50 Tips for Better Interneting (2023)

50 Tips for Better Interneting (1)

Popular Mechanics

You spend a lot of time on the internet—so make sure you're spending that time being as smart, productive, and efficient as possible, with our ultimate collection of tips for becoming a power user on the web.

50 Tips for Better Interneting (2)

David Nield

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Know Your Shortcuts

You'd be amazed how much quicker you can get around the web just by learning a few keyboard shortcuts—find lists for Chrome here, Firefox here, Safari here, and Microsoft Edge here, though there are some that work across browsers and platforms. For example, hit Ctrl+W (or Cmd+W on a Mac) to close the current tab, or hold down Ctrl (or Cmd) when clicking on links to open up links in a background tab. Meanwhile, use Ctrl+L (Cmd+L) to jump to the address bar to enter a URL or run a search.

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David Nield

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Install a VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) app running on your computer or mobile encrypts your connection to the web, making it much harder for other people to snoop on your browsing—whether that's the government, your internet service provider, or the guy sat behind you at the coffee shop. We'd recommend for paying for a quality, trustworthy VPN—this site is a good starting point.

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David Nield

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Change Your DNS

A domain name system (DNS) translates recognizable URLs (like popmech.com) into actual server addresses on the internet (rows of numbers)—by default, you get the DNS provided by whoever you are paying for internet access, but changing (for free) to another system can speed up your browsing and help protect your privacy. Two of the best options are Cloudflare and Google DNS.

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David Nield

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Make the Most of Incognito Mode

Your browser of choice will have a private or incognito mode, so make the most of it. It means your browsing history won't be logged, so you can use it for those searches you don't want showing up in targeted ads for the next six months, or for logging into several different social media accounts at once, or for visiting sites that you'd rather the rest of your family didn't find out about.

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David Nield

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Add More Bookmarks

You're probably familiar with browser bookmarks and the idea of 'starring' webpages to get back to later (if you ever get around to it), but bookmarks can be more useful than you might think—you can add bookmarks for your Gmail drafts, your Facebook settings, your deleted Spotify playlists, and your Netflix viewing activity, for example.

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David Nield

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Flush Your DNS

Another DNS-related tip—clear out the cached DNS entries on your computer on phone. This slows down your web access initially, as every URL needs to be looked up again, but it wipes incorrect and out-of-date entries and keeps your browsing lean and mean in the longer term. On Windows, type "ipconfig /flushdns" into a command prompt window; on macOS, type "sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder" in a Terminal window; on Android go to Settings then Apps & notifications to find your browser app and clear its cache; and on iOS open up Settings then choose General, Reset, and Reset Network Settings.

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David Nield

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Block Third-Party Cookies

Cookies—little bits of code left on your browsing device—can be handy in certain situations (for remembering your location on a weather site, for example), but you want to make sure you block third-party cookies, the ones that monitor you across multiple sites and link those actions together. You'll find an option to block these cookies in just about every browser's settings panel (some do it by default).

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David Nield

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Keep Your Software Updated

This goes for every type of app and program on your devices, but make sure your browsers are always up to date and running the latest versions—it protects you against online threats, it reduces the number of bugs you're likely to come across, and it ensures compatibility with the latest web standards. Most modern web browsers now prompt you to update automatically, so don't neglect these prompts.

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David Nield

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Use a Password Manager

It's best practice to use long passwords for all your online accounts, and to use a unique password for each account you've got—but trying to remember all those login credentials is very difficult. Sign up for a password manager, and it'll do all the remembering for you: the likes of 1Password, LastPass, Dashlane and Keeper are all worth a look.

