Change Your IP Address
Changing, hiding, masking, or faking your IP address are all basically the same thing. The difference usually only lies in why the user is doing it, thus you find different ways of talking about it.
What's the point of changing your IP address?
For example, someone who wants to mask their IP address probably wasn't to bypass firewalls or unblock sites. Maybe they're at work or school and know that the reason they can't access Facebook is because the local network blocks local IP addresses from accessing the site. With a masked IP, you can trick the network into thinking you're originating from a different location, and it then has no say is what sites you visit.
Someone who wants to fake an IP address may want to access geo restricted content. If I'm outside the US, I won't be able to access the American version of Netflix. In the same manner, each country has websites that restricts access to IP addresses located in the country (or approved territory). I can get a “Fake” American IP address no matter where I am in the world by rerouting my data through American VPN or proxy severs.
It's real in the sense that it actually exists, but it's fake in the way that it doesn't represent my true location. Whatever you call it, it gets me access to American geo-restricted websites (and there are a lot of them!) The same trick works with other countries and websites that geo-restrict their content likewise.
If you want to hide your IP address, you've most likely got security and privacy in mind. Using shared wifi in hotels, airports, and internet cafes is not as private as you may think.
It's extremely easy, and has been demonstrated many times on various tech blogs (and YouTube!) that you can hijack someone's internet session and eavesdrop on the their internet activity while sharing an internet connection. It's just one more step for your neighbor to steal your wifi (yes, even if you have a password), and eavesdrop on your home internet session.
The point is that by hiding your IP, you make yourself invisible on any internet connection, shared or private. Many IP hiding proxies and VPNs also include data encryption, which adds to the security of your connection, employing various keys and passwords to stump even the savviest of online criminals or would-be hackers.
But no matter what you call it, it's still changing your IP. For privacy, security, internet freedom, and cheeky access to sites that block you, you've got to make your real IP invisible, and replace it with an IP from another location.
Proxies & VPNs
Though there are some key differences in the security features of proxies and VPNs, if changing your IP address is your goal, then the main thing you want to consider is what location you change your IP to.
Web based proxies most often will not allow you to choose your IP address. Though some paid services may give you a vague definition of “American” or “European” proxy servers, they rarely give you exact locations. These will work for unblocking sites, but if you're looking for a specific country or city, keep reading.
Open proxies will generally list their proxy server location by city, country, or both. These are free, and change frequently, which are the main advantage and disadvantages. Free is great, but it can be troublesome to have to find a new server ever couple of days. Another thing that should always be considered is that these often present a security risk because there is no accountability regarding your private information!
You can read about a high quality, web based proxy service HERE.
Virtual Private Networks
The best choice for changing your IP address is obviously a VPN. Sure, I'm biased, but consider this:
- These are legitimate businesses that will provide you with high quality service and support
- You can choose an IP address from basically any country in the world
- Large networks and free server switching means you can change IP frequently & easily
But before you sign up for a VPN service, be sure to compare features, prices, and other details.
Here's a list of our Top 5 VPN Services + Reviews
Here's a VPN service with Unlimited access to 273 VPN Servers in 50 countries
Here's a VPN service that owns their own servers and creates their own VPN software