Do I Need to Hide My IP Address? | McAfee Blogs
What is an IP Address?
Think of this as your address on the internet — a location where you receive mail and other data such as webpages, images, and mesages. Your IP address is made up of a string of four groups of numbers, such as 192. 172. 33. 1, which identifies both the network you are on and the device you are using. With these two pieces of information networks and websites can both route data to you and check that you have permission to access it.
Why Would I Want to Hide My IP Address?
Since your IP address is needed to surf around the web, it can act as a fingerprint of your online activities. Webpages may choose to store this information to learn more about you and your interests for marketing purposes. Your data can also be potentially sold to third parties without your consent, or used to spy on you if someone has malicious intent. An example of this would be so-called “spyware, ” which can covertly log the sites you visit.
IP addresses are also used to restrict access to content, such as streaming services that are only available in certain locations. But hiding your IP address for this purpose is not something we advocate.
How Do I Hide My IP Address?
There are two main ways to hide your IP address: by using a virtual private network (VPN), or a proxy server. VPNs are the most common tools used by consumers to mask their IP addresses. This is a piece of software that allows you to create a secure connection to another server over the internet, so your data appears to come from the server you connect to. So, if you are in Los Angeles, for instance, the software can connect you to a server in London, hiding your actual location since your traffic appears to originate in London.
A proxy server is different in that it acts like a middleman between your device and the server you are trying to connect with. It receives a request from your device and then retrieves that information from the target server. The proxy can be either a computer or a piece of software that performs this function. It’s different from a VPN in that it doesn’t encrypt, or scramble, your information, making it less secure. That’s why we suggest that you use a VPN.
When Should I use a VPN?
There are a few scenarios when you may want to hide your IP address. The first is if you’re using public Wi-Fi, because your browsing activity might be accessible to anyone nearby. If you use a VPN, you can make a secure connection to the network and keep your activities private.
You may also choose to hide your IP address if you are concerned about your privacy on the web in general and want to make sure that there are no websites or cybercriminals tracking you.
Finally, users who want to connect with a private business or home network may also choose to use a VPN. Many businesses, for example, only allow their employees to connect to their internal network if their IP address is coming from an approved network. With a VPN, you can connect to the internal network from anywhere and you will be allowed access since it is coming from an approved IP address.
Other Ways to Protect Your Privacy
Check the privacy of all of your accounts to make sure they are on the strictest settings. On social media, make sure that only friends can see your information.
Turn off location services on websites and apps if you don’t need to use them. Unless you are using a service for mapping, or other location-critical functions, there is no reason to share your movements through the world.
Use complicated passwords and passphrases and keep them private. Password managers can help make this easier.
Install comprehensive security software on all of your devices. Try to choose a product that includes a VPN and identity theft protection.
When on a public Wi-Fi network, like in an airport or hotel, always use a VPN if you want to do banking and other sensitive activities securely.
Keep up-to-date on the latest threats, and how to avoid them.
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How do I Hide My IP Address? – Avast
What is an IP address, anyway?
An IP address is a series of numbers that identifies your device or network on the internet. Activity on the internet is a series of two-way communications between clients — software, such as a web browser, that requests data — and servers, which reply to clients with responses. Every client has an IP address that tells servers who is making the request.
So, it’s easy to understand what an IP address is and also why they’re important. IP addresses let search engines like Google know where to send the results of a search, help websites know who’s visiting their site, and make sure you receive the emails that are addressed to you.
In other words, IP addresses undergird how the internet works in general. Thankfully, it’s very easy to find your IP address if you need this information.
Three ways to hide your IP
Now, let’s take a look at three tools you can use to hide your IP address. Each offers its own blend of privacy, security, and practicality.
1. Use a VPN
A VPN is an intermediary server that encrypts your connection to the internet — and it also hides your IP address. A VPN encrypts all your traffic, not only in your browser but also in other apps, and then passes traffic onward to its destination. They’re a popular privacy solution, and as such, there’s a strong incentive for VPN providers to design tools that are as easy to use as they are secure.
