How to Hide Your IP Address While Surfing the Web

How to Hide Your IP Address While Surfing the Web

We may be paranoid about internet security. But we’re not exaggerating about the fact that there could be malicious hackers lurking behind the beautiful facade of the internet you’ve known.

In fact, you may be exposed to targeted cyber attack right now if you’re surfing the web on a device with an unhidden IP address.

You’re basically screaming out your location to the entire internet.

As creepy as it is, your IP address may sometimes give away your physical location with pinpoint accuracy. This means not only the precious information on your device is at risk, but also your safety if some criminals are tailing you unknowingly.

Now that we’ve got your attention, we’ll want to show you how you can hide your IP address while surfing the web, and it’s not as complicated as it seems.

But before we get to that, let’s check out other sound reasons for hiding your IP address.

Why Would You Need to Hide IP Address

A writer whom we work with recently got into trouble with his other half. He was browsing the usual harmless websites when escort services kept popping up on the displayed ads. The writer spent countless hours explaining that he was, in fact, writing a series of articles for a company providing escort services.

The writer knew better than leaving his IP address public the next time he started a writing assignment.

Don’t even get us started on how our web developer freaked out during a business trip, just because she can’t get her favorite Netflix series to stream in the foreign country she’s in.

While we’re not sure what’s the big deal in missing an episode or two on Netflix, we knew she’s been looking for ways to hide her IP address ever since.

Like the series of numbers on your ID card, the IP address on your devices are unique identifiers that will indicate your identity and location. Generally, it is assigned to you by the ISP at the location you’re in.

We seem to be painting a doom and gloom picture about not having your IP address hidden. For a change, let’s take a look at some incentives of hiding your IP address.

Everyone loves a discount and even more so when it comes to flight tickets. Hiding your IP address and using virtual ones can lead you to find good deals when booking flight tickets for travel. The savings will be significant when you’re traveling with a few members of your family or friends.

If you’re a firm believer in internet privacy, like we do, you’ll want to consider hiding the IP address on your device. It keeps you safe from the prying eyes of the government. Besides, masking your IP address also allows you to circumvent internet restrictions that you deem unreasonable.

Now, let’s take a look at how simple it is to hide the IP address on a Mac, Windows 10 PC, Android, iPhone or any devices that you’re using.

What is Your IP address

The IP address is a series of numbers representing your device’s identity on the internet. A typical IPv4 address contains four columns of number delimited by a ‘.’ and each column holds a number between 0-255.

For instance, the Wikipedia.org has an IP address of 103.102.166.224

While major websites may have a fixed IP address, the IP address on your device is assigned by your ISP. This means that you may have a different IP address when you travel between countries.

The same applies when you’re logging in to public WiFi. You’ll be assigned with a unique IP address as long as you’re connected to the WiFi network.

Why Would You Need To Hide IP Address

Stealth and secrecy are no longer privileges to malicious hackers. In today’s online environment, there are more pros than cons of hiding your IP address when you’re surfing the web.

Let’s recap the importance of browsing with a hidden IP address.

Hide Your Location

We have mentioned that an IP address is allocated to you by the ISP you’re connected to. That means by intercepting your IP address; a hacker can know which part of the world you’re in. Some IP address is so geo-sensitive that it is theoretically possible to pinpoint your physical location.

Masking your IP address removes possibilities of exposing your location to the public.

Circumvent IP restrictions

The internet isn’t as ‘free’ as you’ve imagined. In certain countries, internet usage is strictly restricted. Apps and websites that you are familiar with will not work if you’re using an IP address assigned by the ISP of that country.

For instance, you will have to do without Gmail, Facebook, Youtube, and Dropbox, to name a few if you’re in China. If you’ve been relying on these apps to stay connected for work and social, you’ll be in for a rude surprise.

IP restrictions do not necessarily happen only in countries. You may find yourself restricted to specific websites in college, companies or certain public places.

We’re not suggesting you break the rules, but just dropping hints that masking your IP can be a good way in bypassing these restrictions.

