WHAT IS AN IP ADDRESS:How To Hide My IP Address

IP address definition

An IP address is a unique address that identifies a device on the internet or a local network. IP stands for “Internet Protocol,” which is the set of rules governing the format of data sent via the internet or local network.

In essence, IP addresses are the identifier that allows information to be sent between devices on a network: they contain location information and make devices accessible for communication. The internet needs a way to differentiate between different computers, routers, and websites. IP addresses provide a way of doing so and form an essential part of how the internet works.

What is an IP?

An IP address is a string of numbers separated by periods. IP addresses are expressed as a set of four numbers — an example address might be 192.158.1.38. Each number in the set can range from 0 to 255. So, the full IP addressing range goes from 0.0.0.0 to 255.255.255.255.

IP addresses are not random. They are mathematically produced and allocated by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), a division of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). ICANN is a non-profit organization that was established in the United States in 1998 to help maintain the security of the internet and allow it to be usable by all. Each time anyone registers a domain on the internet, they go through a domain name registrar, who pays a small fee to ICANN to register the domain.

How do IP addresses work

If you want to understand why a particular device is not connecting in the way you would expect or you want to troubleshoot why your network may not be working, it helps understand how IP addresses work.

Internet Protocol works the same way as any other language, by communicating using set guidelines to pass information. All devices find, send, and exchange information with other connected devices using this protocol. By speaking the same language, any computer in any location can talk to one another.

The use of IP addresses typically happens behind the scenes. The process works like this:

  1. Your device indirectly connects to the internet by connecting at first to a network connected to the internet, which then grants your device access to the internet.
  2. When you are at home, that network will probably be your Internet Service Provider (ISP). At work, it will be your company network.
  3. Your IP address is assigned to your device by your ISP.
  4. Your internet activity goes through the ISP, and they route it back to you, using your IP address. Since they are giving you access to the internet, it is their role to assign an IP address to your device.
  5. However, your IP address can change. For example, turning your modem or router on or off can change it. Or you can contact your ISP, and they can change it for you.
  6. When you are out and about – for example, traveling – and you take your device with you, your home IP address does not come with you. This is because you will be using another network (Wi-Fi at a hotel, airport, or coffee shop, etc.) to access the internet and will be using a different (and temporary) IP address, assigned to you by the ISP of the hotel, airport or coffee shop.

As the process implies, there are different types of IP addresses, which we explore below.

What is an IP address and where do I find it?

To find IP address follow these steps

Click Start ->Control Panel -> Network and Internet -> Network and Sharing Center. and go to Details. The IP address will display. Note: If your computer is connected to a wireless network please click Wireless network connection icon.

How can I see all IP addresses on my network?

How to Find All IP Addresses on a Network

  1. Open the command prompt.
  2. Enter the command “ipconfig” for Mac or “ifconfig” on Linux. …
  3. Next, input the command “arp -a”. …
  4. Optional: Input the command “ping -t”.

FEATURES OF IP ADDRESSES

The main features of the IPv6 are listed below.

1) IPv6 provides better end-to-end connectivity than IPv4.

2) Comparatively faster routing.

3) IPv6 offers ease of administration than IPv4.

4) More security for applications and networks.

5) It provides better Multicast and Anycast abilities.

6) Better mobility features than IPv4.

7) IPv6 follows the key design principles of IPv4 and so that the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 is smoother.

These are the key features of the IPv6 when compared to the IPv4. However, IPv6 has not become popular as IPv4.

IP Version 4

IP Version 4 (IPv4) was defined in 1981. It has not undergone much changes from that time. Unfortunately, there is a need of IP addresses more than IPv4 could supply.

IPv4 uses 32-bit IP address. So the maximum number of IP address is 232—or 4,294,967,296.

This is a little more than four billion IP addresses. An IPv4 address is typically formatted as four 8-bit fields. Each 8-bit field represents a byte of the IPv4 address. As we have seen earlier, each fields will be separated with dots. This method of representing the byte of an IPv4 address is referred to as the dotted-decimal format. The bytes of the IPv4 is further classified into two parts. The network part and the host part.

