What is an IP Address and Why Should You Hide It

Published on December 20th, 2019

A lot of, if not most, regular internet users will have heard the term IP address before. But most may not know much about it. It’s time to change that. Your IP address, or internet protocol address, links you to the rest of the world wide web. It is crucial for staying connected. For the average consumer, it is important to understand what this address does and exactly what your risks are by sharing it.

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What is an IP Address and Why Should You Hide It

Every day there seem to be new ways that cybercriminals try to steal information or hold devices hostage. It is part of the age we live in, but that doesn’t mean you are helpless to all the unknowns. Since your IP address is a link to your home network, you need to do whatever you can to secure it. There are many different reasons you would want to hide it, and they are not just privacy related.

What is an IP Address?

It should be more common knowledge among internet users, but it seems to have fallen through the cracks. You can look at your internet protocol address the same way you would look at your home address. The series of numbers identify your unique home network. It would look something like:

198.168.1.1

Over the last two decades, the need for unique IP addresses has increased. That’s why new versions have been rolled out. For the sixth version of these addresses, it adds eight different sets of numbers, instead of four. It also makes them alphanumeric. It ensures there are enough unique addresses to go around as the world grows. A version 6 address could look like this:

A240:5697:f9a0:6ced:fe4f:f5c9:7fc9:9ca5

As you can see, the address is getting more complicated to allow for huge growth in the future.

Why Should You Hide Your IP Address?

Some want more privacy online. But there are some other serious reasons you will want to keep your IP address hidden from prying eyes. You can never be too safe when going online with personal information. It reveals approximate locations of your network and the internet service provider that you use.

Protect Against Hackers

It’s not something internet users worry about often. But it is a real threat if you don’t stay protected. Even the most inexperienced hackers may gain access to your home network if you leave yourself vulnerable. Attacks from hackers can range from no damage done to holding your entire network for ransom. Keeping your address hidden is the first step to blocking these types of random attacks.

Use Geo-Blocked Sites and Services

Every country in the world has different restrictions on their internet access. Plus, many companies provide different pricing and products for different markets. Have you ever wanted to check out that awesome foreign Netflix series but are stuck watching the same old stuff from your home country? With a hidden IP address and a few other tricks, it is simple to stream content from any country you desire.

Keep Your Identity Secret

If you aren’t aware, everything you do on the internet is logged in some shape or form. Whether it is the random search on Google or the thousands of pages per day you browse on Reddit, most of it is logged. Hiding your IP address keeps the loggers confused about who is doing the browsing.

Hiding your IP address by using a virtual private network (you can download one here) also hides your activities online from your ISP. They may have rules and regulations you may not particularly be abiding by. Or they may be the ones logging data too. You don’t even need to be breaking any laws. Certain service providers will frown upon certain online activities, e.g., gaming or downloading torrents. It is always better to play it safe.

How to Keep IP Hidden and Your Browsing Protected

Now that you can see why you should protect your IP address, know that it isn’t that difficult to do so. Numerous proxy and VPN services will do all the hard work for you. It can be as simple as downloading and running a program, depending on the service you choose.

The most important part of staying safe online is that you feel comfortable with the amount of information you are sharing. If you find yourself questioning how much is out there, look into privacy tools and solutions to give yourself some peace of mind.

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