- If you use a shared computer, you may want to keep an eye on what the other users are doing and what websites they visit.
- If you want to prevent users from deleting their browsing history, keep on reading this guide as we listed the steps to follow below.
- Visit our Browsers Hub for more tips & tricks that will help you become a browsing expert.
- To learn more about keeping your data safe, check out our Privacy page as well.
For one reason or another, your computer or mobile phone’s browser(s) may be accessible to many users be it friends, family and/or co-workers. In this case, you might want to maintain a close watch on every activity or site visited on your browser by any third-party user.
Basically, all anyone needs to do is to clear/delete browsing history and close the browser, and their tracks would be covered. However, there have been significant upgrades to “browser privacy” over the years. This has enabled proprietary users to keep track of all third-party access, regarding sites visited on browsers.
Essentially, you can now disable the delete or clear browser history option on your browser. In this article, we’ll be enlightening you on how to prevent users from deleting cookies and browser history on Firefox, Chrome and Edge.
How to stop users from deleting internet history
Prevent users from deleting history in Opera
All browsers have the ability to delete their own browsing history, although some browsers have tools that automatically do so when you close them.
However, Opera is not one of them, so a user that surfs the Internet using Opera will have to manually delete their browsing history every single time.
While this may not sound that much, at least it gives you a chance to check up on their browsing habit whenever they forget to delete it.
An added benefit to using Opera is that it doesn’t matter whether you delete the browsing history or not, at least you will feel safe knowing that its built-in tracker blocker is doing its job.
OperaSurf the Internet in a fast and efficient manner all while knowing that your browsing hostory isn't monitored by anybody.
Prevent users from deleting history in Firefox
Mozilla Firefox is, without doubt, one of the most durable browsers available. As such, it is one of the most used. Basically, the browser comes with a default auto-clear option, which deletes your browsing history once you exit the browser.
To disable this function and keep your browser history stored on the browser, follow the steps outlined below.
1. Lock (Disable) the Clear Browsing History on Exit option
- Open your Firefox browser and navigate to the Firefox icon at the top right corner, and then click on Options
- Navigate to Privacy and click on it.
- Under Privacy, go to History.
- Under Firefox will: drop-down, select Use custom settings for history option.
- Uncheck the Always use private browsing mode box
- Check the Remember my browsing and download history box
- Check Remember search and form history and Accept cookies from sites tickbox
- On the Accept third-party cookies drop-down menu, select Always
- Under the Keep Until drop-down menu, select they expire
- Uncheck the Clear history when Firefox closes box
- Save your privacy preferences by clicking Ok”at the bottom of your screen.
With the above-highlighted steps, you’ll be able to view every site visited by third-party users. However, users can still clear their browser history before exiting Firefox. In this case, you won’t be able to access the browser history.
Nevertheless, you can make use of Firefox‘s about:config option to modify certain privacy functions, aimed at discouraging users from clearing browser history. Below is a configurative function for elongating browser history’s expiration period.
2. Use About:config to set maximum number of pages to retain in history
- Navigate to about:config on your Firefox browser
- Open a new configuration by clicking the + icon
- Select New and Integer
- Input the code: places.history.expiration.max pages
- Input your desired number of pages.
- Save changes
With this, you can set maximum pages in their hundreds. Hence, you are able to retain your browser history for years.
Note: However, it should be noted that the about:config”option is not limited to the above outlined function. Basically, you can customize virtually all Firefox options with it.
Lastly, it is important to point that there is no defined method to prevent users from deleting cookies and browser history on Firefox.
As such, to monitor web traffic, especially at work, you may have to adopt the services of a proxy server or you can simply password key sections (like the privacy section) of your browser. You can also also use extensions and/or plugins.
Prevent users from deleting history in Chrome
Google Chrome, though not a default browser of any known computer brand, is arguably the most reliable web browser. It is, by a long stretch the most widely used browser today.
1. Modify Google Chrome privacy settings
First and foremost, you need to modify your privacy settings to save all cookies and data on your Chrome browser, and ensure you can access every information on your browser history. To do this, simply follow the steps below.
- Open your Chrome and navigate to the menu option (denoted by “…”) at the top right corner.
- Tap on Settings
- Under Settings, select Advanced Settings
- Select Content Setting
- Navigate to Cookies and check the Allow local data to be set box
- Scroll down and uncheck the Block third party cookies box
With the above steps, you’ld be able to view the history (sites visited) on your browser, provided the users fail to clear the browser history.