Network Part

This part specifies the unique number assigned to your network. It also identifies the class of network assigned. The network part takes two bytes of the IPv4 address.

Host Part

This is the part of the IPv4 address that you can assign to each host. It uniquely identifies this machine on your network. For all hosts on your network, the network part of the IP address will be the same and host part will be changing.

Types of IP addresses

There are different categories of IP addresses, and within each category, different types.

Consumer IP addresses

Every individual or business with an internet service plan will have two types of IP addresses: their private IP addresses and their public IP address. The terms public and private relate to the network location — that is, a private IP address is used inside a network, while a public one is used outside a network.

Private IP addresses

Every device that connects to your internet network has a private IP address. This includes computers, smartphones, and tablets but also any Bluetooth-enabled devices like speakers, printers, or smart TVs. With the growing internet of things, the number of private IP addresses you have at home is probably growing. Your router needs a way to identify these items separately, and many items need a way to recognize each other. Therefore, your router generates private IP addresses that are unique identifiers for each device that differentiate them on the network.

Public IP addresses

A public IP address is the primary address associated with your whole network. While each connected device has its own IP address, they are also included within the main IP address for your network. As described above, your public IP address is provided to your router by your ISP. Typically, ISPs have a large pool of IP addresses that they distribute to their customers. Your public IP address is the address that all the devices outside your internet network will use to recognize your network.

Public IP addresses

Public IP addresses come in two forms – dynamic and static.

Dynamic IP addresses

Dynamic IP addresses change automatically and regularly. ISPs buy a large pool of IP addresses and assign them automatically to their customers. Periodically, they re-assign them and put the older IP addresses back into the pool to be used for other customers. The rationale for this approach is to generate cost savings for the ISP. Automating the regular movement of IP addresses means they don’t have to carry out specific actions to re-establish a customer’s IP address if they move home, for example. There are security benefits, too, because a changing IP address makes it harder for criminals to hack into your network interface.

Static IP addresses

In contrast to dynamic IP addresses, static addresses remain consistent. Once the network assigns an IP address, it remains the same. Most individuals and businesses do not need a static IP address, but for businesses that plan to host their own server, it is crucial to have one. This is because a static IP address ensures that websites and email addresses tied to it will have a consistent IP address — vital if you want other devices to be able to find them consistently on the web.

This leads to the next point – which is the two types of website IP addresses.

There are two types of website IP addresses

For website owners who don’t host their own server, and instead rely on a web hosting package – which is the case for most websites – there are two types of website IP addresses. These are shared and dedicated.

Shared IP addresses

Websites that rely on shared hosting plans from web hosting providers will typically be one of many websites hosted on the same server. This tends to be the case for individual websites or SME websites, where traffic volumes are manageable, and the sites themselves are limited in terms of the number of pages, etc. Websites hosted in this way will have shared IP addresses.

Dedicated IP addresses

Some web hosting plans have the option to purchase a dedicated IP address (or addresses). This can make obtaining an SSL certificate easier and allows you to run your own File Transfer Protocol (FTP) server. This makes it easier to share and transfer files with multiple people within an organization and allow anonymous FTP sharing options. A dedicated IP address also allows you to access your website using the IP address alone rather than the domain name — useful if you want to build and test it before registering your domain.

IP address and classes

The IP hierarchy contains many classes of the IP addresses. Broadly, the IPv4 addressing system is divided into five classes of IP address. All the five classes are identified by the first octet of the IP address.

The classes of IPv4 addresses

The different classes of the IPv4 address are the following:

1) Class A address

2) Class B address

3) Class C address

4) Class D address

5) Class E address

Class A Address

The first bit of the first octet is always set to zero. So that the first octet ranges from 1 – 127. The class A address only include IP starting from 1.x.x.x to 126.x.x.x. The IP range 127.x.x.x is reserved for loop back IP addresses. The default subnet mask for class A IP address is 255.0.0.0. This means it can have 126 networks (27-2) and 16777214 hosts (224-2). Class A IP address format is thus: 0NNNNNNN.HHHHHHHH.HHHHHHHH.HHHHHHHH.