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David Nield

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Use Your Browser's Password Manager

If you don't want to set up and maintain a separate password manager application, most modern browsers will offer to remember your passwords and other login credentials for you: look for the option in your browser's settings screen (it's under Passwords in the Google Chrome settings, for example). This also means anyone who can get at your browser can get at your accounts, so make sur

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David Nield

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Get Your Browser To Suggest Passwords

If you don't want to set up and maintain a separate password manager application, most modern browsers will offer to remember your passwords and other login credentials for you: look for the option in your browser's settings screen (it's under Passwords in the Google Chrome settings, for example). This also means anyone who can get at your browser can get at your accounts, so make sur

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David Nield

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Add the Best Extensions

Browser extensions are great: check out some of the fantastic add-ons available for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, and Microsoft Edge, able to do everything from displaying pop-up word definitions to downloading all the images from a particular website. If you find yourself wishing your browser had a particular feature, then there's probably an extension out there that can fill the gap.

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David Nield

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Remove Unused Extensions

Add too many extensions, however, and it can lead to your browser getting bloated and weighed down. Unused, outdated extensions are a security threat too, because they could give hackers a way to access your system or your personal data. It's best to remove any add-ons from your browser that you're not actively using, and stick to just a handful that you find really useful.

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David Nield

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Pin Websites To Your Mobile Home Screens

For easy access to your favorite websites on your phone, you can pin shortcuts to these sites on the home screen. On Android, open the website in Chrome, then tap the menu button (three dots) and choose Add to Home screen; on iOS, open Safari and tap the share button (the box and arrow), and then select Add to Home Screen.

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David Nield

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Pin Websites To Your Windows Taskbar or Mac Dock

When it comes to working on Windows and macOS, you can pin sites to the taskbar and dock respectively. On Windows, open the site up in Microsoft Edge, then from the menu (three dots, top right), choose Pin this page to the taskbar; on macOS, open the website in Safari, and just drag the URL down from the address bar of the browser to the right-hand side of the dock.

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David Nield

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Switch To Reading Mode

Several browsers have what's known as a 'reading mode', which cuts out all the distractions from a page—adverts, videos, and so on—so you can focus on actually reading the article you're looking at. In Apple Safari, for example, click the page icon on the far left of the address bar to enable reading mode; in Mozilla Firefox, click the page icon on the far right of the address bar.

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David Nield

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Manage Your Tabs

Tab management is one area where third-party extensions can really help your browser out, reducing memory usage and on-screen clutter at the same time. Check out Tab Manager Plus for Google Chrome, for example, which can group tabs and stop them from taking over your screen, or OneTab for Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, which is able to convert bunches of tabs into lists for later reference (so you can close them all down and start again from scratch).

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David Nield

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Mute Unwanted Noises

Few web frustrations match having your browser suddenly start piping out audio, usually due to an auto-playing video or advert. You can get some peace and quiet back by right-clicking on the offending tab and choosing Mute Site (Chrome), right-clicking and choosing Mute Tab (Firefox), clicking the speaker icon on the right-hand side of the address bar (Safari), or right-clicking and choosing Mute tab (Edge).

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David Nield

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Configure Website Permissions

Websites are not the static, passive pages they used to be, they're apps running in your browser—and many of them might want access to your location, your webcam, your microphone and more. Make sure you're on top of these permissions: Site Settings in Chrome settings, Privacy & Security in Firefox settings, Websites in Safari settings, and Advanced then Manage permissions in Edge.

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David Nield

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Block Out Distractions

The internet is just so full of distracting content—great when you're at a loose end, not so great when you need to get work done. LeechBlock is an excellent, free blocker for Chrome and Firefox that lets you put time limits on the most distracting sites on the web, and helps you stick to them. You can also try using the Digital Wellbeing tool that comes as part of Android, or the Screen Time settings now built into both iOS and macOS.

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David Nield

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Get a Strong Wi-Fi Signal Everywhere

If your Wi-Fi network isn't stretching into every corner of your house, do something about it. You can buy a simple Wi-Fi repeater (like the $25 Netgear EX2700), or use a Powerline kit to send internet around your electricity wires (like the $50 TP-Link AV600), or even invest in a mesh networking system (like the $400 Eero Pro Mesh system)—these mesh systems use several router nodes to make sure all of your living spaces are blanketed in precious Wi-Fi.

