Home TechnologyA Guide on How To Vanish From The Internet
TechnologyBy Joe Burgett -

We get it, you don’t want to exist in the digital world any longer. Who could blame you, with all of this crazy crap that’s going on in this world today? From people complaining about vaccines and how they work to being upset about various political issues, it’s just not any fun. You don’t just want to purge this toxic stuff out of your system from social media. Rather, you want to get out altogether. Yet to do this, you need to know how to vanish from the internet.

Easier said than done, knowing how to vanish from the internet could be invaluable. There might be a lot of weird or ethical barriers that might need to be crossed in order to do this, however. You must first be okay with that before moving on. If you are, then the next steps are going to take a little bit of time. This is not something one can do overnight or within a few days, as this is the digital age of course. Yet if you follow our directions to the letter, it is possible to vanish from the internet.

A Guide on How To Vanish From The Internet
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Begin Using A VPN

You are just now getting started in your disappearance, so you need to try to avoid adding more issues. This is why we’d recommend you begin using a virtual private network or VPN. They are incredibly useful for those traveling and using public internet connections. They save you from potential hackers trying to connect to your phone or computer without your say-so, making them great tools to have. However, this encryption software offers an added benefit.

You can scramble your name or connection device markers when using various services. For example, if you want to watch Hulu in the UK, this is impossible normally. With a VPN, you can do this because your device will scramble your location to fit an American address. Thus allowing you to use Hulu. This can be helpful in disappearing online. As you search for stuff, your location and markers will keep scrambling. Making it impossible to add any extra content without you purposely doing so, while you delete the other stuff.

A Guide on How To Vanish From The Internet
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Google Yourself

When we say things like “Google Yourself,” we really mean to use search engines to find out what is out there. You need to know where you appear online, and that can allow you to slowly remove traces to those things. Right now, open another window and just type in your name. You might see something pop up immediately related to you. Especially if you did something worthy of coverage.

If you’re like this writer, you probably will see articles you wrote for this website among many more. However, one often ignored area is the image territory. We assume if we can find out what pops up in website searches, then we’ll find what we’re connected to. However, this won’t catch everything. Thus, the image sector will possibly show images that can link you up to more places your image connects to that average website searches will not. Look for everything your images connect to!

A Guide on How To Vanish From The Internet
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Get A Background Check

We know, this might seem like adding to your digital footprint. However, it’s actually going to help in the long run because this background check will find a lot of the places you’re connected to. That can save you a ton of time, but a proper background check will cost you some money. Most are no more than $30 though, so it likely won’t affect you much. We know you probably already did your own search first.

After all, when people think about removing their digital footprint, they often think of searching for themselves online. Yet this is not going to fix everything. There is still a lot about you out there that is likely not searchable. At least, not in the traditional sense of things. Therefore, when you think about how to vanish from the internet, you have to consider what you don’t know as much as what you do. Background checks assist with that. Keep in mind, these checks will find addresses you lived at, your past/current employer, relatives, and many other things.

A Guide on How To Vanish From The Internet
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Look Up Your Email

It is clear that you have already looked yourself up online, but have you searched your email address? We know, this sounds crazy. After all, why would the internet even have your email address? You only give that out to safe places like every digital place you’ve ever signed up for. We hate to tell you, but many of these places sell that data to advertisers. How do you think you keep getting all those useless advertisements you never signed up for?

All of that leads, often, to email addresses becoming public. Which then results in the spreading of this email and even places it might be connected to that you never realized. Go ahead, search for it in a new tab. You’ll see what we mean. Of course, most public places are often nice enough to remove information like this if you ask them. Some might be tougher, so it might take some time to make that happen. We can tell you HOW to vanish from the internet, but that does not mean everything will work smoothly.

A Guide on How To Vanish From The Internet
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Turn Off Any Location Markers

On most mobile devices, you will have the option to turn off your location. This is a critical feature because, by American law at least, these devices cannot use your location unless you allow it. The location feature can be useful, as it can allow you to be tracked down easier should something happen to you. Of course, it also allows for various mobile applications to make an accurate list of things that will cater to you simply on location alone.

