What you need a fake IP address for is actually no one’s business but your own. Though talking about “fake” IPs usually conjures up some ideas of perverted or illegal activity that may be going on behind the mask, most often, this is not the case.
IP changing tools are a common thing these days, and can be used for a wide variety of activity online. What books we read, what food we buy, what TV shows we watch, and who we talk to are all connected to our IP address. But there is no reason this information should be public domain.
You’d be surprised how much data is attached to your IP. Your web history, operating system, and physical location can all be accessed just by knowing your IP address. Google knows more about you than you may think, and in combination with so-called ‘smart ads’ in your inbox, a lot is known about your private life.
It’s not worth the time to spiral down the various conspiracy theories that make conjectures about what the information is actually used for, but suffice to say, there are quite a few people who are upset, and want some privacy online.
There are two great ways to get a fake IP address. In fact they’re actually not “fake” at all. They are real, temporary IP addresses that can be used to mask or replace your current IP.
Proxies are great because they’re easy to find, get started, and operate. There are plenty of services out there, both free and paid. A proxy server is like a middle man, redirecting your traffic to bypass firewalls
If you plan to use proxies, you should also know some of the risks involved. Some proxies are known for being sources of spam, so some websites block them. You won’t be able to access Hulu, Netflix, or many other streaming websites that require flash. IPs generally change frequently, and that may set off ‘red flags’ for some higher security sites like banks or membership accounts. Unreliable connections may make it difficult to use proxies for gaming or large file transfers.
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Virtual Private Networks
Like Yin to Yang, VPNs address many of the issues with proxies. The number one difference is that the fake IP address you get from a VPN connection is going to be more secure. If internet security is important to you, there’s no doubt that you need a VPN, not a proxy.
VPNs also encrypt software and applications in addition to browsing. Proxies only mask your browsing activity. VPNs are more reliable, and less easily detected because they use ports normally used for other types of encrypted traffic.
Of course, they also have some downsides to consider.
The catch is that you must download an install them. You need to register as a user on the network, and pay a monthly fee to get access to the secure VPN servers. Fees range from $3 to $20 per month, and VPN providers include a wide range of options including unlimited bandwidth, port forwarding, IP selection, multiple server choice, and free server switching. Most notably, VPN services develop their own VPN software clients to make installing, using, and troubleshooting your VPN connections much easier.
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Whether you choose a proxy or VPN is up to you. Which provider you choose will require some price comparison and feature selection.