Every time you search the internet, servers need to know your IP address to respond to the requests. This means you leave a trail of activities whenever you are browsing. For someone interested in online privacy or security, that does not sound very assuring. This is the reason why you may want to hide IP address of yours.
So, what is an IP Address?
The Internet Protocol, commonly known as IP, is like a public identification number on the internet. It is a fingerprint of your online activity, and it is given by your internet provider. IP defines, structures, and delivers information packets from point A to B.
When an internet provider connects you to the internet, an IP address is assigned to your connection. This address is unique and is attached to your location. Again, exposing you to further security risks.
There are several ways to hide an IP address; top on the list is using a proxy server or a Virtual Private Network (VPN). But before we dive into details of how to hide an IP address, let us look at reasons for hiding an IP address.
Reasons to hide your IP address
The IP address is a key identity identifier on the internet. Below are the main reasons why people hide IP addresses.
Have you ever received some personalized information or an ad from a stranger and wondered how they got your address? This is because there are people or companies effectively spying the internet to retrieve information.
They use the data to create a profile of you or your business and perhaps sell it to private companies. Now you know why a certain ad felt so personal.
Hiding your IP address enables you to browse the internet anonymously and avoid misuse of personal information.
Hide your location
The truth is your IP address stores location information such as country, region, city, zip code, and so on. This means that anyone can access your GPS coordinates simply by finding your IP address.
The internet is full of people with bad intentions, including spies and hackers. Cyber-crimes are getting more complicated. For example, crimes such as identity theft are facilitated by hackers who track personal details like location using IP addresses.
Break geographical restrictions
Whether it is geo-blocked websites or streaming services, you have probably come across a situation where you could not access certain content because of your geographical location.
Perhaps your company is unable to access information from a certain website because it is geo-blocked. Or you are unable to watch your favorite program on Netflix because you are in a different country.
By hiding your real IP address, you make it look like you are browsing from another region. This allows you to get around the restrictions and access the information or services you are looking for.
Ways to successfully hide your IP address
As mentioned above, there are several ways to hide your IP address. In this article, we will concentrate on the most effective methods, Virtual Private Network (VPN) and proxy servers.
Using a VPN
In simple terms, a Virtual Private Network is a network that connects your device (Computer, smartphone, etc.) to another server on the internet.
VPN offers an encrypted connection to make it look like your connection is coming from a different region. For example, if you install a USA-based VPN while based in a different country, the websites you visit will see your connection is coming from the USA.
But how does a VPN work?
When you are connected to a VPN, anytime you browse the internet, the VPN will receive your requests and forward them to the relevant website on your behalf. The VPN will then send the response back to you, using a secure connection. That is how VPN works to hide your IP address.
VPN can help you to:
- Hide your IP address
- Gain online anonymity
- Torrent safely
- Encrypt your internet traffic
- Access geo-blocked websites
- Protect yourself from snooping when using public Wi-Fi
Using a proxy server
Another primary method of hiding IP addresses is the use of a proxy server. A proxy server is an intermediary that offers an indirect connection to your computer. It is a gateway through which your online requests first go through to protect your original IP address.
For example, when you are browsing, the servers you visit will see the IP address of the proxy server. Proxies do this by intercepting your browsing requests, forwarding them to the relevant websites using their IP address, and routing the feedback back to you.
Proxy servers are commonly used to access geo-blocked websites and to purchase limited editions things, also to delve into any web scraping and data gathering related activities.
If you would like to enjoy online freedom and secure your privacy, you should consider hiding your IP address. Hiding an IP address is fairly simple when you know which tools to use. VPN offers online protection and anonymity. But you can also combine two methods to achieve a more secure network. It is also important for you to select a reliable service provider for consistency.