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How To Hide IP Address Easily?

How To Hide IP Address Easily?

Updated: 08-02-2021

Internet Protocol (IP) address is a unique identifier, usually in numbers, assigned to every device connected to a local network or the internet. It helps your device connect to other devices on your network or the internet. ISPs or governments can use IP addresses to trace your online activity back to you, including your physical location.

An IP address is assigned to you every time you connect to the internet. The IP address may change if you also change your Internet Service Provider (ISP) unless you have a static IP address assigned to you. When connected to the internet, your IP address is visible to everyone on the internet.

There are several ways to hide or change your IP address. In this article, you'll understand what an IP does, why you need to hide it, how to check your current IP address and how to change it.

What Is an IP Address?

An IP address is a network address made up of numbers and characters that connects your device with other devices on the internet. Developed in the 1970s, IP addresses reveal everything you do on the internet and the mode of information exchange. Just like fingerprints, internet-enabled devices do not share the same IP address.

IP addresses are usually managed by an organization known as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). ICANN is responsible for coordinating, maintaining, and allocating IP addresses.

Currently, ICANN has delegated the role of overseeing global IP address allocation to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).

IANA then allocates IP addresses to regional internet registries, ISPs, and government bodies which will then distribute the allocated IP addresses to members of the public.

Rather than opting for ISPs, major businesses in Canada, the United States, and the Caribbean region opt to acquire IP addresses directly from the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN). This is a non-profit organization and regional internet registry tasked with the role of administering IP addresses.

ISPs network administrators use Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), a network management protocol, to administer IP addresses to their customer base. The DHCP is also responsible for assigning default gateways and the required network parameters to clients.

When using point-to-point protocol frames on an ethernet local area network, the Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet (PPPoE) network protocol assumes the role of assigning IP addresses.

The main difference between DHCP and PPPoE is that connecting to an ISP via PPPoE requires a username and password, while DHCP connections are automatic.

IP Address Formats

There are two types of IP address formats: IP version 4 (IPv4) and IP version (IPv6).

Here's all you need to know about these two.

IPv4 – This is the most common format that uses 32-bit numbers separated in dotted decimal notation e.g 192.0.2.53.

IPv6 – This is a new IP format that uses the hexadecimal method developed in the mid-2000s. The address size is 128 bits and uses four sets of four hexadecimal digits separated by colons e.g 2620:cc:8000:1c82:544c:cc2e:f2fa:5a9b.

Types of IP Addresses

There are currently four types of IP addresses: public, static, private, and dynamic IP addresses.

Static IP Address: This type of IP address does not change even when the user moves from one location to another. The IP address is manually configured to your device and is not assigned by the DHCP server. Static IP addresses are normally assigned to people using business-class internet or Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to browse the internet.

Dynamic IP address: This is a temporary IP address assigned by an ISP. ISPs assign most internet users dynamic IP addresses for a predefined time limit called a DHCP lease, lasting for roughly seven days. Dynamic IP addresses can either be assigned to a computing device in a TCP/IP network by DHCP or PPPoE.

Public IP address: Also known as gateway IPs, this is an IP address assigned by the ISP but resides on the router or firewall. It's used for network interface identification and visible to everyone when you connect to the internet.

Private IP address: A unique address of a device connected to a home or workplace network. If multiple devices are connected to the same home network, they will all have unique private IP addresses. Private IP addresses are not visible to people outside the home or workplace network.

How IP Addresses Work

IP addresses observe a set of guidelines that allow devices connected to the same network or internet to pass information. Information is sent or received over the internet via data packets.

Data packets include the source and destination of the information being transferred. Each data packet has an IP address that guides it to the packet's destination.

The protocol allows computing devices to 'speak the same language' and send or receive data packets from one another.

When your device connects to the internet, it goes through a first network layer that grants it access to internet resources.

The first network layer is probably your ISP or workplace network. The ISP then assigns your device a unique identifier, which is the IP address. After your internet connection goes through your ISP, the ISP routes it back to your device.

You will most likely be assigned a dynamic IP address.

For this reason, when you switch off your modem or router and then turn it back on, the IP address might be different from the one you were assigned earlier. Also, when you connect to another network other than the home network, your ISP will assign you a different IP address.

Why Do I Need To Hide My IP Address?

An IP address can reveal a lot of information about you, such as your approximate geographic location and what you do on the internet. Cybercriminals can then use their technical skills to stalk your online activities without your knowledge.

If cybercriminals find out your IP address, they can use an IP tracking website to reveal your physical location.

