Understanding VPN & Tracking Cookies

Using a personal VPN is a powerful step you can take immediately to secure your Internet access and prevent snooping by third parties. Learning how to use your VPN effectively and understanding what it can and cannot do is extremely important. A VPN works best when it is combined with some old fashioned common sense and diligence in protecting your privacy.

What are cookies?

Cookies are a form of Internet technology that allow websites to install a tracking device on your computer which will identify you when you visit the site again. Some of the most popular websites in the world use cookies…sites like YouTube and Facebook…and these can present a serious threat to your online security as well as slow down your system. A recent study revealed that more than 80% of the world’s top websites expose visitors to third-party cookies.

Like many other forms of Internet tech, cookies can serve a good purpose. The problem is that many search engines can use cookies to track you across the Net. Think of cookies like the crumbs Hansel and Gretel dropped in order to find their way back home. The cookies on your computer could be leaving a trail of your surfing activity.

Does a personal VPN eliminate cookies?

Strictly speaking, using your personal VPN does not prevent cookies from being installed on your device nor does it remove them from your system. That being said, using a VPN is a great step toward preventing websites from “profiling” you through the use of cookies.

Let’s begin by looking at what your VPN account does for you:

  • A VPN masks your IP address and uses sophisticated encryption to secure your data from prying eyes.
  • A VPN assists in preventing websites from gathering data and profiling your browsing preferences.
  • A VPN gives you an anonymous presence on the Internet which can be used for legitimate browsing activities.

Using your VPN account encrypts your data connection. This makes it extremely difficult for your ISP to track your website visits. Whenever you visit a website that uses cookies, or any website for that matter, the IP address of your VPN is revealed. Your own IP address is concealed. Many people are using the VPN IP address, so pinpointing you as a web surfer is nigh impossible.

Remember, however, that cookies are a form of tracking software that are placed on your system, not on the VPN server. So, you need to combine your VPN account with some routine measures that will increase your security even further.

Control those cookies

The first thing you need to get in the habit of is connecting to your VPN before you open any browser. Connect first to the VPN and then begin browsing.

A brief word needs to be said here about browsers. As a recommendation, Firefox is hard to beat. It has a great set of features and available plugins that increase its security and functionality. Try to stay away from browsers that are tied to a search engine, like Google Chrome. These types of browsers only make it easier for your browsing habits to be tracked.

Next, you’ll want to configure your browser to reject most cookies. With Firefox this is pretty easy to do. Begin by clicking the Firefox tab in the upper left corner of your browser. It looks like this:


Next, you will see a drop down menu. On this menu click options. When the option screen appears, select Privacy from the tabs at the top:

Click the radial button beside “Tell sites that I do not want to be tracked” and click okay. This one simple measure will go a long way towards preventing sites from profiling your browsing activity.

You will also note that this screen allows you an option to decide how your browsing history is remembered by Firefox. You can choose to have your entire history remembered, your entire history deleted after each session, or you can manage third-party cookies with whatever exceptions you choose. You will also notice an option near the bottom to remove the cookies on your system. You can delete them all with one click, or you can remove cookies individually.

Here’s the important thing you should take away from this brief explanation of securing your browser: using your VPN is not an excuse for failing to take other measures which will help secure your Web surfing. While you should use a VPN at all times, in our opinion, to ensure the highest levels of encrypted Web browsing, you can enhance the power of your VPN even farther by taking a few simple measures to manage cookies.

Be wary of logging in

While many sites track you by your geographical location, or use cookies to monitor your activity, here is something you should always keep in mind. The best Internet security in the world can be defeated anytime you log into a website with a username and password that tracks back to an email address you own. An example of this is Facebook. Once you login to Facebook, or Twitter, or Pinterest, your presence can be easily identified and tracked because these platforms identify you by your account and not just your IP address. Logins are a security killer.

Our suggestion is pretty simple. Whenever you want to secure your browsing by using a VPN account, avoid logging into your social sites and other websites that require a login. This falls under that banner of common sense we were talking about at the beginning of this article.

Think of building your Internet security like building a house. Your VPN account is the foundation of your Internet freedom. Without a strong foundation, nothing you do will ever guarantee your privacy. A VPN from VPN-accounts.com provides the encryption you need to lay that strong foundation. Once you have that in place, it’s really just a matter of weatherproofing the rest of your online “house” by taking a few small steps to manage third-party cookies and other leaks which can make you vulnerable.

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