What is an Antidetect Browser?

Abed Elezz
May 3, 2024

Contents

Websites collect an inordinate amount of information from its users. They can do this in ways many of us are familiar with, e.g. cookies and logging IP addresses. Other types of data websites collect can be less obvious, including your device’s operating system, how your graphics card renders an image, and the fonts installed on your computer. All of these elements taken together form a complete image of individual users. This data is used to serve up personalized content feeds, targeted advertising, internal analytics, and for social media integrations, among other things. This creates a situation where you may reject a website’s cookies but still be unknowingly tracked via other methods.

An antidetect browser, also called a stealth browser or privacy browser, is a specialized standalone browser with built-in capabilities to obscure or block websites from collecting this identifying data, which enhances a user’s privacy and anonymity online. On the one hand an antidetect browser spoofs or blocks more static identifiers of a user’s device, like operating system and hardware details. On the other hand, it also compartmentalizes more dynamic identifiers like cookies and session data into different profiles.

Beyond the immediate concerns of privacy, wanting unaltered content feeds, and more, there are a variety of more specific reasons one might want to use an antidetect browser. These can include social media managers who oversee several accounts that can’t be “contaminated” by each other’s data, advertisers who want an unfiltered view of websites where their ads should appear, and e-commerce professionals who don’t want their price analysis to be affected by automated discounts or price hikes when collecting competitors’ data.

This article will delve into how antidetect browsers work and explore some of the leading antidetect browsers on the market today.

Core Technologies of Antidetect Browsers

Every antidetect browser comprises some core technologies that work together to obscure a user’s identifiable information or present a convincing and consistent alternative profile. There are three broad categories these technologies fall into.

Browser Fingerprinting and Spoofing

Browser fingerprinting is a way websites collect data to identify users and track them across the internet. Unlike other tracking methods like cookies, browser fingerprinting tracks data about a user’s device that doesn’t require anything to be stored on their device. This makes it harder to detect and arguably more invasive.

There are many data points that contribute to a user’s profile, including:

  • User Agent: Information about the browser type and operating system.
  • Screen Resolution: Dimensions of the user's screen.
  • Time Zone: The time zone set on the user's device.
  • Installed Plugins and Fonts: Details about plugins and fonts installed in the browser.
  • HTML5 Canvas: How a browser renders graphics, which is unique to each device’s hardware and software.
  • WebGL Graphics: Similar to canvas, but specifically how WebGL is rendered.
  • Browser Settings: Details such as languages, Do Not Track settings, and more.
  • Behavioral Attributes: Mouse movements, typing speed, and more.

Antidetect browsers hide or block these data points from being collected by websites in a variety of ways. Many of these features go one step further and allow users to specify what data is sent to the websites, allowing for the creation of customized profiles.

User Agent Spoofing

A user agent is a string that a user’s browser sends to every website it visits as part of the HTTP header. The string contains details about the user’s browser type, version, operating system, and sometimes software and hardware details. It is meant to help the server understand the context in which it is operating, enabling it to tailor the response to suit the browser and device capabilities. This is, for example, how a website decides whether to display the desktop or mobile version of the website.

This is an example of a user agent string, which tells a website that it is a Windows 7-based PC using a Chrome browser:

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/47.0.2526.111 Safari/537.36

Antidetect browsers use user agent spoofing to change the information in the user agent string. Often this will be in the form of a pre-set profile but the user agent can be changed manually. Some browsers will offer users the ability to automatically change the user agent at set intervals, too.

Canvas Fingerprinting Protection

Canvas fingerprinting is another way websites can track and identify users. It uses the HTML5 canvas element to draw graphics or text invisibly in the browser. The way the graphics are rendered is unique to each device’s combination of hardware and software, which creates another way for a website to generate a unique digital fingerprint for each user.

Antidetect browsers combat canvas fingerprinting by disrupting a website’s ability to gather consistent data information from the canvas element. There are a few ways they do that. One way is to introduce slight variations to the way the graphics are rendered. A second way is to outright block canvas fingerprinting scripts from running at all. This can sometimes break websites that use canvas for other purposes. Thirdly, the browser can return a blank image, which allows the canvas element to work normally but circumvents the tracking aspect of the image.

WebGL Fingerprinting Protection

WebGL, or Web Graphics Library, is a JavaScript API that allows web browsers to render interactive 2D and 3D graphics without the need for plugins. As it comes standard with browsers, and because the way graphics are rendered very differently based on hardware and drivers, it can be used to generate a unique fingerprint of a user’s device, similar to canvas fingerprinting.

