They say, by 2030, anyone who is not familiar with codes of the internet is going to be considered unlettered. Although we would not go that far, we still believe that in today’s day and age, everyone who uses the Internet (which is precisely where everyone is reading this), should know the basics of how the Internet works. It is essential to be prepared to protect themselves from online threats and complications.
You may have the word ‘IP address’ thrown around by techies, on the web, or amongst your colleagues. It generally means- a number to identify your PC or laptop. But there’s a great depth of knowledge that goes into cybersecurity and not everyone knows exactly what it is, or why it is needed in the first place. This article is going to teach you everything that you SHOULD know about your IP address. So read on, and you’ll find out exactly what an IP address does, and why it is important for your security.
An IP address is a unique online identifier. It is a string of numbers used to identify your gadget on the Internet. It changes with a location, so if you shift, your IP address changes too.
Hiding your IP address has become a common thing nowadays. If you use the Internet for as much as downloading torrents or any other material, you can easily be tracked by your ISP (Internet Service Provider or the company that you use for your DSL/Wi-Fi), the government or anyone else. This can get you in trouble, and your internet connection can be blocked.
Even if you do not access or download from such sites, you may still want to hide your IP address simply for more privacy and to avert the misuse of your personal information
How to Hide an IP Address
You can easily mask your IP address with the use of a VPN. A VPN or Virtual Private Network allows you to create a secure connection to another network over the Internet. It works by steering your device’s internet supply via the VPN’s private server instead of your local IP address, so the time when user data is conveyed to the Internet, it directs from the VPN server and not from your PC.
Your browsing history over the VPN is not viewable by your ISP. Even the police cannot easily track your data with a VPN. They can, however, check with your ISP and find out if you are using a VPN. To get your data, they will have to approach the VPN Company.
If the VPN comes under their jurisdiction, they may have to provide the data. Otherwise, they cannot access it.
The other method to mask your IP address is through an online proxy server. A proxy server is basically another computer which serves as a middle-computer through which internet requests are processed. Your computer sends your requests to the server, which then processes your request and returns what you were wanting. However, not all proxies give anonymity on the Internet.
There are four kinds of proxies:
- Transparent Proxy
- Anonymous Proxy
- Distorting Proxy
- High anonymity Proxy
Depending on which type of proxy you’re using, your security varies. Secondly, it is not legal to set-up your proxy with any website. You should always check first before setting up a proxy for your internet connections.
Back to VPNs! So the method to download and use any VPN on your desktop or mobile is the same. For desktop, you will have to download the application from the website and install it; for your mobile, you will download the app from the Google Play Store or Apple Appstore.
Pros of using a VPN;
- One of the best features of a VPN is that you can connect to any country of your choice, depending on your needs. For example, if you want to access a geo-restricted site, you should select the server of the country where that site is available.
- Another plus point is that unlike a proxy, it encrypts all your internet data, whether you are using an app or program, not just your browsing data.
There are a huge number of VPNs that you can use to protect your online privacy. However, we would suggest the Express VPN as the best option.
Express VPN is a VPN that has been in the market for quite some time (11 years actually) and has a large number of servers. They have a large network of more than 3,000 servers in 165+ server locations in 95+ countries. This means that you will not face any issues with geo-restricted content.
ExpressVPN also defends your privacy and keeps no logs of your web activity and searches, or even your IP address. DNS leak guard is also built into the VPN, which means that no one else on the Internet, not even your Internet Service Provider, can discover you or your real location.
How to Hide Your IP Address for Free
You may be wondering how I can hide my IP address free online. Well, there are options for that. Although most VPNs are paid, you can hide your IP address for free using web extensions or proxies. However, all these options offer limited access and are not secure. Many VPNs were shut down because they were caught spying on their users and selling data to third-parties.
But Why to Hide IP Address?
Hiding your IP address offers many benefits, including;
- To protect your identity online;
When you use a virtual private network (VPN) like Express VPN, your data passes through the VPN’s server before it reaches the endpoint. It’s encrypted for the journey as well, so hackers can’t see the data you’re sending.
- Getting access to geo-restricted content;
Many websites and streaming services such as Zee5 and RaiTV are only accessible in specific countries and banned in others.
- To access Netflix global libraries;
Not every country has the same content on Netflix. For example, Japan has the most extensive Netflix library, according to a study by Flixed. Using a VPN allows you to access the Netflix library of any region in the world.
- Downloading torrents securely;
You can download torrents without the fear of you getting noticed because your ISP won’t be able to track you.
- To whitelist yourself for banking;
If your ISP has been blacklisted, you can easily overcome this issue with the aid of a VPN service like Express VPN, which gives high security.
- To bypass restricted IP at school or work;
The free Internet at your workplace comes with its drawbacks- many entertainment sites such as YouTube and Facebook are blocked. If you have a VPN, you can access any site from your workplace
What’s an IP Address?
An IP address is a number that is used to identify your PC or gadget on the web. It’s sort of like your National ID number, except it is used for devices and not humans. The standard IP address consists of 4 sets of numbers separated by a period. Each set represents an 8-bit number that can range from (0-255). For example, 216.3. 128.12.
Wrapping this Up
As the internet is getting more vulnerable, using a reliable VPN service is the best way to secure your online data. And apart from keeping your online privacy safe, using a VPN has some other benefits as well such as P2P, unblock geo-locked content including, and allows access to social websites that are blocked at your workplace or home.
However, if you still want to ask something, you can do it by sharing your concerns in the comment section below.
Muhammad Farasat Khan is a Content Marketer. A Search Engine specialist by day and a tech enthusiast by night. You can find him on Twitter as @Khanfarasatkhan.