Your IP address is a virtual address that denotes the presence of a computer in a network. It is similar to an actual physical address, and is used to assign a unique identity to each computer that accesses online information.
An IP address, short for Internet Protocol address, is important for smooth transition of data between two networks or computers. Due to the extent of Internet, it will be difficult for any computer to gather data without a point of reference such as a unique IP address.
For instance, when you point your browser to any URL, your computer will associate the URL request with your IP address, which will then send the request over the Internet to retrieve the information. The resulting data or information will only be sent back to the IP address that initiated the request. Therefore, similar to a normal physical address, two different IP addresses are required for the successful transfer of data between two different systems.
An IP address is responsible for identifying the two devices in a network. This is why each action that you perform with your actual IP address, will be traceable back to you. An IP address is not only applicable to individual users or computers, but IP addresses are also applicable for networks and servers that act as a point of reference or for storage of data.
Since each computer in a network is associated with an IP address to retrieve information, every action performed online has an IP signature. Just like your ISP, every website tracks the IP address of a visitor to gather user-oriented data, and this is done without the consent of the visitor.
All kinds of user identification can be gathered by tracking this IP address, and at an instant, the website can get a wide variety of information such as the actual geolocation, ISP, and other information that can be stored and used according to the discretion of the website.
Nowadays, search engine giants such as Google are also using IP addresses to associate search pattern and online behavior with each individual user. This is being done to deliver more targeted advertisements, but with the kind of information that is being gathered, it is alarming to note that Google is in a position to profile a person quite accurately.
An IP address can be identified quite easily. A basic IP address consists of four different numbers separated by dots. For instance, your IP address consists of four different numbers separated by three dots. This is unique for each computer and is assigned by the ISP. The set of four numbers separated by dots is part of the Internet Protocol v4 (IPv4) and supports 32 bits.
However, due to the increase in demand for IP addresses, the new Internet Protocol v6 (IPv6) is also in existence. An IPv6 IP address consists of 8 different parts separated by a colon [:], instead of a dot. Unlike the IPv4 version, the IPv6 version can also contain letters, and is able to accommodate more addresses, as such a system supports up to 128 bits.
That depends on the ISP and other proxy servers or VPN usage. Under normal conditions, an ISP assigns static IP addresses to individual users, or they are under discretion to offer dynamic IP addresses for all subscribers. In essence, the IP address need not be same under all circumstances. Unlike a physical address, IP addresses are virtual in nature, and it depends on the port used for data transfer.
However, when dynamic IP addresses are utilized by ISPs, each ISP will have a record of the timestamp and IP address issued, which points online activities to the user concerned. It is also possible for a single network to have multiple computers within the network having different internal IP addresses. In those cases, one external IP address is used to identify the network and there will be an internal IP address assigned to each device in the network. This kind of internal and external IP addresses are common in large networks utilized in large organizations, companies, schools, colleges, and even in home networks.
There are different ways by which you can hide your IP address by displaying a different IP address altogether. No, it is not possible for you to change your actual IP address, but what you can do is hide your original IP by connecting through a 3rd part server with it's own IP address.
To be able to do this, you have to use a virtual IP address that is willing to serve as the outgoing/incoming port for all of your traffic. Essentially, you are pointing your browser to a virtual IP hosted by a third party, before connecting to the actual destination URL. For example, if you want to access Netflix outside the US, first, you have to connect your local IP address to a virtual IP address situated in US. This US based IP will act as your new IP address for the public domain (the internet), and this will in turn enable you to unblock Netflix outside the US.
The option to hide your IP is offered by both Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and Proxy Servers. VPN service providers are fully fledged secure virtual servers located in different parts of the world that offer secure IP addresses for fully anonymous online browsing. Proxy servers are simple servers will only allow you to hide IP addresses without offering any security measures.
Unlike a regular Internet connection, with a Virtual Private Network your flow of digital information is properly encrypted from the source point and decrypted at the destination.
VPN service providers, like HideMyAss! Pro VPN, IPVanish, and VyprVPN offers safety, security, and anonymity tools and can be used, among other things, to bypass censorship while browsing online. Due to the extent of Government intrusion into the privacy and freedom of the Internet users, and due to the data logging technologies adopted by numerous information phishing agents, including websites and hackers, it is becoming increasing difficult to keep data private and confidential while transmitting it through the Internet.
