Cleaner browsing

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There are few thing I cherish on the internet; one is owning my own data and two is anything to do with online privacy. Even though I will continue to use Facebook and Instagram for instance, I am very cautious what I put on there. I don’t mind advertising here and there, but I do mind all the tracking that’s going on. If there’s online junk (all shapes and sizes) I can avoid then I will probably find a way to block that.

For starters, I will browse mostly in Google Chrome’s Incognito modus, but that’s not all I do. Here are three things I add to that mix:

  1. Hosts file protection – There’s a lot of nasty and disgusting stuff I don’t particularly care to ever see myself, but most certainly don’t want my kids to see when they browse the webs. Blocking those particular sites on a hosts level would be the best way to do this and fortunately there is an initiative that has generated one huge mother of a list of sites you don’t ever need to see. All you have to do is copy and paste the contents found here into your hosts file and hit save.
  2. Adblock Project – Installing the Adblock Project browser plugin helps hide all the stuff the hosts file doesn’t take care of. No brainer, really.
  3. GhosteryGhostery™ sees the invisible web – tags, web bugs, pixels and beacons. Ghostery tracks the trackers and gives you a roll-call of the ad networks, behavioral data providers, web publishers, and other companies interested in your activity. So, basically, you get to see who tracks you.

So, there you have it. I’m sure there’s a lot more I could do, so I am all ears to what you guys suggest in the comments!

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16 responses to “Cleaner browsing”

  1. Luc De Brouwer Avatar

    I like the initiative of that hosts file but it’s a little outdated. For instance, is an email provider nowadays for the nostalgic internet deviant.

    1. Remkus Avatar

      Yeah, I know. It’s the most up-to-date one I know though. Someone should turn that thing into a Github repo and get some contribution going on it methinks. Right?

      1. Luc De Brouwer Avatar

        Yep! But I don’t believe it’s possible to include an external file in a hosts file. And since I also use my own configuration I think a Git solution, mainly targeted at developers I think, would actually rarely be used by that group.

        1. Remkus Avatar

          Perhaps, but an App like Gas Mask does allow you to add second hosts file.

          Compiling the list would work on Github I think, but having a decent site around it would definitely make the difference.

  2. Daan Kortenbach Avatar
    Daan Kortenbach

    Using all of that 😉

    Having some afterthoughts on the hosts file as it is also blocking some stuff that has nothing to do with privacy, but… as you mentioned, I also really don’t care about those sites.

    Besides that I use my hosts file as an anti-procrastination tool, blocking all sites that just suck my time and have no real benifits.

    For 2013 I started a new section in my hosts file: anti-politics. I was getting frustrated with all the political bullshit and as a result I am now blocking news sites 🙂

    1. Remkus Avatar

      Yeah, it does way more than protecting your privacy. But really, all the extra blocking that’s going on is about sites I couldn’t give a fuck about.

  3. tomhermans Avatar

    Good post.
    Although I like the Chrome sync’ing, remembering pw, and showing stuff I visited on other devices (esp. handy is autofill on mobile devices), which I guess will not work in incognito mode..

    1. Remkus Avatar

      Correct. TBH, for all my work related stuff I do not use the incognito mode.

      1. tomhermans Avatar

        only for pr0n then 🙂 🙂

  4. Kent Fackenthall Avatar

    Thanks for the info. As a bit of a noob, I’m confused though. What/where is my hosts file and how do I edit it?

    1. Remkus Avatar

      Depending on your OS, but Wikipedia can tell you more about hosts files.

  5. Ozh Avatar

    Instead of keeping a gigantic host file up to date, consider using something like OpenDNS, which has an option to block porn / gambling / whatever sites. Check out

    1. Remkus Avatar

      I have actually tried that, but I got weird outages and various odd behaviour. Granted, that was almost two years ago. I assume lots has changed?

  6. Frank Meeuwsen Avatar

    Great info and insights, especially in the comments. This should be on ;-).

    1. Remkus Avatar

      I will make it so 🙂

  7. pauldewouters Avatar

    I use Ixquick search engine, a VPN (hidemyass), adblock plus, https everywhere, ghostery, privacy fix, I don’t use Facebook.
    Check out this post for some detailed guides to protect your privacy:

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