Here’s how to hide your IP address with a VPN: Simply download a VPN such as Avast SecureLine VPN, log in, and turn it on to protect both your IP address and your internet traffic.
How does a VPN hide your IP address?
When you’re using a VPN, your IP address is hidden because your traffic takes a detour through the VPN server. When your traffic — sites visited, online apps used, uploads, downloads, etc. — reaches its destination, it does so under a “virtual” IP address assigned by the VPN.
There’s only one party who’ll be able to see your actual IP address: your VPN provider. That’s why you should choose a trusted VPN provider that isn’t going to keep logs on your activity.
Avast SecureLine VPN is a safe, secure, and convenient way to mask your IP address. It’ll hide your online activity from your internet service provider (ISP), employer, school, and anyone else on your network, including a snooping cybercriminal. And we never keep any logs on sites you visit, apps you use, or content you view.
2. Use Tor
Comprising thousands of volunteer-run server nodes, Tor is a free network that conceals your identity online via multiple layers of encryption. When you access Tor, typically by using the free Tor Browser, your traffic is relayed and encrypted through a series of three relay nodes, each of which decrypts one layer of encryption to learn the identity of the next node. When your traffic leaves the final node, it’s fully decrypted and sent to its destination.
The relay system hides your IP address, but not without cost: because Tor’s encryption system is so thorough, it takes a long time for your traffic to complete its journey. You’ll be sacrificing browsing speed for Tor’s anonymity. This is a worthwhile tradeoff when it really counts, such as for whistleblowers and political dissidents. But if you’re simply seeking to hide your IP address, when comparing Tor and a VPN, you’ll find a VPN to be a far more convenient and faster solution.
How does Tor hide your IP address?
When you use Tor, each relay node along your traffic’s pathway through the Tor network knows only the IP address of the node immediately before and after it. Even if an attacker manages to intercept your traffic while it travels from the final node to your destination server, it’d be very difficult at that point to parse your original IP address.
3. Use a proxy
A proxy server handles your internet traffic on your behalf. A proxy sits in front of a client or network of clients, forwarding requests while also receiving and delivering responses from servers. You may need to manually adjust your device’s proxy settings if you want to use a proxy.
Unlike a VPN, most proxies won’t encrypt your traffic, and they also won’t hide your IP address from anyone who can intercept your traffic on its way from your device to the proxy. Proxy servers, especially free web-based proxies, tend to be less reliable than VPNs. That’s why proxies are best used as a quick, temporary solution as opposed to a long-term privacy plan.
How does a proxy hide your IP address?
Some proxy servers can mask your IP address with a fake one. You’ll appear as though you’re based in the same country as your proxy server. If you’re using a proxy to hide your IP, be aware that not all proxies offer equal protection.
Transparent proxies conceal neither your IP address nor your use of a proxy.
Anonymous proxies hide your IP address but not your use of a proxy.
High anonymity (or elite) proxies hide both your IP address as well as your use of a proxy.
Some sites or content platforms may block traffic from known proxies, so you’ll have to be careful if you’re trying to use a proxy to access media.
Why should I hide my IP address?
Your IP address identifies you online, and in today’s data-driven world, your online activity is very valuable. It’s important to hide your IP address so that you can regain control over your privacy while you’re online. Among other sensitive info, your IP can reveal your shopping and buying habits as well as your physical location. So why hide your IP? You’ve got plenty to gain, and not much to lose.
Hide your IP to browse anonymously
Advertisers and marketers can track you across the internet and analyze your browsing habits with the goal of marketing to you more effectively. Unfortunately, even hiding your IP address won’t stop them, because tracking cookies also deliver this information — which is why you should regularly take the time to delete cookies from your browser.
To take private internet browsing to the next level, consider a dedicated private browser like Avast Secure Browser. It includes a range of advanced anti-tracking features to let you use the internet without leaving any clues behind that companies and individuals can use to follow your activity.
Hide your IP to shield your location
Hide your IP address behind another IP in a different part of the world and no one will know where you really are. This includes websites and services that host geo-restricted content. For example, if you’re traveling abroad and want to access movies or TV shows that are available only for your home country, you can use a VPN or proxy to unblock that website with a false IP address in the correct location.
