New here? Get 15 20 free minutes of Streaming Video: Unlock 220041 Movies, Try HotMovies.com now! Free Instant Access

If you browse porn around the Internet without educating yourself about the dangers and taking appropriate precautions, you're not only risking the embarrassing exposure of your secret viewing habits to family members or friends, but you're also putting your computer, your privacy, and your financial safety at risk.

Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to keep yourself safe, to keep prying eyes away, and to keep your browsing habits off the radar of other people in the home.

Safe Habits

Stick to trusted commercial sites

At an established commercial site, you're paying, in part, for peace of mind. Commercial sites have a merchant account to protect, and therefore are much more likely to protect their business by protecting their customers.

While our recommendation to stick to commercial sites includes all the other diverse and incredible sites out there, we do hope you'll consider sticking with HotMovies. We take your privacy and security quite seriously, and plan to be in this business for many years to come. We do everything we can to keep our customers happy, so you never feel the need to go anywhere else.

When not to click

There are times that you might see a link on the Internet and just not know if it's safe to click it. When in doubt, you should always side with caution.

Here are a few guidelines you can use:

  1. If a site seems untrustworthy, trust your gut and don't click the links. It's just not worth it. There are plenty of other sources for your porn out there.
  2. If you click a link and it takes you somewhere you did not mean to go, close out of that site immediately and don't return.
  3. If a porn site wants you to download and install software onto your computer, get out of there.
  4. If a site appears to have been hacked, get out of there. Often a hack will be obvious (hackers have even been known to announce the hack right on the page), but other times, the damage is much less obvious. Look for links that appear out of place. If there are out-of-place links advertising Viagra or other common spam items, then don't click.

Use only secure sites

Browsing securely usually matters only when sensitive data is being transmitted. For instance, if you enter your credit card info into a purchase form, that site is legally obligated to encrypt your data to prevent hackers from intercepting it.

Recently, however, for added security, there has been a movement toward all sites being fully secure.

ALWAYS make sure a page is secure when you're sending sensitive information such as credit card numbers or passwords. But if you'd like to be extra safe, stick to sites that are secure throughout.

How can you tell? Look for a little green lock indicator in the address bar of your browser. Here's what it looks like in Chrome when browsing HotMovies:

Note the 'HTTPS' protocol at the beginning of the URL. A non-secure site will use 'HTTP'. The 's' is for secure.

Computer and Internet Browser

Incognito Mode / Private Browsing

I list this first, because it's the easiest and most significant step you can take. Depending on what browser you use, this feature may be called either Incognito Mode or Private Browsing, but it means the same thing: when you close your browser, no record of the session will be left on your computer. No browser history, and no cookies.

Chrome on a computer

You can enable Incognito Mode on a PC or Mac by opening a normal Chrome window and clicking 'File > New Incognito Window'.

You can also use the keyboard shortcut: 'SHIFT+CMD+N' (Mac) or 'SHIFT+CTRL+N' (Windows).

Chrome on a mobile device

On the mobile version of Chrome, tap the three dots on the upper-right of the screen.

Tap 'New Incognito Tab' in the dropdown.

And now you can browse privately.

Pop-up blockers

Another obvious and simple step is to make sure pop-up blockers are enabled in your browser. These days, this is likely enabled by default, but double-check.

If you want to go an extra step that might protect you from pop-ups, your browser's built-in blocker might miss, you can find pop-up blocker browser extensions.

Ad blockers

Some browsers, such as Opera, have ad-blocking capabilities baked right into the software. But most likely, you're going to want to find a good ad-blocking browser extension.

These are easy enough to find. Just go to the extensions listings for your browser and search for "ad blocker." There are plenty available. Just be sure to read some of the reviews.

Please note that these can break functionality on certain sites. But these extensions are easy enough to disable for the sites you trust.

Flash

Keep Flash disabled in your browser's settings. Most browsers are removing support for Flash as a default option because of the security risks. You can override these settings, but I wouldn't recommend it. Flash is considered a security risk for a reason.