The way an antidetect browser combats WebGL fingerprinting is also functionally similar. This includes spoofing responses from WebGL queries to return generic or randomized GPU and driver models. Alternatively, the browser can limit or block the functionality of WebGL entirely, by extension limiting the information that can be gathered from the data. Doing so might break the website for the user, however.

Time Zone Spoofing

Websites can detect your local time zone through JavaScript. This information can be used as part of a user’s digital fingerprint to track your location and activities. Anti-detect browsers can change this data to prevent accurate time zone detection and thus help obscure your geographical location.

One way to do this is by overriding the time zone detection to return a consistent, fake time zone. Alternatively, the time zone can be spoofed to match the location of the proxy or VPN being used, which helps avoid the use of a proxy or VPN being detected.

Each of these data points taken on their own would not do much to identify you out of the many billions of people who use the internet, but each of them is a key element in narrowing down the list of variables to be able to identify a specific user and tracking them between websites.

This list covers the most common aspects of spoofing by antidetect browsers. Some go much further, spoofing everything from audio context, fonts, hardware concurrency, and battery API, to name a few.

Proxy Integration and IP Masking

An IP address is the unique identifying number assigned to every device connected to the internet. IPs are a powerful data point a website will use for fingerprinting.

IPs can be used to identify a user’s approximate location, including country, city, and sometimes even the specific area or neighborhood. Websites use this geographical data to customize content, language, and advertising. They can also be used to infer behavior patterns based on what IP a user is connecting to the website from. This includes the time of day the user is online and the locations they log in from. Furthermore, websites monitor IPs for suspicious activity, such as the same IP logging into several accounts within a short span of time, which might indicate compromised accounts or fraud. Finally, websites can keep track of more stable IP addresses, like a user’s home or office, to link accounts and browser sessions to the same user, even if they are using different devices.

Proxy Integration

IP masking is the process of hiding a user’s real IP address and showing an alternative one. Two of the most common ways to do so are to use a proxy or VPN. Antidetect browsers often integrate proxy services, allowing users to easily switch between IP addresses. This makes the user appear to be accessing the internet from different locations than they are, disrupting a website’s ability to use IP as an identifying data point.

Proxies are integrated into anti-detect browsers in several ways to enhance user privacy and manage geographic restrictions. Proxies can be configured manually, by giving the browser the IP address and port number. Many antidetect browsers allow proxies to be automatically configured, too. Dynamic proxy switching is also possible, which tells the browser when to switch between proxies based on criteria like time spent on a site, after a set number of pages, and the amount of bandwidth used.

Additionally, proxies can be tied to specific profiles on the antidetect browser, allowing a user to tie proxies to distinct profiles, each with their own compartmentalized cookies and storage. This allows the user to maintain distinct online identities, enhancing privacy and anonymity. One can take it a step further by using a proxy that is consistent with the details such as the time zone of one’s profile.

IP Leak Prevention

Despite one’s best efforts to remain anonymous by using a proxy or VPN, sometimes a user’s real IP can be leaked through some technologies or settings — usually ones that bypass one’s browser settings. Antidetect browsers take steps to mitigate that risk in a few different ways, as the following list will illustrate with the four most common causes of IP leaks:

WebRTC Leaks
WebRTC or web real-time communication is the technology that powers many of the browser versions of most of the peer-to-peer audio and video communication applications people use every day. This includes everything from Google Meet and Discord to Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Zoom. It’s so universal because it means no third-party software or plugins are needed.

Without delving too deeply into the mechanics of how WebRTC works, to facilitate the peer-to-peer communication, WebRTC needs to make direct contact with the devices involved. It does this to increase communication efficiency. In the process of doing so, however, it identifies not just the public IP of each device but also its private IP within the local network. Worse still, this can happen even if one is using a VPN if it has not been configured to handle WebRTC traffic properly.

Antidetect browsers account for this by disabling WebRTC outright, but this does mean users lose the functionality of these communication applications.

DNS Leaks

Domain name system or DNS is the protocol that translates websites’ URLs into the IP addresses that computers use to communicate with each other over the internet. DNS queries are not usually encrypted, which means a user’s browser data can be exposed. A DNS leak happens when the DNS queries accidentally bypass your proxy or VPN and are sent through the DNS servers provided by your ISP. This can happen for a number of reasons including a VPN not configured to handle DNS requests properly or if your proxy or VPN doesn’t support IPv6 but your ISP does.

