When your device connects to the internet, an IP (Internet Protocol) address is assigned to it. IP addresses are an essential aspect for the internet and they allow the identification of a specific device, with its location and internet service provider.When you are online, the websites you visit and the apps you use are able to see your IP address. Generally, this allows you to enjoy a better online experience, particularly if you are using services that provide information based on your location.
When it comes to applications and websites that don’t require your location to provide accurate information, an IP address is not as important. Since an IP address is usually unique to a particular device, advertiser use them to create profiles for users and to target them with ads that are relevant to their interests. Online streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, use IP addresses to apply geographical blocks that prevent users from certain countries to access their content. Copyright enforcers also rely on IP addresses to find people who have shared or downloaded their content without authorization. They use this information to identify these users and send them settlement letters.
In order to protect your privacy and avoid being tracked by companies, copyright trolls and other parties, it is important to consider hiding or changing your IP address. You can do this with the help of technology such as VPN or Smart DNS. These solutions allow you to mask your IP address and enhance your online privacy. Your internet traffic is sent and received through a middleman, which is generally a server in a different location. The websites and online services that you use will see the IP address of the server, instead of the real one assigned to your device.
Using a VPN to change your IP address
The advantage of using a VPN to change your IP address is that this solution also protects your online traffic from eavesdroppers, hackers and other threats. It is the most secure way to hide your real IP address because all your online traffic is encrypted before it is transmitted to the server. Incoming traffic is routed through the server first and it is encrypted before being sent to the device. The secure tunnel that is established will keep your privacy protected because your data can be read by others.
The most advanced VPN services have their own DNS servers. This is a type of online address book for the internet that links domain names with IP addresses. When you visit a new website, a DNS request is generally sent to a DNS server managed by your ISP, which exposes your location. When a VPN is used, your true location is hidden. There are many VPN providers that have their own VPN clients, which makes the set up process very simple. However, you can also configure the service manually.
There are multiple protocols that can be used when you connect to a VPN, including OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec and PPTP. The latter is widely considered as the most secure and reliable option. As mentioned before, the main advantage of getting a VPN service that has its own software is that the installation process is easy. In addition, you can easily choose the server location and other settings and many of these dedicated clients include additional security features that can improve your online experience.
Most VPN providers use shared IP addresses, which will make it more difficult for others to trace you. Several people use the same IP address, which is regularly changed, which means that it will be practically impossible to identify individual users. It is also possible to opt for a private dedicated IP address, which means that only you would be using it. This IP address doesn’t change and although it is easier to trace back to a specific user, it may be a practical solution for services like online banking. Overall, a VPN is the best option for torrenting since it doesn’t only change your IP address, but it also gives you privacy by encrypting your online traffic.
Using a Smart DNS proxy to disguise your IP address
Smart DNS is also known as DNS proxy and this technology will also allow you to mask your IP address. However, unlike a VPN, smart DNS doesn’t establish an encrypted tunnel to secure your traffic. While this is a disadvantage in terms of security and privacy, the lack of encryption allows users to enjoy faster performance. In order use smart DNS, you will need to set it up manually on most devices. This means that the process takes longer than with a VPN. In spite of this and the fact that the security is not as strong as with a VPN, Smart DNS services are preferred by many due to the speed and because they tend to be cheaper.
HTTP and SOCKS proxies hide IP address
If you are only interested in changing your IP address when browsing the internet and don’t need to disguise it for the rest of your traffic, you can consider an HTTP proxy. This solution is ideal for general web browsing and other activity that doesn’t require a lot of bandwidth. There are many free, as well as paid HTTP proxies available and there is no manual configuration required. You simply go to the proxy’s website and select the location you want to use to disguise your real IP address.
Keep in mind that HTTP proxies don’t hide your DNS requests, which means that they are not as effective as VPNs and Smart DNS when it comes to bypassing geo-blocks. If you want an option that doesn’t only work for web traffic, you can consider SOCK proxies. They work in all ports and apps can be configured independently with this technology in the app’s settings. SOCKS proxies don’t offer the security of a VPN, but at least they can handle more traffic than HTTP.
Preventing IPv6 leaks
There are two kinds of IP addresses: IPv4 and IPv6. The first type consists of numbers and decimals. IPv6 is the alphanumeric update of IPv4 and it works in the same way, although there are more address available. With the increase of devices connecting to the internet, the number of IPv4 is reducing. IPv6 intends to tackle this issue, but at the moment, the two protocols are in use during the transition process. The majority of VPNs and proxies can hide your IPv4 address without issues, but some are still unable to stop IPv6 leaks. If your IPv6 address is not masked by your VPN or proxy, you can disable IPv6 and make all requests onto IPv4. While it is not the ideal solution, it gets the job done.
Disable IPv6 on Windows
- Disconnect the VPN and exit the app
- Press Windows Key+R to open the Run prompt
- Type “ncpa.cpl” and press Enter to access your Network Connections. Locate the connection you are using, right click on it and select Properties.
- On the Networking or General tab, uncheck the “Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) box. Click OK to save the changes and close the window.
- Press Windows Key+R and select Command Prompt (Admin). You will be asked if it is okay for the program to make changes to your computer. Press “Yes”.
- Type ipconfig / flushdns in the command prompt (black window) and press Enter
Disable IPv6 on Mac
- Disconnect the VPN and close the VPN client
- Open the Apple menu and select System Preferences, then Network, AirPort and Advanced
- Click TCP/IP and then click on the Configure IPv6 pop-up menu and select Off
- Click “OK” and “Apply” to enable the changes