Also, hackers can utilize an IP address to download illegal content, such as pirated movies or music. When that happens, ISPs might trace the illegal activities back to the IP address owner, leading to legal problems.

Given that every IP address connects to the internet via ports, hackers who know your IP address may force a connection via an internet port. If they're successful, they can access, steal or distribute private data without your knowledge. Or they could even install spyware on the device and track your every move. 

Some cybercriminals can target the network at the workplace and launch attacks such as the Distributed Denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, which overwhelms the network infrastructure with a high client request volume.

This flood of internet traffic might be too much for the server to handle, leading to a disruption of service. Basically, hackers can obtain the workplace IP address and use it to shut down a business's internet operation.

Also, using your actual IP address may lock you out from accessing or viewing geo-restricted content. Geo-blocking is the act of limiting access to specific websites based on geographical location.

Due to licensing or copyright issues, geo-blocking has become a popular norm nowadays.

Geo-restricted websites and streaming services track your IP address to find out your location and then lock you out from accessing their content if you live in a blacklisted area.

The easiest way to access geo-blocked content is by changing your IP address to another IP address of the region where the content has no geo-restrictions. 

Other than geo-blocking, there's also the issue of censorship. Governments, organizations, schools, and ISPs can restrict users from accessing specific websites or services available on the internet for various reasons.

Censorship varies from region to region, and in some countries, the government uses IP addresses to track down and prosecute people who try to access blocked content.

These risks associated with IP addresses are some of the reasons you should always conceal your IP address.

How To Protect and Conceal Your IP Address

There are three main ways to hide your IP address from the outside world, as explained below.

Using a Proxy Server

A proxy server is an intermediary server that separates end-user clients from their destinations. When using a proxy server to surf the internet, your web requests are sent to the proxy server which acts as a gateway between you and the outside world. The proxy server then forwards the web request to the requested address.

When the destination (requested address) responds, the response is sent to the proxy server, and then the proxy server forwards the data received to you. Proxy servers enhance internet security and privacy by acting as a firewall and web filter.

Here are three types of proxy servers you can use to hide your IP address from the internet:

The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) proxy: This proxy server performs SSL encryption and decryption of traffic traveling from the client to server and back.

Secure Shell (SSH) proxy: SSH proxy tunnels connect to an SSH server and create a firewall between the client and server, preventing attackers from tunneling unwanted content into an existing connection.

SOCKS proxy: This proxy server facilitates communication from the client to the server through a firewall by routing web requests on behalf of the client.

How Proxy Servers Hide Your IP Address

As explained earlier, every device on the internet has an IP address. On the other hand, a proxy server is a computing device with its own IP address.

When you connect to a proxy server, web requests made via your IP address will be sent to the proxy server to make the requests on your behalf. For this reason, the proxy server replaces your IP address with its own address and communicates with the website you requested.

As a result, the website will only see the proxy server's IP address and not your actual IP address. The proxy server will then receive a response from the website concerning your request and forward it to you without revealing your IP address to the outside world.

A proxy server changes your IP address and makes it difficult for the website to track you or know your location. During data transit from the website you requested to you, the proxy server evaluates outbound requests before relaying your web request to the external web server.

You can also use proxy servers to block certain websites from being accessed on your network.

Note that you should only use a trusted proxy server because untrusted ones can spy on you and sell your data to advertisers. The difference between a proxy server and a VPN is that a proxy server will hide your IP address but will not encrypt your traffic, making it's easier for ISPs, governments, and internet eavesdroppers to breach the network and access your internet traffic.

Also, proxies don't conceal DNS traffic. As a result, when you send a web request, the third-party DNS server provider can still see your original IP address.

Proxies are also susceptible to Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks given that the attacker can easily hijack the DNS server and steal your data.

On the other hand, VPNs encrypt everything you do online from the point where traffic travels from your device to the destination and back. At no point is internet traffic unencrypted, making it difficult for ISPs and governments to know what you're doing online.

Using a VPN

VPNs are more reliable than proxy servers when it comes to privacy and safeguarding internet traffic. When you connect to a VPN, the VPN creates a secure tunnel separate from the tunnel used by your ISP. It then routes your network traffic over the secure tunnel to a VPN server.

VPN servers are based in different countries across the globe and have their own IP addresses.

When you send a web request, the VPN server receives the web request and forwards it to your destination. The destination, or the website you intended to visit, receives this request but can only see the VPN server's IP address and not your IP address.