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David Nield

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Set Your Default Browser

Your default browser is the one that automatically springs into life when you open up web links (from an email, for instance). You can't set this on iOS, but you can everywhere else. On Android, pick Settings then Apps & notifications, Advanced, Default apps, and Browser app; on Windows, you need to head to Settings, Apps, Default apps, and Web browser; and on macOS open up the Apple menu, and choose System Preferences, General, and Default web browser.

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Reset Your Browser

Resetting your browser takes it back to the clean and untouched state it was in when you first installed it—the process can fix certain bugs and reduce the clutter in your browser, but you'll have to reinstall any extensions you've got set up. From Settings in Chrome, choose Advanced then Restore settings to their original defaults; and in Firefox, enter "about:support" in the address bar and click Refresh Firefox. As yet there's no equivalent feature in Apple Safari or Microsoft Edge.

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David Nield

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Find WiFi Anywhere

You don't have to go without Wi-Fi when you're away from home: an app like Wi-Fi Map for Android and iOS can connect you to hotspots wherever you happen to be (or try walking into a hotel lobby or restaurant instead). When you're connecting to a public Wi-Fi network, don't forget to get your VPN up and running (see tip #2).

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David Nield

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Change the Wi-Fi Channel

WiFi routers tend to use the same channel (or slice of the airwaves), which isn't a problem unless you're in a crowded accommodation space (like a block of apartments) and everyone is trying to get online at once. Delve into your router's settings and shift your Wi-Fi network channel up or down to see if you get a faster, more stable connection—check the documentation that came with your router if you're not sure how to go about doing this.

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David Nield

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Make Use of Web Apps

Are you aware of just how many desktop and mobile apps have online equivalents? If you prefer spending your computing time inside browser tabs rather than desktop programs, or if you're on a computer that's not your own, or you don't want to unlock your phone, they can be really handy—a few that come to mind are Spotify, Slack, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Microsoft Office.

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David Nield

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Search Specific Sites

Here's a tip if you use Google as your web search engine of choice—enter your search terms followed by "site:" and then a valid URL, and Google will focus its search on that website. From Wikipedia to PopMech, it can be an invaluable way of finding particular articles from the sites you trust the most, or seeing what a particular web source says about a particular topic.

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David Nield

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Try a Different Browser

There are more web browsers out there for desktop and mobile than you might realize, so don't just stick with your current browser because you've never known anything else. Try giving a test run to the innovative Vivaldi, the privacy-conscious Brave, the powerful Opera, or the speedy Puffin browser, for example. You might find one that suits you so well, you never go back.

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David Nield

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Watch What You Share

Always be careful about what you share online—double-check the privacy settings on everything you post to social media, make it impossible for anyone to figure out where you live or work (do not check into your office on Facebook), and don't reveal anything online that could be used by someone else to try and impersonate you (such as your date of birth or your pet's name).

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David Nield

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Check Your Internet Speed

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It's worth checking your internet speed on a regular basis—whether to make sure your internet service provider (or hotel) is giving you the speeds that they've promised, or to try and troubleshoot technical problems, when you're not sure if you should blame your browser or your web connection. The Netflix-developed Fast.com is one of the simplest speed test sites out there.

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FAQs

How can I better my Internet? ›

10 Productive Ways to Spend Time on the Internet
  1. Learn something new. One is never too old to learn a new skill. ...
  2. Develop opinions and world views. ...
  3. Get organized. ...
  4. Update your personal and professional life. ...
  5. Shop smart. ...
  6. Pick a cool new app. ...
  7. Get a virtual assistant. ...
  8. Take a world tour on your desktop.
28 Oct 2014

Will the Internet ever go away? ›

It's possible, but very unlikely, for the entire internet to go down,” Juola says. “Just as it's possible to flip a coin fifty times and have it come up heads each time. The odds against that are roughly 2^50 to one, but it's possible.”

How will internet develop in the future? ›

Most believe there will be: A global, immersive, invisible, ambient networked computing environment built through the continued proliferation of smart sensors, cameras, software, databases, and massive data centers in a world-spanning information fabric known as the Internet of Things.