However, to ensure you keep abreast of sites visited via your browser, you may have to disable the delete browsing history option on your Chrome.
In light of the foregoing, Google Chrome does not offer any straightforward method for disabling browser history. This is unlike the Internet Explorer, which offers a direct option to prevent users from deleting cookies and browser history.
Nevertheless, there are few options (hacks & tweaks) which have been tried in the past
2. Using Google Apps Admin Console
- Under the Google’s C-Panel (Google Apps Admin Console), navigate to Device Management
- Under Device Management, go to Chrome Management
- Select User Settings and navigate to Security
- Under the Incognito Mode drop-down menu, select Disallow Incognito Mode
- Scroll down to the Browser History drop-down option and select Always save browser history
This is relatively a rudimentary method, and any user with a mid-level tech know-how would easily by-pass it and clear the browser history. Nevertheless, you can also try the method below.
3. Blacklist History Frame& Clear Browser Data Frame
Note: This is also a function of Google Apps Admin Console
- Under C-Panel, click on Device Management
- Select Chrome Management”, then navigate to User Setting.
- Locate URL Blacklist, under URL Blocking
- In the URL Blacklist boxes, enter chrome://settings/clearBrowserData/, chrome://settings-frame/clearBrowserData, Chrome://history-frame/, and chrome://history/
- Save changes.
This method has been proven to work on old Chrome versions. With newer versions, however, users are easily able to work around it and successfully clear history. Moreover, it only works when a user signs into Chrome with his/her Google account.
4. Use Google History Extension
- Get a Google History Extension and install it on your computer
- Link it to your Chrome account
This records all sites visited via Chrome and you’ll be able to access browsing history, even after the user has cleared it.
Note: Setting Chrome to Incognito mode effectively renders this method useless. Also, if a user logs out of the Chrome account, he/she can easily clear his/her browser history, without leaving any trace.
Lastly, you can easily block any inappropriate site on your Chrome browser, especially with the use of OpenDNS (and a host of other tools). With this, no user will be able to access blacklisted site(s) via Chrome on your PC.
Prevent users from deleting browsing history in Edge
Edge is the default Microsoft browser for Windows 10 computer systems. Technically, it is a form of advanced Internet Explorer. However, unlike Internet Explorer, Edge browser doesn’t have a clear-cut option to prevent users from deleting cookies and browser history.
Nevertheless, you are afforded the opportunity of disabling the “Clear Browsing Data on Exit” option.
With this, every user’s browsing history is stored, and unless a user deletes his/her browsing history before exiting the browser, you can view every site accessed via your browser.
- Disable Clear Browsing Data on Exit on Edge
- Launch Microsoft Edge web browser
- Click on the three dots (…) menu, and then click on settings
- In the settings bar, under Clear browsing data, click on ‘choose what to clear.
- Uncheck the Browsing history tickbox, and then toggle off the ‘always clear this when i close the browser‘ option
- Exit Microsoft Edge afterwards.
Note: This method only works with a set of Windows 10 computers, specifically Windows 10 Education & Windows 10 Pro Enterprise.
Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, as emphasized above, do not provide clearly-defined options to prevent users from deleting cookies and browser history.
There are, however, various forms of hacks and tweaks, which, if properly implemented, would restrict or out rightly prevent third-party users from deleting browser history.
Some of these tweaks and hacks range from “extending browser history expiration period ” to “disabling default clearing of browser history on exit”.
Bottom line, there is no clear-cut method for disabling delete browsing history on Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge. The only browser that supports this function is the Internet Explorer.
Hence, if you want to have unfettered access to your kids or employees’ browsing history, Internet Explorer is the ideal browser for you.
FAQ: Learn more about your browsing history
- Does Google keep my search history forever?
Google does not keep your search history indefinitely, it only records your search query and browsing history for the last 10 years.
- Who can see my Incognito mode browsing history?
Incognito Mode doesn’t record your browsing history but your ISP can still see the list of websites you visited while using Incognito mode.
- How do I see my browsing history?
Here are the steps to follow to view your entire browsing history:
- On Chrome: Open a new tab and type chrome:history
- On Opera: Go to the Opera menu and click on History
- On Mozilla: Go to the menu button, select History and click on Show All History
- On Edge: Click on the Hub button and then click on the History button.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2020 and has been since revamped and updated in August 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.