Your IP address is your primary form of identification while you’re online. As you engage in online activities, you request information from servers and your IP address is the location where the servers send the information. Many websites store your IP address so that they can target you with personalized ads. Many people take issue with that, and if you’re among them, you’ll be happy to know that you can hide your IP address.
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Why Should you Hide Your IP address?
One reason why people choose to keep their IP addresses hidden is to access and download illegal content. However, there are also many good reasons to hide it.
Censorship and geographic restrictions are a common reason. Some governments, such as in China and many Middle Eastern countries, block internet users from accessing certain content. Hiding your IP address makes it seem like you’re accessing the internet from a different region, allowing you to bypass the restriction and access the content.
Companies can also impose geo-restrictions on their content, limiting access to certain regions. For example, streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify are not available in all countries.
In addition to bypassing censorship and geo-restrictions, you can hide your IP address to protect your online privacy and prevent malicious use of your information. As you browse the internet, the websites you visit stores your IP address. They then link it to other data related to your online behavior, such as the pages you visit and how much time you spend there.
The sites then sell your data to advertisers who use it to send you highly targeted ads. It is for this reason that online ads tend to be uncannily personal. Moreover, your IP address can point to your physical location even if you turn off location services.
Anyone who knows your IP address can do a basic IP lookup and find out what area of a city you live in. And even though your IP address doesn’t give your home address, they may be able to find it if they access your customer data from your ISP.
Websites are not the only ones interested in spying on you and selling your data. In many countries, including the US, your ISP can lawfully gather your data without your consent. ISPs may claim that they don’t sell customer data. But it’s worth noting that an ISP could be forced to hand over your data upon request from law enforcement or government agencies. For many people, this is a major concern, and rightly so.
How can you hide your IP address?
You can hide your IP address using a proxy server, a virtual private network (VPN), or Tor. Tor is commonly recommended for specific uses and isn’t ideal for everyday browsing due to its slow speeds. A proxy server is an intermediary server through which you pass your traffic to hide your real IP address. However, many proxy services are questionable. They often spy on their users and sell their data.
Read the difference between proxy and VPN
A VPN is the best solution. When you browse the internet using a VPN, your traffic is encrypted and passed through a VPN server that masks your real IP address. Leading VPN providers such as ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Cyberghost use top-level 256-bit AES encryption that makes it impossible for someone to see what you’re doing online.
How do I hide my IP address using a VPN?
It’s best to sign up to a VPN service from a trusted and reliable provider that can prove it doesn’t log its user’s online activity. Also, when setting up a VPN from a reputable service provider they make the process as simple as possible. Therefore, using a top rated VPN is the easiest and safest option.
The steps are as follows. (We use NordVPN in this example.)
- Visit NordVPN and sign up for a subscription plan
- Download and install the VPN app on your device
- Log into the app and select a server based on your intended use
Exclusive VPN offers for you:
- Express VPN 49% discount+3 month free
- NordVPN 3-Year Offer 75% OFF ($2.99/mo)
- CyberGhost Exclusive Offer $2.75 per month
Congratulations! You can now go about your online activities with your IP address hidden. The VPN offers a highly secure encrypted tunnel through which your online traffic flows. That way, no one can access your internet data and see what you’re doing online. You can keep all your browsing history private, securely access your work and personal accounts remotely, and safely use public Wi-Fi.
It’s important that you choose a VPN provider that offers protection for all your devices by providing apps for Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and Linux. Many providers also offer proxy extensions for browsers.
The main advantage of using a VPN to hide your IP address is that you don’t have to sacrifice speed and connectivity. A good VPN service lets you download and stream content at acceptable speeds by offering you access to a vast network of servers in many locations.