There are a number of ways to mitigate this risk, like manually setting up DNS settings and disabling IPv6. Some anti-detect browsers offer built-in methods of securely managing DNS requests.

Profile Management

Alongside more static identifiers like operating system and hardware details, and network-related identifiers like IP address, there is a third category of more dynamic identifiers that every antidetect browser needs to account for to maintain a user’s privacy. These data points originate directly from one’s browsing activities and include:

  • Cookies
  • Browsing History
  • Cache
  • Local Storage
  • Session Storage
  • Download History
  • Form Data
  • Saved Passwords
  • Extensions and Add-Ons
  • Bookmarks
  • Site Permissions
  • Autofill Information
  • Open Tabs and Windows

Profile management in antidetect browsers is its third pillar. Antidetect browsers allow users to create and switch between multiple browser profiles easily. Each profile operates as an independent browser instance with its own set of data and configurations, compartmentalizing the browser data between a user’s different profiles. By doing so, the users can avoid their browsing activities from being cross-contaminated and being fingerprinted.

Antidetect browser profiles allow users to customize almost every aspect of their identity. Each of the aforementioned spoofing features and proxy integrations can be employed to create distinct profiles for distinct activities.

Antidetect Browsers vs Virtual Machines

Antidetect browsers and virtual machines might seem similar in concept but they both offer wildly different capabilities. Simply, virtual machines spoof the entire device and anti-detect browsers just spoof the browser. However, there are many more intricate differences between the two.

Virtual Machines

Virtual machines are software emulators of a physical machine. They create a virtual environment that operates much like a typical computer but allows users to test software and have an easy disposal browser environment for risky content. Each virtual machine operates independently with its own set of hardware resources including CPU, memory, and storage, as well as its own operating system. They provide a high level of isolation, as each virtual machine is completely separated from others, which enhances security and reduces the risks of malware spreading across environments.

Key Differences Between Antidetect Browsers and Virtual Machines 

The key differences between antidetect browsers and virtual machines lie in their primary use cases, functionality, and the level of isolation they provide:

  • Purpose and Use Case: Antidetect browsers are primarily used for maintaining anonymity and privacy on the web. They are ideal for users needing to manage multiple online profiles without revealing their true identity. Virtual Machines are used for a broader range of computing tasks beyond web browsing, including software testing, server hosting, and running incompatible applications. They are more about creating distinct, isolated computing environments rather than solely focusing on privacy.
  • Level of Isolation: Antidetect browsers provide isolation at the browser level, ensuring that each profile or tab operates independently in relation to cookies, cache, and browser session data. However, they still run within the operating system of the host machine, which may expose them to some risks if the host is compromised. Virtual Machines offer complete isolation at the operating system level, which makes them more secure against cross-infection risks. Each VM is essentially a separate computer, which means that issues within one VM do not affect others.
  • Resource Usage: Antidetect browsers are generally lighter on resources when compared to virtual machines. They only require enough processing power and memory to run multiple browser instances effectively. Virtual Machines tend to be more resource-intensive. Running multiple VMs can significantly consume CPU, memory, and storage, as each VM needs enough resources allocated to operate effectively.
  • Complexity and Accessibility: Antidetect browsers are relatively easy to set up and use, requiring little more than installing the browser software. They are accessible to typical users without extensive technical knowledge. Setting up and managing VMs can be complex and generally requires more technical expertise, especially in configuring hardware settings, installing operating systems, and managing virtual networks.

Virtual machines are practical for someone who needs to test out some programs or only wants to spoof a browser for a single account. While a user can perform the same tasks that an antidetect browser does, it is difficult to switch between different virtual machines. If a user wishes to switch between profiles for social media marketing, an antidetect browser would be more efficient. Its ability to quickly and easily switch between profiles would make it a valuable asset when compared to using a virtual machine. 

Practical Applications

There are numerous practical applications of antidetect browsers. These overwhelmingly make use of the ability to maintain different, isolated profiles. Together with third party tools like CAPTCHA solvers, they can become powerful tools for privacy and automation. Here are just four examples:

Digital Marketing

Marketers and advertisers frequently use anti-detect browsers to manage multiple ad campaigns across different platforms. By using different profiles, marketers are able to keep activities for different clients distinct from one another. By leveraging an anti-detect browser’s geo-spoofing features, marketers can analyze search results and SEO, run ad campaigns, and conduct ad verification, ensuring ads appear in their intended geographic locations.

