How to hide your IP address

The anonymity of your IP address

Modern technologies such as the Internet provide us with enormous opportunities to access information and media content, but this access comes at a price, often at the expense of personal privacy. This is because the Internet was originally designed as an open network to provide a high level of connectivity.

When you connect to the network, you are always allocated a unique IP address that is visible to your internet service provider (or mobile operator if you use mobile internet),as well as to the owners of the websites and online services you visit. In addition, these owners often collect analytical data about their visitors and may share this information with search engines and web analytics services. This data may then be used to personalise advertisements and shared with the companies that place the advertisements, as well as their partners, such as think tanks and agencies.

As a result, your personal data, including your IP address, may be shared with many third parties, and you may not even be aware of it. At the same time, they may have a significant amount of information about you that you do not know or would prefer not to disclose.

How to ensure anonymity on the Internet?

In this article, we'll take a closer look at various methods of hiding your IP address: their characteristics, advantages and disadvantages, and possible applications. In addition, we will look at ways to protect your IP address, especially when using open networks.

Let's start with a brief introduction to the topic.

What is an IP address?

An IP address is a unique numeric identifier that is assigned to a host connected to the Internet. There are global unique IP addresses used to communicate between different networks, and private IP addresses used within local networks to communicate with network equipment and create internal networks.

IP addresses are initially allocated by the international organisation ICANN (IANA) to regional registrars, which then pass them on to local telecommunications operators, and from there the addresses are issued to end customers.

Global IP addresses used to connect to the Internet can be static (permanent) or dynamic (changeable). A static IP address is tied to a specific user on a permanent basis, while a dynamic IP address can change over a period of time.

Due to the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses, local communication providers increasingly prefer to allocate dynamic IP addresses to their customers.

What is the purpose of hiding an IP address?

  • Protecting personal privacy is the main reason for hiding an IP address, and a comprehensive approach must be taken to achieve this goal:
  • It is necessary to ensure maximum anonymity and confuse the traces of your online presence. Let's say your local ISP has information about the closest IP address to which you sent a request. However, if you use a proxy server along the path of your internet connection and regularly delete logs, it becomes almost impossible to recover your full path and link your digital profile to your real identity.
  • It is also advisable to encrypt all Internet traffic so that even with special care and desire, your local provider cannot find out what information you transmit through its channels.
  • Don't underestimate the importance of the applications and programs you use. Browsers, for example, can accumulate information to identify users. And attempting to log in to a profile could mean a potential threat to your anonymity, as this data may be stored in cloud services.

In addition to ensuring privacy, hiding or changing the IP address may be necessary for other purposes:

  • Bypasses geographic blocking to access specific websites, online services, games and other content restricted to a particular region.
  • Eliminate restrictions imposed by your local ISP on the use of torrents and traffic restrictions.
  • Solving business tasks, such as collecting data from competitors' websites, monitoring prices and assortment, analysing news, performing SMM and SEO tasks, and sending automated newsletters.
  • Virtual location emulation for various purposes.
  • Bypass website blocking based on the number of requests or other parameters.
  • Protection against tracking systems and ad trackers to reduce the display of ads.
  • Get better prices for goods and services, including digital products, by comparing prices in different regions and using the best deals.

How do I find my current IP address?

There are many different sites, they all have their own databases, but we trust ipinfo.io because they have the most up-to-date information because they take directly from RIPE and other databases that provide ip.

Ways to hide your IP address

  • Use virtual private networks (VPNs): VPN services mask your real IP address by redirecting your internet traffic through remote servers. This allows you to hide your personal information and access blocked resources.
  • Proxy servers: Proxy servers work in a similar way to VPNs by redirecting your traffic through another server. However, they may not provide the same level of encryption and security.
  • Using incognito or private browsing browsers: This can help you hide traces of your online activities, but it will not change your IP address.
  • Mobile networks and public Wi-Fi: Connecting to the Internet through mobile networks or public Wi-Fi hotspots can change your IP address, but it does not always provide anonymity.
  • Using anonymous search engines: Search engines such as DuckDuckGo do not track your activities and can help you remain anonymous.
  • Connecting via mobile internet or mobile hotspot: Using the mobile internet through your smartphone or creating your own hotspot may change your IP address.
  • Use of specialised browsers for anonymity: Some Brave browsers provide additional tools to help you stay anonymous.
  • Proxy servers with a high level of anonymity: Some proxy servers provide a higher level of anonymity than regular proxies and may be useful for hiding your IP address.

Proxy servers

Proxy servers, or proxies for short, are nodes that transmit your network requests on your behalf. The term comes from the English word "proxy", which means "representative". Proxy servers can work with different Internet protocols, such as HTTP(S) or SOCKS.

