What is my VPN IP address – and how can I hide it?
For the average internet user, all the technical jargon around VPNs can get pretty overwhelming. Fortunately, understanding how you connect to the internet and how VPNs work is easier than you might think. Read on to find out what your IP address is and how you can hide it using a VPN.
IP addresses explained
You could spend your entire life on the Internet without ever thinking or even knowing your internet protocol (IP address. This is because it stays in the background with layers of technology on top to make the web browsing experience more user-friendly.
At one point, you are not directly connected to the Internet. You connect to a network – often a home or office, or sometimes a public network like in a coffee shop – that is connected to the Internet through an Internet service provider (ISP).
Most of the time, you connect to the network through a router, which is responsible for assigning private IP addresses to each device on the network.
It helps road data between devices so the right content gets delivered to the right place. The IP address that websites “see” is the Public The IP address, which is assigned by your ISP and acts as a unique identifier for your entire network. This public IP address contains information such as the ISP to which it belongs and the general location of the server to which you are connected, which can be a city or zip code.
All of this means that when you talk about hiding your IP address, you are effectively trying to hide the network you are connected to and all information attached to it.
So how do I hide my IP address?
Hiding your IP address is incredibly easy: use a VPN or a virtual private network.
When you connect to a VPN, you send encrypted requests that your ISP forwards to one of your VPN’s servers which will deliver them to their final destination. During this process, the VPN hides your public IP address behind its own so that when your requests arrive, they appear to be coming from this server rather than your network.
See also: We tested popular VPNs to see which one was the fastest. Here is what we found.
This is good news if you are looking to access geo-restricted content; simply connect to a server in the region you need to be in, and you’re good to go.
How about hiding my VPN IP address?
Some websites attempt to block access through VPNs by registering IP addresses known to belong to VPN servers.
If you’ve ever received a message like this, you know what I’m talking about.
Credit: screenshot: netflix
This might lead you to think that you should also hide your VPN’s IP address, but that’s not really the answer. Web traffic must have an IP address connected, and traffic that goes through a VPN is no exception.
If you find that a particular server’s IP address is blocked by a website you’re trying to reach, your best options are to choose a different server or try a different VPN service.