Curiosity got the best of you, and you had to find out what your ex was up to? Thank goodness for incognito mode! At least your bestie won’t find out even if they used your computer.
Incognito mode is a lifesaver for those embarrassing searches you’d rather not admit to. That said, don’t ever rely on incognito mode to rant about your boss on your office network. Incognito mode won’t save you here!
Your network administrator can still see your internet traffic and trace it back to you. Surprise, surprise! Incognito mode only gives you limited privacy. Your network administrator, ISP, cyber stalkers, and even the websites you’re visiting can still see your IP address and track the data leaving your device to the internet.
You’ll need a VPN (virtual private network) for all-around, fool-proof anonymity, and security. Confused about what information is safe in incognito mode and what isn’t? Don’t learn it the hard way. Let’s clear up the confusion.
If you want to hide your IP address quickly, download CyberGhost VPN now. With over 6,500 servers across 90 countries, you can hide what you are doing and make it impossible for ISPs, websites, and other third parties to see what you are doing.
What is Incognito Mode, and Does it Hide your IP Address?
Incognito mode, private browsing, or inPrivate tabs, depending on the browser you’re using, all claim to give you the freedom to keep your online activities private. Well, they sort of do…just sort of!
When you browse through a regular window, your browser stores your search history on your device by default. Anyone else using your computer can totally invade your privacy and find out what you were doing. Conversely, when you use a private or incognito window, your browser doesn’t store any data regarding your browsing session – search history, account credentials, cookies, etc. – on your computer.
That means incognito mode may save you the embarrassment of your browser auto-completing your coworker’s ‘how to’ with ‘lose 15 lbs in 3 hours’. It’ll be as if you never looked up something as outrageous… Not entirely though!
Your auto-complete won’t give you away thanks to the incognito mode, but the following website ads for weight-loss teas, pills, and diets will. While incognito mode discards your search history from your computer, it doesn’t hide your IP address. Websites can still see your IP address, browser, browser’s settings, operating system (OS), and even your internet searches.
Basically, you get anonymity and privacy on your computer only. You surely aren’t anonymous out there on the internet if you’re relying solely on the incognito mode.
Why Hide Your IP Address?
Do you mind sharing your exact location with your ISP, government, advertisers, and pretty much anyone on the internet who’d care to know? Unfortunately, that’s what you’re doing if you’re not taking steps to hide your IP address. Needless to say, going incognito doesn’t count!
Much like your ID card or perhaps your driver’s license, your IP address is your unique identifier on the internet. It gives away your country, city, zip code, longitude, latitude, and indicates your exact location. Anyone who has your IP address can know who you are, where you are, and what you’re doing on the internet.
Websites Track You
Websites use your IP address to track how many times you visit them and gauge your interests. Ever notice how hotel bookings and air tickets get expensive when you need them? Exactly! They know when you’re traveling and will raise their prices.
Cybercriminals Can Steal Your Data
Even more concerning than web trackers is that cybercriminals can block your connection to catch the data leaving your computers, like your credentials and banking information. This is called a man-in-the-middle attack. Cybercriminals can spy on you, impersonate you, or steal money from your bank accounts.
ISP’s See Everything
If you’re not actively hiding your IP address, your ISP can easily invade your privacy and trace your internet traffic back to you. This can have several implications:
- Your ISP can monitor your online activities and sell your data to third-party advertisers.
- Your ISP can hand over your data and internet history to government authorities.
- Sophisticated cybercriminals can hack your ISP’s servers to steal their records that have your data.
- Your ISP can throttle your internet connection if you’re consuming too much bandwidth.
To sum it up, outsiders like your ISP, cybercriminals, and the websites you visit shouldn’t be able to see your IP address when you’re online. As convenient as it is, incognito mode won’t give you that anonymity.
Browsers Track You Even in Incognito
Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and even Brave, one of the safest browsers, all have information on you. They all boast private browsing modes that hide your searches locally, but still track your online moves and store your data on their end.
