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Trying to stay out of view online? Here's how to send and receive messages, unseen.

If you are trying to stay anonymous online, it can be tricky. Sites ask for names, other email addresses and even phone numbers to ‘keep your account secure’. The result is a trail of cyber gingerbread crumbs leading directly back to your door.

To be fair, on the one hand this can be helpful. Simply put, it makes it easy to get back into an account if you’ve forgotten your password. Maybe you changed it while you were away on vacation and now you can’t remember a thing, like me.

But having your identity all over the net is a burden. Your social media blossoms with unwanted ads, as does your actual email account.

Some people have a serious need, for one reason or another, to remain nameless in the virtual world. Maybe their safety in the real world depends on it. Others just wish to limit their tracks due to a personal preference for privacy, which makes sense.

If you’ve seen or read anything about the crazy amount of data that’s gathered on us now, you can identify.

It’s dumbfounding what you can find.

Browse Anonymously

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So, what can you do? Start by setting yourself up to browse the Internet anonymously. If you’re going to set up an anonymous email account, why use a regular web browser to do it, that’s tracking your moves by the millisecond?

Put on your Zorro mask by getting access to a virtual private network. Some of the best are listed here, including TorGuard VPN, PureVPN and KeepSolid.

Once that’s done, now it’s time to get down to business. As PCmag.com states, be sure to use your newfound powers for good.

Facebook will never know what brand of coffee you order in bulk three times per year from across the border, ever again.

Here we go. Here are 5 of the best services offering anonymous email accounts:

1) Hide My Ass

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With a name like this, you know it does the job. This email service is for receiving messages only, so a heads up: you can't send a message out from Hide My Ass.

If you want to access Netflix from another country, or some other online content that’s not available in your area, this is the way to do it.

Sign up for 1 month, 6 months or 12 months, for $15.99, $11.99 and $9.19 per month, respectively.

 2) Hushmail.com

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Hushmail has options available for business and personal use. You can both send and receive messages with this service, and all accounts offer 10 GB of storage, with data stored securely in Canada.

If you run a small business or a non-profit agency, or maybe you’re in the healthcare or legal sectors, this service can help to keep your confidential data secure.

Costs vary for a Hushmail account.  A personal premium account is $49.98/year. (You can also set up a free one that offers just 25MB of storage).

A small business account is $5.99/month, healthcare and legal accounts are $9.99/month, and non-profits get a break at $3.99/month.

All accounts require a one-time $9.99 setup fee.

3) TorGuard

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With TorGuard you can get anonymous VPN service, an anonymous proxy plan and an anonymous email account, all in one place.

Email is offered for free with 10mb of offshore storage, $6.99/month for unlimited storage, $15.95 for three months of the same, or $49.95/year for unlimited storage, which works out to about $4/month.

Read PCMag's full review for more info.

4) Guerilla Mail

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Guerilla Mail offers users something different, with a disposable, temporary email address.

Send and receive messages, and have your received messages disappear after 1 hour. No sign up is required.

Guerilla Mail creates a unique email address for you that will be used only temporarily, and then never again.

The site has processed over 4 billion emails so far, so you could say that it’s popular. Just remember your time limit for received emails.

5) Anonymousemail.me

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Claimed to be the ‘most secure free online mailer’ Anonymousemail.me lets you send messages without any sign up. You can’t send attachments, but you can embed just about anything in the message, itself.

You can also host your own personal anonymous email service with this site, for $59, with certain requirements .