Most grade school students memorize their home address so well, they can recall it without much trouble many years later. But when asked about their so-called “digital address” – that is, their IP address – most people would simply shrug and say that they never had a reason to learn more about it.
As it turns out, IP address serves an essential role as you go from website to website. Every time you visit a new domain, that website logs your IP address and adds all sorts of data to it. This includes things that you click on, how long you stay, and where you are browsing from.
Internet service providers (ISPs) take part in a similar practice of data collection. This leads some to feel like their every action online is being scrutinized. With the IP address being the key element in all of these undesirable actions, one might even ask, “is there a way to hide my IP address?”.
The answer to that important question is “yes.”. You can hide your IP address using one of several methods that don’t require an IT specialist to set up. Simply put, privacy online is important, and hiding your IP address serves as the crucial first step toward reclaiming your right to navigate the internet without being tracked. Here are three popular and easy ways one can hide their IP address:
Use a VPN
VPNs began to pick up positive publicity recently. Probably because these virtual private networks allow users to hide their real IP address and encrypt all of the data they transfer online. VPN gives users a new IP address that replaces the original, keeping it effectively hidden while online.
In addition, VPNs can be used to bypass internet restrictions, such as the Great Firewall of China or social media ban in Sri Lanka. VPNs can even allow access to geo-restricted content, such as shows on Netflix or Hulu.
As far as user-friendliness and performance are concerned, VPN is the best option for those interested in hiding their IP address and regaining a sense of privacy online. There’s great competition in the VPN market right now, so it won’t be hard to find a feature-packed, affordable option.
Implement a Proxy
Proxy is a specialized server that swaps users’ IP addresses with new ones. They do not, however, encrypt the traffic, as a VPN does. But they work in a similar manner, acting as a middleman so that user’s traffic goes through them and is harder to trace it back to them.
They are not as reliable as VPNs are in bypassing restrictions and hiding the user. But if you only want to browse a webpage unavailable in your country, or see a geo-blocked video on YouTube using a proxy is a great way to do it. But if you want to hide your online activities from your ISP or the government, you will have to use a VPN.
Most people use Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome to browse the internet. In most part. TOR is a browser like any other. However, it differs in several important aspects. Most notably, TOR runs on a volunteer-operated network that encrypts your data as it passes from relay to relay.
This bouncing of users’ traffic through several servers creates a few layers of security. It lends itself to this browser’s icon and the official title – The Onion Router. One of the security layers offered by TOR is assigning a new IP address to a user, thus hiding the original IP from prying eyes.
When in operation, TOR functions much like a regular browser routed through a VPN with one noticeable difference – it is much, much slower. That happens due to the many security layers each request passes through en route to its destination. This slow down can be seen as a trade-off for end-to-end internet security that effectively hides one’s IP address.
Suffice to say, renewed internet security has never been more accessible to users. If you’re still wondering, “how can I hide my IP?” then consider one of these three options. You can free yourself of unwarranted data collection that plagues the internet today and bypass geo-restrictions at the same time.