Everyone and everything that connects to the Internet requires an IP address. These unique addresses are critical to how we use the Internet, and without them, we’d be unable to connect to the world wide web. But do we know what an IP address does and what it can be used for?
While IP addresses are critical for accessing the Internet, they can also be used to track you and pose a risk to online privacy. While looking at what these IPs are, we’ll also be looking at ways to protect your privacy by hiding your address, such as using one of the many different types of proxies available like a YouTube proxy.
In this article, we’ll be covering the following topics on IP addresses:
- What is an IP address?
- What is an IP address used for?
- Why should you hide your IP address?
What Is An IP Address?
An IP address, or Internet Protocol address, is a unique numerical identifier used to identify network devices. Internet Protocol refers to the rules governing the form of data sent and received on a network. This unique address is critical for the Internet to relay information from your search queries to how a website is displayed.
The Internet is a vast place. In January 2021, 4.66 billion active users were recorded using the Internet. It’s expected that the number of devices connected to the Internet will grow to 38.6 billion by 2025. This is an extremely large number, and the Internet needs a way to keep track of and differentiate between different devices – enter the IP address.
Types of IP Addresses
There are mainly two types of IP addresses that users should be aware of:
- Static IP address
- Dynamic IP address
Static IP Address
A static IP address does not change at all. You receive your IP address from your ISP, and once you’ve got it, that address doesn’t change unless you switch ISP providers or move. A static IP address is critical for users of businesses that want to host their servers. A consistent IP address will allow all email addresses and accounts linked to these servers to come from the same address. This makes it easier for other devices to find this business or server on the Internet.
Dynamic IP Address
Dynamic IP addresses change every so often. ISPs buy large pools of IP addresses to assign to their clients, and they reassign new IPs. This makes it possible for ISPs to retain customers even when they move without re-establishing the network and IP address. Dynamic IP addresses also come with security benefits, as changing the IP addresses makes it more difficult for a network to be hacked.
What Is An IP Address Used For?
Despite also being an identifier, an IP address is mostly used for communication. Any request you make online is sent attached to your IP address, and then a response is sent back to your IP address. Without this address, you would not be able to make these requests. You wouldn’t be able to use the Internet without an IP.
Your IP address also contains a lot of information that the Internet uses to optimally display the websites you visit. For example, your IP address can notify a website whether you’re connecting via a computer or mobile device. The website can then show you the page optimized for that device.
Why Should You Hide Your IP Address?
As we mentioned, your IP address contains a lot of information about you, and it shares this information with the websites you visit. From your IP address, websites can see where you’re located, what device you’re using, your operating system, other devices connected to the same IP address, and more. Websites and platforms can also track your IP address as you browse the Internet, thus giving them an insight into your browsing behavior, websites you frequent, and platforms you use.
This is a lot of personal information that can be found by looking at your IP address. If you want to protect your privacy while browsing online, you’ll need to hide your IP address.
Ways To Hide Your IP Address
The best way to hide your IP address is by using a proxy. There are many different proxies available that can be used for different reasons. You can use location-specific proxies to make it appear you’re accessing the Internet from other parts of the world to access geo-restricted content. Or you can use a YouTube proxy to unblock geo-restricted content on YouTube. All proxies you use will come with the added benefit of disguising your IP address.
Here are other measures you can take to protect your IP address:
- Keep your Firewall updated.
- Use a VPN.
- Change your privacy settings on all accounts and set your browser to private.
- Use Tor software.
- While the following affects only your website’s IP address, if you’re hosted with us, you can buy a dedicated IP address.
Your IP address is critical to using the Internet, but how can you protect yourself from the threats to your privacy? Using proxies, like a YouTube proxy or others, ensuring that your privacy settings are private, and setting your browser not to track you are a few ways you can protect your privacy.