An IP address is an indicator of your device’s information that is attached to you when you are surfing the internet. If you want to secure this information, and especially your identity which is the most important thing to hide, you do that by changing your IP address.
Not all ways to do that help you to achieve another goal for which this change is needed. Namely, unblocking your access to geo-restricted content or sites that blocked you or your accounts or avoiding such blocks and restrictions.
Before jumping into more advanced ways of changing the IP, let’s look at how it can be changed in a simpler manner.
Changing your device
Every IP address is assigned to a particular device that is used to connect to the internet. Such a device firstly connects to the network that is connected to the internet. All your traffic is routed through this network, so your access to the internet is always mediated.
Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) gives you this network that you are connecting to when you are trying to access the internet. Your connections work through your IP address which is used for different devices to be identified as different and to communicate with each other.
Therefore, ISP assigns an IP address to your devices – your computers, phones, and routers.
However, that’s usually only one IP address that is allocated to your router, and all different devices that are connected to that router share the same IP address. It means that changing one computer or phone into another while being connected to the internet that is being established by the same router won’t change a thing.
You need to change a device into one that has a different source of the internet.
It can be done by connecting to the internet using your mobile data in your phone that connects to a cellular network without the help of wi-fi instead of connecting with your router. You can create a hotspot from it and use the internet from your phone through multiple devices.
Unfortunately, it’s only a short-term solution. An IP address from your different device will still indicate your location and will still be shared throughout your devices allowing others to identify everything you do.
You could also restart your router – the ISP might assign you a new IP address. But it might not, so there is no guarantee.
Asking your ISP to change your IP address
Another simple way to change your IP address is to contact those that are responsible for assigning it. The ISP can change your IP address if you ask them to.
As you can guess, it’s also a short-term solution. That’s only a single change that will solve your problem if you want to recover access to the site that blocked you based on your IP address.
Yet, all your devices connected to the same network will share the same new IP address. If you get blocked once again, you end up in need to change your IP anew. And this way of changing your IP address doesn’t give you any access to geo-restricted content, nor does it provide you any security in hiding your identity.
A more advanced way of changing your IP address is using a virtual private network (VPN). It works the same way as your regular network provided by ISP. All your traffic that normally is routed through ISP by using your IP address is routed through a VPN that gives you a new IP address.
You connect not to the internet directly but to your VPN that forwards your requests to the internet and returns them to you. This way, your identity is concealed by encrypting your data, and the VPN server’s IP is exposed instead of yours.
A VPN server might seem like a long-term solution, yet it has similar drawbacks like the previous methods:
- VPN has a static IP address. That makes it as vulnerable as using a single device with its original IP address provided by the ISP. While VPNs usually have numerous addresses, the pool is still somewhat limited.
- If a VPN provides you a dedicated IP address, it hides your identity, but it’s a single address that can be blocked just like a regular IP. It does give you an additional layer of security but it’s a very tiny one.
- If a VPN provides an IP address that is shared with other users of that VPN, it means that if they get blocked somewhere with that address, you get blocked too, and vice versa. Your advantages of using such an IP address depending on the carefulness of other users.
- VPN routes all your traffic including your background. It makes them slower.
Another advanced way to change your IP address is by using proxies. They work much the same way as VPNs, but fill in their shortcomings.
For instance, datacenter proxies can give you lots of different IP addresses that are constantly changing, thus making your identity disguised in a way that makes it untraceable. You can do a portion of our actions with one IP address and then many tasks with another one, erasing any link between them. That makes it more difficult to block you.
Moreover, using multiple IPs means that you can access geo-restricted content because your IP addresses will indicate multiple locations over time, without leading to one place which can have certain restrictions. Using multiple locations means no geo-restrictions.
Proxies are fast, secure, and provide a big variety of IP addresses that dynamically change all the time. It allows one to enjoy all the advantages of VPN and even more without having to deal with its disadvantages.
Your IP address can be changed by using a different device or by contacting your ISP. However, a more advanced way consists of using an intermediary server that operates instead of your ISP. A VPN works in a similar fashion and has the same shortcomings as using a single IP from your ISP. A proxy server seems the best solution, for it gives you multiple IP addresses that can rotate, making you more anonymous and secure.