If you want to browse the web privately without leaving a trail of evidence on your local device, using incognito mode is a handy option.But does it make you completely anonymous and secure online? Not quite.
Adding a VPN on top of incognito mode is highly recommended to take your privacy a step further. But how exactly does this combination work? Does VPN Work on Incognito? And does it boost your security?
In this guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about using a VPN with incognito browsing.
Drawing on my years of experience in cybersecurity and privacy tools, I’ll explain how each technology works on its own, the benefits of combining them, and my top tips for the best private browsing experience.
Let’s start by looking at how standard incognito windows function and their limitations when used alone.
How Incognito Mode Works?
When you open an incognito window in your browser, it operates in privacy mode. Here are the critical characteristics of incognito browsing:
- No local storage of browsing history – Pages you visit are not stored in your browser history on your device once the incognito window closes.
- No browser cookies stored – Incognito windows do not save cookies from the sites you interact with. All cookies are deleted after closing incognito.
- No cache or site data – When browsing incognito, your browser does not locally cache files or site data. All temporary files are deleted.
- Doesn’t affect system-wide settings – Any browser addons, extensions, bookmarks, and preferences remain unchanged after incognito browsing.
So essentially, incognito mode prevents browsing from being recorded and stored on your device.
This provides some privacy if you share a computer with family or roommates.
However, incognito alone does not make you anonymous or secure in the broader internet:
- Your internet service provider can still see and record the sites you visit.
- The network admin can monitor your activity if you use work or school Wi-Fi.
- Government agencies can potentially access your unencrypted web traffic.
The main thing to remember is that incognito windows only clear your local browser data.
Your web traffic is still visible as it leaves your device unencrypted over the network.
Combining incognito browsing with a VPN would be best to achieve complete online privacy.
How VPNs Work?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a service that creates an encrypted tunnel for your internet traffic to pass through before reaching the public web. Here’s a quick rundown of how VPNs work:
- You connect your device to a VPN server, usually through an app.
- Your web traffic is routed through an encrypted VPN tunnel before exiting the open internet.
- This tunnel masks your IP address so your activity appears to be coming from the VPN server.
- Your data is encrypted through the tunnel, so your browsing history is private.
- VPNs allow you to access region-blocked content by routing your connection through another country.
In summary, connecting to a VPN hides your IP address, encrypts your web traffic, and lets you bypass geographic restrictions. This prevents snooping by internet providers, Wi-Fi network admins, or government agencies.
However, VPNs don’t provide total anonymity since you still need an account with the VPN provider. And some VPN companies do store usage logs. We’ll cover how to avoid this issue later.
Now that you understand how incognito mode and VPNs work independently let’s look at the benefits of combining them for privacy.
Does Using a VPN in Incognito Mode Make Sense?
Absolutely! Combining a VPN with incognito browsing provides multiple layers of privacy and security that complement each other well. Here are some of the key benefits:
- Added encryption – The VPN encrypts all your web traffic, not just browser activity. This includes apps, software updates, and internet-connected devices.
- Masks your IP address – VPN protection means your IP address is hidden, in addition to incognito, preventing local activity storage.
- Secures public Wi-Fi – Using incognito on an open Wi-Fi network is risky without a VPN tunnel to encrypt connections.
- Prevents ISP tracking – Your internet provider can’t log your activity when routed through an encrypted VPN tunnel.
- Bypass restrictions – VPN allows you to access blocked content and websites that might be filtered locally.
- Enhanced privacy – Incognito and VPN provide the most private, secure web browsing experience possible.
The main takeaway is that incognito prevents local storage of browsing data. In contrast, a VPN prevents your activity from being tracked and logged at a network level. Together, they offer unmatched privacy.
Comparing Incognito Modes in Major Browsers
Not all incognito modes are created equal. Which browser keeps your browsing the most private? Let’s compare the top contenders:
In this corner…Chrome!
