Initially seen as one of the internet’s greatest strengths, online anonymity is a thing of the past. On the contrary, online tracking and surveillance are at an all-time high, while unregulated tech companies maximize user data extraction, turning user information into the primary source of profit.

Despite the ever-growing convenience of new software and tech products, most users feel appalled and discomforted by the amount of data given away by the advertisers. For example, once you order a product from any website of your choice, it is crawling with third-party cookies that collect your information for personalized ads that appear on other, seemingly unrelated websites. Or worse, you can mention a product, tv show, or a simple phrase in the privacy of your home, and lo and behold – related content appears everywhere you go on the web.

Digital footprints are another cause for concern. With social media websites storing your personal information from as long as a decade ago, tech companies can recreate the whole lives of the new generation of internet addicts. If you believe the term “addict” is an overstatement, it’s probably been a while since you’ve been around young kids or teenagers. While the internet is still an extremely convenient tool, without regulation, the biggest tech companies exploit primitive human behavior for profit. When a business model depends on data aggregation, privacy is a big obstacle that has to be eliminated.

If we do not want to be victims of big tech exploitation, we must learn the methods that protect our privacy and minimize tracking online. A simple privacy tool, such as a browser proxy, can make your web surfing experience feel much more private. Smartproxy is a great proxy server provider that rents the best proxies and teaches beginners how to use them. Let’s discuss the main methods that will help you reduce your digital footprints and protect privacy online.

Do not get tempted by free proxies!

While a proxy server is a great tool for reducing tracking and preserving online anonymity, free proxy owners capitalize on this public perception to trick beginners into a trap. Why would you want to pay for residential proxies when there are plenty of free proxies on the web?

And that’s where they can get you. While trying to protect your identity online, you expose yourself to hackers and cybercriminals instead of tech companies and advertisers. Now that’s a great way of turning a moderately bad situation into an awful one.

If you connect to a social media website, or worse – perform a transaction in an online shop while using a free browser proxy, all transmitted data packets will be visible to malicious persons hosting the intermediary server. Hackers can take a peek at this information and get your address, credit card information, and other sensitive data. Now that’s a privacy nightmare!

The advantages of proxy servers only apply if you choose a browser proxy from a respectable provider. Companies that rent out fast, residential proxies must abide by the law when handling sensitive client information. These intermediary servers will also help you bypass geo-location blocks and continue connecting to servers that blacklisted your main IP address. Together with a layer of privacy and anonymity, these additional services enhance the browsing experience.

Use a search engine to find unwanted personal information

Looking up yourself on the web is a great way to find your personal data from the past. This way, we find embarrassing or unacceptable posts on social media platforms and forums. Also, you may never know when you’ve been affected by a virus that could have created posts without your knowledge. Everyone has tried to Google themselves at least once, but who would have thought – it can help you minimize your digital footprint.

Once you find your unwanted, publicly available posts, make sure to delete or deactivate unused accounts. You will minimize your digital footprint and eliminate old posts that can have been used to harass, sabotage, or blackmail you.

Protect your business with proxies

In essence, our privacy is interconnected with security. If you own a website that experiences heavy traffic, an exposed connection to the server leaves you vulnerable to hackers that will prey on every opportunity to sabotage your privacy and leak data.

While a browser proxy is a great privacy tool for many web surfers, reverse proxies help website owners balance the load between internal servers. Acting as gateways that control the website’s traffic, they can reduce the toll and minimize the effect of DDoS attacks.

When businesses perform their tasks on the web, a residential proxy is their best friend. Different IPs from various proxy providers create a disguise for social media and web scraping operations and secure a safe way out if the main IP gets stuck in a honeypot. Proxy servers are the key factor that helps us stay private and anonymous on the internet.