Negate IP Bans

Gaming can be addictive, and we’ve known some users getting banned for flouting the terms and conditions.

You’ve repented, and you wanted to start anew, but the IP address of your device is banned on the game server.

This is when you’ll find hiding your IP address helpful in joining the game again.

We believe in second chances and support fair gaming.

Block Targeted Attacks

You’re not sure how it happened, but someone has been using your credit card to pay for merchandises online. While you’re lucky that the damage is not massive, you wanted to ensure that such an incidence never happened again.

As the attacker has a record of your IP address, it isn’t safe sticking to it. Hiding your IP address remove your device off the radar effectively.

Remain Anonymous on the Internet

Trust us, staying anonymous on the internet is way better than publicly broadcasting your IP address. With a hidden IP address, you know you’re not spied upon by government agencies, and you won’t be targeted with the same advertisement on every site that you visited.

It’s fair for us to claim that privacy is almost non-existence in today’s internet. You have to take proactive measure if privacy is a priceless commodity to you and masking your IP address is a start.

How Do You Hide Your IP Address

There are several ways to keep your devices safe from the prowling eyes on the internet. We will show you some of the most common methods.

Use VPN to Hide IP Address

We can’t stop raving about the VPN, and there’s every reason for it. If you haven’t heard of VPN, it stands for Virtual Private Network. Essentially, VPN is a service that reroutes the data from your devices to a secure VPN server before channeling them to the internet.

VPN provides both security and anonymity by using encryption protocols and virtual IP address respectively. When browsing on the internet with a VPN activated, you will not be visible through your IP address. Instead, you will be using the IP address of one of the many VPN servers around the world.

We call that a virtual IP address, which effectively masks the actual IP address of your device.

But you’ll want to use a VPN for more than the anonymity it provides. VPN encrypts the data exchange between your device and the internet using highly secured protocols. In other words, unsuspecting hackers or agencies have no chance of deciphering any intercepted data.

VPN protocols

Not all VPN are created the same. When choosing a VPN, you’ll want to consider the protocol that it uses to transfer your data to the internet.

Free VPN apps generally have limitations when it comes to the protocols. You may not be getting the best VPN protocols that provide maximum security and anonymity.

Therefore, we strongly advise that paid VPNs are the way to go if you’re serious about protecting your data online. Look for VPNs that support the following protocols as they have been proven to be reliable and secure.

  • OpenVPN
  • IKEv2
  • SSTP
  • L2TP/IPsec

Use Proxy to hide IP Address

When we mention proxy, we’re talking about a server that replicates your traffic but assuming a different IP address than your own.

For instance, if you’re having trouble streaming your favorite Netflix series from abroad, you can use a proxy server located in your home country for access.

While using a proxy effectively hide your IP address, the absence of encryption means that your connection is at risk to cyber-attacks.

In a way, hackers will still make intelligible sense of your data despite not knowing your actual IP address.

Use TOR to hide IP Address

TOR uses a series of independently hosted servers to bounce traffic from a device to its destination. By doing so, the originating point of the packet can never be traced by hackers or government agencies.

To use TOR, you’ll need to use specific browsers that are developed to access the TOR network.

While the server-hopping methods seem like a genius way of hiding the IP address, the TOR network is notorious for its high latency.

Imagine going through multiple transits while flying abroad. Also, there may be some security flaws with TOR that may put your confidentiality at risks.

TOP 5 VPN to Hide Your IP Address Online:

  1. TorGuard
  2. NordVPN
  3. IPVanish
  4. Surfshark
  5. Private Internet Access

Summary

It's always been a bad idea exposing your IP address on the internet. You’ll never be sure if you are being spied on by government agencies or is the next target for a malicious hacker.

Hiding your IP address is relatively simple. We’ve shown 3 legitimate methods to do so although we have to stress that VPN won the battle hands down. We love the encryption provided by VPN on top of masking the IP address on the internet.

Don’t leave your safety on the internet to chance. Murphy’s Law struck when you least expected it. We hope we have been convincing in getting you to stay safe on the internet, one way or another.

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