If you want to surf the Internet anonymously and freely, a good first step is to hide your IP address. Your own local IP address contains a lot of information about you as an internet user. By hiding behind a different IP address, you remain much safer and above all more anonymous online. You can do this with a VPN. Just follow the steps below:
- Choose a VPN provider, such as for example CyberGhost, and take out a subscription
- Download the VPN software and log in with your account
- Select a specific server if necessary and connect to the VPN
When you go online this way, others only see the IP of the VPN provider, while your own IP address remains hidden. A good VPN to start with is CyberGhost. This provider is very user-friendly and also inexpensive. Our privacy and the protection of our personal data have become more and more important and debatable in recent years. Perhaps you have heard that while surfing the Internet it is a good idea to hide or change your IP address.
- Google, social media platforms and the secret services are watching what you do online on a large scale. Despite the fact that this is common knowledge by now, there are still many people who do not shield or change their IP address– and thus their privacy–
- Maybe they think that this is not necessary, because they have nothing to hide anyway. However, there are other good reasons to change your IP address. In this article we give 10 reasons to hide or change your IP address. We also explain how you can easily hide your IP address.
What exactly is an IP address?
IP in this context stands for ‘internet protocol’. Your IP address is a unique code that is linked to the internet network you are connected to. In principle, this IP address allows others to follow, monitor and trace all your online actions back to you (or at least to your network). The IP address tells websites and online platforms from which location you are connected to them. This unique network code therefore effectively identifies you.
- If you want to see what kind of information others can currently derive from your IP address, check out our IP address tool. This tool tells you your IP address and knows exactly from where you connect to their servers. So if you don’t hide or change your IP address, this is the location that websites will see when you connect to them. Not a great feeling when every online page you connect to knows exactly where you are, right? Hence, it is wise to hide your IP address from others.
How do I hide my IP address?
It is very easy to hide your IP address and ensure that you are more anonymous online. Websites and search engines will then not be able to track you down, or hardly at all. Below we discuss several ways to hide your IP address:
- Use a VPN: a VPN provides an encrypted connection that keeps you anonymous and safe online. Your real IP address changes into the IP address of the VPN server. Your IP address is then no longer visible to the websites you visit.
- Use the Tor browser: a global network of servers that provides anonymous communication on the Internet. Because your data traffic is routed through various Tor servers (or ‘nodes’), you can no longer be traced. Your internet traffic is also encrypted. Unfortunately, securing and anonymizing data works alléén within the browser. Everything you do online outside that browser, through other apps, remains unprotected. Another disadvantage of the Tor browser is that it is very slow.
- Use a proxy: proxy servers allow you to access the Internet through a different IP address. Although this is a very simple solution, a proxy does not protect and encrypt your data traffic. So your internet behavior is still visible. The data can only not (always) be linked to your IP address. In addition, many proxy servers are very slow.
Hide your IP address with a VPN
Of the three options we gave above, our preference is to use a VPN connection. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) encrypts your data én changes your IP address and location. This is the most reliable and complete way to hide your IP address and is accompanied by the least lag of your internet connection. VPN software allows you to browse the internet safely, anonymously and freely.
- You change your IP address with a VPN application. This is software that you install on your computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone. All your internet traffic is first encrypted and then passes through a remote, secure VPN server.
- In practice, this looks like this. Before you access the Internet, you connect to the VPN by selecting the desired server within the VPN application. You are then assigned a new IP address (the IP of the chosen server) that cannot be traced back to you. Then you can surf anonymously, download and stream in peace. If you use a VPN, no one can just see what you do online – including governments and hackers.
There are many different VPN providers to choose from. Below, we recommend three good, reliable options.
ExpressVPN is one of the best VPN providers on the market. This provider offers good encryption and fantastic customer service. This makes using the VPN very easy even for new users. The ExpressVPN software is user-friendly and looks good. You can use ExpressVPN on five devices at the same time. Also, ExpressVPN has a 30-day not-good-money-back guarantee, so you can try it out before you get stuck with a subscription.
NordVPN is also a very solid VPN that puts your online privacy at number ééone. This provider is known for having incredibly good safeguards and also offering additional security options. You can use ééone subscription on six devices at the same time. NordVPN is cheap, user-friendly and offers good customer support.
