). I recommend you to use other browsers instead!
Alternatively, you can use other search engines like Searx.
Ecosia won't give you access if you block cookies, so don't use it!
AdBlock Plusis different and I believe more trustworthy than
Searx's most used instance used to be
searx.ca! (I think that's so Google can't continually block it from its results!) I'll try to update this tutorial every time it changes links!
I have no idea why there are so many Searx instances! To be sure, I recommend you to just use DuckDuckGo!
Also, incognito mode in Google Chrome doesn't stop Google and websites from tracking us! Moral of the story: DON'T USE GOOGLE CHROME.
Thanks for reading! (I mean, it's okay if you skipped some parts since this is REALLY long)
If you have any suggestions or corrections, feel free to tell me!
Also, sorry I don't have the list of sources I used...
Now, let's test your eyesight!
C̸̫͈̻̹̿̈́ͅă̷̞̝̻̈̋̒̈́͠n̴̛̘͓͉͆͜ ̸̹̹͔͆̔̆̄̿̐͜ͅy̷̨̡̲͉̯̣̝͌̓̈́ǫ̶̝̹̇́̓͠u̸̝̪͉͇̺͚̹͌̃̎͆̌͗̏͘͠ ̷̗̺͍͙̋̀͗ȑ̵͉̦͗̋̒͊́͝͝e̷̢̻̝̪̔̈́̈́̂̒̂̚̕͝ā̴̙̱̺͕͂́͜ḏ̸̢͍͓̲̰̮͒̈͊̚͜ ̷̧͚͈̫̳̱̄̾͛̏̈̕͝͝ͅť̸̟̘̈́͛́́̊̉̓̚̚h̷̪̗̲̯̫̱͚̩̩̽̉̀̀̑̒̽̎i̶̡̯̼͂̊̏̌s̸̠̏̽̆̆̂?̸̟̘̖̻̞̼͈̃͒͆͐̚
And remember to stay cautious. Don't download anything if you don't think it's legitimate!
Edit: Check out this channel called The Hated One (yes, really) in YouTube. He makes great videos about internet tips and tricks! Here's the link to his channel:
Also, please note that Google and other companies track you in many other different ways. Oh, and THEY'RE NOT JUST ABOUT BROWSING! He also provides ways to prevent being tracked! You can also research yourself :)
Another note: If you see an ad that offers free services, know they get money from something else... most probably by selling your data! I suggest you to not use advertised free services like Honey.
If possible, tell this to people you know (if you haven't already) so they can browse without being tracked as well! (Also, keep in mind I am not forcing you to do this. But, if possible, share this!)
Bye and thanks again!
This is great! I learned a lot! I never knew that Google owned Google Chrome!
But seriously, this is really great!
Hello everyone, I would like you (yes, YOU) to know that Google has not-so-recently launched a program to track users called Federated Learning of Cohorts (or
FLoC for short).
According to the sources I have read (see sources down below),
FLoC is basically Google's attempt to replace third-party cookies and keep your data for themselves!
In order to keep this post short, you can see the sources here:
Also, I still use some Google services on Google Chrome, yet I have not been informed of this change. Google is automating the
FLoC program instead of letting us choose! Thankfully though, pretty much nobody else supports
P.S. I got this information by searching news in DuckDuckGo.
...and thanks again for reading! Have a good day!
@smodnix hey, that's really cool! Upon seeing your comment, I went to Chromium and turned off the cookies. I conducted a Google search and no cookies were stored! I really like it, even more than Firefox (since Firefox allows Mozilla to track us)!
As for Searx, I actually recommend DuckDuckGo because of the BANGS! and faster loading.
Anyways, I'll add Chromium to the post. Thanks!
@smodnix I didn't know about that! Thanks, I'll look it up!
Oh, and by the way, Google is trying to stop users from using Searx!
Yup, the real Searx website is NOT in the results. However, with DuckDuckGo (whose results are unbiased)...
It's the very first result! This is basically proof that Google is trying DESPERATELY to keep everyone (including us) using only Google products.
Really, if not for the fact that my school uses Google Classroom, I would've quit Google pretty much ENTIRELY except for GMail.
Still though, I like Searx! Thanks again for telling me!
I've had some experience with the sites that make you click 'allow' to continue. The ones I've encountered just sit in the background and just give you notifications in the bottom right of your screen like an email or YouTube notification and tell you things that may scare the user into doing something. It's more of phishing than malware and is easily removable by going into your browser settings and removing the site from your allowed notifications. Otherwise, great tutorial!
Bruh add MSEdge to the option of browsers. I use it and it is POG and has WAY more features than Chrome.
P.S. The bang feature looks pretty cool, but I am probs not gonna use duckduckgo cause it has less features than edge.
@Whippingdot okay, thanks! I'll add it after I research!
But I am probs not gonna use duckduckgo cause it ha less features than edge.
Microsoft's search engine is called Bing (which stores cookies) so DuckDuckGo is better imo.
Also, I said Safari, Brave,
etc so you can use other browsers too!
Hey, another thing, I saw that you said you to go to Google Chrome and press
f12 or whatever. You can also do that in Edge cause it is chromium based. The whole post basically says to not use Chrome so you can add 'or Edge' everywhere you write that you need Chrome for the
F12 inspect. @Th3Coder
Regarding virus download, sites can't do much without user permission+interaction, so when you are asked to down load an anti-virus program, more often than not, the button is going to download a virus ;)
Also, you can block JS on a site-by-site basis, I recommend this over en-masse blocking JS.
Wow, very pog tutorial. I would use duckduckgo however the auto-answer is very important to me and I feel that google and bing just look better.
@xxpertHacker what I mean by auto-answer is when the answer appears when we type something! If we type
how long do cats live in Google, we'll get the answer immediately! But we don't in DDG...
But yes, once we see the results there could be auto-answer! If we search
DuckDuckGo in DDG and Google, the answer will automatically appear in the right side of the screen.
I learnt many new things about the browser today which i didnt knew about before :P such as how adBlock is risky and some new names of the browsers which i didn't ever heard before. And the ending quiz answer is - "Can you read this?" (I'm smart(not really..lol))And Sorry i didn't read whole as it was lengthy.
Cool! By the way, I think ecosia also doesn't track you. Can you add that to the list?
Your article is very detailed and easy to understand, This is a must for readers who need advanced knowledge like me, thanks! [link removed by moderator]
use tor my G very encrypted protected smh even the government can't track you without doing a lot of work and if you have a VPN on while on tor its impossible for them to track you even your internet provider can't see you
There is an ad block for youtube!
@OatMilk ohh... thanks for the information! As I am aware though, this extension is different from the AdBlock.
Here's the link to AdBlock:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/adblock-%E2%80%94-best-ad-blocker/gighmmpiobklfepjocnamgkkbiglidom (see the difference? The extension you are referring to is separate from AdBlock!)
Also, I'll add this to the post.
Pretty good article!
Several websites force us to disable AdBlock.
for those annoying pop ups that say something like "We know you're not here for ads, but please to keep this free take off your blocker", I just manually block the popup, as well as the kind of "blur" screen behind it, and that's about all! :)