The Proper Way to Surf the Internet

This is an updated version of a post I had in my old blog. I plan to continually update this article as I learn more. This article was last updated 5/03/2021.


Introduction

Back in the day, probably 1990 - 2005, The Internet was made up of fun, personal sites like mine. They had a quirky rainbow color-scheme and lots of fun gifs like these.

Click to see the best of my gif collection!

Go to Gif Cities to find all the fun and cute gifs you could want!

There was no Twitter or Instagram to worry about being banned from, or to censor what you see. It was all free! Nowadays you have to make active decisions to use the Internet like you're back in it's Golden Age.

Picking a Browser

Do you want my professional opinion? As an Internet veteran and zoomer, my choice of browser is Brave, hands down. It has built in ad-block, tracking protection, and support for all Google Chrome Extensions. Plus, it is fast and grandma-friendly.

Privacy

But whatever you do, don't use Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge. They are basically spy-ware programs that second as web browsers. Have I gone totally nut-so? No, Google's business model is collecting user data for analytics. Here is an article from Google on how they collect data from you.

If you claim to not care about being spied on, then you're your own person and I can't stop you. You can go right ahead and live the rest of your life within the approved opinions and lifestyles of your corporate overlords, all while they know more about you than your closest friends and family. But you give up nothing when switching from Chrome to Brave yet you gain so much.

Switching Search Engines to Searx

Having an uncensored, ad-free search engine will change more than you can imagine. It is like seeing the Internet for the first time. Priority is not given to big, chunky coroprate sites who buy ad-space. Now little sites have just as much of a chance to shine, if they have what you're looking for.

Searx is the best search engine out there right now. What makes Searx different, is that it is an open source program that anyone can host.

This means that you can know that Searx doesn't censor the results, and that if an instance of Searx is blocked or gets shut down, you can go to a different site that runs Searx.

This is more or less true. The nature of the beast is, the servers you use and go to on the Internet are someone else's. You don't know if someone is logging every time you visit your site and tracking how you use it. But with Searx, you can at least see the source code, and even if you can't read it, you know that people who can have their eyes on it and know that Searx itself doesn't spy or censor.

In addition to being censorship free, it also has a lot of great features too, like being able to sort by many different categories, and getting RSS feeds for results.

Switching Search Engines in Brave

To switch to it in Brave, type in brave://settings/searchEngines in the URL bar. Then click on the Add button, and paste this in the corresponding boxes:

Click here to see the process.

All Your Content & Updates in One Place with RSS

If you use the Internet, chances are you have an account for each social media site you want to check. That's how you keep up with the net, and it's probably all you've ever known. But believe it or not, there's a far better way to keep up with everything and everyone on the web. And you do it all with RSS feeds.

This symbol right here is gonna be the most important symbol for you as you browse the Internet.

What these symbols link too is RSS feeds. When you click on one, you'll probably just get a bunch of gobble-dee-goop. That's because you're not supposed to view those files in your browser. You're supposed to copy those links and paste them into an RSS reader.

An RSS reader is the program you'll be using to receive, read, and open all the feeds you'll get. Here are the RSS readers I recommend.

Each program will work different (newsboat users see here), but basically, copy the url for the RSS feed you want (from the icon ) and paste it in, and the program will take care of delivering you updates. It's that easy. My RSS link is https://lukebubar.xyz/rss.xml. That's how you do it. Most small sites that have RSS will display that symbol on their front page.

Using RSS Feeds with Social Media

A lot of social media sites hide how to use RSS for their sites, so I will show you how.

RSS Bridge: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Google, etc.

RSS Bridge is your one-stop-shop for RSS feeds on major sites. Just click show more under the site you want to use it in, fill out the form, and click the Mrss button. Copy the link to the page it gives you into your RSS Reader and you are good to go!

Twitter

Use Nitter, and for each Twitter account, you'll see the RSS icon in the top right (second from the left). For example, for Kanye West's RSS feed, the link is https://nitter.cc/kanyewest/rss If nitter.cc is blocked on your school internet or whatever, you can use any one of the other instances.

YouTube

YouTube.com still supports RSS, but they don't display it. To get an RSS feed from a YouTube Channel, go to their main channel page and look at the URL. For instance, if we go to Metatron's YouTube channel, we see this URL in the URL bar: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIjGKyrdT4Gja0VLO40RlOw. We then take the channel ID at the end (Metatron's is UCIjGKyrdT4Gja0VLO40RlOw), and add it to the end of this url stump: https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=. So then, Metatron's RSS link is: https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=UCIjGKyrdT4Gja0VLO40RlOw

If you go to a bigger channel you want to subscribe to, say PewDiePie's channel, you will not see the channel ID in the URL bar. It will instead show something like this: https://www.youtube.com/user/PewDiePie. To find the channel ID, View the Page Source (ctrl+U on most web browsers), then search (ctrl+F) for og:url, and there you will find the channel link with the Channel ID, which you can use for the RSS link.

More RSS info

Here is another good source for figuring out RSS feeds.

Blocking Junk (P*rnography, Ads, etc).

Unfortunately, this will not work on mobile devices. Another reason to stop using them. Perhaps in the future I will make a tutorial on how to run a legit DNS server of your own, but until then, here's how to do it on computers.

It is actually rather easy to block sites on your computer, be it Windows, Mac, or Linux based. Simply copy the content of this file, and paste it into your hosts file. This file is found at /etc/hosts on Linux and Mac, and at C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts on Windows. Keep in mind, this will block sites like Facebook and Google, because these are legitimately spy-ware sites. If you can't live without Facebook, you can just delete all the lines that have facebook in them.

Here's a good video that shows this technique in action.

Conclusion

These changes should let you browse a faster, less cluttered, and more privacy respecting Internet. Enjoy, and GOD Bless!