We don’t think much about how our devices connect us to the internet. As long as we can stream our favorite movies, message our friends, and even get some work done, that’s all that really matters.
So much is happening behind the scenes as you connect from your smartphone or computer and access the internet. An integral part of that process is your IP address.
What is my IP address? That’s a great question. Your IP address is a unique identifier assigned specially to your devices. It’s what allows computers and servers to talk with each other.
IP addresses can reveal a lot about individual users, including their approximate location, browsing habits, and much. Fraudsters can then leverage this data to steal identities, transmit malware, or even break into home networks.
Here are a few of the reasons you should hide your IP address and the most effective and easiest ways to do so.
1. Keep Your Location To Yourself
Have you ever wondered why ads always know where you are? Whether you’re surfing at home or vacation, you might see something like “top smartphone in “x” location.”
Your IP address is what makes this possible. That’s also why you may see the same ad with a different location listed as you travel between places. While IP addresses won’t reveal exactly where you are, it can be a stepping stone to get closer to you.
Likewise, we’ve all experienced dynamic pricing. That’s when retailers charge different amounts based on where you are. Hiding your IP address can also help you score better deals.
2. Conceal Your Internet Activity From Cybercriminals
Your IP address is like a trail of breadcrumbs that leads directly to you and your devices. Hackers can use these small bits of information to breach your home network, accounts, then launch malware attacks, and inflict other kinds of damage.
Hiding your IP address is the easiest way to send hackers down the wrong path and far away from you. As a bonus, it also prevents advertisers, big companies, ISPs, and other snoops from tracking what you do.
3. Bypass School, Work, Government, and Other Restrictions
Whether at work, school, or traveling, we’ve all hit network restrictions. Sometimes you need access to a particular website. Any tourist in China knows the struggle of not being able to access any Google product.
Or maybe you need an important link a friend sent to you on Facebook only to be blocked by school or work. For whatever reason you need, hiding your IP address is one of the best ways to bypass these blocks and access the free and open internet.
4. Access Geo-Blocked Content
In a similar vein, there are many different reasons why content may be blocked. As described above, some countries completely censor some websites. Others are obliged to follow copyright laws making it impossible to access things like HBO even while traveling in Canada or Amazon Prime in Mexico.
How can you access your favorite content while traveling? Hiding your IP address and choosing a server in a new location instead allows you to get your favorite content no matter where you are.
How to Hide Your IP Address
There are a variety of ways you can hide your IP address. Two of the most common are using proxies or VPNs.
For several reasons, using a VPN is much better than a proxy. That’s because proxies don’t do that good job of hiding your IP address. They’re the tech equivalent of wearing a mask. With just a little effort, hackers, along with network admins, streaming platforms, and everybody else, can easily uncover what’s underneath them.
VPNs (virtual private networks), on the other hand, provide a comprehensive solution. With VPNs, you not only anonymize your IP address but also secure your connection with strong encryption. This dual-layer of protection is one of the best ways to improve your privacy and security in the online world radically.
Plus, using a VPN is super easy. After you’ve chosen a VPN provider, download the app and keep it running anytime, you connect to the internet. It’s the perfect example of a “set it and forget” technology.
And VPNs are affordable. Even the best VPN services don’t cost much more than a cup of coffee per month—which certainly isn’t much to pay, especially considering all the benefits they have.
When you start using a VPN, you’ll increase your privacy, reduce the threat of cyber-attacks, and have access to a complete and open internet experience. It simply doesn’t get any better than that.