Surf the Internet anonymously

Anonymous surfing is interesting for a variety of reasons. For example, there are people who want to send, receive or look up sensitive information via the Internet. Think of people who want to read more about a disease, whistleblowers who want to send information, or send personal data such as bank account numbers.

There are different ways you can surf online anonymously. Using a VPN is the most easy-to-use way that is also known for security. On this page you will also find the VPN providers that we believe are best for surfing anonymously. Other ways to use the internet anonymously are also discussed on this page.

Whatever reason you have for wanting to surf anonymously, there are various options you can use to achieve this. Always be aware that nothing can be called anonymous with 100% certainty, a mistake by the user or a mistake by the network can be in a small corner.

Below you will find the content of this page:

VPN connection for anonymous surfing

You can see a VPN server as a kind of proxy, it is an intermediate station that forwards your request to the internet. It is therefore often used as a torrent proxy . The difference with an average proxy server and a VPN proxy server is that a degree, high or low, of encryption is used between your computer and the VPN server.

This means that people who intercept your data traffic towards and from the VPN server cannot do anything with it, because it is encrypted data. Even websites that you visit cannot find out who you are. Your IP address is hidden  from the website or service that you visit. The website thinks that the IP address of the VPN server is your IP address.

Technically, this is a very safe way to use anonymous internet. Something that can undermine the integrity of a VPN service is the fact that the server is managed by a party and in theory a party could see what you are doing on the internet. There are many VPN providers who claim that they have a zero log policy, this means that they do not save anything that you do about a particular VPN connection. In this way, they cannot see exactly what you are doing online.

However, there are countries where the government can oblige a VPN service to submit user data to that government. If you want more certainty that you can actually surf anonymously, you may be better off choosing a VPN provider that is not located in such a country. Then you better choose a VPN provider that is located in a country where the government cannot do this. For example in Romania, Panama or another country that respects the privacy of companies and citizens.

It does not matter from which country you want to surf anonymously in this way, as long as you have an internet connection it is possible to connect to a VPN server. The connection is made between your device (telephone, laptop etc) and the VPN server. The data between your device and the server is encrypted, so nobody and no party has insight into that. You can also surf anonymously from the UK and Belgium or, for example, China or Russia.

Best VPN providers for online anonymity

Below you will find the best VPN services that we believe offer the best anonymity. We paid particular attention to the privacy policy, the logging policy, and the jurisdiction in which the VPN provider operates.

ExpressVPN

Expressvpn  is a VPN service that operates from the British Virgin Islands. This supports the idea that anonymity is really important, as they say themselves. In the British Virgin Islands, the government cannot demand that customer data be shared with the government.

They also indicate that they do not save logs, so that gives you extra security. If they keep track of your information, they cannot share that information. 

Promotion: 3 months free with an annual subscription on ExpressVPN!

* Only valid via the links on our website. During the ordering of an annual subscription you will see this promotion on the ExpressVPN website.

CyberGhost VPN

his VPN service is operating under the jurisdiction of Romania. This is a country that does not fall under the so-called five-eyes, nine-eyes or four-eyes countries. These are the countries that work together to submit data. In addition, it is possible to pay for your subscription with Bitcoin, which makes purchasing a VPN subscription a lot more anonymous. The technology and encryption used in CyberGhost is also reliable and strong.

In the CyberGhost software you will find various functions that increase your anonymity on the internet. For example, in CyberGhost’s software you will find a kill switch function that blocks all internet traffic as soon as the VPN connection is lost, this way unencrypted data is sent over the internet by accident. In addition, there is even a special user profile that activates the settings for the highest anonymity.

AirVPN

AirVPN  is a service set up by so-called hacktivists. They have created the service to protect individuals against internet censorship and for journalists who must be able to work anonymously.

Regarding privacy and anonymity, we have great confidence in AirVPN. This is partly due to the technical background of the owners and the reason for establishing the service. Via the VPN client “Eddy” you can arrange many security settings yourself. For example, the protocol to be used and associated encryption.