A good and cheap VPN service to try out is CyberGhost. This VPN provider focuses mainly on usability. All options are easy to find within the software. The installation process is also very simple. Even a novice VPN user will be protected by this excellent VPN in no time. Do you prefer to try out a free, limited version of a VPN first? Many free VPN’s are not secure and have data and speed limits, so do be critical. In our article on the best free VPN’s you will find some free VPN’s that are secure. Free VPNs are also great for those who want to try out a VPN for the first time.
Step by step to change your IP address
We explain step by step how to change your IP address using a VPN. As an example, we will use VPN provider CyberGhost. This is a cheap and good provider that anyone can easily use. To change your IP address with CyberGhost, follow the following steps:
- Click on this link to go to the CyberGhost website
- Click on the ‘Claim Your Deal Now’button to go to the subscription overview
- Select the subscription plan that suits you best
- Choose your preferred payment method and enter your email
- Log in to the website and download the VPN installation file (on your smartphone you can find it in the App Store or Google Play)
- Open the installation file after the download is done
- Doorloop de installatiewizard om de VPN te installeren
- Open de geïnstalleerde VPN-software
- Log in met het door jou aangemaakte account
- Zet de VPN aan
The advantages of a VPN summarized
- A VPN hides (changes) your IP address and lets you use the internet with an IP address provided by the VPN provider.
- With a VPN, your internet traffic is encrypted and much harder to intercept.
- Most VPN providers do not keep track of which websites you visit. So there s no trace of your internet behavior.
- A VPN allows you to mask your location. For example, from abroad you can connect to a VPN server in the United States, where you are assigned an American IP address. This gives you access to services and websites that are not available in your home country. Think of the American Netflix. This also applies to censorship in other countries, for example if you d like to be able to watch YouTube in China
- You don’t actually notice anything about being connected to a VPN. In the past it sometimes happened that your internet speed deteriorated sharply with a VPN connection, but most VPN servers (of good VPN’s) of today are so fast that you will not experience major problems.
Why is it important to hide your IP address?
If hackers, websites or other parties get hold of your email address, it can cause many problems and inconveniences. From receiving spam to losing personal information, you’d rather just be in control of your email. In a similar way, hiding your IP address also provides more privacy and internet freedom. So there are many reasons to hide your IP address and use a VPN. Below you will read 10 reasons to hide or change your IP address:
- Anonymously surfing.
- Access to Netflix and other streaming services.
- Protection from spies and hackers.
- Safe internet.
- Access to blocked websites.
- Override internet restriction in sheds or work.
- Dodge government whispers and censorship.
- Hiding internet activity from your internet service provider.
- Hiding yourself from search engines.
- Complete internet freedom.
Reason 1: Hiding your IP address to surf anonymously
Websites keep more and more data about their visitors. Your IP address is your ‘digital fingerprint’. This can be used to determine your identity and location. Large online companies (such as Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) collect massively all the personal information they can get hold of. For example, websites can show advertisements that are tailored to your location and browsing habits.
- Have you ever had a pop-up claiming you were the winner of an iPhone? Fake messages like this are very annoying, but also show that websites are “spying on you online” so to speak. Such ads are shown to the right audience (in this case to you) by establishing your location via your IP address.
- You never know what data websites will collect about you and what they will do with it. That’s why hiding your IP address is so important.
Reason 2: Access Netflix and other streaming services anywhere
Are you on vacation abroad and still want to watch the American offerings of Netflix from your vacation country? If you try to do this without changing your IP address, you will find that your access will soon be blocked. Again, websites use your IP address to determine where you are. Then, depending on your location, they may deny you access to certain content. This is also called a geo-blockade.
- For example, you can only access the American version of Netflix if you’re in America. With most online television or streaming services, the offerings only work within borders. At least, if you use your own IP address. By changing your IP address to one originating from another country, you can unblock certain online content . In this way, you can access all movies, series and streaming services available in that country.
- Reason 3: Protect yourself against spies and hackers
Hackers and other malicious people are only too happy to abuse your IP address. With it they can follow and track you. They can do a lot of damage with the information they find out about you. Think for example of criminal activities such as identity fraud or blackmail. Hiding your IP address prevents this kind of abuse. Black hat hackers and other cybercriminals targeting your data are thus kept out of the way. They do not see your IP address or they only find a false address that cannot be linked to you. Therefore, they don’t know who you are and where you are, making it harder for them to abuse your data.