For example, Uber Eats or other services will pop up a list of places you can buy food. Once a person orders from one, a driver will go buy the food and bring it to you. Yet before any of that can happen, your location was needed. However, when considering how to vanish from the internet, turning off your location needs to be high on the list. It will only add to your digital footprint to leave it on, clearly.

A Guide on How To Vanish From The Internet
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Stop Using Social Media Entirely

We told you it might be tough, but you’re the one who wanted to learn how to vanish from the internet, right? One of the biggest things is that you cannot use social media at all. In fact, when it comes to a person’s digital footprint, their biggest print sample will come from social media. This includes things like Facebook and Twitter, but also things like WhatsApp, WeChat, Snapchat, Instagram, Reddit, Pinterest, etc.

We would have added MySpace to that, but it’s like an abandoned amusement park over there now. Social media used by most of the world will be present but places like China may have others. It does not matter, all need to be purged and you need to delete your content from these profiles. That also means untagging yourself from images or posts when possible. Once this is all done, delete the accounts entirely.

A Guide on How To Vanish From The Internet
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Don’t Buy From Online Markets

This should go without saying, but we feel we must mention this considering it’s almost instinct to look online when you want to buy something. Why go to the store, possibly deal with problematic salespeople while there, only to get something you could have bought online? Trust us, we’re in complete agreement with that. However, when it comes to how to vanish from the internet, we’d be wrong to not point out the obvious issue here.

Places like Amazon offer competitive prices for products, making them an ideal first source. Yet we have gotten so used to using Amazon that several major retailers like Target and Wal-Mart have online options. In fact, if you want they will deliver an item to you for a shipping fee or deliver it to a local store for absolutely free. Yet you cannot use these online marketplaces because you must use personal information, connected to the online world, to do this. Therefore, you must avoid them.

A Guide on How To Vanish From The Internet
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Avoid Using Phone GPS

We get it, knowing directions perfectly these days can be tough. Plus, trying to follow printed-out Mapquest directions can be a giant headache. This is why the invention of a global positioning system or GPS was a lifesaver. Sometimes, this could even be taken literally. Yet in order to use your phone GPS for any version, Google Maps or otherwise, you have to turn your location on. This, as we referenced earlier, is a giant no-no.

We do understand though. When it comes to how to vanish from the internet, there should be some limitations. After all, you did have a VPN on that could assist you. The VPN, however, would only get in the way rather than help you in this case. Yet there is hope. You can use a Tom-Tom or other external GPS that will only help with your directions. While it will need to know your location to give proper directions, you can delete any logs if it saves any at all. Plus, none of this is being used online but a person could still hack into the GPS. Thus, you should only use it out of necessity.

A Guide on How To Vanish From The Internet
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Avoid Using Geolocation

It is important that you make sure to turn off your location. However, some electronic devices will also use something known as “geolocation.” This can be pretty helpful, as it allows you to track down the device among other important details. Yet geolocation is often used to find a specific person. This is why your electronics might have an option that allows you to turn it on or off. Google Maps uses geolocation among other map applications. Yet they are not the only ones.

Some mobile applications might use geolocation to operate at all. One might then ask, how is this any different from GPS? Geolocation has to find WiFi router signals to find someone. They also use mobile phone towers and beacons. GPS works via satellite. It is often better because a GPS might struggle to find where you are if signals are patchy. This is why bouncing off of WiFi signals can be helpful, as most homes have wireless internet, as well as many cities. In fact, if the police wanted to find you, they’d track you via geolocation.

A Guide on How To Vanish From The Internet
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Remove Sensitive Information

We mentioned already that you can track down places where your information pops up. This is not always easy to do, but you are able to remove any sensitive issues. By American federal law, any website that publishes your public address or phone number has to remove it if you formally request they do so. Some websites, like the White Pages, will give you the option to do it yourself.  However, “sensitive information” is not the same thing as your name. Your name can still be out there.

