Top Three Reasons To Hide Your IP Address
There are a number of reasons to hide your IP address online. Your IP address is an identifier for your computer or device that allows it to be pinpointed on a network.
In addition to this, the address is tied to all online activity you do, allowing your browsing and searching history to be associated to you. Some search providers go as far a storing your searching history for “data” purposes.
1. Protect Your Private Data While You Surf
Identity theft is a serious problem. It doesn’t happen to everyone, but it does happen.
I have had two email passwords stolen and my accounts used for spam, as well as had my credit card number stolen online. Luckily, my bank though it was pretty weird to spend $900 USD in one go at an online gaming community and froze the card. No money was stolen, but I realized that it doesn’t always happen to ‘someone else’. Some identity theft starts at identifying your IP and intercepting your traffic.
Have you ever heard of “session jacking” or “packet sniffing”?. These are techniques used to monitor traffic on networks, and can be used by private parties to intercept data on shared networks (ie shared wifi). There are even tutorials on YouTube and Firefox addons that facilitate stealing passwords. Data security is the BIGGEST reason to hide your IP address online.
2. Get Access To Blocked Sites
Your physical location can be used to determine whether or not you are able to access some websites.
For example, streaming videos from Hulu and Netflix are only accessible from inside the United States. BBC iPlayer is only available with a British IP. There are similar restrictions placed on the websites with servers in other countries, like Canada, France, Australia, Russia, Japan, and more.
Some countries do the opposite block many sites from inside the country! This is called internet censorship. Countries such as China, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Egypt, and Iran are just the ones you hear about in the news. In fact, most countries in the world censor the internet to some degree. Protecting your citizens from “Online Terrorists” or “National Threats” is a very vague concept. Germany blocks Nazi sites, America blocks access to sites promoting Al-Qaeda, and China blocks Facebook and YouTube.
Though China considering Facebook and YouTube as a national threat may seem strange or funny to us, China considers these sites hotbeds for dissidents, terrorists, and American spies. I’m not kidding; I lived in China for 5 years.
So accessing restricted content is BIG reason to hide your IP address online.
3. Erase Your Online Footprints
And did you know that advertising companies are following you around the internet? Did you ever wonder how Google ads show stuff from the sites you surfed just the other day? Did you ever think how you password is still in that password box even though you told it specifically to not remember it? Cookies and other tracking techniques are used to see where you’ve been, and what you want to buy.
Google “skims” your emails! Hulu was recently in the news for using “super cookies” that could not be deleted with regular cookie-deleting techniques.
Companies want your money, and they’ll go to the ends of the Earth to get it. Online Privacy is also a very important reason to hide your IP address online.
Top 2 Techniques to Hide Your IP Address
If you’re convinced that you should hide your IP address online then one option is to have your router set to assign dynamic IP addresses, meaning it switches your IP address periodically. While this allows you to change your IP, it is still a very limited technique. Because there are only specific IP addresses that your server can assign, these IP addresses will all still be tied to your location, and traceable to YOU.
A proxy acts by inserting itself between traffic from your computer and from the internet. All traffic requests from your computer are sent to the proxy, then makes requests to the network on your behalf . An anonymous proxy will first strip the IP address of the traffic request and substitute it with its own. This results in your IP addressed being masked by that of the proxy. This is why its called anonymous surfing.
One of the advantages of using a web based proxy to hide your IP is that it requires no software installation. It can be used directly from the web browser, and as such can be used from any device, including smart phones of all types and laptops running any operating system. There are many proxy providers available online, some offer free proxy services while others offer proxy services for a monthly fee.
Generally the proxies that cost money offer more features, provide faster speeds, unlimited bandwidth, and customer support. They are less limited in terms of data use and speed and are more reliable. Perhaps the main advantage of using a paid service, is knowing that they’re going to be responsible with your IP data. Open proxies and free web based proxies are often a source of spam and malware, so be sure to use a proxy provider you can trust.
I use a web based proxy called Securitales. In a nutshell, this is what makes SecuriTales worth my money
- Security of knowing they are a trusted service, with years of experience and customer feedback
- There’s a FREE TRIAL and a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee, which shows incredible belief in their own product
- It’s only $6 a month + a 25% discount for signing up for the free trial
- I can use it on my phone and computer
- No installation means I can use it at work (or school if you’re a student) without leaving any traces
2. Virtual Private Networks
Alternatively you can use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) which requires a software installation, but is compatible with any programs on your computer rather than just the web browser.
VPNs work a lot like proxies in that they reroute your traffic to a server outside your network. Instead, however, you’re now part of a private, secure network, which protects you from the ills of the greater internet.
Another difference here is more layers of protection that proxies do not provide. While a proxy will send your raw signal to the proxy server, a VPN first encrypts your data and sends it through a secure tunnel to prevent anyone from seeing your original IP address.
Because you’ll be using ports used for encrypted information, even the fact that you’re using a VPN service will be secret. Proxies are often detectible because of this lack of security.
This is why a virtual private network is preferred by users who do online banking, play games online, or do large data transfers, where security is a must. It’s great for gamers, both mobile and on PC/Mac because a VPN will encrypt your whole computer or phone, while a web based proxy will only secure your web browser.
Proxies may also be blocked in some areas, which makes a VPN connection all the more necessary. OpenVPN/SSL even requires the use of “certificates” to verify the identity of the user connected to the VPN, meaning even with correct login and password credentials, any outsider without the right certificates (provided only to you), won’t be able to crack your data.
Of course, one of the most popular reasons to hide your IP address online is to download torrents and use P2P for sharing files with your friends large files. Using a VPN for this kind of work is much better than a proxy.
Below are two mini-reviews I wrote, but the full reviews can be accessed on the Top 10 VPN list page.
For VPN services, I can recommend two – 12VPN and StrongVPN. Here’s why…
- Easy installation is great for new users
- 7 day money back guarantee promises satisfaction or your money back
- Simple site design and “all-in-one” packages means you can get started quickly
- Quick, efficient, and friendly support team makes running into problems not so troublesome
- It’s cheap, at only $79 USD per year
- Free server switching means you can maintain speed when servers have issues
- Packages based on region, operating system, and device means you get exactly what you need
- 1 month, 6 month, and 12 month options means you have even more choice
- It’s one of the most trusted names in VPN services (operating since 1995)
- It’s fast and reliable
- There’s live support to solve your issues instantly
- Comes with 7 day money back guarantee
Both proxies and virtual private networks have their own advantages and disadvantages to hide your IP address online. With these tips, I’m sure you’ll be able to decide which best suits your needs. Click on a link to be taken to the main site for more details.