Reason 4: Safe internet on public WiFi networks
Hackers aren’t just a problem remotely. If you’re using a public Wi-Fi network, a hacker could easily be trying to steal your data five feet away from you. Public wifi networks (or hotspots) are very insecure and so hackers and scammers are constantly lurking. This applies to the wifi at train stations, at the Starbucks and at the McDonald’s.
- If you do want to connect to a public Wi-Fi network, it’s best to do so while your IP address is hidden. For example, by using a VPN connection, you shield your real IP address én your data.
Reason 5: Change your IP to access blocked websites and content
As is the case with streaming services, many websites have restrictions on their pages’s. They then offer certain content (such as movies, news page’s, articles etc.) only to people in certain countries. Some international sites are also blocked by local authorities. So you may not be allowed to watch certain websites by the government of the country you are in or the website offering the service.
- For example, in China many well-known websites, such as YouTube and Google, are blocked. By changing your IP address, you can pretend to be in another country. This way you can still access this content. You then effectively work around geo-blocking.
Reason 6: Bypass internet restrictions at school or work
Schools and companies often place restrictions on anyone who uses their networks. Like governments, they too can determine which sites and services you can use, only on a much smaller scale. By doing this, they want to make sure their students or employees stay focused and only engage in the activities they are paid to do. For example, Facebook, Netflix and Dropbox are often blocked from IP addresses within the respective school or company network. Again, you can change your IP address to still access these and other blocked services.
Reason 7: Bypass government eavesdropping and censorship
We just briefly discussed governments imposing Internet censorship on their citizens. In addition, the government may also be trying to collect data about you. Governments are increasingly engaged in eavesdropping on their citizens. Coalitions between countries, such as 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes and 14 Eyes, make it easier for governments to share or retrieve information about their citizens. The Internet provides excellent opportunities to collect this information. If you properly hide your IP address (and encrypt your Internet traffic), you prevent both Internet censorship and the eavesdropping of your online traffic by official agencies and governments.
Reason 8: Hide your internet activities from your internet provider
Your internet provider (e.g. KPN or Ziggo) has access to a lot of information about you as an internet user. After all, all your data traffic goes through your provider onto the internet. Internet providers are legally required to store your data and internet usage for a certain period of time. In many countries this time is 6 months. During this period the police can go to your internet provider and request this information, provided they have a good reason.
- You may not be so’n concerned about the officialële police, but it doesn’t stop there. You never know who else might have visibility into your ISP’s information? After the legal 6-month period, your provider can delete your data, or store it for a longer period.
- By changing your IP address and encrypting your data, you prevent your internet provider from tracking your internet usage.
Reason 9: Hide yourself from search engines
Search engines like Google and Bing store all your search queries. This data allows them to build an accurate profile of their individual users and adjust their search results accordingly. If you don’t want search engines to do this to you, you can hide your IP address.
- It is also very important to clear your cookies. With cookies, websites and search engines track your online behavior and build an online profile of you. As long as you delete your cookies and change your IP address, you are safe. Your IP address is then not traceable and your data requests are not tracked.
Reason 10: Complete internet freedom
The Internet is meant to be an open platform for everyone. Creativity, innovation, education, communication and ideaën exchange are inextricably linked to the freedom that the Internet has to offer. If you want to fully enjoy this freedom without experiencing the negative consequences of online tracking, it is best to hide your IP address. This protects your online privacy and freedom of expression. Hiding your IP address is the key to Internet freedom, so to speak.
Conclusion: Hide your IP address
Your IP address is a unique set of numbers that allows websites, governments, hackers and all sorts of other parties to recognize and track you online. With your IP address, they know where you are in the world. This is a big risk to your privacy. Websites you visit, the government, your internet provider and even the people who use the same internet network can all watch what you do online.
- If you find this an annoying thought, it’s a good idea to hide your IP address. Hiding your IP address has many advantages. For example, it provides more anonymity online, makes browsing the Internet more secure and gives you more Internet freedom.
- There are several ways to hide your IP address. For example, you can use a proxy, the Tor browser, or a VPN. Of these options, a VPN is the most secure and complete option. Once you’ve connected to a VPN server, you ll always be able to check with our IP tool whether your IP address has actually changed.
- First visit this page before you are connected to the VPN server and check what your real IP address is. After you are connected, you can then revisit our IP tool and see if your IP address has changed. Your new IP will prevent others from seeing what sites you have visited and where you are in the world.