What is an IP address and why should I hide it?

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Internet Protocol address is a 32-bit number given to any device that is connected to the internet. This number is used to identify any device that is connected to the internet at any given point of time. The IP address is the identity of your device. It is assigned to your device by your internet service provider whenever you connect it to the internet.

So, to give you an example, an IP address will look like something the following:

65.87.41.216

The different parts of the 32-bit address give specific information about your device and connection. This information includes your geographic location, what kind of a place you are accessing the internet from, like a school, office, and other such information.

Why should you hide your IP address?

In today’s world of cyber hysteria, hiding your IP address has become quite important, for it reveals a lot about you than you would know. Your location and internet activity can be determined and monitored respectively with the help of your IP address. This is used by government agencies all over the world to constantly monitor user activity on the internet and even censor it.

In addition to this, your IP address is used by ad agencies to throw local ads at you based on your region. This might seem harmless enough at first, but the backstory behind it is rather alarming. The ads are thrown at your based on your browsing history and the profile that has been created based on your past habits. This means that everything you search for and see on the internet is recorded, which is something nobody would want.

Hiding your IP Address

1. Proxies

Web proxies are the simplest way to hide your IP address. A web proxy is basically a remote computer sitting between your system and the internet. All your internet requests are first sent to this remote computer, which then relays them to the internet and then sends you the response, therefore acting as a mediator. The IP address visible to anyone is that of the remote computer, thereby masking your true IP address. Web proxies are popular because they are usually free to use. Users only need to enter the URL of their desired website on the web proxy service, and they are taken to their destination website. However, it must be said that web proxies are often unsafe, for they throw a lot of advertisements to you which may be malicious, and the connection drops are frequent as well.

2. VPNs

The second, and most secure and efficient method, to hide your IP address is by using a VPN. VPNs connect you to the internet through one of their servers, hiding your true IP address by that of their server. While this is quite similar in practise to how a proxy works, there are some important differences. For one, VPNs encrypt your connection and traffic, meaning nobody can see what you are doing once you are connected to the VPN and you have a secure communication channel to share sensitive information over. VPNs protect you from malicious users, charge you some money for their service, and reduce your connection speed by some amount due to the encryption overheard. But all in all, the end result is well worth the money spent.

Conclusion

We discussed in this article about what is an IP address, why you need to hide it, and how you can do so. Hiding your IP address protects you from the eyes that watch your digital movement, and allow you to be anonymous and free on the internet.

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