An IP address or Internet Protocol lets servers know where to send information that you’ve requested. Essentially, your IP address is your public ID on the web. Many sites track these addresses and send you tailored ads that may get you to spend more money. Basically, they are spying on your every internet move.
If you love shopping online, this can result in a big problem. So, before we dive into saving you a nice chunk of change by hiding your IP address, it’s essential to know why and how it’s used.
Where do You Find an IP Address?
You can find your IP address by clicking on the logo of your internet connection. Then select the properties, and you’ll see the number behind such as “IPv6 address”. If you cannot find your IP address speak with your internet provider for details.
If you have a VPN provider, most likely there’s a section at the top of your browser that lists your IP address.
Why Would You Want to Hide Your IP address?
Even if you’re not trying to hide from the government or troll the black market, hiding your IP address may benefit you in several circumstances. Here are a few reasons you may want to consider masking it:
- Avoid merchants profiling when visiting your favorite sites. Website track the individuals who visit their sites by using their IP address. This allows them to create profiles for their visitors and send them personalized ad copy or specials. For example, have you ever noticed that when you continue to search for a travel deal or flight, the price increases? This is because they are tracking your activity and automatically raise the price because of your interest. You can avoid this by hiding your IP address.
- Access your favorite streaming services from anywhere. Some streaming services, like Netflix, place geographical restrictions on streaming content. They only allow certain viewing privileges within certain countries. For example, if you want to see your favorite television channels abroad, you may not have access. By hiding your IP address, you may be able to stream your service anywhere at any time.
- Gain protection from hackers. Hackers can easily use your IP address to find your address and identity. Similar to the way merchants can track your internet activity, so can hackers. If you hide your IP address, you can protect yourself from hackers with ill intentions.
- Safely browse the internet using public Wi-Fi. Another way hackers can find your personal information is when you use your device with a public hotspot.
- Bypass restrictions online at your place of work. Some companies place limits on what you can and cannot view while at work. They can do this by restricting access on with your IP address. If you don’t want restrictions when using the internet at work, hiding your IP address is a great solution.
- Prevent search engines from login you every move. Like mentioned above, search engines track your internet activity to send you personalized ads and information. If you don’t want search engines looking over your shoulder, it’s wise to hide your IP address. You also need to remove your cookies to avoid all tracking.
- Hide your internet activity from your internet providers. Internet service providers are required by law to track your internet activity. If you don’t want them spying on you, you must hide your IP address.
- Avoid government internet censorship. Some governments, such as China and Iran, censor their citizen's internet usage. If you live or visit one of these countries, you may want to bypass their censorship.
- Gain complete internet freedom. The purpose of the internet is to express your voice, creativity, and innovation. By adding these restrictions and censoring what users view, this limits the world wide web’s freedom. If you want to be free on any restriction, it’s best to hide your IP address.
How to Hide Your IP Address
While you may not be trying to commit a crime or hide from the government, hiding your IP address can help you save money and allow you to have total internet freedom. So, now you may be wondering how do you actually hide your IP address.
Well, one of the best ways to accomplish this is by installing a VPN or Virtual Private Network. A VPN is a software that encrypts your internet activity and hides your IP address. Once you subscribe to a VPN service, you will have internet access through their server.
The other great advantage of using a VPN is it will encrypt all of your data so no retailer or hacker can trace your internet activity. A VPN is essential if you want to be 100% safe on the internet.
Another way you can hide your IP address is with a Proxy server. With a proxy server, your internet activity is redirected. However, your data is not protected. So, if you want to protect your data, you may want to go with a VPN subscription instead.
Lastly, you could use the Tor browser, which uses a routing system to encrypt traffic. With the Tor browser, your data is sent through what is referred to as nodes. With every node, the encryption is separated off. Therefore, each node doesn’t know the entire route the information traveled. This hides your IP address but doesn’t fully protect your browsing data.
How Hiding Your IP Address Saves You Money
So now to the good stuff. How do you actually save money from hiding your IP address?
Here are a few examples of ways hiding your IP address can save you money:
- Booking airfare: Like previously mentioned, travel sites track your browsing activity and will spike ticket prices if they feel like you’re interested in a specific flight. Additionally, they have been known to estimate different airfares depending on your location. So, if you’re booking travel, you should hide your IP address to save money.
- Making hotel reservations: Similar to booking flights, hotel sites will spike prices when they see web activity. If you want to get the best deal, hide your IP address.
- Avoiding impulse buys: Since merchants can track your internet moves, they will send you personalized ads to pique your interest. If you’re aware they are doing this, you may not be interested, but if you’re not, you may be tempted to make an impulse buy. This could end up costing you a ton of money.
- Stealing your identity: If your identity is stolen and you don’t have fraud protection on your credit cards, you could end up footing the bill. If you don’t want to pay for hackers’ internet purchases, it’s time to hide your IP address.
Now that you understand the importance of hiding your IP address, you can take action. Not only to protect your identity but to save some cash!
Michael launched Your Money Geek to make personal finance fun. He has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, side hustles, and all things geeky.