How do I hide my IP address
How do I hide or change my IP address? Protect your privacy online
IP addresses uniquely identify the number of devices connected to a network. The Internet is viewed as a network and due to increasing security concerns, more and more people have tried to hide or change their IP address.
How do you hide the IP address?
Three ways to hide or change your IP address to surf the internet anonymously:
- Using a VPN
- Use a proxy server
- Use the Tor browser
We'll go into the details of these methods in this article.
1. Use a VPN to mask your IP address
VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, are one of the best ways to not only hide your IP address, but also keep your data safe. Although VPNs charge a small fee to use them, they offer a whole list of benefits that far outweigh the cost.
When you sign up with a VPN service provider, you first get access to their entire network of secure servers. These servers mask your IP address and replace it with their own. Websites you access only know the IP address of the VPN server you are using.
On another level, the most reliable VPN services also offer high levels of encryption. This means that all data transferred between your device and the VPN server is protected, often by similar levels of encryption that many military personnel use.
By substituting your IP address, you can also use VPNs to spoof locations. This means that you will be able to overcome geographic location blockages of some services or countries. For example, through a VPN, you can access Netflix US content from anywhere in the world.
Note, however, that not all VPN services offer high quality services. We recommend that you turn to a strong and reputable service provider like NordVPN ($ 3.71 / month) and SurfShark ($ 2.49 / month).
Tip: Run a free leak test below to see if your VPN is working (scarcity of VPNOverview.com). Your actual IP address does not match the one shown in the leak test tool.
2. Use a proxy server to change your IP
Proxy servers In some ways they are similar to VPNs. Here's how it works: You keep connecting to a server that provides the proxy service and using that server's IP address to connect to the sites you want. There are downsides, however.
For example, many people who want to use a proxy often look for cheap ways to browse the Internet anonymously. For this reason, proxy server providers often set up free or dirt cheap services to sell your data themselves.
Finally, geoblocked services like Netflix often don't work with proxy server connections. If you want to learn more, here are the many use cases of a VPN.
3. The Tor Browser
I've seen a lot of people referencing the Tor browser for greater security and anonymity without really knowing why. Tor, or The Onion Router, is actually a network of devices around the world through which connections are routed.
The Tor browser is designed to work on the Tor network. When you use it, your requests will be sent through this huge collection of devices, obscuring your real IP address. This makes it extremely difficult (but not impossible) for others to determine your starting point.
Authorities are usually able to monitor connections made through Tor. When you use Tor to engage in illegal activity, rest assured that you are being watched. This excludes any use of file sharing networks or activities such as surfing the dark web.
This "brute force" method of hiding IP addresses also has another unfortunate disadvantage: a significant reduction in speed.
Why hide your IP address?
Before choosing a method of hiding your IP address, there are two things you should consider. The first is the mechanics of IP addresses - how they work, what they are for, etc. The second is to think about what you want to hide your IP address for.
What is an IP address?
IP addresses are a combination of four sets of numbers, each between 0 and 255.
Examples for this are:192.168.0.1
usually a local IP and126.96.36.199
an IP used by Google. For the IP system to work, each device on a network must have its own unique IP address.
Think of the IP address as the same as an actual residential address. For example, in order to deliver mail to you, the postal system needs to know the exact details, including the country you are in, the state, your general area, and the specific location you are in the area.
Two types of IP addresses: LAN and WAN
IP stands for Internet Protocol, an umbrella term for a series of rules that regulate how data is moved in networks. The 'Internet' part of the name is not entirely correct as there are two types of networks:
Local networks (LAN) and wide area networks (WAN).
LANs are smaller, usually private networks that may or may not be connected to the Internet. The Internet itself is a WAN in that it connects other smaller networks in a large cloud. The important thing is that there are two types of networks as there are two types of networks. locally and remotely.
How the IP system works
A local IP address is the unique identification number of a device on a LAN, while the remote IP is what is identified on the Internet or WAN. LAN and WAN IP addresses work together to get data to the right device.
When you make a request on your device (possibly by opening a browser and typing in a website address), that instruction is sent to your device controller - most often a router. The device controller detects which device on the LAN it controls sent the request and sends the request to the Internet to get the data.
When the return information is received, the router sends it to the device that made the request. Without the IP system, the router would have no idea where the request came from.
The danger of exposed IPs
Now that you know how to use the IP address, you need to consider that it can also be used in reverse order. If you have an address that is open for delivery, you also run the risk of cyber criminals trying to use it to gain access to your device.
Many devices often have security vulnerabilities. By knowing these vulnerabilities and your IP address, cyber criminals can attempt to steal your confidential devices. Often times, this can include financial information, usernames, passwords, and more. An exposed IP address runs the risk of your identity being stolen.
Don't be complacent if you are mistaken that this is difficult. There are many automated tools out there that do this for hackers.
VPN = The best way to hide an IP address
By now, you probably realize that of the three options I released for IP address hiding, I'm very pro-VPN.
But how do you choose the right VPN?
There are many reasons for this, some of which I've outlined above, but knowing how to make the right choices in a VPN service is also important.
The first thing you need to know is that with VPNs, security often takes precedence over speed. Even so, most reputable VPN brands these days are able to handle both admirably.
One of my favorite options with VPNs is NordVPN, which has been around for a while. The reason for this is that the service represents many of the characteristics that a top notch provider should offer - a balance between performance, security, features and price.
With NordVPN, I've been able to maintain high connection speeds on a regular basis. The following table shows the current NordVPN performance (connected to NordLynx, a new protocol). You can read more about my comprehensive NordVPN review here.
Another thing to look out for with a VPN service is one that is regularly updated and improves its service. This is not something all VPN services will do, which will cause some of them to suffer from degradation in performance over time.
Read too - Best VPN services in comparison
Stay protected online
Because cyber threats are closely linked, it is best to take a holistic view of internet protection. This means combining the use of multiple tools to ensure that your devices (and therefore information) are protected as a whole.
At the device level, you should ensure that an up-to-date copy of an Internet security application is running at all times. Also, make sure that all of your software and hardware is up to date with the latest patches and firmware
Protect your router by making sure the firmware on it is also up to date. Ideally, you should first change the default password that came with your router. Also, look for information on How to Best Configure the Firewall on Your Router.
Then secure your connection with a VPN service. Not only does this help mask your identity, it also protects your entire online experience.
About Timothy Shim
Timothy Shim is a writer, editor, and tech geek. He began his career in the information technology field and quickly found his way into the print media. Since then he has worked with international, regional and local media outlets such as ComputerWorld, PC.com, Business Today and The Asian Banker. His expertise lies in technology from both a consumer and business perspective.
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