Social Media Management

Social media management often requires managers to handle several accounts across platforms. Antidetect browsers help them manage these accounts simultaneously from one device, each with a unique browsing environment. By doing this, they can avoid triggering platforms’ limits on the number of accounts one can have. By maintaining isolated profiles, each account’s content feed remains uncontaminated by the other. As an additional layer of protection, each profile can be configured to match the hypothetical device a client is using to use their own social media account.

Web Scraping

Web scraping is the practice of using bots to scrape a website of its data to get any necessary information. Examples include emails for lead generation or prices on e-commerce websites for competitive analysis. By using an antidetect browser while web scraping, one can avoid triggering a website’s anti-scraping mechanisms that can lead to IP blocking or rate-limiting. Many of an antidetect browser’s features offer significant ways to enhance the anonymity needed to do so efficiently.

By spoofing one’s browser fingerprint, a scraper can avoid being blocked on that basis. With proxy integration, they can avoid being identified via their network, and with profile management they can keep each instance of their bot distinct from one another. Almost every feature of antidetect browsers contributes in some way to facilitating web scraping.

Journalism & Research

Journalists often rely on digital tools to gather information, verify facts, and access diverse sources while maintaining confidentiality and protecting their sources. Antidetect browsers can be valuable tools for them because they help mask their digital identities and locations and allow them to bypass geo-restrictions. 

Similarly, academic researchers can use antidetect browsers to access the full breadth of information necessary for comprehensive analysis. By using antidetect browsers, researchers can customize their online experience without content feeds and search results being contaminated by their browsing activities.

