What is an IP address and why would you want to hide it?
An IP address is given to your personal computer to identify it among the multitudes of computer systems using the internet. As such, you can think of it as an identification number created specifically for your system. You may begin to understand why you would want to hide it.
The internet is highly valued for its supposed anonymity. You can go to whatever website you want, watch whatever videos you want, join whatever forums you want, download anything you want and generally do anything you want without anyone knowing your activities and who you are. However, this is not exactly true. Websites are able to track your IP address. They will be able to find out who you are through this. Once a website identifies your IP address, different things may happen: they may ignore it, they may be able to track a history of your activities on the web, or they may even find personal information.
Finally, there are websites that are restricted to certain places only. Netflix and Hulu are prime examples, where if you are not in an area designated on the website, you will not be able to watch. This even applies to a lot of online games where there are different servers. Say, if you are currently living in Japan as an exchange student but would like to play on a US server, even if you do not care about your high ping or incessant lag, you wouldn’t have a choice of joining the US server.
With people generally wanting freedom in the virtual world, some particularly smart subsets found a way to get around the IP problem, by creating IP hiding software. These are programs that are meant to give you real anonymity, by hiding your IP address, your “identification number”, and allowing you to connect via a proxy. A proxy allows you to pick and choose which IP server to use, generating a completely new, unknown IP address from anywhere around the world.
Here is a review of 3 of the most popular of these programs:
HideMyIP is one of the most popular IP hiding software today. While it has a lot of advanced features, the important thing is that it gets the basics right. The installation is quite easy- if you have ever installed a program on a computer, you will not have a problem getting this to run. The user experience is quite consistent, and you will have decent enough speed without needing to worry about bandwidth. It is compatible with most if not all, the popular web browsers such as Safari, Google Chrome, Firefox and Opera, and will work with all types of internet connections be it wireless or dial-up.
You will have to pay for a subscription, and you will have to have a license for each of your computers. There is also a premium speed package available. However, it is definitely worth the price, as it keeps on being updated and is adding new proxy locations consistently. You will also be able to enjoy a stable connection- speed will be mostly dependent on the proxy server you choose, as always. It will work with SSL connections though you may have to change your proxy server in order for it to load.
Easy-Hide-IP is another very popular software to hide IP address. It is touted to have a lot of features yet still be user-friendly enough to be efficient. Its interface is tabbed, giving you full view and operation of connections, servers and privacy log. Easy-Hide-IP allows you to switch servers seamlessly, and, most importantly, without limits. You will even be able to set intervals at which your connection’s server will switch randomly in order for optimum safety.
Some antivirus software programs may identify it as a Trojan Horse virus, but do not be alarmed- this is simply due to the nature of the program. As it has to reroute traffic through private servers, it follows the same course of a virus that will try to gather your personal information. Repair Installation will allow you to easily restore your original network settings should you run into any problems. Finally, you will also have to purchase a license for each desktop, though you will be allowed to use a single license for one computer or tablet plus one phone.
HideMyAss goes one step forward, monitoring even bit torrent clients, shutting them down when a connection is compromised, leaving no window of opportunity for your real IP address to be exposed, which happens when connection is suddenly lost.
However, in general, HideMyAss rarely suffers any dropouts in connection, with customer service very quick to respond if it ever does happen. The interface is also very simple, as is the installation All in all, it is a reliable enough IP hiding software for a lower cost than most, and is in the same tier as the other two mentioned.