What possible human activities can converge with the Internet in the future? ›

It will revolutionize the world and lead to groundbreaking changes in transportation, industry, communication, education, energy, health care, communication, entertainment, government, warfare and even basic research.

What are the 10 uses of Internet? ›

Top 10 uses of the Internet
  • Electronic mail. At least 85% of the inhabitants of cyberspace send and receive e-mail. ...
  • Research.
  • Downloading files.
  • Discussion groups. ...
  • Interactive games. ...
  • Education and self-improvement. ...
  • Friendship and dating. ...
  • Electronic newspapers and magazines.

How should a student use Internet? ›

Here are some suggestions.
  1. Spend some online time with your kid.
  2. Encourage students to use online tools.
  3. Search relevant materials.
  4. Student forums.
  5. Stay aware of the risks.
19 May 2020

What if there was no internet for 24 hours? ›

“In a lot of cases, it could shut down a large percentage of our infrastructure. We would be completely blacked out. Wouldn't be able to leverage any technology, and it would be a complete cataclysmic downfall of a lot of our infrastructure.”

Can the Internet survive nuclear war? ›

Cerf, however, quickly added that the Internet was not immune to nuclear attack. If there is no path the routers can use to get data to locations on a given path, Internet access will disappear for anyone connected to that path.

What if the world lost the Internet for one year? ›

Every Web site would be offline. Huge companies like Google or Amazon would become obsolete instantly. Other companies like Microsoft would see enormous sections of their operations disappear. Even companies that only use the Web as a means of advertisement would be adversely affected.

What will 10G be like? ›

What is 10G? The 10G platform is a combination of technologies that will deliver internet speeds 10 times faster than today's networks and 100 times faster than what most consumers currently experience.

What will technology be like 2050? ›

According to Forbes, by 2050, IoT technology will be in 95% of electronics for new product designs. And by 2050 it is expected to have everything connected to the cloud and to the internet. According to Business Insider, Space tourism could be feasible in 2050, but likely only for the very wealthy.

What are the 3 features of internet? ›

Features of Internet
  • Accessibility. An Internet is a global service and accessible to all. ...
  • Easy to Use. ...
  • Interaction with Other Media. ...
  • Low Cost. ...
  • Extension of Existing IT Technology. ...
  • Flexibility of Communication. ...
  • Security.

What will the internet be like in 50 years? ›

In 50 years, internet use will be nearly as pervasive and necessary as oxygen. Seamless connectivity will be the norm, and it may be impossible to unplug. From amazing advancements to dystopian developments, experts imagine a wide array of possible scenarios for the world 50 years in the future.

How technology made our life easier? ›

Using technology allows you to automate tasks, set up reminders, gather receipts, track investments, compare prices, and more. With technology, you won't have to waste your time doing simple financial tasks. With just a few clicks, you can instantly pay your bills.

How technology has changed our lives for the better? ›

Technology has changed our lives and has made the world smaller with faster communication, instant information access, and online interactions. Technological advancements have brought everything to our fingertips, making life more enjoyable and convenient.

How do I fix slow internet connection? ›

There are several simple ways to fix slow internet speeds:
  1. Power cycle your modem and router by pulling the power from both devices for one full minute.
  2. Reset the Wi-Fi configuration on your router.
  3. Update your router's firmware.
  4. Replace your router if it's old.

Why is my internet so slow? ›

Why is the internet so slow on my phone? A slow data connection on your phone is usually caused by a poor connection in your location, network congestion, or too many background apps running.

Is it better to connect to 5GHz or 2.4 GHz? ›

If you want better range, use 2.4 GHz. If you need higher performance or speed, use the 5GHz band. The 5GHz band, which is the newer of the two, has the potential to cut through network clutter and interference to maximize network performance. Which means this band will be better for things like reducing game lag.

Why is my WiFi so slow? ›

Slow WiFi is most often caused by interference from other WiFi networks and old devices in the vicinity. Solid metal objects or concrete walls also block WiFi radio waves pretty hard, making for an even weaker signal. Fixing this is as simple as repositioning your router and changing the channel.

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