Why You Should Hide Your IP

By now, most non-specialists have heard the term ‘IP address,’ although they haven’t delved into what this particular technology is. How Stuff Works defines the IP address as a unique identifier for a specific PC on a network, similar to a building address in the real world. More importantly, IP addresses can be used to track users’ locations, down to the city, and sometimes the street they originate from. Naturally, this is an uncomfortable situation for anyone who wants to use the internet yet still stay anonymous. If a user intends to hide, IP address locators can easily find them. So why would a user need to protect their IP?

Stop Advertisement Tracking

Ads are among the most annoying things on the internet. What’s more, advertising usually tracks your usage of the web so it can serve up relevant titles to encourage you to click on products. Chron mentions that Google AdSense can track your IP location, ensuring that it delivers advertising that focuses on where you are at that moment. Google’s Ad Sense tracks and records movement, allowing it to predict your location, so hiding your IP address stops the collection of this data by the big tech company. Hiding your IP saves you from having to deal with ads that pinpoint where you are, making you less of a target to psychological manipulation.

Hiding your Activity from ISPs

Your internet service provider is extremely interested in what you do while online. Science ABC mentions that ISPs can track what data comes into any individual PC, and use that information as they see fit, even limiting what sites a user is allowed to visit. Hiding your IP helps to curb that invasion of privacy since the ISP isn’t aware of which originating computer the data comes from. The worst part about ISP tracking (aside from the blatant disregard for individual privacy rights) is that no one is sure when their ISP is going to use that information against them.

Using Location-Locked Content

IP addresses are just like addresses in that they can help a server determine where in the world the user it. Naturally, content distribution websites that offer an affordable MRI scan, such as streaming medical centers to treat injuries for athletes, use this to their advantage by limiting the availability of their service by geographical location. For users who have already paid for a service, being unable to use it while traveling is a severe drawback. To this end, if you subscribe to Netflix or Spotify, hiding your IP would allow you to enjoy your streaming services, even in another part of the world.

Bypassing Organizational Restrictions

Some work server configurations limit access to specific websites. While it is useful in controlling worker productivity by limiting the ability to access social media networks, for example, it can be severely limiting for someone needing to research specific topics. Hiding IP addresses allows you to directly access sites that a work IP filter may be blocking. It also stops employers from tracking IP usage through their company’s network.

Easy Methods for IP Hiding

Proxy servers are great for hiding IP addresses. There is even an entire network dedicated to bouncing users through it to completely hide their originating address. The interface is called Tor, and it is simple to use, but at times, because of the amount of servers data has to pass through, it can be slow. Alternatively, signing up for a VPN can help you to hide your IP. There are free VPNs available, but the paid versions are far better options for securing yourself online. For a decision of this importance, paying for a service is generally worth the money.