How to Hide Your Location to Stay Safe OnlinePosted on 30th January 2019
Your IP address is a blessing and a curse at the same time. One hand, it’s the basis of Internet communication, it lies at the very core of information transmission. The IP address is your unique identifier that allows the websites and services receive your requests and send something back. In other words, the Internet would be impossible without IPs.
On the other hand, an IP can be turned into a powerful censorship and surveillance tool. Various government agencies and media service providers use it to limit your access to social media sites, streaming websites and other we services.
How do you think they know where you are when you see that annoying “The video is not available in your country”? Alongside with enabling all the Internet communications, your public IP address also allows everyone to see your location. Not precise, of course, but usually within a city district.
Use a Good Proxy
Many people don’t know if there’s any difference between the VPN and proxy. Actually, the author of this very article had a vague idea before writing this piece. But the difference it certainly there, however, it’s becoming more blurred as the technology advances.
Originally, a proxy was simply designed to reroute your traffic through another server. In other words, it acts like an intermediary. This is similar to sending your friend to ask your crush if he or she likes you rather than doing it yourself. However, at first proxies didn’t encrypt your traffic, which means you was anonymous when using one, but wasn’t protected. The situation is different now, and many proxies offer encryption as well as leading your traffic through an intermediary server, adopting functions of a VPN.
“So what’s the difference between a proxy and a VPN then?” you may wonder. It lies in a tiny, but still significant fact that proxies are often come in the form of a browser extension, meaning that all other apps on your computer can access the web passing around your proxy and exposing your real IP.
Get Yourself a VPN
Now you know that a VPN offers a more secure Internet cover compared to a proxy service. In general terms, it works similar to a proxy – the service reroutes your traffic via a server of your choice before reaching the final destination.
The big difference lies in the fact that VPNs encrypt your traffic, making it unreachable for any external observer. Yes, this means that government agencies, snoopers, and marketers won’t be able to see even a glimpse of your activity online as long as you are protected by a good VPN.
Moreover, most VPN services offer a wide platform and device coverage, meaning that you will be protected regardless of the gadget you are using. For example, VeePN has apps for most major platforms, including iOS, MacOS, Android, Windows, Linux and many flagship routers. You can also use it with your favorite browser, as it works for Opera, Mozilla and Chrome.
While as most proxies will only go as far as your browser, leaving the rest of the devices, and even apps on the same device, unprotected.
Nearly every Internet user have heard of Tor, but not so many people understand what’s it’s for and why use it, except for the browsing the spooky Dark Web. However, it’s a benign and a rather effective online privacy tool that anyone willing can use. Oh, and it’s also free.
Tor is short for The Onion Router, a browser with a specific model of operation to ensure Internet anonymity. You can read more on how Tor works at their official website, but the basic premise is that it reroutes your traffic through a random network of voluntarily-operated servers (nodes) to make it anonymous.
While being a brilliant privacy tool many whistleblowers and dissidents use to communicate with journalists, Tor does have few drawbacks. First, it will considerably slow down your Internet connection even if you are trying to access a website in your country of residence. Since the signal has to travel through nodes (no less than three) which can sometimes be located across the ocean, your connection speed will be significantly decreased.
Secondly, Tor is a web-browser, which means you have to install it and on every possible device and remember to use it every time you access the web. First of all, you can’t possibly cover ALL the devices that use the Internet – for example, routers and consoles. Not to mention that a lot of apps can outflank your security measures and access the web directly.
Even if you take out only one though from this article, let it be this one: find a good VPN, pay for a subscription and enjoy secure and limitless Internet access. Apart from protecting you from surveillance and covering your online activity, a VPN will also allow you to access all the geo-blocked content and restricted websites. What can we say? Go have fun!
What is your experience with covering your IP address and location? Which practices do you find to be the most effective? Share your insight in the comments!