To understand why so many regular Internet users conceal their IP addresses, you must first know what an IP address is.
In layman’s terms, an IP address is a something of a digital fingerprint for devices on the Internet. Your ISP assigns an IP address to every device connected to the Internet from home, including your laptop, desktop, smartphone, tablet, and even your smart washing machine.
Many people hide their IP addresses for many different reasons. The following is a list of the most significant benefits of concealing your IP address:
You Can Stream More Videos
Have you ever tried to stream a video from a streaming platform, only to be denied because of your geographical location? Controversially, many websites restrict access to content by blocking IP addresses from certain countries. Here are some platforms that employ geo-blocking to restrict content:
- And more
Video streaming companies use geo-blocks to control access based on local licensing agreements, but this doesn’t always in the consumer’s best interest. For example, HBO Max blocks Canadian users from accessing its platform, while offering content through the locally owned Bell Media. However, Bell Media’s own streaming service, Crave, offers poor streaming quality and outdated resolutions. So, many Canadians use IP address masking software to bypass geo-blocks.
You Can Buy More Games
World governments treat video games with a level of hypocrisy. While they rarely block films with mature content, they don’t treat games like an art form. States censor or ban games because of their content, even though games have official maturity ratings just like movies. But with an IP address from another country, you can potentially get around geo-blocks to buy titles unavailable in your country. You can also use this technique to buy games that are discounted online for buyers from countries other than your own.
You Can Protect Your Identity
Hiding your actual IP address behind a virtual one can also be good for your security. It’s easy to see someone’s IP address on a file-sharing network or some gaming platforms. Recipients of some types of messages and websites can also see your IP address. With your IP address, a bad actor can uncover your location or find out more about you. Some criminals also use IP addresses to run scams.
Ways to Hide Your IP Address
While there are many ways to hide your IP address, here are three of the more popular ones:
- Tor: The Tor browser is one of the easiest ways to hide your IP address. So, what is Tor browser precisely and how good is it? Well, the Tor browser uses the Tor network to hide your location through multiple nodes. Although the browser is good at shielding your anonymity, it’s usually too slow to consume entertainment.
- Proxy Server: A proxy server is an intermediary computer that can show websites its IP address instead of yours. While proxies are cheap and effective, they don’t encrypt your data. Additionally, many open proxies aren’t trustworthy.
Virtual Private Network (VPN): The right VPN service is a good option for privacy, security, and entertainment consumption. VPNs encrypt your data and assign a virtual IP address. A good VPN that uses the newest VPN protocol will also offer excellent browsing and streaming speeds. But just like proxies, free VPNs can hurt your security and privacy.