With the recent takeover of our entire lives by technological advancements happening worldwide at lightning speeds, our online privacy is at risk more than ever. It is hard to go completely off the grid when you require the internet for every task in your daily routine, no matter how big or small.
The Need for Privacy and IP Address
Shunning the use of cell phones, the internet, and other related devices is not ideal for everybody. Hiding or changing your IP address, on the other hand, is easily possible. Your IP address is assigned by your ISP (internet service provider) as soon as you connect to the internet and corresponds to your geographical location.
Anyone with your IP address can track your location, know your whereabouts, and monitor your online activities. Thus, changing your IP address can help protect your online privacy and identity. Hackers aiming to get personal information about you can easily do so by knowing your IP address and using it to fulfill their ill intentions. Changing IP addresses is also important if you’re an activist, journalist, or a part of a movement that might risk your online privacy.
Methods to Change Your IP Address
IP address change via VPN
VPN stands true for its full form – virtual private network – as it primarily acts as a private network in a remote location of the world you choose to connect to. The VPN encrypts your internet connection by sending it through a virtual server rather than your own.
It helps gain anonymity over the internet and keeps hackers and scammers at bay. It also comes in handy when you need to access geo-blocked content, such as Netflix USA outside the USA, and bypass internet censorship in countries with restrictions, such as China.
You can change your location via VPN by following these steps:
- Sign up and download reliable VPN software, such as Ivacy VPN
- Sign in to the VPN app and search for the server list within or outside your country
- Connect to the new remote virtual location, and voila!
IP address change by using a proxy
Proxies are similar to VPNs but offer less versatility and security. The proxy acts as a middleman server so that anyone tracking you can only see the proxy server address and not your actual IP address. Nevertheless, proxy servers cannot provide encryption to your data and might leak your IP address somehow.
Types of proxies to change your IP address
- HTTP/s proxies usually work via browser extensions to hide your actual location. However, these work only for your browser and do not affect other apps or DNS traffic.
- SOCKS proxies are the ones configured for special apps and browsers. The latest version of this proxy offers encryption.
- SSH proxies send your internet traffic from apps and browsers through SSH (a secure shell) so that your IP address is changed. Though it offers encryption by SSH is not a fast protocol.
IP Address Change via Tor
Tor stands for The Onion Router, denoting layers of security offered to the users at every step. It is a volunteer-run anonymity network that encrypts your data and sends it through several nodes, making it impossible for anyone to track your digital footprints. Each node provides a layer of encryption when you are using the Tor browser, and as the node sequence changes every time you use a different site, it is impossible to trace back to the source.
Using Tor is free, but a downside of it is that it is very slow. Using Tor for changing location is suitable for people who are in for basic browsing only. As Tor’s usage and anonymity function is generally attached to the dark web, using Tor just for changing location might draw unwanted attention from your ISP or law enforcement.
Your ISP Will Always Know
No matter which method you use to hide and change your location, your ISP will always know. ISP has to assign an IP address whenever a user connects to the internet, so they are expected to know which server the user is connected to. Nevertheless, in case of browsing via Tor or VPN Firefox extension, your ISP can know that you are connected to a remote server but cannot access any data or intercept your communication.
The Best Method to Change Your Location
Although proxy servers and Tor are great alternatives for VPN for changing location, they do not provide a whole package of encryption and ease of use, such as VPN extensions for browsers. VPN browser extensions help change your location instantly with a single mouse click. Thus, VPN is the best method to change your location, so you must choose a VPN service provider that offers VPN browser Firefox extensions.