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There are a number of different ways to remain anonymous online, including methods by which you can use software to improve your anonymity and practices to protect yourself. The use of a proxy server, for example, can help you remain anonymous by placing additional steps between your system and any site you visit. There are also some general practices to keep in mind to remain anonymous online such as not posting information about yourself.
You may want to remain anonymous online for a variety of reasons, but you should keep in mind that various methods to maintain anonymity all require some effort on your part. The very way in which the various protocols of online communication are set up require identification of your system to connect and communicate with other systems on the Internet. Your Internet protocol (IP) address is used to connect to other systems and effectively eliminates your ability to remain anonymous online.
To counteract this, however, you can utilize a proxy server to act as a “middle man” between your system and other websites or systems online. There are many proxy servers and systems you can use to remain anonymous online, but they all act in much the same way. Basically, a proxy server is a server that you connect to which then connects to other servers online for accessing information on those servers, such as websites.
During normal Internet use, you can connect to a website by having your computer contact the server on which that site is located and requesting to connect to the site. When you do this, the server and administrator of the website is able to see information about you, such as your IP address and your Internet service provider (ISP). If you use a proxy server to remain anonymous online, however, the website server you connect to “sees” the information for the proxy server, rather than your own information. Proxy servers and similar services can have different levels of effectiveness against a direct attack or attempt by someone to see what you are doing online.
You can also improve your ability to remain anonymous online by controlling the amount of information you indicate about yourself on various websites. If anonymity is important to you, then you should not use an email address that includes your name or birthday, and you should not post your name or other information about yourself on forums or other sites online. You should also be careful of metadata in any file you post online, as this can potentially identify you or the computer you are using. It can also be advantageous to use more than one email address, so you can control how much information about yourself is available to businesses and websites you use.