Guide on how to change IP address and online location

Ruth C. | January 21, 2020

Changing your IP (Internet Protocol) address means hiding your location online. An IP address is one of the most important identifiers in the digital world. It follows you everywhere you go, tracking each move and visit. 

Therefore, activities linked to an IP address could identify a specific individual. Regarding marketing, IP tracking helps entities provide ads relevant to specific regions. 

This article shows some of the most seamless ways to hide your location. A Virtual Private Network masks users’ IP addresses, meaning online entities no longer receive accurate whereabouts. Even though a VPN works as an IP changer app, it improves your experience further. 

What is an IP address? 

An IP address is a string of numbers used to identify devices on the internet or local networks. It is like a unique label allowing devices to communicate and share information. 

Your IP address changes whenever you connect to a new Wi-Fi network. Therefore, it will differ at your home or a local coffee shop offering free Wi-Fi. 

Back in the day, users remember that many forums or comment sections displayed the participants’ IP addresses. Now, such practices are pretty much extinct, with several exceptions. 

For instance, a Chinese social media platform Weibo recently began displaying users’ IP addresses. Such changes aim to build a healthier environment and promote transparency. However, considering the internet situation in China, such a decision leaves room for interpretation. 

Overall, an IP address is one of the most common identifiers used to personalize web content. For instance, sites with multiple languages read IP addresses to present the local version. 

Users can witness the full potential of IP address tracking through criminal investigations it assists. While it does not clearly identify culprits, it pinpoints potential suspects. With assistance from ISPs, agencies can get a clearer picture of the person behind the IP address. 

Dynamic vs. static IP addresses 

Whether your IP address changes without your intervention depends on the IP address you have. Therefore, it is essential to learn about static and dynamic IP addresses. 

  • Static IP addresses. You can assign a permanent IP address to your devices. However, most users do not need them. It is useful when devices need to remember this identifier. For instance, businesses are likely to use static IP for hosting websites. Consumers can benefit from static IP addresses for port forwarding
  • Dynamic IP addresses. These identifiers can change automatically over time. Most home users have dynamic IP addresses and should not experience any inconveniences. 

How do IP addresses work? 

As you know, each device has multiple IP addresses. For instance, they have private IPs that are relevant within a network. 

However, it remains a secret online, as the internet reads the public IP address of a device. It is the identifier Internet Service Providers assign to each device going online. The public IP address is the one users typically wish to change. 

The public IP address can reveal the following information about its users: 

  • City. 
  • Region. 
  • Internet Service Provider. 

Additionally, it works as an identifier, linking all your activities to this unique number. So, it can give entities insights into the person behind the IP address. For instance, your employer will likely see everything you do after you connect to your work network. 

Why should you change your IP address? 

Changing an IP address directly relates to hiding your location. It also helps you evade or reduce the impact of various forms of surveillance. 

  • Having more privacy and anonymity. The IP address change prevents online entities from determining your general location. It is helpful if you do not wish to see content customized to your region. 
  • Defense against attacks. Hackers can exploit your IP address for blows like Distributed Denial of Service attacks. A DDoS threat targets devices according to their IP address. Thus, if you go online with a changed identifier, it won’t be able to target you. 
  • Beating censorship and regional blocks. The internet can seem open and free, but not all users experience it equally. In some countries, governments exercise control over the digital space. It can include communication censorship and blocks on foreign media. An IP changer app can help citizens access content, services, and tools online. 
  • Using regional discounts and deals. Your location plays an important role when shopping online. Some goods and services might cost more because of the location entities extracted from your IP. Changing your IP address can mean paying less or using discount codes applicable to users in certain countries. 

How can you change your IP address?

A few options exist for changing your IP address. The simplest option is to reboot your internet modem. However, it will not fix the privacy or access issues you might have. Luckily, the following options can alleviate the burden.

A proxy 

A proxy is an intermediate between you and the internet. Instead of sending requests to services directly from your device, a proxy makes them on your behalf. Therefore, your browser first connects to the proxy, gives it instructions, and waits for the response. 

So, a proxy deals with both the request and response for content. The proxy also hides your IP address and uses its own identifier. 

However, proxies do have their limits. For instance, they do not work on all apps (primarily on browsers). Additionally, many proxy servers focus on rerouting traffic, with no additional security measures like encryption. If you choose a proxy, it is crucial to pick a reliable one. It is also possible to set a proxy server manually. 

The Tor browser 

Tor browser is an application that users choose to make their browsing more private and anonymous. It works and looks like a typical browser, but its inner workings improve your privacy and security. 

The Tor browser sends users’ traffic through multiple random servers in its network. Web entities see the last server in this process as the sender. Tor also encrypts traffic, making it difficult to determine the origin of requests or read them. 

However, daily Tor usage is not the most user-friendly. You can expect slower connections compared to traditional browsers. Additionally, it can only help safeguard browsing activities. Other apps and services you use will continue knowing your IP address. 

A VPN service

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is one of the easiest ways to hide your location. It is an application that keeps your online connections safer and more private. A VPN masks your real IP address and replaces it with a different one. 

The benefits of choosing a VPN service is that encryption and IP masking applies to all internet traffic, not only browsing. You can improve the security of all online activities, be it online shopping or gaming. 

Additionally, a VPN lets you choose the location you wish your new IP address to pinpoint. Therefore, it is much more flexible, giving space for users’ individual preferences and needs. 

For instance, you might wish to connect to your home country when visiting abroad. As a result, you can retain access to local services and streaming libraries without any issues.

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Ruth C.

Ruth C.

Cybersecurity Researcher and Publisher at Atlas VPN. Interested in cybercrime, online security, and privacy-related topics.

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