Every device that can connect to the Internet has an IP address. It is a unique set of numbers that contains information about the user’s location. This information is very easy to misuse by hackers and other malicious individuals. Therefore, it’s a good idea to know how to hide your device’s IP address.
Here’s why you should consider hiding your IP address:
Governments aren’t too happy that people are trying to hide their online identity. The automatic assumption is that they have something to hide. The truth is, though, your IP address can’t reveal too much personal info anyway. The most your IP address can reveal is your general geolocation (for example, the city you’re in) but not your street or home number. This is because an IP address only shows the location of your local Internet service provider. However, there are still many things your IP can indirectly reveal about you, especially if you’re not careful.
Improving Security and Privacy
Like we just mentioned, your IP address can’t reveal too much about you. Still, there are many places on the Internet where your IP remains stored. Piecing bits and pieces together, prying eyes can learn much about you if you haven’t been careful enough. For example, it is pretty easy to track forum posts you have written, shopping site reviews, perhaps even some Facebook pages. Provided someone pours enough time and effort into it, there is nobody that can’t be found on the Internet.
Ad agencies, marketers, and organizations can easily track your online activity like shopping and browsing habits in order to show you specifically targeted ads. If you hide your IP, you can avoid being bombarded with eerily prescient ads and prevent those companies from accumulating your data. It’s a win-win situation.
Getting Around Location-Based Restrictions
Have you tried streaming Netflix’s USA content outside the States? Or Spotify? How about using any other service that just blocks you because you’re out of the country for the holidays or on a business trip? Well, that’s another thing you can avoid by masking your IP address. In other words, if you disguise your IP address, you can access any restricted content.
Enhancing Public Wi-Fi Security
When was the last time you were at a café or almost any other public place that didn’t provide free Wi-Fi?
While having access to a free wireless hotspot is a blessing, they make you vulnerable to malicious attacks. Public Wi-Fi just isn’t secure enough.
Hackers use them to monitor user activity and seek out exploits they can use to get more information about you. You need to hide your IP if you want to protect yourself.
Preventing Bandwidth Throttling
Your Internet service provider is most likely monitoring your traffic and determining which websites or services you’re using. They can then use that information to throttle your bandwidth if you use something they don’t like. This can drastically reduce your browsing or download speed.
Bypassing Government Restrictions
There are plenty of governmental agencies monitoring Internet usage. Some of them only allow access to specific Internet content, preventing their citizens from visiting ‘unsuitable’ websites. Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and North Korea are countries notorious for this practice. Hiding one’s IP is incredibly useful for citizens of these countries who want to access international social media or other censored content.
Getting Cheaper Games
Even in 2016, there’s still region locked digital content such as games. International game marketplaces like Steam and Origin offer quite different prices to customers from different parts of the world. By faking an IP to pretend you’re from a region that can buy games cheaper, you can save a pretty penny. Do watch out, though, some of these services are known to ban users who hide their IPs for this purpose.
Downloading and Sharing Files Safely
With media content being easier to access and share than ever, the music and movie industries are desperately trying to quash file sharing services. In some countries, the use of torrent services is heavily monitored and restricted. Don’t want to be hit with a lawsuit for wanting a peek at the latest episode of a cable show a few hours before airtime in your region? Hide your IP.
How to Hide Your IP Address
So, if any of these are a concern for you, you probably want to know how to hide your IP address. It’s really simple, the best way to do it is through a VPN. There are other methods, but none are as secure.
All you have to do is pick a VPN service, subscribe to their service plan, and simply follow the instructions. They’re as straightforward as it gets, really. There are some free options but they are usually unreliable and may expose you to further risk. If you’re at least a little bit security-conscious, you should mask your IP as soon as possible. Best of luck.