VPN is different from Firewall, Anti-virus or Anti-malware programs. While a desktop based firewall or antivirus application may be successful in protecting data within the system and prevent it from external attacks, it is helpless once the data is being transmitted through online sources. A VPN application, however, encrypts the data before transmitting it through the network; hence, any attempt at intercepting it will be fruitless.
Due to the advancement of cloud computing technologies and owing to the increasing popularity of cloud based data storage, usage of a VPN has become a priority. In terms of Government censorships and accessing blocked content, VPN services allow a user to hide behind a virtual IP residing in another country to access the blocked content and to enjoy complete online anonymity.
We are building a directory of all the VPN providers available. VPN Creative is a professional review site that receives compensation from the companies whose products we review. While we test each product thoroughly, the rankings are based on our readers ratings. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own. Enjoy!
Basically, an Internet connection is unencrypted, and people who are looking for it can access the data. This is more relevant in the case of public Wi-Fi hotspots that entertain a number of different users. Due to the increasing popularity of handheld and mobile devices, public Wi-Fi and Internet hotspots are gaining prominence. A VPN service encrypts data at the device level before transmitting it over the public domain. Therefore, no matter where you are, and regardless of the type of Internet connection, a VPN will help you stay anonymous and secure while enjoying your Internet freedom.
Internet censorship is a major problem in a lot of countries, and various oppressive regimens are known to actively block content and enforce Internet censorship to prevent their citizens from enjoying Internet freedom and right of speech. By connecting to a VPN server, users can utilize IP changing technologies to bypass firewalls and Internet censorship to access blocked content and enjoy 100% Internet freedom.
There are numerous entertainment channels such as Netflix, Hulu and BBC iPlayer that only cater to a specific demographic. Websites such as Netflix and Hulu are only available to an US audience, while the BBC iPlayer is available only in the UK. Accessing these websites outside their respective demographics is impossible without changing to a local IP address. A VPN service provider allows the user to change their IP address by choosing a server in US or UK or any other country that is relevant to the entertainment website.
Online transactions are a part and parcel of everyday life. Online banking, credit card payments, online payment gateways, e-mail servers, file storage and all kinds of online transactions involve transfer of sensitive personal as well as financial information. A normal network is vulnerable to attacks due to the low level of encryption, especially in the case of public Wi-Fi hotspots. A VPN will allow you to encrypt all of your incoming and outgoing data to prevent prying eyes, hackers, information phishing agents and identity thieves from intercepting your sensitive information.
Proxy servers are simple servers that act as a go-to between two different computers on a network. Essentially, a proxy server acts as a middle man between two IP addresses, and the proxy server in itself will have a dedicated IP address.
Proxy services are those service providers that offer proxy servers to users who wish to change their IP addresses. Proxy services are different to VPN service providers in the sense that proxy services only offer traffic rerouting technologies without offering any form of encryption or tunneling protocols to ensure safety or security of the transmitted data.
Proxy services are usually free of charge or are really inexpensive, but most of the proxy services are riddled with advertisements and spam. Security of online browsing is virtually non-existent, as most of these IP hiding tools or proxy servers are usually hosted by websites or third party organizations with little intent on protecting the user's privacy. The main motivation for these websites hosting such proxy servers is to gain income through advertisements, and hence, these proxy servers are not as dedicated to user oriented privacy or security as VPN service providers.
Proxy servers also don't offer much in terms of reliability or speed. Due to the free nature of such proxy servers, there are a large number of users vying for the same set of resources. Therefore, proxy servers are best suited as IP hiding tools, and cannot offer anything more that will make the service more useful to the user.
There are broadly two different types of proxy services, website based proxy and browser configured proxy:
Website based proxy servers are the most common form of proxy servers available for changing or hiding IP addresses. These proxy servers are available as web forms where you can enter your destination URL to bypass censorship or hide your original IP. Most of these website based proxy servers are free to use, but they are usually full of advertisements and pop-ups that hinder a good user experience. There are a few premium proxy servers that incur a cost, but it makes sense to spend a bit more on actual VPN services, as it offers more convenience, features, speed and reliability.HideMyAss! Free Web Proxy
Browser based proxy servers are usually available as browser extensions (add-ons), either offered by the browser themselves, or by third party services. Most of these browser based proxy servers are available as open-source add-ons, and can hence be customized for individual use. However, due to the free and open-source nature, browser based proxy servers are the least reliable in terms of speed and security.HideMyAss! Free Web Proxy Browser Extensions