We take a lot of security measures to protect our computers and smartphones. But, we usually ignore protecting our IP addresses, just because we don’t know much about it.
Are you sure that your IP address isn’t exposed?
Do you really know how important IP address is? Should you keep it private to yourself or share it with the world?
And, it’s really easy, well, a piece of cake.
But, hold on…
You need to know about a couple of things first before getting down to the methods of hiding your IP address.
So, here’s what we need to take a look at What is an IP Address?
Risks of exposing your real IP Address
In case you just want to know the methods without knowing about some facts or insights on why IP address is a vital piece of information, jump right down to the methods. (jump tag HTML)
Let’s start with the basics – IP Address- what exactly it is?
What is an IP Address?
An IP address is a numeric address which acts as the unique identifier of a connected device on any network (Internet).
Of course, there’s a specific format for that, but you don’t have to worry about the technical details of it unless you want to learn more about the versions of IP Addresses.
But, you need to know that there are actually two categories of IPs that are being used to communicate:
- Public IP
- Private IP
1. Public IP is the one that’s being utilized for you to stay connected to the Internet.
2. The Private IP is the one that’s being utilized locally (for Bluetooth connection, printer connection, and other local connections).
Now that you know it, you must be wondering – can’t we just “not” have a Public IP in the first place?
No, you can’t.
You have to have a public IP in order to use the Internet. You can’t just use the common local network’s private IP because you cannot be identified.
I’m sure that now you should have a decent idea about what an IP is.
Well, if an IP is so vital to keep the devices connected to the Internet – why should we hide it in the first place?
It’s simple – to protect our privacy. Our real IP exposes a lot of data, so it should be a priority for a privacy buff to hide their IP address.
But, what exactly gets exposed…? Continue reading to find out…
Risks of exposing your IP address
A lot of your information is associated with the IP address and it’s always a risk to expose your IP address.
Maybe some services record your IP address but do not exploit it for their benefit. But, on the other hand, there are some services/web pages who track your IP address as a target to obtain personal information.
You might have a thought in your mind – “Already the world knows enough about me, what more can my IP address leak?”.
Well, when you expose your IP address, not just your online identity is at risk – there’s more to it.
Here’s what you want to know when you reveal your IP address to someone you shouldn’t:
Your browsing activity can be tracked: When you visit a website or utilize an online service, your IP is tracked and the associated information usually helps to build up an online profile for an attacker or an advertiser – there goes your privacy.
The more data they get, the more money they make: For a blog like us, we do not store any of your data/information to sell it to a 3rd party advertiser.
But, some websites/services record every inch of your information to build up a perfect online profile for your IP and then sell it off / bid on it to make a lot of money.
Your location can be traced: When someone gets hold of your IP address, they can utilize any simple online tool to trace your location and your ISP info to explore ways to exploit.
Exploiting your data for targeted advertisements might sound very common, and Google’s been doing it. However, a potential attacker can make use of it with a various number of techniques unknown.
So, simply hide your IP address and stay safe, isn’t that the best option, it seems?
Fret not, I bet you’re now ready to take control of your privacy and would take the necessary steps to hide your IP. Let’s take a look at how you can do that:
1. Get A VPN
You do not need to be a specially skilled privacy expert in order to hide your IP, that’s why you have a concept of VPN services. A VPN basically routes your Internet connection through an encrypted private network of its own (as a layer) which interacts with the web services.
You’ll have a different public IP visible to the websites and services you connect to and from the server locations available, you can change the country of origin (for the fastest ping) as required.
This way, your IP gets hidden and you still get to access websites and services with no problems whatsoever.
However, do note that you should not exploit the VPN service for illegal activities because they happen to use their IPs for your protection and necessary actions will be taken against you. Not just to hide your IP, you can even use the VPN to bypass geological restrictions based on the country of origin.
For example, if you have something restricted for India, you can switch to a US server to access the website using the VPN.
Trust your VPN provider / Select the best VPN provider.
The websites/services would no longer record your original IP address after enabling the VPN. But, what about the VPN service provider?
Don’t they keep any of your information?
Well, that depends, so we’ll recommend you to use ExpressVPN – one of the trusted VPN service providers.
2. Utilize Proxy Services or a Proxy Server
Using a proxy isn’t the ultimate way of protecting your privacy. But, if you do not want to spend on premium VPN services (or just want to bypass certain IP restrictions), and just want to hide your IP address. It’s a perfect choice!