A small disadvantage is that the software looks somewhat “basic”. The functionality and safety options are great, but for the less technical people among us it can be a bit difficult to understand. There are also no apps available for iOS and Android. On the website you can find a manual on how to connect to AirVPN servers with Android and iOS phones and tablets.

All in all, we can warmly recommend AirVPN to surf anonymously. 

Everything about VPN connection is anonymous

When you use a VPN connection, all your traffic is encrypted and therefore sent and received via a server of the VPN service. This means that it doesn’t matter if you surf with Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, Internet Explorer or another browser. So as long as the VPN connection is up and running you will always be surfing anonymously. This naturally also applies to mobile devices such as an iPad, iPhone or Android phone.

Also other data that you send and receive is over this connection. It is therefore also the solution to be able to download anonymously or to send e-mails, provided that you use an e-mail address that is not linked to you. The great thing is that many different computers use the one VPN server that you are connected to. For any other parties that look at what data the VPN server sends and receives, it is still unclear which user of that VPN server sends what.

Anonymous internet at home

You must be aware that your provider has a retention obligation with regard to your data. Internet providers such as KPN and Ziggo must keep the information about which websites you have visited for 6 months. We do not think this is a pleasant idea that your internet provider can easily see which sites you visit and that it is also kept.

With a VPN you can prevent your internet provider from understanding this. When you are connected to a VPN server, the data is first encrypted before it is sent to your internet provider. This means that Ziggo, KPN or another provider will only see encrypted data. They cannot do anything with this, for your provider you use the internet anonymously.

At work

VPN connections are therefore set up through a virtual point-to-point connection. This is done by using a virtually secured tunnel and encrypting the data that is sent in most protocols. There are different ways how the tunnel can be set up. The most commonly used ways, the protocols, will be discussed below.

OpenVPN

If you want to surf your work anonymously, this is also possible in principle, but there are some extra pitfalls. If your employer checks your internet behavior, they usually do so by checking which websites you visit via the router within the network. If this is the case, a VPN works as a great solution to keep your internet behavior hidden.

If your user account on the computer falls within the large network of your company, it may be that the system administrator can monitor your internet behavior in a different way. For example, by looking in the history of your browser. Another option may be that the employer records your screen live and thus also gains insight into your internet behavior.

The latter mainly occurs with large companies with large company networks. If you work within a small company without a complex company network, you can use an internet VPN to work anonymous.

If you want to surf anonymously at work, it is therefore possible, but be aware of the pitfalls. If necessary, ask a system administrator if surfing behavior is checked at the network level and how this is done.

Use the internet anonymously on different systems

With a VPN account it is relatively easy to use the internet anonymously on different devices with different operating systems. Most VPN services have developed client software for the various known operating systems. With this software it is very easy to connect to a VPN server. If this connection is active you can use the internet anonymously.

Anonymous surfing on Mac and Windows computers

For  Mac computers with MacOS as well as computers and laptops with Windows as operating system there is software available from the different VPN services. When you start the software you can usually simply click on “connect” or “connect”. From that moment all your data is encrypted and you have hidden your own IP address. From that moment you can use the internet anonymously on your computer.

An example of how to make a VPN connection to a VPN server via the software is shown below.

Choose location and connect to ExpressVPN

Anonymous on iPhone and Android

It is also possible to surf anonymously on your iPhone and Android device. All the large and well-known VPN providers do have an app for both iOS and Android devices. When you install this you can easily connect to a VPN server to surf anonymously.

Other operating systems

In addition, there are also VPN providers that let you easily surf anonymously with other devices and operating systems. Private Internet Access, for example, has an installation script for Ubuntu and there are also providers who have a clear explanation for installation on a DD-WRT router . When you install a VPN connection on your router, all your internet traffic is encrypted and it goes through a different IP address than the IP address you received from your own provider.

Use TOR browser for anonymous browsing

There is a browser available that ensures extreme privacy while surfing. This is the so-called tor browser. This is a browser that is built on the basis of Firefox but uses the tor network. TOR stands for “The Onion Router”. This network ensures that the users of this network can never be traced.

