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How to Hide Your IP Address

Eager to go into IP hiding? First of all-why? Taken with all the "scare stories"? It is true that the Internet is infested with spammers, scammers, and hackers but a word of caution. There are many ways that they can access your data and simply hiding your ip address isn't going to solve all your issues. If you visit "dodgy sites", install illegal software, don't have a decent firewall or anti virus or scan for malware then you are simply asking for trouble. If your machine is infected then these spammers and hackers can easily monitor your online activities and steal your personal data like credit card information and passwords?

Perhaps you just don't like the idea of someone being able to record what you do (if you are really paranoid then have a look at what google glasses can do (be afraid!) for example even your Internet Service Provider (ISP) spies on you! They monitor, track, and keep a record of all your web activities. The websites you visit, the software you download, your online purchases, and everything else are recorded and saved by your ISP.

There are a few different ways that you can protect your anonymity both paid and free. However, first you need to know some of the phrases used:

Introducing the Proxy

The most common method to hide your IP address is to use a proxy server either free or paid. A proxy is a computer network that allows its customers to make indirect network connections to the Internet. Technically, your online activity goes to the proxy first, which handles and sends along your requests for information, data, files, email, etc. In each case, your actual IP address is hidden. However, finding these for free is quite difficult and often the speed will slow to a crawl.However, there are different types:

VPN Services

A virtual private network (VPN) protects your data and identity over public networks such as the Internet and wireless hotspots (locations that offer wireless connection). The difference between a firewall (which you should all have installed!) is that it protects the data on your computer, whereas a VPN will protect your data on the Internet.

The VPN will allow you to use its IP address to access websites and no record should be kept of this.This allows you to access websites typically only available to users from that country (for example even some sites in countries such as America are restricted to US IP addresses) none of which are illegal. This application is particularly important for travellers who need to access websites from their home country or people living in areas which practice Internet censorship.

A couple of examples of VPN services to consider:
  • Ghost
  • Hotspot Shield

Website-Based Proxy Server

A website-based proxy server provides a place for you to enter the URL of a website that you wish to visit anonymously, hit enter and you will be taken to that site, often in a frame, without revealing your real IP address. However, the functionality of these (especially the free ones) are often highly restricted and very slow e.g. you may nto be abel to access any video, any java applications etc.The proxy usually does not identify itself as a proxy server and does not pass along your IP address in the request for the page but there are limitations.

Browser-Configured Proxy Servers

These are quite simply where you make some adjustments to your browser configuration and this works to hide your IP address. However, my advice is don't bother. Numerous risks and if they are available free to the public, they are often slow (unbelievably slow at times). Consider using a TOR browser if you are consdiering this. TOR makes all the adjustments for you but, as an example, java and videos are unlikely to be seen as they can transmit info about your real address.

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