One of the biggest privacy concerns that most internet users have these days is that websites can use their location details. Whether it’s to place you on a map or send your targeted ads, your physical location can give a lot of important information away.
Moreover, there are huge privacy concerns with broadcasting your location all over the internet, especially if you’re accessing the internet from inside your own home. Lucky though, there is a way to stop your location from being seen on the internet.
All you need to do is learn how to hide your IP address. This might sound like a complex task to do, but it’s actually incredibly easy to do if you’re using a VPN, which is an important cybersecurity tool. We’ve found some great VPNs that will hide your IP address, but we’re going to dive deeper into what a VPN is and why it is quickly becoming one of the most commonly used cybersecurity tools in the world.
What is an IP Address?
You might be wondering exactly what an IP address is and why you would want to change it. Let’s start with the IP address itself — an IP address is a unique string of numbers that is used to identify your device on the internet. One of its primary roles is to pinpoint your physical location, and this information is used by websites in several ways.
The first thing they will do with this information is to send you targeted ads. You’ll likely be seeing ads from local companies or any business that is near you while browsing the internet. These customized ads are sent to the right market thanks to the IP address which can determine which devices are in close vicinity to the business that is being advertised.
Websites will sometimes use your IP address to block you from accessing certain content. This is known as geographical blocking, or geo-blocking for short. Geo-blocking has become more and more common in recent years. One example of where you might experience geo-blocking is if you try to access Sky Sports while outside of the UK. By using your IP address, the website can determine that you are not in the correct region and therefore will block you from accessing it.
Although geo-blocking is most commonly used for sports, it’s not the only place where you might experience it. Netflix, for example, is known to have a wider selection of movies and TV shows in the United States than anywhere else. Unless you are physically in the US, you won’t be able to access the titles that are only available in the North American region.
How Does a VPN Hide My IP Address?
So now that we know what an IP address is and what it does, how do we go about changing our IP address? The answer is incredibly simple. All you need to do is install a premium VPN, also known as a virtual private network, on your device.
A VPN is primarily used as a cybersecurity tool, and it can encrypt your internet connection, which means that no one will be able to see what you are doing on your device. Not even the government or your internet service provider will be able to track your internet activity, making this the ultimate tool for privacy and security.
However, there’s another feature on VPNs that gives us the ability to mask our real IP address and adopt another one. In simpler terms, it gives you the ability to change your location virtually. For example, while you might be sitting in your home in France, you could change your virtual location to one in the United States, and access the internet as if you were in the US. By doing this, you’ll trick websites into thinking that you are accessing them from elsewhere — you’ll even see adverts from the US rather than French adverts while your VPN is connected.
So, how is a VPN able to change our virtual location and make us appear to be in a different country? When you activate your VPN you are given a selection of secure global servers that you can connect to. Once you’re connected, your real IP address will be masked by the VPN, and you will adopt the IP address of the server you are connected to. Think of a VPN as a tunnel that is created through the internet, exiting another country. You can access the internet through this tunnel without anyone seeing you, or keeping track of what you are doing.
Other Benefits of a VPN
Now that we know that a VPN can protect us while we’re online and it gives us the ability to change our virtual locations, let’s explore the other possibilities that lie ahead when using a premium VPN.
The first benefit that you can get from a VPN is bypassing internet censorship. Internet censorship has become increasingly common in our modern society, and each government has its reasons as to why they have put internet censorship in place — in the majority of cases it comes down to either religious or political reasons. Since a VPN will hide your device from the government and any ISPs, it will give you the ability to bypass blocked websites when you’re connected to a secure global server.
Here’s a quick tip though: any country that has internet censorship in place has most likely also blocked the websites that allow you to download any VPNs. Make sure you have your VPN installed and updated before you travel to any of these countries, otherwise there’s no way to unblock censored websites.
VPNs have become popular for many reasons, but one tip that’s flown well under the radar is the fact that you can get cheaper flights and accommodation by using a VPN. Many websites that sell flight tickets and hotel rooms will discriminate based on the location of the internet user. For example, if you’re from the United States you’ll be charged higher prices since you’re accessing the website from a “richer” country with a strong exchange rate. Try changing your location to a third-world country, or better yet, the country that you intended on visiting to get the best possible prices. This not only applies to flights and hotels but all kinds of online services too.