Nobody stalks you better than Microsoft and Google. They know your age, gender, interests, where you’re from, where you live, where you work, the devices you own, and what you watch on Youtube. They recognize all the pictures you store on their photo storage apps and all the credentials you’ve ever saved on their browsers. They know everything you’ve ever added to your shopping cart, whether you bought it or not. If you’ve integrated your social media with your email, they even know who you talk to and when.
Mozilla, the company behind Firefox, does the same in its private mode but much more discreetly. It says it collects data like your IP address to ‘debug’ and ‘understand how people use their browsers’. Browser policies can be misleading like that.
The bottom line remains: Your data is where it doesn’t belong.
Take Better Measures for Your Digital Privacy
Incognito mode is great when you’re using someone else’s computer and don’t want to mess up their computer settings or log out of their accounts, etc. It may hide your random, not-so-bright searches from others who can access your computer, but it isn’t enough to stay anonymous online.
That said, you don’t have to accept your IP address plastered all over your internet traffic. You’ve got plenty of other options that work:
- Use a proxy
- Use Tor
- Use a VPN
Let’s deep dive into each of these options.
Use a Proxy
A proxy is just a middleman sitting between your computer and the destination you’re trying to reach via the internet. Your internet traffic first goes to a proxy server that simply masks your IP address with its own. Websites and eavesdroppers will see the proxy server’s IP address instead of yours. Problem solved!
Here’s the catch though: If someone sniffs your internet traffic before it reaches the proxy server, they’ll know your original IP address. A proxy won’t hide you from your ISP. Did I mention, shady, free proxies will slow down your internet and may even be running on malware-laden servers? Well, there’s that!
Use the Tor Network
Tor may sound a bit intimidating, but it’s definitely safer than proxies. Tor is a network of thousands of server nodes. Tor browser adds multiple encryption layers to your web traffic and forwards it to one of its nodes. All in all, your traffic goes to 3 different Tor nodes. Each node decrypts an encryption layer until the traffic is fully deciphered and reaches its final destination.
Websites and others trying to track your internet traffic simply can’t because of its complicated path. The catch? All this hopping around between multiple nodes means painfully slow browsing speeds. Slow speeds may be worth it for someone who needs to be extra cautious, like social activists or dissidents, but it can be aggravating if all you want is to buy a bed bug spray without ads haunting you for weeks.
Get CyberGhost VPN
A VPN hides your IP address and creates a secure and private tunnel between your computer and your destination. Unlike a proxy where you must first connect to the ISP’s servers, a VPN first connects you to one of its encrypted servers and replaces your IP address with the server’s. Even your ISP can’t see your IP address or your internet traffic, because it’s all encrypted.
Not all VPNs are alike though. You’d want to avoid the free and questionable ones that’ll slow you down with their outdated server infrastructure. They may even sell your data to advertisers. The key is to choose a premium and reliable VPN like CyberGhost.
CyberGhost VPN gives you access to a massive, speed-optimized server fleet of 7100+ servers spread across 91 countries. This ensures you get maximum speeds and additional benefits like access to international content that aren’t available in your region yet. We also have a stringent No-Logs policy. That means we don’t store any data that can potentially expose your identity. We can’t share or sell what we don’t have.
What if your VPN connection drops suddenly and you’re instantly exposed to your ISP? Well, that won’t happen if you’re connected to CyberGhost VPN. Our automatic Kill Switch disconnects you from the internet at the first signs of a wobbly VPN connection. You get fool-proof protection and privacy for your browsing sessions with a risk-free 45-day money-back guarantee.
Tips for Extra Privacy
While you’re at it, you might as well boost your online privacy with a few extra measures:
1. Log Out of Your Online Accounts
Turn On your VPN, use Tor on top, and Google will still track your every move if you’re logged in to your Gmail account while browsing. To make the most out of the privacy tools you’re using, ensure you don’t override them by giving away your identity through your email or social media accounts.