Some sites still use Flash players, so what should you do if they don't offer a more modern player option? Find another site. There are plenty.

HTTPS Everywhere browser extension

This extension is available for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.

HTTPS, as discussed above, is a protocol for encrypting information that is passed over an Internet connection so that it is secure. The "s" in "https" stands for secure.

Some sites have HTTPS enabled, but allow for non-secure connections as well. In these cases, this extension will force your browser to use the secure version of the website.

You can download HTTPS Everywhere here.

Parental tools

Install parental tools to block children from accessing potentially dangerous sites.

You can find more information about protecting your children from accessing pornography at the FTC Consumer Information site.

For a quick software solution, consider NetNanny.

Anti-malware software

It's assumed, these days, that most Windows users are employing some sort of anti-virus/anti-malware software.

Mac users are less apt to use these sorts of programs because Macs tend to have fewer issues, but that doesn't mean they're invulnerable. It's never a bad idea to run some sort of software to protect from malware.

VPN

For an extra level of security, you could consider getting a VPN, or virtual private network.

A VPN allows you to connect publicly to a private network, thereby hiding your IP address and other computer-specific information.

In other words, it allows you to browse more privately.

Here are a few options:

Email Security

Be careful where you enter your email

First, don't enter your email address just anywhere. At a site like HotMovies, since you're paying for a better experience, we don't depend on aggressive email marketing tactics for income, and we will never share your information with another company. But it's rarely a good idea to provide your primary email address, particularly to a free site, as aggressive marketing is how those sites typically make their money, and your information could even be sold.

Use a separate email address

It's easy to create a gmail address. So if you want security and privacy, keep your porn emails separate from your primary email.

But if you use a separate email address for HotMovies, be sure it's one you check often, as we do not market aggressively, and we often send specials, gifts, and important account announcements.

Never open attachments you don't recognize!

I can't stress this one enough. No company will send you attachments without some pre-arrangement in which you'll be told that an attachment is coming. If you don't recognize it, do NOT open that attachment, as there's a good chance that you'll be opening a file that could infect your computer with malware or a virus.

Clearing Your Tracks

If you didn't use Incognito Mode / Private Browsing, or if you just want to be extra-careful, you may want to take extra steps to ensure no one finds traces of your browsing habits.

Clearing your browser history

You can clear your browser history either selectively or entirely. The easiest thing is to simply delete your entire browser history at once, but you may not want to lose your entire history. Clearing your entire history could even arouse suspicions on shared computers.

So the best option, usually, is to delete just the items you'd like to erase.

Keep in mind that this is irrelevant if you use private or incognito browsing. Just close your browser down and all history, cookies, and searches from that browsing session will be deleted.

Clearing your cookies

One place many people don't think to look is in their cookies. Nearly every site you visit leaves behind a cookie on your computer that contains information that can be used for future visits to that site. It may keep you logged in between sessions, or it could maintain preferences and viewing habits. Cookies are an important part of how web sites provide you with a good experience, but they also leave behind tracks of where you've been, and so must be deleted if you're hoping to hide your tracks.

Keep in mind that this is irrelevant if you use private or incognito browsing. Just close your browser down and all history, cookies, and searches from that browsing session will be deleted.

Cache and cookie-clearing browser extensions

For extra convenience, most browsers have extensions available that will allow you to clear your cache and cookies for a particular site with the click of a button. Note that different extensions may clear different data, and your browser history may remain intact. So whatever extensions you decide to use, make sure you carefully note what it clears and what it does not clear.

Here's an option for Chrome and Firefox:

Forget that page - Chrome Web Store

Forget that page - Add-ons for Firefox

Always Have a Plan and a Backup Plan

Choose from the above advice based on the level of privacy you require. Create a routine, and every time you browse, stick to that routine.

But also be sure to have a backup plan. If your concern is privacy, and your routine includes private browsing, you may forget one day, so be prepared with a backup plan that involves clearing all evidence of your online travels.

- Danny C.

Follow @HotMovies on Twitter