Every machine on a network has a unique identifier. Just as you would address a letter to send in the mail, computers use the unique identifier to send data to specific computers on a network. An IP address can be used to locate a person, and trace their Internet activity. To surf anonymously and protect your privacy, you’ll need to hide your real IP address.
An IP stands for Internet Protocol (IP address). This is a numerical label assigned to an electronic device (e.g., phone, computer, printer, etc) participating in a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication.
It serves two principal functions:
1. Host or network interface identification.
2. Location addressing.
Its role has been characterized as follows:
1. A name indicates what we seek.
2. An address indicates where it is.
3. A route indicates how to get there.
Internet Protocol deigners defined an IP address as a 32-bit number and this system, known as Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4), is still in use today. However, because of the growth of the Internet and the predicted depletion of available addresses, a new version of IP (IPv6), using 128 bits for the address, was developed in 1995. IPv6 was standardized as RFC 2460 in 1998, and its deployment has been ongoing since the mid-2000s.
IP addresses are usually written and displayed in human-readable notations, such as 172.16.254.1 (IPv4), and 2001:db8:0:1234:0:567:8:1 (IPv6).
These aren’t random addresses; they’re mathematically produced and allocated by Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). They manage the IP address space allocations globally and delegates five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) to allocate IP address blocks to local Internet registries ISP (Internet service providers) and other entities.
Top 4 reasons why people want to hide their IP address?
- Hide their geographical location: Certain networks prevent users from a specific geographical location, and use of proxy IP address will circumbent this problem. Along the way, location and identifying information is exchanged and, sometimes, intercepted by attackers, snoopers, and nosey government agencies.
- Prevent Web tracking by the server hosted by the website owner: By hiding your IP address, your web visits cannot be tracked.
- Avoid leaving a digital footprint: If you navigate on the Internet with your IP address, your privacy and sensitive information about you can be monitored. With an IP address, your location, your ISP and your privacy or security can be breached. There are suspicious people on the Internet, and you need to protect your identity by hiding your IP address and use someone else’s instead. There are many tools available to mask your IP address (free and paid), and use 3rd-party IP addresses offered by public companies.
- Blacklisting of IP addresses: It helps to bypass any ban in some countries or regions that prevents one from assessing a particular website.
Hide your IP address with a VPN
Virtual Private Network (VPN) offers a connectivity to another network, and when connected your computer receives a new IP address from a VPN provider. Every traffic from your computer routes through the VPN network, so your true IP address assigned by your ISP (Internet Service Provider) is hidden. Aside from hiding your IP address, using VPN allows you to access any network even though your network may be geo-restricted. They help you get on the Internet with a different IP address than the one provided by your ISP.
Here are some VPN providers that you might consider. You can google them up and go through their sites to know what kind of services they offer.
- Hide My Ass
- Private Internet Access
- Ivacy VPN
VPNs can be free or you can pay for the service. They help you get on the Internet and assign you a different IP address.
Use someone else’s network
Alternatively, you may simply use free Wi-Fi services offered by a friend, in a hotel lobby or any public locations and tap into their Wi-Fi, you will temporarily hide your usual IP address. An IP address does not travel with you or your computer or any other device, but they are rather assigned by the router colocated in the area you are in. You’ll be using their network’s IP address for as long as you’re online.
Try it out. First, check your IP address on WhatIsMyIPAddress.com, and then visit any place with free Wi-Fi, log in to their Internet and check it again.
Your Internet activity is at risk of being spied on or intercepted by a bad guy without you knowing it if you don’t hide your IP address. And please be careful when you make online purchases or check your bank account.