Leading Antidetect Browsers in the Market

There are many antidetect browser suppliers on the market. Each one offers a different combination of features, strengths, weaknesses, and price points. The following is a selection of the most prominent anti-detect browsers on the market:
  1. Kameleo: This anti-detect browser offers unlimited profiles and has a mobile application, defeating the need to emulate a mobile device on a desktop. It offers support for all the main web browsers. However, while they only operate on Windows and Android devices they can spoof macOS, Linux, and iOS. Kameleo does not offer a free trial period but does offer monthly and semi-annual rates on top of three different tiers.
  2. Incogniton: This browser is known for giving users full control of their data and using multiple profiles hassle-free. It operates on both Windows and macOS. Unlike the browsers mentioned above, this browser offers a free trial with 10 profiles and its pricing is low when compared to them.
  3. Multilogin: This anti-browser offers limited profiles depending on the plan and ranges from 100–1,000 local and cloud profiles. This browser operates on macOS, Linux, and Windows. They do not offer a trial period but do have a 14-day money-back guarantee. They also offer an in-house residential proxy which makes it easier for users who do not wish to purchase an external proxy. However, MultiLogin is the priciest of all anti-detect browsers available but the price is worth it if the features appear to be useful. 
  4. GoLogin (Orbita): This browser is based on Google Chrome and works on Windows, macOS, and Linux OS. It also has an Android application, similar to Kameleo. They offer a seven-day trial but only with three profiles. However, price-wise, they are low. 
  5. Linken Sphere: An advanced browser built on Chromium technology, specifically designed for professional antidetection work. It features capabilities such as configuration for browser fingerprints, cookie management, and integrated proxy usage.
  6. Ghost Browser: Allows users to manage multiple isolated identity profiles within a single window, enhancing productivity without compromising security. It's tailored for professionals who need to manage several accounts simultaneously, such as social media managers and marketers.
  7. AdsPower: This browser is specifically designed for e-commerce professionals and social media managers. It operates on both Windows and macOS. There is a free trial available but it is limited to just two profiles. Price-wise, this anti-browser is by far the cheapest one available with the Pro account matching the price of some competitor’s basic packages. 
  8. FraudFox VM: A virtual machine that comes pre-loaded with tools designed to help anonymize its user, aiding in privacy-centric tasks. It's often used alongside VPN services to provide an extra layer of security and is popular in the digital forensics and online security testing communities.
  9. AntiDetect Browser: Offers extensive tools to modify web browser attributes to prevent tracking and identification. It allows the alteration of browser fingerprints and can integrate with proxies for enhanced privacy, tailored for users looking to bypass anti-fraud systems.
  10. VMLogin: Focuses on browser fingerprint management and operates like a virtual machine to separate each browser profile entirely. This approach is particularly effective for managing multiple e-commerce, social media, or advertising accounts securely.
  11. ndigo Browser: Provides sophisticated solutions for managing multiple profiles with varied digital fingerprints, ideal for users requiring isolated environments for each browsing session, such as marketers and data researchers.
  12. Octo Browser: Designed for those needing to manage numerous online profiles simultaneously. It offers advanced configuration options for cookies, local storage, and customizable fingerprints, making it suitable for tasks that involve significant online interaction under multiple identities.
  13. SessionBox: Offers multi-session browsing capabilities, allowing users to use multiple logins on the same site simultaneously. It's great for tasks that require operating multiple accounts without needing to log in and out frequently.
  14. Dolphin{anty}: This anti-browser was originally created for affiliate marketers and social media purposes but has evolved to be useful for many other use cases. It operates on Windows, macOS, and Linux. It offers a free version of up to 10 profiles and an additional $10 for 10 extra profiles. However, its other package are team-friendly with an enterprise package offering up to 10,000 profiles.
  15. Proxifier: Allows network applications that do not support working through proxy servers to operate through a SOCKS or HTTPS proxy and chains. This is useful for users in restrictive environments needing to bypass firewalls.
  16. TraceFree: A cloud browser that ensures complete privacy by processing all web pages on a remote server. It is designed to keep the user’s device and identity completely anonymous, preventing any direct contact with harmful or tracking sites.
  17. BrowserAutomationStudio: Offers a powerful environment for automating browser tasks without requiring coding skills. It is particularly useful for creating bots for tasks like web scraping, automated testing, or repetitive data entry.
  18. Gologinapp: Focuses on privacy and anti-detection with the ability to configure browser fingerprints extensively. It's useful for users needing to avoid detection and bans, particularly when managing ads, social networks, or multiple e-commerce storefronts.
  19. ClonBrowser: Designed for users who need to manage multiple online identities, offering robust profile management capabilities. It allows customization of browser fingerprints, including user agents and screen resolutions. The browser supports direct integration of proxies, enabling easy IP address switching. This makes it ideal for digital marketers and social media managers who require multiple distinct identities for their work, facilitating tasks like competitor analysis and ad management without risking account security or detection.
  20. NSTBrowser: A professional account management tool that offers isolated browser fingerprints. It excels in creating independent, secure environments for each account, significantly reducing environmental costs associated with account management. Key functionalities include batch management of profiles, automatic fingerprint setup for each browser, synchronization across multiple windows, and robust automation capabilities.
  21. XLogin: Offers separate browser environments for heightened privacy. Well suited for cross-border e-commerce, social media, advertising, and marketing accounts. Ensures the anonymity of the real user.
  22. BitBrowser: Designed to enhance user privacy and security during online activities. It supports multiple browser windows and login accounts, ensuring that each window operates independently with its own simulated computer information and IP address. This isolation helps prevent the association between windows and accounts, reducing the risk of account blocks. Particularly useful for users managing multiple social media, e-commerce, or other online platform accounts, helping to protect the security of these accounts.
  23. Accovod: Offers multi-account feature, designed to streamline workflow by allowing simultaneous access to multiple accounts. Minimizes inter-account correlations, reducing the likelihood of account bans. Each account has unique fingerprints, enhancing security and protecting user information

Conclusion

Antidetect browsers provide essential tools for people seeking enhanced privacy and anonymity online. By employing technologies like browser fingerprinting and spoofing, stealth browsers help mask identifiable information that websites typically use to track users. They allow for deep customization of user agents, screen resolutions, and even time zones to maintain a consistent and untraceable online presence.

Furthermore, features such as profile management enable users to maintain separate identities for different activities, reducing the risk of cross-contamination between sessions. Whether for personal privacy or professional tasks such as managing multiple social media accounts, antidetect browsers offer a robust solution for navigating the web securely and discreetly. This article has explored how these browsers work and provides an overview of some of the leading options available on the market, providing a foundation for understanding the role they play.

About the author
Abed Elezz
Abed is an inventor, author, developer and entrepreneur. He is the founder and inventor of Proxidize, one of the fastest growing companies in the proxy industry, and the author of PROXY KNOW, the leading proxy guidebook. Abed has also been developing closed and open source proxy solutions for a decade.
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