Going to the internet to source valuable information is fun until the internet turns around and begins to spy on you. If there is one place on earth that is both important and unsafe at the same time, it must be the internet – that large digital space where you cannot do without yet you need protection against.
Therefore, hiding from the internet by concealing one’s internet protocol (IP) address has become common. This is largely due to the growing insecurity associated with being online. People have been spied upon, targeted with annoying ads, and threatened just because they did not protect themselves enough.
On the part of businesses, brands have been blocked, restricted, and prevented from making significant progress solely because they had their IP address exposed. Today, we will be looking at how you can hide your IP address as either an individual or a brand and why you even need to take hiding your IP seriously in the first place.
What is an IP address?
An IP address refers to these strings of numbers that form a highly unique digital address through which every internet-enabled device can be recognized and identified. The numbers separated by periods (.) are usually assigned to each device on the internet, primarily by their internet service provider (ISP). Each device can be easily identified on the internet.
And this is not entirely a bad thing as it is the only way that information can be effectively passed between devices and websites or servers. Because each device has a unique digital address, servers can quickly identify which device sends which request and return responses accordingly.
However, this could also mean that each device can be easily picked out amongst the billions of internet users and then targeted with malicious content or blocked from accessing certain contents.
Why do people hide their IP addresses?
Hiding IP addresses is, therefore, becoming a more common practice and below are some of the reasons why people do it:
- To ensure online privacy
The internet is a wild place, and it always seems to look back every time you look in. And the longer you look, the higher the chances that it will look back. IP addresses are known to carry with them valuable information such as browser type, device operating system, and so on. These bits of information can be put together to identify you online.
The most secure way to prevent this information from getting into the wrong hands and increasing your online privacy is to conceal your IP address.
- For hiding geo-location
IP addresses are issued mostly by the ISPs and are usually tied to physical locations. It is possible to tell where a user is accessing the internet from by studying their IP address.
Hiding your IP address is, therefore, a safe way to hide your location and access the internet anonymously.
- For accessing restricted content
Sometimes, certain websites and servers place restrictions on some geographical areas. These types of restrictions can prevent individuals and businesses from accessing content on the said websites and servers.
This can be especially damaging for businesses as they mostly have to access and use data from different parts of the internet.
Hiding your IP address, especially through the use of proxies, is one of the best ways to overcome these restrictions and access blocked contents. Using country-specific proxies, such as the Indonesia proxy, can help you access content worldwide.
Best options for hiding your IP address
There are several options for hiding your IP address, with the following being the best and most popular:
- Through the use of VPN services
VPN or Virtual Private Network services are safe and fast services provided by third-party companies to help you hide your IP. The VPN is a computer or software that reroutes your request and returns data using high-level encryption methods.
It also uses its IP and locations and acts as though you were trying to access a server from its location.
Using a VPN means that every time you make a request, not only will the request and data be encrypted, servers and websites will also only see the VPN’s location and IP and not yours.
- Through the use of Tor browser
Tor stands for The Onion Router, and the browser is an open-source, decentralized anonymity network that is built and managed by several volunteers from all over the world. When you use a Tor browser to request, the encrypted data is rerouted through any of the random “nodes” represented by the volunteers. This means the target website sees the location and IP address of the last “node” in the sequence and not yours.
- Through the use of proxies
Proxies have been identified as one of the best ways to hide IP addresses mainly because of how they work. These intermediary computers or software can sit anywhere between your computer and the internet, accept your request, sometimes modify it before transferring it to a target website.
They do all these while using any of their generated locations, proxy addresses, and IP addresses. Proxies usually come with millions of IP and proxy addresses and can generate several locations in different countries.
Hence, it is possible for a business in the other end of the globe to act as if they were in Indonesia by using an Indonesia proxy.
Exposing your IP can be very dangerous real fast, with consequences ranging from becoming a target of several malicious contents to getting banned from accessing certain servers. This is why you need to hide your IP address, especially if you run an e-commerce business.
And there are many ways to hide your IP address, including using VPN, Tor browser, and proxies (which are also important for other activities, including web scraping).