Your IP is what identifies your personal traffic from the billions of other individual users on the web. It’s important to know this, so that you can understand why having your IP visible is a dangerous premise.
Many of us in recent years have come to learn that our trusted governments have been secretly collating our online data, and using the Internet as a way to spy on people of interest. Given that ISPs are legally obliged to sell you down the river, this is very worrying.
Businesses and their remote workers need to maintain a highly secure connection to private resources, or risk having them stolen. And everyone is aware of hackers. The complexity that surrounds this activity though is often what leads to ignorance with online safety. However, the best form of defence is so easy to apply.
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) gives people anonymity by offering a secure, well-encrypted connection to private servers over the public network.
By hiding your IP address, you’re open to accessing anything online securely, without your ISP knowing your every search, or message you send. But not everyone uses one, and those people face a list of issues they might not be aware of.
Issues commonly faced by those without a VPN
1. ISP Throttling
This intentional slowing down of the Internet service is the bane of our lives. ISPs, in order to regulate the flow of traffic, throttle bandwidth across all ends of the network. This attempt to alleviate congestion basically allows them to control the speeds of their paying customers; as and when they feel necessary.
Something that doesn’t seem fair considering the massive amounts of revenue and tax relief they receive that could go into enhancing the infrastructure instead. It’s also a common tactic applied for when a certain user is – what’s likely deemed – to be ‘exploiting’ the ISPs commitment to ‘unlimited bandwidth.
If you choose one of the many great VPN services out there, they’ll be true to that commitment.
2. Activity logging
Every single move you make on the web is tracked and stored by your ISP provider. If you’re active on torrent websites, for example, this is simply exposing yourself to all ranges of punishments; from federal charges to fines of all sizes.
Although there are some great VPNs out there to bolster your anonymity, many of the lesser-quality variety, like the numerous free VPNs available, will likely log your activity. This will then be sold to third parties – hence the ‘free’.
3. Exposed to hackers
Without a VPN, your activity is wide open. It’s a common misunderstanding, especially among more amateur Internet users, that their presence online is so insignificant that they can’t become a victim of a malicious attack.
It doesn’t take much for a hacker to identify your online footprint – not that they know it’s yours, personally – and trace it back to your IP. Any personal photographs and social media logins will be used against the owner through blackmail, most likely for financial gain. Your bank details and online banking login details will most likely be priority, however.
4. Can’t access Geo-specific content
“How to hide my IP?” one might ask. Well, to hide one’s IP means to relocate it, and relocating it comes with the added benefit of accessing content specific to that location.
It also means keeping up with the news back home or abroad; watching some of the UK’s well-known comedies or dramas through VOD; following your favorite international sports teams; and watching live television in the US. Click here to learn some of the best websites and VPNs for watching TV online.
The best VPNs for hiding your IP
1. CyberGhost VPN
As I mentioned earlier, unlimited bandwidth is a reliable commitment from solid VPNs, and the same is true for all these listed. CyberGhost has more than 1200 servers based worldwide, with unlimited server switching, meaning that it can offer a dependable level of performance.
That, coupled with unlimited bandwidth, is great news for P2P sharers; as well as all of us average users. It also allows up to five devices to connect simultaneously.
On the security front, you’re backed by a 256-bit AES encryption and a strict no log policy. Plus, there’s a choice between multiple protocols. It also comes with a few useful little add-ons like DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch.
IPVanish is a known provider because it controls its entire network. It operates more than 1000 of its own servers based in 60 countries around the world, providing a high level of anonymity to those who use the service.
That many servers and no restriction on switching between them is what aids its ‘fast, unrestricted Internet access’. It also offers simultaneous connections to five separate devices.
It mirrors CyberGhost in that it also employs the industry standard 256-bit AES encryption, as well as multiple protocols. And it has the same stance on logging too. IPVanish offers a SOCKS5 web proxy, however, for masking an IP on P2P and VoIP communication.
VyprVPN is totally independent from any third party, and is responsible for its own hardware – and network, like IPVanish. This pledge to privacy, and by hosting more than 700 servers in 70 different locations, is how it delivers the end-to-end, high-quality service it’s known for.
It uses its own homegrown Chameleon technology to prevent any VPN blockages, and incorporates a zero-knowledge DNS in the aim of ‘defeating censorship around the world’. To help keep users secure, it provides multiple protocols and a NAT firewall for a bit of added security.
With a simple-to-use app for all devices, you’re offered browsing without restrictions, or throttling, to ensure consistently high performance.
If you feel like trying out a browsing experience with your IP hidden, why not try our online IP hider?