2. Avoid Browser Bookmarks
Most browsers are data-starving machines that try to consume data in every possible way. The websites or pages you bookmark on your browser will get synced with your email account when you log in. Avoid creating bookmarks so your browser doesn’t track your favorites to analyze and disclose your personal preferences and interests.
3. Use a Private Browser
Websites often run scripts that collect browser fingerprints – information about your browser, browser’s setting, OS, browser extensions, and other technical specifications that reveal a ton about you. Use a reliable private browser with ad-blocking and anti-tracking features to keep website trackers at bay.
Choose one from our list of safest browsers, or try CyberGhost Private Browser that has all these capabilities and more. It blocks malicious ads and pop-ups so you have fewer chances of downloading spyware and won’t get followed around.
Hide Your IP Address, Protect Your Digital Identity
It’s time for you to take your privacy matters into your own hands. Don’t just rely on your browser’s in-built privacy features like incognito mode or inPrivate browsing. They’re insufficient and pretty much a hoax to give you a false sense of privacy.
Why put your digital identity at stake when online privacy is just a single click away? Use a renowned VPN like CyberGhost VPN that has optimized servers that provide privacy features like automatic Kill Switch and IP leak protection. That way you won’t accidentally reveal your IP address or digital identity. Reclaim your digital privacy and keep your browsing sessions to yourself with a VPN!
Can my IP address be tracked in incognito mode?
Yes, definitely! Incognito mode does nothing to hide your IP address no matter which browser you’re using. Incognito mode doesn’t save your browsing history and credentials locally on your computer. That’s it! Your ISP, network administrator, and browser can see your IP address and track your online activities just like they would if you weren’t using the incognito mode at all. You’ll need a trusted VPN like CyberGhost to hide your IP address and reduce your digital footprint.
How do I hide my IP while browsing?
Use a reputable VPN service to hide your IP while browsing. It’s the easiest, most effective way to do so. CyberGhost VPN has a massive server fleet of 7100+ servers spread across 91 countries. We replace your IP address with one of our encrypted servers’ that’ll give you optimal speed. No one can see your original IP address or your data, and your internet speeds remain unaffected. Just download the CyberGhost VPN app and tap or click the toggle button to connect to our servers.
You have a few other options like using a proxy server or the Tor browser, but they’ll slow down your internet speed. Unlike CyberGhost VPN, proxies can’t hide your IP address from your ISP. They’re also notorious for storing and selling your personal data, which simply defeats the purpose.
Does incognito mode really hide you?
No, incognito mode doesn’t hide you from everyone on the internet. It only doesn’t store your browsing history on your computer, so others sharing your device can’t see it. Your ISP, government, network admins, browser, and websites can still see your IP address and internet activities. A VPN is the only way you can go truly incognito on any network. CyberGhost VPN hides your IP address and reroutes your traffic through a private and encrypted tunnel. That’s how we keep you completely anonymous over the internet.
We also have an ironclad No-Logs policy, which means no one, including us, can identify or track you online.
Does Google’s incognito mode track any of my information?
Absolutely! Google tracks every move you make online even in incognito mode. Google simply doesn’t store your browsing history locally on your device when you’re using incognito mode. On Google’s side, your IP address, online activities, cookies, and site data are fully visible just as they’d be if you weren’t using incognito mode.
What’s the best browser to use in incognito mode?
Google, Mozilla, and Microsoft, all track your activities even in incognito mode. Opera is the only browser that offers some noteworthy privacy features in its private browsing mode. You must enable their VPN service to keep your browsing sessions private from your ISP or network admins to some extent. That said, Opera’s built-in VPN is a proxy-based VPN that isn’t as efficient or secure as a VPN service like CyberGhost VPN.
Use CyberGhost VPN together with our CyberGhost Private Browser to get the ultimate privacy and security. CyberGhost VPN will hide your IP address and encrypt your traffic, while our private browser will block malicious ads and any website trackers from following you around on the internet.