Class B Address

Here the first two bits in the first two bits is set to zero. Class B IP Addresses range from 128.0.x.x to 191.255.x.x. The default subnet mask for Class B is 255.255.x.x. Class B has 16384 (214) Network addresses and 65534 (216-2) Host addresses. Class B IP address format is: 10NNNNNN.NNNNNNNN.HHHHHHHH.HHHHHHHH

Class C Address

The first octet of this class has its first 3 bits set to 110. Class C IP addresses range from 192.0.0.x to 223.255.255.x. The default subnet mask for Class C is 255.255.255.x. Class C gives 2097152 (221) Network addresses and 254 (28-2) Host addresses. Class C IP address format is: 110NNNNN.NNNNNNNN.NNNNNNNN.HHHHHHHH

Class D Address

The first four bits of the first octet in class D IP address are set to 1110. Class D has IP address rage from 224.0.0.0 to 239.255.255.255. Class D is reserved for Multicasting. In multicasting data is not intended for a particular host, but multiple ones. That is why there is no need to extract host address from the class D IP addresses. The Class D does not have any subnet mask.

Class E Address

The class E IP addresses are reserved for experimental purpose only for R&D or study. IP addresses in the class E ranges from 240.0.0.0 to 255.255.255.254. This class too is not equipped with any subnet mask.

HOW TO HIDE MY IP ADDRESS

Three ways to hide your IP

Now, let’s take a look at three tools you can use to hide your IP address. Each offers its own blend of privacy, security, and practicality.

1. Use a VPN

VPN is an intermediary server that encrypts your connection to the internet — and it also hides your IP address. A VPN encrypts all your traffic, not only in your browser but also in other apps, and then passes traffic onward to its destination. They’re a popular privacy solution, and as such, there’s a strong incentive for VPN providers to design tools that are as easy to use as they are secure.

Here’s how to hide your IP address with a VPN: Simply download a VPN such as Avast SecureLine VPN, log in, and turn it on to protect both your IP address and your internet traffic.

How does a VPN hide your IP address?

When you’re using a VPN, your IP address is hidden because your traffic takes a detour through the VPN server. When your traffic — sites visited, online apps used, uploads, downloads, etc. — reaches its destination, it does so under a “virtual” IP address assigned by the VPN. 

There’s only one party who’ll be able to see your actual IP address: your VPN provider. That’s why you should choose a trusted VPN provider that isn’t going to keep logs on your activity.

Avast SecureLine VPN is a safe, secure, and convenient way to mask your IP address. It’ll hide your online activity from your internet service provider (ISP), employer, school, and anyone else on your network, including a snooping cybercriminal. And we never keep any logs on sites you visit, apps you use, or content you view.

2. Use Tor

Comprising thousands of volunteer-run server nodes, Tor is a free network that conceals your identity online via multiple layers of encryption. When you access Tor, typically by using the free Tor Browser, your traffic is relayed and encrypted through a series of three relay nodes, each of which decrypts one layer of encryption to learn the identity of the next node. When your traffic leaves the final node, it’s fully decrypted and sent to its destination.

The relay system hides your IP address, but not without cost: because Tor’s encryption system is so thorough, it takes a long time for your traffic to complete its journey. You’ll be sacrificing browsing speed for Tor’s anonymity. This is a worthwhile tradeoff when it really counts, such as for whistleblowers and political dissidents. But if you’re simply seeking to hide your IP address, when comparing Tor and a VPN, you’ll find a VPN to be a far more convenient and faster solution.

How does Tor hide your IP address?

When you use Tor, each relay node along your traffic’s pathway through the Tor network knows only the IP address of the node immediately before and after it. Even if an attacker manages to intercept your traffic while it travels from the final node to your destination server, it’d be very difficult at that point to parse your original IP address.

3. Use a proxy

proxy server handles your internet traffic on your behalf. A proxy sits in front of a client or network of clients, forwarding requests while also receiving and delivering responses from servers. You may need to manually adjust your device’s proxy settings if you want to use a proxy.

Unlike a VPN, most proxies won’t encrypt your traffic, and they also won’t hide your IP address from anyone who can intercept your traffic on its way from your device to the proxy. Proxy servers, especially free web-based proxies, tend to be less reliable than VPNs. That’s why proxies are best used as a quick, temporary solution as opposed to a long-term privacy plan.