According to the level of anonymity, proxy servers are divided into the following categories:

  • Transparent: These proxies do not hide your IP address and pass it on to the server you are accessing. They can help you avoid blocking websites, but they do not provide anonymity.
  • Anonymous: Anonymous proxies hide your IP address and transmit their own. However, they may reveal the fact that you are using a proxy, and the target server will know that you are using a proxy, but will not be able to determine your real IP.
  • Highly anonymous (Highly Anonymous or Elite): These proxies provide the highest level of anonymity. Not only do they hide your IP address, but they don't reveal the fact that you are using a proxy. To the remote server, you will look like a normal user without using a proxy.

The type of proxy you choose depends on your purpose and anonymity requirements. For many tasks, such as bypassing geographic blocking or ensuring anonymity when browsing the web, highly anonymous proxies are preferable.

Since a proxy server is effectively acting on behalf of the end host on which it is operating, it is important to consider the type of platform it is being used on. For example, such platforms may include:

  • Server proxies: These proxies run on powerful servers in data centres. They offer high performance, wide bandwidth, and reliable connections. However, they are easily detected by security systems and can be blocked quickly. When renting such proxies, you can get addresses individually or in packets, which can cause problems with choosing a location and checking their compatibility with the target resource.
  • Resident proxies: These proxies run on home devices such as computers, routers, and laptops and use the networks of local service providers. They have good bandwidth, but their lifetime can vary. Usually, whole pools of such addresses are rented, and payment may depend on traffic packets. Resident proxies are good for bulk tasks because they are difficult to block, and new IPs quickly replace blocked ones.
  • Mobile proxies: These proxies use devices connected to the Internet through mobile service providers. They have higher traffic costs and shorter sessions. Mobile proxies are ideal for bulk tasks, as their IP addresses are blocked with care, given that there may be a large number of other users behind each one.

Each type of proxy has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the choice depends on specific tasks and requirements.

Proxies, as additional nodes on the Internet traffic route, have the ability to perform a variety of additional functions besides bypassing blockages. Depending on their configuration and settings, proxies can perform various auxiliary tasks:

  • Filtering and cleaning traffic: A proxy can remove garbage and unnecessary information from transmitted data, as well as block access to certain domains, including virus and malicious resources.
  • Load balancing: In complex IT systems, a proxy can distribute traffic between different servers, providing load balancing and improving performance.
  • Traffic compression: A proxy can compress transmitted data, which saves bandwidth and speeds up data transfer, especially for mobile networks and limited communication channels.

These are just a few of the many functions that proxies can perform, making them useful tools for optimising and improving internet traffic.

How to hide your IP address using a proxy server.

You can connect a proxy server at the operating system level. There are many programs for this and for many of them we have manuals not only for Windiws and Mac.

Advantages of using a proxy to hide an IP address.

  • Anonymity and security: If you choose a reliable service provider, proxy servers offer an increased level of anonymity and security. This is especially important in the context of the differences between paid and free proxies.
  • Bypassing blockages: Proxies allow you to bypass regional and local internet blockages, making them an effective means of accessing limited resources.
  • High speed: Proxies, especially server proxies, provide maximum data transfer speed.
  • Parallelisation of tasks: Proxies allow you to process a large number of tasks and data streams simultaneously. This is especially important for business tasks where you can quickly replace a blocked IP with the next one and continue working.
  • Affordable prices: Using proxy servers is often more cost-effective than renting VPN services or dedicated/virtual servers for manual configuration, especially for specific tasks.

Disadvantages of proxies (general aspects).

  • Proxy servers do not encrypt traffic, they only send requests and modify them slightly to hide the sender's information. This means that the data you send and receive may be visible at least to your internet provider.
  • The lifespan of a proxy can be limited, especially if you use mobile or resident proxies. Large pools of IP addresses are provided "as is", and there are no guarantees for their long-term use.
  • There is also the problem of a large number of unusable addresses. When renting large IP pools, you should spend time choosing addresses that are suitable for your tasks to avoid blockages. Choosing reliable providers and the right types of proxies is a key aspect for successful use.
  • Speed limitations may apply, especially to mobile proxies, due to the limited and variable traffic on mobile networks.

VPN

VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) are virtual private networks that operate on top of public networks, providing secure data exchange. In a VPN, data is transmitted in an encrypted form, which means that even your internet service provider cannot know what data you are sending and where you are going. VPNs create virtual tunnels that can only be accessed with a special key.

To use a VPN, you need to install special software that provides data encryption. However, some modern operating systems already have built-in support for cryptography, which allows you to work with some VPN services without the need to install additional client software.

Using a VPN to change your IP address is the same as using a proxy. When you connect to a VPN, you connect to the nearest VPN server, and within this virtual network, all your requests are anonymised. The outside world cannot know which requests are sent from your IP address, except for the owner of the VPN network. Many well-known VPN providers do not keep logs and often use servers that do not have hard drives to ensure maximum user privacy.

How to ensure the anonymity of your IP address using a VPN.

