How to Hide Your IP Address
Every computer or device which connects to the internet will have an IP address. This is what enables your device to speak to another one. To understand it in simple terms it is best to compare the IP address to a physical postal address. To communicate with another computer you must enter their mailing address.
There are two types of IP address; the static is, as its name suggests, one which never changes. Because it never changes the IP can include identifying digits which will confirm your location – they can be accurate to the city although not the particular street. It is possible to access a free tool to see what details your IP address contains.
The alternative is a dynamic IP address. These are used when a variety of computers can be connecting to the same network. As not all users are logged on at the same time, the IP address can be used and then put back into the pool; ready for someone else to use. In effect this allows more people to access the internet through a given point than would otherwise be possible. Even a dynamic IP will provide details on the location of your computer.
Why Hide Your IP Address
Your IP address identifies you. This allows your internet provider to collect information on you and the sites you visit. In turn, this can be used by marketing firms to target you and even bombard you with marketing opportunities. This can put your details at risk. Hiding your IP address helps to keep you safe on the internet.
It can also be useful to hide your internet address to enable you to access streaming when abroad. The streaming server can be convinced you are in the right country and allow you access!
In effect, a hidden IP address will go a long way to ensure your privacy remains intact while surfing the web.
How to Hide Your IP Address
The most efficient way of hiding your IP address is to use a VPN. This is a Virtual Private network; you will need to create an account with a VPN service to use this option.
A VPN provides an encrypted connection between you and the VPN service. This is then used as your gateway to the internet. Instead of accessing a site from your computer, the VPN will become your network. This means that when your internet service provider looks at which sites you have visited they will be unable to link this back to your computer and you personally. Instead, it will look like the VPN provider is the source of the internet searches.
The first step in hiding your IP address is to choose the right VPN provider. There are several things to consider when doing this:
- Cost – It is possible to access a VPN service for free. However, many of the free services will collect your information themselves and sell it on. Effectively doing what your Internet Service Provider does, without your ISP knowing what sites you are linking.
It is better to create an account with a VPN provider and pay them a small fee for the year; it should be less than $100.
- Reputation – a VPN service should have a good reputation for privacy. The better this is, the more important it will be to the business, and the better the security will be for you. There are hundreds of thousands of people using VPN services, and the majority of them are simply privacy conscious; not intent on criminal behavior.
- Logging – You will need to check the terms and conditions of your VPN to find out if they keep a log of your activity. If they do, then this can be requested by the authorities, and your internet browsing history can be quickly pieced together. It is, therefore, better to choose a VPN service which does not keep a log of your activity. They may still log the times you are on and off the internet, but this is much less likely to give you privacy issues.
Once you have decided on the right VPN service for your needs, you will need to update your DNS on your system to ensure it does not default to your ISP DNS and effectively provide your surfing history.
You will then be able to access the internet whenever you want through your VPN, and your internet provider will only see the VPN service surfing the web; your IP address will never be visible; in effect, it will be like you never go on the internet!
There are a few other options although these may not be as useful or as easy as using a VPN:
Your internet provider tracks your internet activity and assigned to you by your unique IP address. However, if you are away from your home, then the IP address you use will be different. For example, if you visit a coffee shop with free Wi-Fi you will not be accessing the internet through your ISP, and they will have no idea of your browsing history.
To increase your privacy, you can log into these free Wi-Fi spots with non-factual information, and it will be challenging for anyone to confirm who accessed a particular site. It is worth noting that these public Wi-Fi spots are not secure; it is not advisable to visit your bank or enter any financial details.
The Proxy Server
This is a firm which offers access to the internet through their gateway. In many ways, it works like a VPN server. However, it does not include the encryption to protect your data between your computer and the proxy; which a VPN does.
You access the internet via the proxy and use their IP address to surf the web; in the process, yours is kept secret. This ensures your ISP cannot identify you or match it to your surfing history.
However, there are more risks associated with using proxy servers. It can often be difficult to confirm the reputation of the proxy, and you may find that they are operating to steal your information; when you feel safest! It is, therefore, best to use this option for general surfer but never when you need to enter your personal financial information.
It is possible and in many cases desirable to hide your IP address from your internet service provider. There is no reason to expose you to additional risk and excessive marketing! However, the safest and most convenient way to do this is via a VPN provider.
Providing you follow the guidelines above when choosing your VPN offering you will be able to safely hide your IP address and surf the internet without risking your personal information.
It is important to realize that retaining control of your details is becoming increasingly difficult in the modern digital age. Hiding your IP address via a VPN is not something that should be considered the preserve of the criminal; everyone can benefit from the ability to surf anonymously. After all, the internet was initially designed to provide access to information and communications for everyone; without having to share all your details unless you wish to.