Yet this is an article about how to vanish from the internet altogether. How can you get the name removed?!? Some will remove it too, but others may need a pay-off sadly. Another issue that might plague some might have to do with the lack of obligation to remove something. For example, the name on this article you’re seeing is “Joe Burgett.” The website ownership group is under no obligation to remove this name nor the article(s) this writer is connected to. Therefore, “that” will be the toughest. To see how tough major websites might be regarding information removal, click here.

A Guide on How To Vanish From The Internet
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Unsubscribe From Every Place Sending You Advertising Emails

While we’d recommend doing this even if you do not want to vanish from the internet, it is very important if you do. Just because you do not check your email does not mean they will not have it. Even if you somehow switched things up and used another email, that advertisement email will still have your name in their database. This same database is often sold among marketplaces to ensure they can connect to more customers.

It is really true that signing up for one thing online can cause you to be subscribed automatically to multiple other things. Even if they have no connection to the thing you originally subscribed to. Simply signing up for a social media or streaming network can cause eventual advertisement emails. Therefore, you need to unsubscribe and your email will be at least removed from that database. Which will slowly remove you from others over time too. This will still take quite some time though.

A Guide on How To Vanish From The Internet
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Own A Blog? Delete It!

It is possible that you have your own blog, potentially one of those Blogspot or (dot)Wordpress blogs. They are totally free, so it makes sense to have one to express your thoughts. These became all the rage in the mid-to-late 2000s. Everyone wanted to put their thoughts online it seems. Yet you’re trying to vanish from the online world, and one way in how to vanish from the internet is by deleting the blog.

It is likely you have more than one, potentially some you forgot about. This also goes for places like Medium where it might not technically be exactly like a blog, but it’s pretty close. You will need to delete all of these blogs that you can find. In fact, you might even find some you did not even know you had when you do the search engine search we referenced earlier. That might uncover a lot you did not know about honestly.

A Guide on How To Vanish From The Internet
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Own A Website? Delete It!

While deleting your website might not be the best thing we can recommend, it is important to do. Remember, you did have to pay for the hosting and maybe even for the theme you used. That means you’d lose a good bit of money by just deleting everything. There are a few things we’d recommend before removing the website. If your website is like the one you see here, many writers have spent their time writing for the website. They put time and energy into crafting all of their articles.

It would be good to get in touch with them and give them a date you’ll delete the site. If they choose to keep their content, they can remove it before this time. Give notice of at the very least, one week. Next, go into your hosting database and remove your site’s “live” status. Then, speak with your hosting company and have them delete your account and all details therein. It is possible some will give a small refund while others will not. Do not expect one.

A Guide on How To Vanish From The Internet
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Delete All Google Accounts

Deleting your Google accounts might be tough to do because so much of what Google has become is connected to us. Many of the passwords our computer remembers as well as searches we have done are all saved in the Google database. It helps to have these things for sure. Just think about what it is like when you get a new phone and forget to log into your Google account. The hassle and crap you have to deal with and all the stuff you need to remember is just insane.

Google does not just own its search engine. They own Android as well as the Chrome browser, something equipped automatically on every American phone. That includes the Apple iPhone. They own YouTube too, and much more. It might be tough, but you’re the one who wanted to know how to vanish from the internet, remember? Therefore, you need to delete everything Google you’re part of. We’d start with any YouTube account or Gmail. Then Google+ to end it. You might need to download another browser first, but finally, you need to delete the Google account entirely. It might take time though.

A Guide on How To Vanish From The Internet
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Your Friends Must Assist: No Tagging

We might have referenced many ways in how to vanish from the internet. Yet this is small compared to a much larger issue to consider. Just because you delete your Facebook or other social media account does not mean you will disappear from those sites. If people ever mention your name, it will pop up in search engines yet again. Now, all that work will have been for nothing. This is why you need to first untag yourself from any tagged post or photo well before you delete your social accounts.

