Privacy can be hard to come by on the Internet. Most websites, apps, even games are tracking our activities for commertial benefits. One of the most common methods used to track is through our public IP address. Changing or hiding your public IP address can provide an additional layer of privacy to keep you more anonymous as you connect and use the Internet.
Bypass government restrictions
For specific countries and regions, certain websites and content on the Internet require specific access (Netflix, for example). Your ticket to “enter” is having the correctly located IP address. By changing your IP address to one that is located in the right locale, you can access the content you want to access.
Changing or hiding your real IP address is a great way to protect yourself from nefarious actors, especially while connected to unsecured networks such as public Wi-Fi at a coffee shop or airport. Also, when data breaches occur, hiding your IP address is a way that you can add an additional layer of security to protect your private data.
There are multiple ways you can change your IP address. But the method you choose depends on your ultimate goal. For example, do you simply need a new IP address because of connectivity issues? Or are you looking for anonymity?
The following methods are ways that you can change your public-facing IP address, ranging from easy and cheap (less anonymity), to difficult and more expensive (more anonymity).
Manually or Automatically
You can change your IP address by yourself by adjusting your device’s settings or simply unplugging your router.
One way to get a newly assigned IP address automatically is to simply unplug your router. When it is plugged back in, the router assigns a new IP address. Just note that it may take a few minutes to a few hours to get a new IP address depending on your IP lease time. For example, if your lease time is 8 hours, you would have to wait 8 hours to plug your router back in to be assigned a new IP address.
Also, even if you do wait the 8 hours, your ISP could end up assigning the same IP address to you again if it hasn’t been assigned to someone else.
To manually change your IP address, you will need to adjust the settings of your operating system and manually enter a new number.
Manually change your IP addresscan be a complicated process and could result in your ISP banning you from connecting to the Internet.
Whether you change your IP address automatically or manually, it will not change the fact that your ISP can still track your Internet traffic. In other words, changing your IP address yourself does little to increase your Internet privacy.
Using a proxy is an easy and usually a free way to hide your IP address. With a proxy, your traffic essentially moves through a middle man server so that websites you visit see the proxy server’s IP address instead of your actual IP address, keeping your IP address private. Many people use proxies because of their ease of use and low cost. They also do not require any software changes to your device.
proxy servers usually aren’t encrypted. This means that if someone really wants to view your traffic, they can.
Tor is a privacy-focused web browser that:
Hides your IP address
Encrypts your traffic
Prevents tracking and targeted ads
Automatically clears cookies
while Tor encrypts your traffic, they still keep logs of your actual IP address per their terms of service.
Virtual Private Networks (VPN). When you connect to a VPN, the VPN replaces your IP address with another IP address in a location of your choosing while encrypting all of your traffic. There are some free VPNs, but to get the most privacy and security usually requires a paid subscription.
Opera browser has a built in VPN support.
VPNs are great for privacy, but also for accessing censored content or regionally-blocked streaming services such as Netflix. This is because VPNs hide your actual local network connection.
VPNs, unlike other IP concealing methods, are not required to log Internet traffic in the US. However, some VPNs still do.
on VPN, make sure to check to see if they keep IP address logs or not.
Using private networks such as a proxy or VPN adds more privacy and security as you use the Internet. However, do not think you are all anonymous on internet if someone (ISP, Goverment) really wants to find you via your Internet connection, they have many ways.
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