Many IP addresses are linked to a real-world address, or at least to a general location. If you’re frequently using false IP addresses to change your online location, no one will be able to figure out where you actually are.
Can my IP address ever truly be hidden?
While it’s not possible to hide your IP address from everyone, you can achieve an effective level of privacy sufficient for everyday needs. With a VPN, the only entity that can link your online activity to your IP address is your VPN provider itself. This is why it’s so important to choose a VPN provider with a reliable reputation for security, and one that doesn’t keep logs of user activity.
Your ISP can see the type, timing, and amount of traffic you’re sending to the VPN server, but they won’t know the specifics. The same goes for Tor. Many proxies don’t encrypt your traffic, and so your ISP will be able to access your activity if it wants to while you’re using a proxy. And, as mentioned earlier, all the websites and services you use while connected to a VPN will see only the VPN’s IP address, not yours.
The primary purpose for hiding your IP address is to protect your online activity and location from third-party observers: websites, advertisers who use ad tracking techniques, and cybercriminals. When your safety and privacy is at risk, it’s important to be proactive.
What is IP masking?
IP masking is the technique of concealing your IP address by adopting a false one. This is how hiding your IP address works — they’re two ways to refer to the same thing. If you’re interested in learning how to mask your IP address, you can apply the same techniques described in this article. After all, the only way to hide your IP address and still use the internet is to mask it behind another one.
Your traffic is always going to need an IP address online, since that’s how websites and services know who’s making the requests and where to send the replies. Clients use IP addresses to reach servers, and servers use IP addresses to send requested data back to the correct client.
That request-and-response system is part of the TCP/IP model, which governs how devices on the internet communicate with one each another. IP addresses are classified in a variety of ways: IPv4 vs. IPv6, public vs. local, and static vs. dynamic IP addresses. Read more about IP addresses here.
Hide your IP the easy way with a VPN
Avast SecureLine VPN lets you hide your IP address by choosing from any one of our blazing-fast servers located in dozens of countries all over the world. With your online activity securely encrypted and our no-logging policy, you’ll be able to easily access blocked content, disrupt tracking techniques, and browse the internet freely, with complete confidence in your online privacy.
Top 5 reasons to keep your IP private – Technology OrgTechnology Org
Your IP (Internet Protocol) address is a unique identifier that every device needs to have to connect to the internet. It is provided to you by your ISP (Internet Service Provider) from a pool of IP addresses that the organisations regulating the internet have given them.
Free image via Pixabay
Your ISP, who is either your broadband or mobile network provider, not only knows which IP address is linked to you at any given time, but is also able to access your web traffic.
ISPs make many promises about not touching web traffic and not divulging the identities of customers linked to their IP addresses, at least to anyone else other than law enforcement. However, service providers have a spotty track record on this. Many monitor their customer’s data for certain types of activity, such as torrenting traffic, and can even sell browsing history details to advertisers.
Even if you trust your ISP, there are a number of other ways in which revealing your real IP address can leave your online privacy vulnerable. Here are a few key reasons why you might want to hide your IP address.
1. Keep your browsing private
Your IP address can potentially reveal a lot of information about you. Any website can track and record your IP address when you visit them, and will often save it together with other data they gather on your interactions and preferences.
If you post on online forums, for example, your posts will likely have your IP address associated with them. When you log into email and shopping accounts, they will also know which IP you’re using. You can see how quickly this can leave your online activity exposed if someone starts putting data from two sites together.
While most websites won’t publicly release their users’ IP addresses, hacks where user information is stolen and released are very common, with even large companies being regularly affected by them. Once someone knows which IP address is linked to you, they can start following your online activity incredibly easily.
In order to not leave a trail of your activity online, it’s important to keep your IP address private. You are never truly anonymous if it’s being exposed.
