Sam - August 19, 2016
An IP address (or internet protocol address) is a unique number that identifies your computer, tablet, smartphone or network.
Contained in this address is your geolocation, this isn’t specific to your address, but is specific to your local area.
This can allow advertisers, websites the government and even criminals to see your web browsing habits.
While most of the time this data is either not be used, or used for legitimate purposes (if you think having highly specialized adverts aimed at you at is a legitimate purpose) there is of course always the danger that this info can fall into the wrong hands.
Luckily there are ways to protect yourself and your data on the web. One of the ways you can protect yourself is by using a VPN to hide your IP address and encrypt your data.
What is a VPN
A VPN is a tool that allows you to increase your online privacy and security. A VPN encrypts your connection and routes it through a different server.
One of the side effects of this is that it means that sites you visit see your connection as coming from the other server, not from where you are actually browsing. This can increase your privacy and stop people from seeing your IP address.
As well as privacy and security, this also has the side-effect of allowing you to do things like access streaming and bypassing geographical restrictions.
In the rest of this article, we will look at some times when it can be useful to hide your IP address.
Keep your searches private
Using a VPN to change your IP address when using search engines can stop these search engines from tracking your searches.
While this has the effect of stopping them tracking any embarrassing searches you may be entering, it also means that google won’t be able to “help” you by pushing certain search results that they think you will find interesting.
While some people will like google to do this, for a lot of people it can seem intrusive and they would prefer to keep their search results neutral.
Use the search engine/websites of your home country
If you are traveling or living abroad you will realize that many websites you are used to visiting at home are slightly different when you travel abroad. This is generally as sites often tailor content to certain audiences.
This can be annoying if you just want to use the site you are used to using at home. This is doubled if the site you want to use has a foreign language service and every time you try to access it you are greeted with a load of content you don’t understand.
Using a VPN allows you to access the site as you would at home, which may well be just how you like it.
Hide your location
One of the better privacy features of a VPN is that it can hide your location. Your IP address is actually a very specific address that is specific to you computer and as such if the wrong people get a hold of this they can use it to find out some specific information relating to how you use the web.
This research by the OPC concluded that just knowing someone’s IP address could allow someone to build a fairly detailed profile of a person or group that was associated with that IP address.
Stop targeted ads
Often advertising companies will use your IP address to give you very specific adverts related to your location. While this is generally not a problem, it can be quite unnerving to see adverts that know the area you are living in.
As well as this, research has found that geo-targeted ads are much more effective than normal ads. If you don’t want advertisers constantly trying to sell you products using super effective specialized adverts, change your IP address!
This can obviously be a pretty big inconvenience, however by changing your IP address to an IP address of a country that allows these services, you will be able to access them as you would in that country.
Certain websites only allow video content to be watched by people from a certain region. This can mean that if you are traveling or in a foreign country it can be hard to watch certain shows and videos that you are used to watching.
Using a VPN to change your IP address can make the website you are using think you are browsing from a different country which will have the side-effect of allowing you to watch your video content.
If you plan to use a VPN for streaming videos, make sure the VPN has a server in the country that will allow you to stream the videos you want to watch.
If you think that hiding your IP address is something that you would like to try, then why not download ProxyRack VPN. It is a completely free VPN with servers in twelve different countries across the globe.