- Saves some browsing history
- Allows spying by trackers
Privacy Rating: 👎 Not very safe
- Blocks some spying attempts
- Browsing history can still leak out
Privacy Rating: 👍 Okay, safety
- Very locked down and secure
- Prevents most cracking
Privacy Rating: 👍👍 Very good safety
- Uses extra encryption
- Nothing traced back to you
Privacy Rating: 👍👍👍 Best safety by far!
For complete anonymity, choose Brave or Safari. Their incognito modes put up the strongest defenses to keep your browsing invisible.
Chrome and Firefox just don’t cut it. Your private info could still slip out.
The winner? Brave takes the trophy 🏆 for the most private incognito browsing experience.
Considerations When Using VPN with Incognito
To maximize your privacy when combining VPN and incognito mode, here are some tips to follow based on my experience as a cybersecurity professional:
- Use a trustworthy VPN provider – Ensure your VPN has a strict no-logging policy and doesn’t store user activity logs or connection timestamps. I recommend NordVPN and ExpressVPN.
- Connect VPN first – You must connect to your VPN before launching an incognito window for complete protection. Take advantage of this vital step!
- Use multifactor authentication – Adding two-factor authentication to your VPN enhances account security on top of encryption.
- Verify your IP address – Double-check that your IP shows your VPN server’s location, not your actual public IP address. You can use a site like IPLeak.net to confirm.
- Use a secure VPN protocol – OpenVPN or WireGuard offers the most secure VPN tunnel options when available from a provider. Stay away from weaker protocols like PPTP.
- Turn off WebRTC – This setting can accidentally leak your IP address if activated, so disabling it is advised for privacy. I recommend using the WebRTC Control browser extension.
- Require kill switch – A kill switch blocks internet access if the VPN connection drops to prevent data leaks. This is critical for peace of mind.
These tips will help you leverage VPN and incognito browsing for maximum security and peace of mind.
Best VPNs to Use with Incognito
Best VPNs to Use with Incognito If you’re looking for a VPN service to pair with incognito browsing, here are some top choices to consider based on my testing and experience:
NordVPN – Offers advanced security features like Onion over VPN, split tunnelling, and obfuscated servers to maximize anonymity. An excellent all-around privacy solution.
ExpressVPN – Fast speeds and easy-to-use apps make ExpressVPN a seamless pairing with incognito mode. Top choice if the connection speed is essential.
Surf Shark – Provides a Kill Switch, private DNS features for leak protection, and solid speeds—great bang-for-buck option.
ProtonVPN – A zero-logging policy and built-in Tor support enhance privacy with incognito windows. It was developed by the privacy-focused ProtonMail team.
CyberGhost – Allows you to easily block ads, trackers and malware to complement incognito protections. It is loaded with extra features.
The key is finding a VPN that aligns with privacy, security and no logging goals. This ensures your anonymous browsing sessions stay entirely confidential.
|VPN Provider||Speed||Number of Servers||Cost|
Many VPNs offer free trials to test the experience before committing to a purchase. I recommend using a free trial to vet a VPN’s performance and reliability before spending your hard-earned money. But i also have a suggestion: if you don’t want to invest money in VPN and also want to be anonymous on the internet you can use tor browser. While using tor browser you don’t need to combine Tor & VPN together.
FAQ About Does VPN Work on Incognito?
A VPN with incognito mode provides the most private and secure web browsing experience possible.
Incognito prevents local storage of browsing data, while VPN adds a crucial encryption layer to keep your web traffic safe from prying eyes.
The key takeaways around combining VPN and incognito include:
- Incognito alone is only partially anonymous since it only clears local browser data.
- VPN hides your IP address and encrypts data to prevent monitoring at a network level.
- Together, they complement each other well for unmatched privacy.
- Choose a reputable no-logging VPN for best results. I recommend NordVPN and ExpressVPN.
- Make sure to connect the VPN before launching incognito. Take advantage of this step!
So, seek the most private browsing possible.
In that case, the answer is yes – VPN does work with incognito mode to take your security to the next level.
Protect your data and maintain anonymity with this powerful combination.
Based on my many years as an information security expert, this guide gave you a helpful overview of leveraging VPN and incognito browsing for optimal privacy.