It then responds to the web request, and the response is sent back to the VPN server. The VPN server then encrypts the response received from the destination and forwards it to you. The information will be decrypted by the VPN when it reaches your browser, and you'll see the results.

This encryption locks out ISPs, governments, hackers, or other snoopers from knowing what you do on the internet. Your ISP will only see that you're connected to a VPN but can't figure out what you're doing.

Premium VPN services often use shared IP addresses. This makes you indistinguishable from the other VPN users because it hides your real IP address and makes it difficult to trace back online activity to a single user.

How To Hide Your IP Address Using a VPN

If you want to hide your IP from governments, hackers, advertisers, and ISPs using a VPN, follow the steps outlined below:

  1. Go online and search for a premium VPN service.
  2. Sign up for the premium VPN service.
  3. Download the premium VPN app to your device from the internet or the official app store.
  4. When the VPN completes the installation, open it.
  5. Sign in with the credentials you provided when signing up.
  6. Choose a server or server location from the list of servers offered by the VPN service.
  7. Click the Connect button to initiate a new connection.
  8. When the connection has been established successfully, your new IP address will be of the server you selected in step 6.

What To Consider When Selecting a VPN Service

When selecting a VPN service, it is advisable to avoid free VPNs because they may lack some of the features premium VPNs have. Most free VPNs are untrustworthy; they sell their user's data to advertisers.

If you want to conceal your IP address and surf the internet anonymously, opt for a VPN service with the features listed below:

Has private Domain Name System servers: By default, you connect to the ISPs DNS servers when browsing the internet. The DNS server can see your IP address whenever you make a web request.

It is advisable to use a VPN service that has its own DNS servers, such that when you make a web request, it does not pass through a third party, exposing your IP.

Has IP/DNS leak protection: This is one crucial feature that free VPNs lack. Internet traffic traveling to and from your device might leak and expose your real IP address. A premium VPN service should have IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC leak prevention.

Has a kill switch: A kill switch disconnects your device from the internet when your VPN connection drops. For this reason, your original IP address does not leak to the outside world.

Has a no-log policy: This policy ensures that the VPN provider does not record or store any logs of what you do online. For this reason, your internet activity can't be traced back to you.

Using Tor Browser To Hide Your IP Address

Operated by volunteers, Tor is a decentralized network used to surf the internet anonymously. It's made up of many nodes and relays.

A relay receives internet traffic from another relay and passes it on to the next relay. The first relay where internet traffic enters the Tor network is called the entry node, while the last relay is called the exit node.

After connecting to Tor, it encrypts your internet traffic and routes it through a random sequence of volunteer nodes. Tor encrypts every IP address of the next node in the sequence until it reaches the final exit node. For this reason, not even the people in charge of the nodes can see the traffic.

The website you intended to visit can only see the IP address of the exit node, making it difficult to track the original IP address.

How To Check Your Current IP Address

The easiest way to check your current ip address is by using our IP address tool. Simply press the link and you will see all your IP address information at a glance.

How To Check Your IP Address From a Search Engine

  1. Open your preferred browser and type "what is my IP?" and click on Search
  2. Google will show you the current IP address on the first result. You may opt to open other sites displayed in the search results, but they'll show you the same IP address.
  3. Click on the sites listed on the search results if you want further information concerning your IP address e.g. the ISP name, your city, and region.

How To Find Your Internal IP Address

Every device has its own IP address used to connect to the home network, referred to as the Internal IP address.

On a Windows Device

  • Click Start and type 'cmd' (without quotes) into the search bar, then click Enter.
  • On the command prompt window, type ipconfig and press Enter. You'll see your IP address listed under Wireless LAN Adapter Wi-Fi for wireless connections and Ethernet Adapter Local Area Connection for ethernet connections.

On a Mac Device

  • Go to the Apple menu and click on System Preferences.
  • Under the View menu, click on Network.
  • On the left-hand side of the screen, click on your current network connection, which is either Ethernet or Wi-Fi.
  • You'll see your local IP address immediately if you're connected via Ethernet.
  • If connected to a Wi-Fi connection, you'll need to click the Advanced button found on the bottom-right corner of the screen. Then, click on TCP/IP and your IP address will appear.

An IP address is not only a unique identifier of a device connected to the internet, but it also holds vital information about the owner of the device. ISPs, governments, and hackers can use the IP address to track everything you do online and even find your physical address. The best solution is to change it or hide it whenever necessary. 

To protect your identity on the internet, you need to know how to change or hide your IP address. Consider implementing the methods discussed in this article to surf the internet anonymously today, or better yet, get yourself a premium VPN!

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