What is IP address?
An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is a unique number assigned to all devices (such as a computer, tablet, or phone) when they connect to the internet. Your internet service provider assigns a numeric label, called the Internet Protocol (IP) address, to identify your device among billions of others. In a way, an IP address functions as an online home address because devices use IPs to find and communicate with each other.
Here’s how an IP address directs data to its destination. First, you type in a website name (example.com) into the browser. However, your computer does not understand words — only numbers. So it first finds out the IP address of that website (example.com = 126.96.36.199.), finds it on the web, and finally loads it on your screen.
How your IP address reveal about your location?
Anytime you visit a website, it can potentially gather even more information about you. By combining your IP address with other information gleaned from metadata, cookies, trackers, and browser-fingerprinting tactics, website owners, marketers, and advertisers can build quite a thorough profile about you.
They can piece together your location, what websites you’re visiting, what you’re interested in, what you're downloading, and who you’re talking to, and then present you with targeted content and advertisements—or sell your data to the highest bidder.
ISPs are privy to even more information. There is very little about you that your ISP doesn’t know. Because you’re a customer, it knows your name, address, phone number, credit card number, bank account details, credit history, and potentially even more. An ISP can also use your IP address to block, redirect, and censor your web activity.
In countries like Australia and the UK, ISPs are actually required to maintain logs of your browsing activity and hand them over to countless government agencies without a warrant. If you’re browsing websites that aren’t HTTPS-secured, your ISP can see the individual unencrypted webpages you’re visiting.
How to hide my IP address?
A VPN (virtual private network) routes your internet traffic through a remote server, allowing you to hide your current IP address and location. By encrypting your private data, it also guarantees that third parties won’t be able to spy on you.
Every time you connect to a VPN server, you browse under cover of an IP address assigned to that server. So, when you surf the net, it won’t show your IP or current location. Instead, it’s going to be a virtual VPN location you connect to and an IP assigned to that VPN server. If you need a static IP address to access various networks and services, you can get a dedicated IP.
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