No-History Browsing: Browsing without leaving any tracks
How can I surf the web without leaving a trail in the history?
There are at least three easy ways!
1.) Use a Proxy
A proxy is a safe way to browse, as not only does it hide which sites you visit from your browser and any prying eyes that may use your browser after you, but it also prevents your network administrator and ISP from seeing where you have been.
- You can use an HTTP proxy - this is like visiting a website that acts as a surrogate browser for you.
- You can change your proxy settings in your PC - this is a pain to keep on setting and resetting - better to install a proxy switcher to your browser.
- Install a Proxy Switch or proxy plugin for your browser. If you use Firefox, there are a number of good proxy addons that you can simply plug into your browser that will allow you to change proxies that will completely hide your browsing history.
2.) Use an iframe Browser
Sites opened inside of an iframe do not currently show up in the history of most browsers.
An iframe is a little window inside of a webpage that can be used to view other webpages. Digg is a famous example, where when a visitor to Digg clicks on an article link, they are directed to the article still embedded in an iframe on the Digg page so that the visitor never actually leaves Digg's website. The page visited inside the iframe does not show up in the browsing history.
We have created an iframe browser that you can use as a test. It is a bit quirky, as you must use the button insted of the "ENTER" key to visit a page, but other than that it works as a normal browser would.
3.) Use a history free surfing plugin
There are a number of plugins you can install in your browser which will let you turn off history logging. See our recommended best solutions below. >>>more...
You can always manually delete your history, but this gets tedious.
Don't Forget COOKIES!
That about covers it for history, but a snooping person looking over your computer could still discover a trail thanks to cookies! See our page on cookies to find out where they are hiding and how to remove them.
Look into installing a cookie utility addon for your browser such as "Cookie Culler" or a professional web-developer package which will allow you to delete path cookies or only the cookies from a particular website.
The newest version of IE has a cookie and cache clearing capability built-in, so upgrade and learn how to use the developer tools in IE8. You can clear them for just a single domain. REMEMBER! This only clears the cookies and cache for Internet Explorer - so if you were viewing forbidden sites with Firefox, Safari, Opera, Chrome or any other browsers you have installed, they must also be cleaned separately.
In IE8, Click Tools>Developer Tools to get the following dialog:
This little tool will allow you to clear your cookies and the cache for any particular domain.
Firefox has a web developer's plugin that allows you to manipulate cookies and the cache. Here are two ways how:
There are two arrows on the above image, either way will work. The upper arrow is if you have the web-developer plugin installed. The bottom "Clear Private Data" tab is built-in. If you click the bottom menu item, you will get the following dialog:
The problem is that this will clear ALL of your history - thereby perhaps alerting your snoop to the fact that you are indeed hiding something, and this will make them search for more. Better would be to remove the particular history items you would like to hide from prying eyes manually.
The Best Solutions:
Addons to your browser which will manage your history, cookies and cache for you, such as the Firefox Anonymization toolbar - which is a does-it-all solution for browsing privacy.
- Anonymization Toolbar: Clear your online cache and history with this add on, which also lets you surf the Web with Firefox anonymously.
- Attention Recorder: This open source add-on lets users control their Web history and other "attention data" that can be stolen by hackers.
- Browse at Work: Visit personal profiles and other sites that may be considered taboo at the office with this add-on, which keeps your identity a secret.
- Clear Private Data: This extension makes Firefox's "Clear Private Data" feature as shown above more effective and easier to access.
- Temporary Inbox: Set up a temporary e-mail address and inbox with this app, which can help you avoid spam, viruses and someone tracking you to risque sites.
- SafeHistory: Keep hackers from finding out your online history with SafeHistory.
- SafeCache: SafeCache is a similar app that checks cookie settings and "segments the cache on the basis of the originating document, defending against web privacy attacks."
- hideBad 2.0: This tool is great for surfing the Web at work and for general security purposes. hideBad "quickly closes tabs that you do not want others to see" and clears your online history.
- PhProxy - InBasic 3.0.3B: Only your server’s IP address will show up when you visit sites, not yours.
- Ghostfox: This app doesn’t work with MacOSX, but it can be handy tool for Windows users who want to keep their Firefox browser invisible from passers by.
- KeyScrambler Personal: Here’s a great tool that’s unfortunately not available for MacOSX. The app encrypts your keystrokes so that passwords and other private information can’t be tracked.
If I clear my history, does it remove my cookies too?
This bears repeating. Many have been betrayed by their cookies after meticulously deleting all scandalous links from their history. Don't forget the cookies!
If I clear my history, does it clear my cache too?
No. Someone could snoop through your cache to see what you have viewed as well.