Next, have your friends know that you need them to never tag you again in another post or photo. Even if you might be in it, they must not tag or try to tag you. One must have an account to be tagged, yet they can still reference you as they tag everyone else. This is basically just like being tagged to the post or photo, defeating your entire purpose for doing what you have been doing. This needs to be avoided.

A Guide on How To Vanish From The Internet
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Your Friends Must Assist: Do Not Talk About You Publicly

If your friends want to talk about you, they do have that right. However, this needs to be done privately rather than in any public way online. Of course, if they need to know something then they could always get in touch with you another way. Of course, you will still have a phone they can call to get in touch with you. This will be more than enough if they need to ask you about something, of course.

Thus, they do not need to ask how you’re doing online or ponder it. Your friends will also be helpful in trying to keep others from bringing up your name online. Let’s say it happens, as someone you went to school with a decade ago mentions you on Facebook. Your friend or friends can get in touch with this person and politely tell them what you’re trying to do and ask them to remove the post. It is clear your friends will be crucial to helping you stay off the internet grid.

A Guide on How To Vanish From The Internet
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Your Friends Must Assist: Don’t Post About Personal Information

While this might be sad to think about, let’s say you somehow get very sick or very hurt. You are now in the hospital and that results in people you know going on social media to ask for prayers. They might even inform others of your condition just so they can be thinking about you. Yet this all goes against the very mission you’re on. Clearly, your friends do not need to do this and make no reference to it. Of course, they do not need to post about ANY of your personal information.

They can easily contact those they believe need to know. if they must. Naturally, they need to explain the same things to them so that they do not go right back to social media just to mention you. Causing this entire thing to blow up again. We know, learning how to vanish from the internet seems overly complicated and difficult. In fact, some might even say it is an impossible task. However, you were warned.

A Guide on How To Vanish From The Internet
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Delete Your Email(s)

If you’re like most people, you probably have more than one email address. As we mentioned already, that address is searchable online. Therefore, it too must go. Of course, as you will likely see, trying to remove everything else so far might mean you need to keep your main one going for a while. This is true, as you need to have proper communication with places that will obviously contact you by email.

Yet eventually, those issues will be resolved. That is when you can delete your email for good. We’d recommend deleting every individual email permanently from your account. Once this has been done, you can then delete the entire email address and make it impossible to email you again. One might bring up the issue of work emails. This is where the big problem comes in, as you will likely need to keep it open or get a new job. One of these is significantly harder than the other.

A Guide on How To Vanish From The Internet
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Ask Hospitals and Pharmacies To Only Use Paper Or Secured Digital Copies Of Your Records

Probably the hardest and most complicated thing you will see on this list has come. Medical records are very important to have obviously. Going from paper copies to completely digital saved a lot of time and many headaches. Now, your information is literally just a few clicks away. That is so much better than before. Yet these records are often shared among hospitals. On top of this, your pharmacy will also have several digital copies too.

They will even communicate digitally with your doctors a good bit of the time. This makes your vanishing act far harder, as you must make sure they either use paper records for you or have you in a closed system. One that you can ensure will not connect to any portal or online concept. We’d even say you should not let them send you text notifications to know orders are ready or remind you of anything. When you think about how to vanish from the internet, this is clearly the most difficult and we do understand that. However, it must be done to ensure you disappear from the online world.

A Guide on How To Vanish From The Internet
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Stop Using Search Engines

After you’re done doing your searches and hopefully even your removal, you must now avoid search engines entirely. It might be tough, but you must remember that you’re trying to avoid adding to your digital footprint. Any device you use that might use a search engine must be avoided. Every search you make, every single thing you look up…all of it adds to your digital life that you want to end.

While you may want to use them, and we totally get why, you must resist. If it MUST be done, then it cannot be in a way that traces back to you in any form. This might mean you must go to the public library and use one of the computers they have, as this would trace only to the library and not you. However, there are sometimes logs that require you to sign in and out. Though usually done on paper, it could trace back to you. Therefore, you need to only do this for emergencies only.

