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The acronym IP is short for Internet Protocol. It’s an important piece of data you broadcast to the internet while online.
So in order to protect your privacy, you should know what an IP address is, why it is so critical in the digital era, and, most importantly, why you should hide it right now.
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What is the IP Address?
The IP address is a series of numbers separated by full stops, and each device that connects to the internet is assigned a unique one to identify that very device.
Imagine wanting to communicate with someone far away in the real world.
The only way of knowing where this person lives is to ask for an address. This is the only information you need to ensure that you will contact the right person. With the use of this address, you can send out mail to the individual and make sure that they get everything you send.
So what is an IP address? It is basically the same thing but in the digital world. Every device connected to the Internet has one, and it represents its place online.
Here is an example of what an IP address looks like:
Difference between dynamic and static IP
Besides the main question, there is another one popping out: what is the difference between a dynamic and static IP address? Which one should you use?
Well, they both come with pros and cons. Let’s look at each of them in more detail:
Dynamic IP is a temporary IP address handed over to you by your ISP.
Each dynamic IP is already available at the ISP, and you get a different one every time you connect to the web. As you can understand, your internet provider has multiple IPs at its disposal, and one of them is randomly handed out to you.
Static IP is available at an extra charge and makes you easily accessible and recognizable online.
Unlike the dynamic IP, a static IP address always remains the same each time you go online. This means that you will make your presence known right away. Static IPs are preferable for specific uses like if you are an online gamer, need to use VoIP, or are running a business.
The cost can be much higher, though.
Which one is better between static IP and dynamic IP?
It generally depends on your needs.
As we mentioned above, there are both advantages and disadvantages in either one of these types.
Dynamic IPs are cheap, easy to use and they allow you to renew your identity online every time.
Static IPs are typically expensive, but they enable you to establish your presence. It is up to you to decide which way to go!
Why you need to hide your IP address
Many people are wondering why it is necessary to hide the IP address. The question makes sense especially after having read the above section about static IPs and their use.
Well, the truth is that there is a compelling reason for doing that.
The Internet is a dangerous place. If you don’t hide your IP address, your online security is at risk.
There are a lot of wrong people out there looking for their lure. When they spot an internet connection, they want to penetrate it and find out as much as they can about it.
To get the information they want, the first step is to identify the specific IP address.
When you use a visible IP address, you are an easy target. Hackers and snoopers can find you and work their magic just by knowing your IP.
What are the dangers of a visible IP address
Identifying your IP is the first critical step to gaining access to your computer and finding out all the skeletons in your closet.
Once they got your IP, they may find out the passwords you use, the websites you visit and everything else. They may even access your bank accounts online or use your credit card to their own liking.
To hide your IP is especially crucial when you connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot. Public Wi-Fi hotspots are full of hackers and snoopers. Therefore, you must make sure that none of your personal information is revealed through your IP.
Also, when you use a traceable IP address, everyone knows which sites you visit. Unless you hide your IP, you can never be anonymous as you browse through websites or communicate through forums. Surveillance will set its eye on you and carefully examine everything you say or do.
In countries where the government is invasive, this can be disastrous. Imagine expressing a complaint about the government online, with the hope that it remains untraced. There is no such thing when you have your IP visible!
Last but not least, when you use an IP address, you automatically shut off access to all geo-restricted websites. These are the websites that are only available to specific countries of the world. For instance, US Netflix is only available to people in the US, and BBC iPlayer is blocked outside of the UK.
For all these reasons, it is best and strongly recommended to hide your IP address.
How to hide your IP address
Now, let’s see how you can hide your IP. There are various ways for you to do so, but only one is standing out as the most efficient and reliable one.
- Use a proxy server
In this case, your connection will be spread through tunnels, and your data will use a different IP address. As soon as you connect to the proxy server, it does all the hard work for you.
This option is usually free. However, it comes with serious security issues. Not all the traffic that goes through a proxy server is encrypted. That means that your connection is not protected and ill-intended people or government agencies may still snoop into your data.
Therefore, if you decide to use a web proxy, you need to be aware of its important limitations in terms of security.
- Change your DNS
This stands short for Domain Name System and allows you to use a remote network.
When you change your DNS, you connect to the internet without using the server assigned by your ISP. Instead, you will get an IP from the new DNS server.
Changing DNS is simple enough and a pivotal step to protect your data online either if you use a VPN connection or not. In any case, even changing DNS doesn’t encrypt your data so your traffic may still be snatched.
- Use a VPN
This option will hide your IP address in a jiffy. A VPN is a network of remote servers offering you the opportunity to connect to any one of them and get a new IP address right away.
It is the best way to hide your IP address for several reasons.
First of all, not only do you hide your IP address, but you can even decide where you want your new IP to be located.
Apart from that, it is brilliant that you can encrypt all your data when connecting to the VPN. All your traffic is completely protected and secure.
Even if hackers or prying eyes can intercept your data, the information they get is utterly useless since they cannot read it.
To help you start, we tested the leading providers and picked the top ones:
Best VPNs to hide your IP address
Here are some of the best VPNs on the market to hide your IP address. A VPN subscription is usually pretty cheap, and it ensures excellent internet privacy and security.
ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs on the market. Hiding your IP address with ExpressVPN is extremely easy.
The software is straightforward to use and all you need to do is to choose a server from any location around the world and connect.
The price is a bit higher than its competitors but the connection is very fast and it comes with a Smart DNS service included in each plan.
ExpressVPNBoost your online privacy and security with this high-performing VPN.
TunnelBear is a service with a fun look but these guys mean business. The service is reliable and thanks to a large VPN server network you can change your IP address to any location you like.
TunnelBear also offers a free plan. Even though it has limitations, it is very handy to test the service and assess its quality.
TunnelBearQuickly hide your IP address and enjoy a fast and secure connection with TunnelBear.
3. IP Vanish
IP Vanish is another absolute leader in the VPN world. It provides an excellent service with high-speed connections to efficiently hide your IP address.
The software may not be as easy to use as some of its competitors but the performances will not let you down.
IPVanishEnjoy the perfect storm of performance and security with IPVanish.
So there you have it! You now know the ins and outs of what an IP address is.
And if you care about your online security, you know how to easily hide it through a reliable VPN.