A proxy service is just like a VPN service – but a cheaper (and potentially less secure) method to hide your IP address.
You can either opt for web-based proxy services or choose to set up a proxy by selecting a proxy server of your choice.
Here’s what happens when you use a proxy service:
Unlike a VPN (which is configured at OS-level to encrypt and route your connection across the system), a proxy server acts as a bridge (or man-in-the-middle) to fulfil your web request to make it appear coming from a different IP address. It’s just limited to the browser/service you’re trying to access, not across.
Yes, there are premium proxy services who offer better security – but it’s still the same concept – it’s not the best way to secure your network connection but only to hide your IP.
I’m sure that you must be confused about the difference between a VPN and a proxy server, so let me answer it:
A proxy server just gimmicks your web request from its own server and hides your IP address. This is useful when you want to bypass IP restrictions and not so concerned about your network security (but just about your IP address).
But, on the other hand, a VPN is a full-fledged technique to secure your network connection across the system (not just limited to your browser). Whatever you connect to from your computer, gets tunnelled through the VPN service with encryption protocols.
The website/service which provides the proxy server or connections could be monitoring your data. So, you should utilize only some of the most trusted proxies available. We’ll recommend a few:
3. Use Tor (You’re the hackerman now!)
If you utilize Tor, I say – you’re the hackerman! But, hey, no offence.
This method could prove to be a painful way to simply hide your IP address. So, I’ll recommend you to try it only if you want a more secure connection (while trying to be anonymous) and also compromising the speed of your connection.
Yes, when you utilize Tor, you should expect a big dip in your network speed. If you’re simply browsing something, you may not notice that – but downloading something could take a lot of your time.
You need to refer to the official installation guide in order to configure tor.
In case you do not want the hassle, you can simply go ahead and download the Tor browser
Tor Browser is based on Mozilla Firefox (which preset customizations). So, when you launch it, you automatically get connected to the Tor network.
Basically, it pings multiple locations and IPs to the website you visit – so it would be nearly impossible to get your real IP. And, for security reasons, they recommend you to “not” maximize the browser window – which might compromise some of your browser/computer info to the website.
4. Manually Change your IP
You can manually change your IP address.
Fret not, it isn’t rocket science. You can just follow the official guide by TP-links to renew IP to do that. It’s very easy.
In case you have a router, you can change the IP address as well (refer to D-Link’s official guide)
5. Ditch your primary Network (Weak alternative)
This is a very simple technique to evade IP tracking/bypass IP restrictions. So, you need to connect your PC to another network that does cannot be traced back to you directly.
Sounds interesting, right?
But, it may not be an option for you – depending on where you live. For most of the users, it should be easy to use a Public WiFi – which isn’t secure, but it is a different IP that doesn’t reveal anything about you particularly.
This could come handy if your IP has been banned or restricted access to a service.
It’s technically not “hiding your IP” – but it’s just a mere practical solution to those looking to hide their IP addresses in order to bypass restrictions.
If not public Wi-Fi, you can try connecting to your mobile network – which indeed accounts for a different IP.
Now, that you know a lot about hiding your IP address and the risks associated with exposing your real IP. But, what benefits do you actually get when you do that? Let’s sum up the article by knowing the benefits of hiding your IP.
Advantages of Hiding your IP
1. Keep your location safe
After hiding your IP, your location cannot be easily traced because the location and the information associated with it will be different.
Especially, when you use VPN/Proxy/Tor, it is impossible to identify your location (and you can manually change your location as well – by selecting the appropriate server)
2. Online identity is safe
Your IP does not just leak your location, it also helps attackers to make a profile of your online activities – because they know who you are and what you like eventually when they track your IP.
But, when you hide your IP, your real location and identity are safe.
3. Bypass IP restrictions, Fight censorship & Encourage Privacy
Whether it’s a geological restriction or an IP ban, with the methods of hiding your IP you can easily change your location and IP to gain access to a particular site or service.
Well, maybe you’re just looking to hide your IP address for a temporary task of accessing something. But, you should do that for everything you do online and every time you go online.
Privacy is your right. You should not let anyone track your personal browsing activity by identifying it’s YOU. Also, if a service is inaccessible in your country, but you still want to utilize it – do it.
You will eventually have a safe Internet experience by just hiding your IP.
Hiding your IP address is not a big deal. But, we encourage you to do it for the greater good and not just limited to short-term benefits.
What made you think about hiding your IP address? Workplace restrictions? Privacy concerns?