A Guide on How To Vanish From The Internet
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Avoid WiFi Connected Devices

While you could easily use your mobile phone to go online any time, you need to make sure you don’t. This might mean one would need to switch to an older phone or not have a mobile phone at all. Due to all the issues that can come up though, we’d recommend just getting an older phone that does not text or connect to the internet. It should only be able to make calls and that’s it. Stay away from any device that connects to the internet.

One could also simply remove all options that allow you to connect to the internet easily. While this might not specifically be one of the ways in how to vanish from the internet, it will ensure you stay away and do not add to your digital footprint. To be honest, this is going to be the toughest part for some. Complete and total internet shutdown will be really hard. You must find a way to keep yourself busy, to take your mind off of it. If not, this could become really tough.

A Guide on How To Vanish From The Internet
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End Your Wireless Connection

We already mentioned you should try to avoid devices that connect to the internet. But one clear way one can avoid adding to their digital footprint is by simply ending their internet connection. Call up your internet service provider or ISP and tell them you want to no longer use their service. Some may have you in a contract while most others only do a month-to-month program. Therefore, everyone will see something different here.

If you have a contract, this might mean paying out the rest of your contract or paying for the cost of the “out clause” that some might have. This might suck but remember once again that you are the one who wanted to know how to vanish from the internet. Obviously, we know this will be tough and potentially cost you some money you do not want to ever have to give up. It is still going to be worth it when you’re able to vanish from the digital world.

A Guide on How To Vanish From The Internet
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Stay Away From Buildings/Cities With Cameras All Over

This might be a lot harder as our world becomes more and more digital, and reliant on technology. We truly do understand that many buildings want cameras present to make sure they catch any criminals. Cities obviously want them too because they want to limit crime themselves. Cameras being up all over a city could catch potential gang activity, drug deals, weapon sales, and much more.

Not to mention, many cities take images of those who commit traffic violations and will send them a ticket for their small criminal offense in the mail. Many people hate that feature, but it happens all over the place. In areas like China, everything is connected and people are spied on consistently. You are often judged and punished for speaking out against China too. While their system is far worse than ours, it’s clear you need to avoid being added to any digital databases.

A Guide on How To Vanish From The Internet
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“Deseat Me”

There are many websites that assist people with their removal from the online world. The issue is that they mostly just tell you “how” to do something. A service known as “deseat.me” will help you more than any other. Not only are they able to track down a lot of the places your name shows up, but they can also track down accounts. Even if you are not wanting to know how to vanish from the internet, you can use this amazing tool.

It will help you track down stuff that you never knew you had a connection to. If that was not enough for you, they will also help you request that your data be deleted from a specific website. Where they help you communicate directly with webmasters. In our opinion, this is incredibly helpful. Even if you just want to know where your name pops up and how much of your sensitive information is out there. They even search the dark web too!! Best of all, most of their scans are completely free.

A Guide on How To Vanish From The Internet
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There Is One Issue

While we’d love to say one can easily vanish from the online world, that would be a lie. Sure, we gave you many tips on how to vanish from the internet. Most of it will work if done correctly. Yet you will come in contact with some things you cannot avoid that will make complete vanishing impossible. Things like WordPress as well as websites you do not own yourself are under no obligation to remove you or your name.

PlayStation Network and Xbox Live won’t completely delete your profile. Yet you might be able to change some settings to avoid your actual name being in their database. There are other cases of impossibility, such as finding a way to ensure your name never pops up online via social media. Sure, your friends will know not to write it out. Yet you cannot assume others will not do so, nor delete it upon request. The lack of control over your online status is truly what makes vanishing nearly impossible.

Where did we find this stuff? Here are our Sources:

United States Department of Health & Human Services (HHS)

Alphabet, Inc.

Apple, Inc.

Washington Post