Tor is a global computer network that uses different computers that are all connected to the internet. When you send a request to the TOR network, for example to request a web page, your request is completely subdivided into small pieces. These are sent encrypted to the various servers within the network. The data that you want to receive is also encrypted, distributed among the various computers in the network and sent back to your computer.

This means that it is virtually impossible to see who does what exactly on the internet. This network forms a guarantee of a high degree of privacy. However, the disadvantage is that the internet is a lot slower than you are used to. Something that doesn’t bother you with a VPN connection, for example.

With the TOR network you can also access the Dark Web. This is the bent part of the internet that is often talked about in the media. But it is also very well suited for anonymous browsing.

However, a major disadvantage is the speed of the network. Because the sending and receiving of data goes through different computers, it is often the case that data transfer is severely limited. This is the reason that it is not really suitable for daily use.

Anonymous surfing in Chrome and Firefox

Firefox and Chrome are the most popular browsers of the moment. We often get the question how anonymous internet can be used in these browsers. There are, in fact, a number of things to watch out for.

Private window and incognito windows

The well-known web browsers have an option available that lets you surf “anonymously”. In Chrome, for example, this option is called incognito and in Mozilla’s Firefox browser, a session is called a private window. We cannot call this anonymous surfing. The only anonymous thing about accessing the internet in this way is that no cookies are accepted and no history is stored. To maintain a high level of anonymity, it is still necessary to use the private or incognito window.

It is still possible for your provider to see which websites you call. The online services that you want to use and / or visit still see what your real IP address is.

VPN (extension)

It is therefore necessary to use some kind of proxy. As mentioned, using a VPN is the most obvious and easiest option to implement. Most well-known VPN services now even have extensions or plugins available for the Chrome and Firefox browsers. So you can directly enable your VPN connection from the browser and be sure that you are surfing the internet anonymously.

Rather Firefox than Chrome for anonymous surfing

Even if you use a private window in the Google Chrome browser, you should not assume that nobody could see your data. Google benefits from collecting as much data as possible from users who use their services. Even though you have a VPN connection and use a Chrome incognito window, it is still possible that Google will store which sites you visit. This will be the case when you are logged in with your incognito window in your Google account. That happens, for example, when you use your Gmail.

Firefox is a lot safer in that regard. It doesn’t have that problem, and Firefox is open source so that everyone can check how the software works. You are therefore more certain that Firefox does not store any data and thus endangers your privacy.

Proxy servers for anonymous internet use

In addition, you also have the well-known proxy servers that function as an intermediate station for your internet traffic. The result is that the websites you visit cannot see the IP address that you are connected to the Internet. They see the IP address of the proxy server.

There are a number of free proxy servers that you can use. But in most cases, a free proxy server leaves something to be desired in terms of anonymity. For example, in most cases your traffic is not encrypted and sent between your computer and the proxy server, which means that your internet provider can still easily monitor what you are doing. In our eyes, this is not really anonymous surfing.

A situation when such a proxy server can be useful is, for example, when you are on a network that blocks certain websites or when you want to view geographically blocked content, for example. It can also be useful if you do not want the website that you visit or another server with which you connect to see which IP address you have.

Visit blocked websites by surfing anonymously

It may happen that you no longer have access to a website for whatever reason. Perhaps your ip address is blocked on some websites so that you can no longer visit it. Perhaps a government or your provider has decided that you are no longer allowed to visit a certain website, as happened recently with The Pirate Bay blockade .

A VPN offers the solution in these cases. When you are connected to the internet via a VPN, you have a different IP address for the outside world. For example, it is not possible for websites to block your ip address. Also for your provider it is no longer possible with a VPN connection to make a website inaccessible, because your provider can no longer see which websites you visit.

Conclusion anonymous surfing

As you can see there are different ways to surf anonymously. Whatever method you choose, you must be aware that you are proceeding carefully. For example, make sure that you are not logged in to a service that can be linked to your person. For example, being logged in to Google or Facebook with your personal account quickly reveals that you are the one using the secure connection.