How to Keep Your Private & Personal Browsing Lives Separate

How to Keep Your Private & Personal Browsing Lives Separate

Jason Yang
Feb 27, 2012

It can be embarrassing when personal sites pop up via browser auto suggestion, revealing your previously private browsing history to coworkers, family, or friends. And don't you hate when someone uses your computer to login to their Gmail or Facebook account and you have to log them out and then back into your own account? Check out our simple tips to keep you web surfing private.

Use different web browsers to separate types of tasks. While web designers hate the ever-growing variations of web browsers, they do give the user more choices. Not only in selecting your favorite web browser but the ability to separate your tasks by browser. Doing so allows you to keep completely segregated lives on each browser, with their own set of cookies, cache, history, etc. As an example, you could use the four major web browsers to split your usage into the following:

Firefox: work-related
Chrome: personal
Safari: significant other (or really personal if you live alone)
IE: guests

Each partner gets a different browser. Even with Google's multiple login feature it's a pain in the butt to have to switch back to your own settings on your own computer. And as if Google tracking your usage habits wasn't bad enough, with multiple people sharing one browser the tracking patterns get way wacky. Our Amazon suggestions are totally a mix of tech gear and high heel shoes. Plus we could swear all we want that we didn't run that search or visit that site that's being auto-suggested. Browser history never lies!

Have guests use a different web browser. You don't want your guests mucking up your browser history, auto-complete URLs, cookies, logins, etc., so give them their own web browser that's for guest use only.

Turn on your browser's privacy mode. Most web browsers have it and whether it's used for legitimate reasons or not, it's there and it's useful. Privacy mode basically provides your browser with a shot of amnesia for the time period that you're using it.

Turn off cookies and JavaScript. Turn up your security settings. If you must visit NSFW websites, know that they are a major source of security attacks. Wear protection if you must! If you use privacy mode these are essentially some of the same techniques that your browser uses, but you can pinpoint specific individual areas such as cookies or JavaScript on your own.

Using any of these simple techniques you can conveniently and safely separate your multiple lives on the internet. Whether it's at the office or at home, you can surf the web with peace of mind that you won't get caught with your pr0n pants down.

(Images: iophoto/Shutterstock, Sven Hoppe/Shutterstock)

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