An IP address is the fingerprint of all your online actions. The number is unique to your internet connection and can be traced to your location and eventually your identity. Below you find all the reasons why you would want to hide your IP address. More importantly, you can find out how you can hide your IP address.
What is an IP Address?
The IP in IP address stands for Internet Protocol. It is the identifying number of an internet connection. When you get access to the internet from your internet service provider they assign a IP address to your internet connection. This IP is connected to your location.
To date there are two types of IP addresses. IPv4 and IPv6. When IPv4 was created they thought the system of 32 bits address would be enough for all the internet connections. However, the 32 bits addresses were limited and the internet proved to be a bigger hit than they thought. For this reason they created IPv6 that should provide enough IP addresses for the entire world.
Where do I Find my IP Address?
You can find your IP address by clicking on the logo of your internet connection and selecting properties. The number behind “IPv4 address” or “IPv6 address” is your IP address.
If you fail to find it on your own computer you can always take to the internet. There are many websites that will gladly show you your IP address. VPN providers often have a section at the top of their page that will show you your IP address to illustrate that anyone has access to it.
Reasons to Hide Your IP Address
1. Visiting Websites Without Revealing Your Identity
Websites gather a lot of information on you when you visit their website. They build a profile on your behavior on their website and sometimes they even gather information on the other websites you visit. With this information they can select the adds they want you to see or even what content they show you. Websites can gather this information by linking your online actions to your IP address. If you hide your IP address they will no longer be able to create a profile on you. With a VPN, you access the website with a random IP address that will change often, this way there is no way of tracking your online actions and you will be able to browse anonymously.
2. Access to Netflix and Other Streaming Services, Wherever you Are
Streaming services, like Netflix, sometimes put geographical restrictions on their services. This means that some or all of their content is only visible in selected countries. For instance, the streaming services of most national television channels are only available for people in that particular countries. This means that you cannot watch your favorite show or football match when you are on holiday. Streaming services know where you are by checking the locations of your internet connection. This is possible because your IP address is unique for your internet connection.
3. Protect Yourself Against Spies and Hackers
With your IP address hackers can easily find out your location and identity. Similarly to how websites track your actions a hacker can do the same, however, if they have bad intentions they can use this information against you. By hiding your IP address. Ideally with a VPN, you can prevent hackers from following you.
4. Surfing the Web on Public Wi-Fi Hotspots Safely
Public Wi-Fi networks are often targeted by hackers because they provide them with access to many devices at the same time. When you use public Wi-Fi it is important to hide your location and identity with the use of a VPN.
5. Access Websites that Aren’t Available in Your Country
Although the web sometimes seems like a bottomless pit of information, there are restrictions to what you can access. In some countries the government restricts access to certain websites. By changing your IP address you can pretend to access the internet from a different country. This type censorship controls the information the people of a country can see. it can be bypassed by changing your IP address.
6. Bypass Online Restrictions set up by Your School or Work
Schools or workplaces can sometimes restrict users on their internet network. For example, school sometimes block the use of social media to prevent students from getting distracted. They can do this when you use their internet network with their IP address. However, you can use their connection but change the IP address with, for instance, a VPN. This way you can make use of their internet connection without the restrictions they impose.
7. Bypassing Eavesdropping and Censorship from Governments
As mentioned before, there are governments that censor the internet for their citizens. They can also track everything you do online and use it against you if they want to. To safely use the internet in country like that it is best to change your IP address. If you access the internet with a IP that appears to be in a different country they will not be able to link your online activities to your locations or identity.
8. Hide Your Internet Activities from Your Internet Provider
Internet service providers are often required to keep a record of your internet usage for a period of time. They can see everything you do, even the websites you visit in incognito mode. By changing your IP address they will not be able to link your online activities to you.
9. Prevent Search Engines from Logging Your Searches
Like websites, search engines keep track of your search requests and the websites you visit. They use this information to offer you targeted adds and information. Again, they can do this because most of us access these search engines from one IP address. By changing you IP you can prevent the search engines from looking over your shoulder. Also, do not forget to erase your cookies, otherwise they will still be able to follow you around the internet.
10. Complete Internet Freedom
The internet is intended to be an open platform for everyone. Creativity, innovation, education, communication and the exchange of ideas are inseparable with the freedom the internet offers. All the different things mentioned above can restrict that freedom. To make sure you can access and use the internet free of any restrictions, it is best to hide your IP address.
How to Hide Your IP Address
There are several ways to hide your IP address but the most complete and effective method is to protect your connection with a VPN. Below you will find information on VPN services and two other method, a proxy and the Tor browser, that you could use.
Hide Your IP Address with a VPN
A VPN, Virtual Private Network, is software that encrypts all your internet traffic and hides your IP. With a subscription to a VPN service you access the internet through their servers, other will only see the IP address of the VPN server, not your personal IP. This way your IP address is hidden.
Another big advantage of a VPN is the fact that their encrypt all your data. This way nobody can see what you do online and they cannot trace it back to you either.
A VPN is the most complete protection you can get on the internet. Moreover, it is essential when you want to be free, safe, and anonymous online.
ExpressVPN is one of the best VPN providers on the market. They have solid encryption and great customer service, which makes using a VPN easy, even for new users. Their applications are user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing.
You can use one subscription on 3 devices at the same time and they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try it out before you commit. Read more about this provider in our full review of ExpressVPN.
NordVPN is another solid VPN that values our online privacy. This provider is known for their high levels of encryption and extra security measures. You can use one subscription on 6 devices simultaneously.
They are very affordable, easy to use, and have great customer support. Read all about this provider in our review of NordVPN.
Hide Your IP Address with a Proxy
When you use a proxy server your IP address is hidden because you take on the IP address of the Proxy server. Although this is a very easy way to hide your IP address it does not protect you data. If you want to be completely protected and anonymous it would be wise to go for a VPN instead of a Proxy.
Hide Your IP Address with Tor
The Tor browser uses a routing system that encrypts your traffic. The information is encrypted on your computer and travels through so-called nodes to its final destination. At every node or station one layer of encryption is peeled off. No individual station knows the entire route of the information. This way it cannot be traced back to you and you can browse anonymously. Your IP is hidden in the process. Again this is a nice solution for browsing but does not protect internet traffic outside of the browser. For a more complete protection it would be better to use a VPN.
Your IP address is the identification number of your internet connection. With this number websites, governments, hackers, and others can link your online activity to your location, and with some digging, your identity. To prevent others from using this information against you there are several methods to hide your IP. The use of a Proxy or the Tor browser can be useful but are not as complete in their protection as a VPN. With a VPN you can access the internet freely, safely, and anonymously.