How does a proxy hide your IP address?

Some proxy servers can mask your IP address with a fake one. You’ll appear as though you’re based in the same country as your proxy server. If you’re using a proxy to hide your IP, be aware that not all proxies offer equal protection.

  • Transparent proxies conceal neither your IP address nor your use of a proxy.
  • Anonymous proxies hide your IP address but not your use of a proxy.
  • High anonymity (or elite) proxies hide both your IP address as well as your use of a proxy.

Some sites or content platforms may block traffic from known proxies, so you’ll have to be careful if you’re trying to use a proxy to access media.

It's important to know the difference between a VPN, the Tor network, and a proxy server.

Why should I hide my IP address?

Your IP address identifies you online, and in today’s data-driven world, your online activity is very valuable. It’s important to hide your IP address so that you can regain control your privacy when you are online. Among other sensitive info, your IP can reveal your shopping and buying habits as well as your physical location. So why hide your IP? You’ve got plenty to gain, and not much to lose.

Hide your IP to browse anonymously

Advertisers and marketers can track you across the internet and analyze your browsing habits with the goal of marketing to you more effectively. Unfortunately, even hiding your IP address won’t stop them, because tracking cookies also deliver this information — which is why you should regularly take the time to delete cookies from your browser.

To take private internet browsing to the next level, consider a dedicated private browser like Avast Secure Browser. It includes a range of advanced anti-tracking features to let you use the internet without leaving any clues behind that companies and individuals can use to follow your activity.DOWNLOAD FREE AVAST SECURE BROWSER

Hide your IP to shield your location

Hide your IP address behind another IP in a different part of the world and no one will know where you really are. This includes websites and services that host geo-restricted content. For example, if you’re travelling abroad and want to access movies or tv shows that are available only for your home country, you can use a VPN or proxy to unblock that website with a false IP address in the correct location.

Many IP addresses are linked to a real-world address, or at least to a general location. If you’re frequently using false IP addresses to change your online location, no one will be able to figure out where you actually are.

Can my IP address ever truly be hidden?

While it’s not possible to hide your IP address from everyone, you can achieve an effective level of privacy sufficient for everyday needs. With a VPN, the only entity that can link your online activity to your IP address is your VPN provider itself. This is why it’s so important to choose a VPN provider with a reliable reputation for security, and one that doesn’t keep logs of user activity.

Your ISP can see the type, timing, and amount of traffic you’re sending to the VPN server, but they won’t know the specifics. The same goes for Tor. Many proxies don’t encrypt your traffic, and so your ISP will be able to access your activity if it wants to while you’re using a proxy. And, as mentioned earlier, all the websites and services you use while connected to a VPN will see only the VPN’s IP address, not yours.

The primary purpose for hiding your IP address is to protect your online activity and location from third-party observers: websites, advertisers who use ad tracking techniques, and cybercriminals. When your safety and privacy is at risk, it’s important to be proactive.

What is IP masking?

IP masking is the technique of concealing your IP address by adopting a false one. This is how hiding your IP address works — they’re two ways to refer to the same thing. If you’re interested in learning how to mask your IP address, you can apply the same techniques described in this article. After all, the only way to hide your IP address and still use the internet is to mask it behind another one.

Your traffic is always going to need an IP address online, since that’s how websites and services know who’s making the requests and where to send the replies. Clients use IP addresses to reach servers, and servers use IP addresses to send requested data back to the correct client.

That request-and-response system is part of the TCP/IP model, which governs how devices on the internet communicate with one each another. IP addresses are classified in a variety of ways: IPv4 vs. IPv6public vs. local, and static vs. dynamic IP addresses. Read more about IP addresses here.

Hide your IP the easy way with a VPN

Avast SecureLine VPN lets you hide your IP address by choosing from any one of our blazing-fast servers located in dozens of countries all over the world. With your online activity securely encrypted and our no-logging policy, you’ll be able to easily access blocked content, disrupt tracking techniques, and browse the internet freely, with complete confidence in your online privacy.

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