The number of Google searches for how to hide your IP address on the internet grows every year. Hiding your IP address allows you to not only browse the Internet free of any of your activity being traced by third parties, but it also allows you to have an anonymous identity while participating in online communities.
There are a number of different ways to hide your IP.
You can either mask your IP address using a proxy, or have a new one assigned by using a virtual private network. Both can increase the security and anonymity of your online activity, but they differ in some crucial ways.
Manually Change IP
Manual options, often listed as a way to ‘change your IP’, do something a bit different.
Changing your IP address manually through your router has limited uses. It can give you a new IP address to use if you were blocked by a websites servers. In this way, your previous internet activity cannot be traced to you. However, the number of IP addresses available for your router is finite, and it still doesn’t solve the problem of security or consistent anonymity.
A more efficient method of changing your IP is to actually ‘hide’ your current IP by using a proxy. A proxy sits between your computer network and the greater internet. It intercepts all traffic to and from your computer. Any traffic requests that your computer makes are sent to the proxy first.
The proxy then either serves it based off the information in its own cache, or if it does not have the information, it requests it from the network on your behalf. Prior to requesting the information, the proxy strips your IP address off the traffic request and replaces it with its own. This results in the IP of the proxy masking the IP address of your computer. While it is evident to server administrators that you are browsing through a proxy, your browsing remains secure.
This means that anyone spying on you or trying to steal passwords and other data won’t see your original IP – they’ll only see the IP of the proxy, making side-jacking or http jacking more difficult. It also means that websites and advertisers won’t be able to trace your online activity.
Virtual Private Networks
Alternatively, you can use a virtual private network, or VPN. These networks are highly secure and commonly used in the business industry. They can be accessed both remotely and locally, and encrypt as well as tunnel information that is sent across the network. VPN servers assign an IP address to all the computers on the network. The IP address of your computer can then be changed in a number of ways depending on the provider.
Some providers change the IP address on computers at regular intervals, requiring no input from the user. Others change the IP address every time the user logs onto the network, making the simplest way to change IP address disconnecting and then reconnecting to the VPN. Finally, many VPN providers offer a large number of different IP addresses across many different countries. These can often be switched free of charge.
There are a couple important things you can do with a VPN. Lots of people use VPNs to do something called P2P file transfers. A lot of games, music, and movies are exchanged this way.
Perhaps a more noble use of VPN servers would be to stave off internet censorship. Unlike most proxies, VPNs make use of ports typically used for business to business communication and secure money transfers, so VPN traffic is harder to detect, and thus harder to block. Of course, with the ability to choose your IP, bypassing internet restrictions is as simple as choosing an IP from a country that doesn’t censor the internet. Millions of people in China, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam use VPNs to bypass Internet censorship.
VPNs are also good for accessing restricted content. Because a proxy doesn’t assign you a an IP address like a VPN does, they’re pretty easily detected and blocked. Through a VPN connection, you can access popular websites like Hulu, Netflix, and other TV streaming or gaming sites that restrict content based on geo-location.
Another huge difference between proxies and VPNs is that web based proxies do not require installation, and can be used on any device that can browse the internet. VPNs however, must be installed, and many devices like internet capable TVs, gaming consoles, and streaming media players do not support VPN connections.
Hiding your IP address on the Internet with a VPN also provides all the anonymity and protection of proxies, plus some. They can be installed on smart phones (like iPhone and Android), tablet computers, and a variety of operating systems for laptops and desktops (including Mac OS/X, Windows XP/Vista/7, and Linux)
There are tons of VPN providers out there. I’ve tried a few, and rather go into a long and boring list of VPNs, I’ll give you my top three.
Top 3 VPNs to Hide IP
Hide My Ass
Hide My Ass – The most server locations and IP addresses available of the three on this list, plus free server switching. StrongVPN (shown below) may have more, but they’re not all included in one package, they charge to switch servers (per month), and it’s going to cost you more. At HMA there’s a free proxy you can trust, and tons of cool anonymous surfing software available as well.
>>>>> Go to the official website www.hidemyass.com
12VPN – They’re got a very cheap package for US only IP addresses – only $79. Sure, it’s about the same price as the Hide My Ass package, but 12VPN is easier to install, and they’ve got better customer service. If you want to get started right away, 12VPN is the way to go. There is absolutely ZERO skill involved in installing their VPN. There’s also a World VPN package that has more server locations available.
>>>>> Go to the official website www.12vpn.com
StrongVPN – I know I kind of knocked them a few sentences ago for being expensive, but they’ve got a great all around service. One of the largest VPN companies out there, and have been for years, so you can bet they’ll provide you with a fast and reliable VPN that’s worth whatever you’re paying. They’ve also got live support which is a big plus.
>>>>> Go to the official website www.strongvpn.com
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