  • Pay for access services from your chosen VPN provider. Free VPN services are not recommended as they may collect and share your data with third parties. If you have technical skills, you can consider renting a virtual or dedicated server and setting up your own VPN tunnel.
  • Then, install the client software on your computer or other device, log in to your account, select your preferred location, and connect to the VPN network. After that, to make sure that your IP address has changed, you can check it using specialised online services.

Advantages of using a VPN to hide your IP address:

  • Anonymity and privacy: A VPN protects your personal information and bypasses ISP monitoring.
  • Bypassing geographic blocking: A VPN allows you to access content and resources that are restricted in your region.
  • Secure connection to public networks: A VPN provides traffic encryption, which makes your connection to public Wi-Fi hotspots more secure.
  • Protection from tracking and monitoring: A VPN masks your IP address, making it much harder to track your online activity.
  • **Speed:**In some cases, a VPN can increase the speed of your internet connection, especially if you use high-bandwidth servers.
  • Enhanced business and networking capabilities: A VPN allows you to create virtual private networks for more secure data transfer between offices or remote devices.
  • Affordable prices: Compared to renting dedicated servers or other network privacy and security solutions, VPN services are often more affordable.

Disadvantages of using a VPN (general):

  • Slower speeds: Encryption and routing through remote VPN servers can result in slower internet connection speeds.
  • Dependence on the provider: You put your complete trust in your VPN provider for the security and privacy of your data, so choosing a reliable provider is critical.
  • Restricted access to certain resources: Some websites and online services may block access from the IP addresses used by VPN servers, which can cause problems when you try to access them.
  • Additional costs: Paid VPN services usually require a monthly or annual fee, which can be an additional financial burden.
  • Not always legal: In some countries and situations, it may be illegal to use a VPN to circumvent laws and regulations.
  • Not always anonymous: Depending on how your VPN is set up and what personal information you provide when you sign up, your activity may still be traced back to you.
  • Choosing the right server: You should choose the right VPN servers for optimal performance and security, which may require some knowledge.

Public Wi-Fi networks

Why not simply use your own device, such as a laptop, tablet or smartphone, and connect to a public Wi-Fi network, for example in a café or other place? This can be done if the network does not require special authorisation, except perhaps to verify your phone number.

On such public Wi-Fi networks, no one will be able to identify you personally, and your IP address will be the one used on the network to access the Internet.

For anonymity and IP address hiding when using public Wi-Fi networks:

  1. Connect to a public Wi-Fi network.
  2. Use a VPN for anonymity and security.

Advantages of using public Wi-Fi to hide your IP address:

  • Simplicity and accessibility.
  • No restrictions and requirements on the type of traffic.
  • Anonymity, as your IP address remains hidden (you use the IP of the network to which you are connected).

Disadvantages of using public Wi-Fi networks:

  • Not always available: In some locations, public Wi-Fi networks may not be available or have a weak signal.
  • Not always secure: Public Wi-Fi networks may be less secure as they are often not password protected and your data may be vulnerable to hackers.
  • Speed and quality limitations: The speed and quality of public Wi-Fi networks can be inconsistent and insufficient for some tasks, such as streaming video or online gaming.
  • Not always anonymous: Although your data may be hidden, anonymity is not always guaranteed and Wi-Fi providers may keep logs of user activity.
  • Security risks: Using public Wi-Fi networks can increase security risks, as they can be subject to malicious access points and man-in-the-middle attacks.
  • Limited session duration: Some public Wi-Fi networks may limit the duration of a session, which can be inconvenient for long tasks.
  • Activity monitoring: Some public Wi-Fi providers may track your online activity and use this information for marketing or analytics purposes.
  • Limited availability in different locations: Public Wi-Fi networks may not be available everywhere, and this limits your mobility when trying to hide your IP with it.

Conclusion

Use of proxy servers:

  • Proxy servers can help to hide your IP address and provide anonymity when browsing the internet.
  • Choose the type of proxy that best suits your needs, whether it's a server proxy, a resident proxy, or a mobile proxy.
  • Make sure you use a trusted proxy provider to avoid data leaks.

Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network):

  • A VPN provides a higher level of security and data encryption than a proxy.
  • Choose a reliable and trusted VPN provider to ensure your data remains anonymous and secure.
  • Remember that free VPN services can collect and share your data with third parties, so it's better to use paid options.

Use of public Wi-Fi networks:

  • Public Wi-Fi networks can be used to hide your IP address, allowing you to access the Internet anonymously.
  • Be careful when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, make sure they are secure and do not put your personal information at risk.

Recommendations:

  • Always keep your data secure when hiding your IP address. Use reliable and trusted services.
  • Keep in mind the legality of your activities. The use of anonymity should not contradict the laws of your country.
  • Beware of fraudsters and malicious networks that may try to use your anonymity for illegal purposes.

Hiding your IP address can be useful in a variety of situations, but always keep in mind security and legal compliance.

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