2. Stop advertisers
Advertisements on the web are not only used to sell you things – they can also track your activity. Even if you regularly clear your browser cookies, intrusive advertisers can use your IP address to follow you around any website that loads their ad. As well as adverts, most social media plugins and buttons will do the same.
Some people are fine with this, as it allows advertisers to promote products to you that you are more likely to be interested in. Not everyone is happy to have their every step followed for the purposes of targeted advertising however, and keeping your IP private will allow you to stop exposing your online activity to unwanted third parties.
3. Accessing streaming content
Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime have different catalogues of movies and television shows available in every country they operate in, due to local laws and licensing restrictions.
The US and Japan have by far the largest content catalogues on Netflix, which are normally blocked off to users from other countries. Many Netflix users outside the US will want to access this catalogue, for example, or content that is only available in a specific region.
Accessing the Netflix US catalogue from outside America is possible by masking your real IP address behind a US one using a proxy server or Virtual Private Network (VPN). Connecting to the internet via a VPN server would also allow you to access streaming services that only operate in the US, like Hulu. Equally, if you wanted to access French services, you could use a server based in France.
Many YouTube videos are geo-blocked from certain regions too, especially when they include licensed music. If you’ve run into a geo-blocked YouTube video before, you’ll know how annoying this can be. A VPN or proxy will allow you to access this content with just a couple of clicks.
4. Stay safe on public WiFi
Using public WiFi networks is convenient when you’re away from home, but can leave your online security vulnerable if you don’t take steps to protect it. These kinds of networks are generally unsecured, which means it’s all too easy for a malicious third party to snoop on your browsing activities and even capture your login credentials.
The main problem is more to do with encryption than hiding your IP; malicious hackers love to prowl public WiFi networks for easy targets. Man-in-The-Middle (MiTM) attacks can be used to intercept data travelling between your device and the router, giving a potential hacker access to any unencrypted information. But while these kinds of attacks rely on a lack of encryption, they also need your IP address to be successful.
VPNs are invaluable if you need to use free public WiFi for any reason. They simultaneously hide your IP and heavily encrypt your data, allowing you to use public WiFi without worrying about MITM attacks.
5. Bypass censorship
Keeping your real IP address private can be a lifesaver if you live under an oppressive regime. By hiding it you will not only be able to access blocked websites and content, but can also stop anyone tracking you or finding your real identity.
Even if you are lucky enough to not have to worry about the government following your online activity, hiding your IP will also allow you to get through blocks at your school or workplace. Sites such as YouTube and Reddit are among the most commonly blocked, and even when they aren’t, your employer can track your online activity through your IP address if you use the workplace WiFi. Keeping your IP private will allow you to browse the sites you want from where you want, without anyone else snooping.
How to hide your IP address
The best way to keep your IP private is by using a VPN. Most major VPN providers have lots of servers around the world, allowing you to easily mask your IP address and choose which country you would like your replacement IP to be from. This allows easy access around geo-blocking to streaming services. Unlike proxy servers, VPNs also encrypt all of your traffic, securing you against Man-in-The-Middle attacks.
If you are using a VPN and you’re concerned that your real IP address might be getting leaked, use a free IP address checker like HMA! ’s to see whether your visible IP changes before and after connecting.
Frequently Asked Questions about how to make ip address private
How do I hide my IP address for free?
Three ways to hide your IPUse a VPN. A VPN is an intermediary server that encrypts your connection to the internet — and it also hides your IP address. … Use Tor. Comprising thousands of volunteer-run server nodes, Tor is a free network that conceals your identity online via multiple layers of encryption. … Use a proxy.Apr 8, 2020
Should I make IP address private?
In order to not leave a trail of your activity online, it’s important to keep your IP address private. You are never truly anonymous if it’s being exposed. Advertisements on the web are not only used to sell you things – they can also track your activity.Apr 1, 2019
How can I hide my IP address without VPN?
Use a proxy to hide your IP address. … Use Tor to hide your IP address for free. … Connect to a different network to change your IP address. … Ask your ISP to change your IP address. … Unplug your modem to change your IP address. … Use a NAT Firewall to hide your private IP address.More items…•Mar 31, 2021