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How to hide IP address - With Anonymous Surfing Websites or IP Masking Software?

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As users of privacy services become better educated, I take pleasure seeing fewer people ask me How to hide IP address on my computer? and more ask the much better question, Which is best: IP masking software or anonymous surfing websites? I look forward to the day when all I hear is Who provides the best VPN and why? but that is probably a year or two away yet.

For now, let's look at these two very popular ways to switch IP address: IP masking software and anonymous surfing websites. What are the advantages of one IP address changer over the other? Of course, the answer depends very much on your device and the reason you want to hide your IP address; so the following comparisons will give due consideration to such choices and leave it to you to decide which suits your purposes best.


How to Hide IP Address Technology #1: Anonymous Surfing Websites

Using websites to hide IP address has the following advantages over hiding IP address software:

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Digital Identity

Ideal for one-off anonymization tasks. Often we don't want all our internet activity to be anonymized but only wish to switch IP address for one-off tasks (eg. to anonymize our emails, to discretely visit a business competitor's website, or to browse the web anonymously when researching sensitive subject matter). Using proxy websites to hide IP address is perfect for such occasional anonymous browsing tasks.

Anonymous surfing websites are free. Sure, you have to ignore the odd advert, but the better free proxy sites keep advertising to a minimum. With an anonymous proxy site you can hide IP address for free and with no download restrictions.

No software means anonymous internet access on a restricted computer. Most computers in offices, schools and libraries do not allow users to run .exe files, let alone install software onto their drives. With IP hiders running off a website, all you need is access to the website. This of course confers the additional benefit of being able to access sites that are blocked on your network. No software means no device compatibility issues. Some of the best known providers of IP masking software only offer their product for PCs but not Macs, or for Android phones but not iOS. By using website-based IP address changers you need one thing only to browse the web anonymously: a browser.

No software download means improved security. Any time you download an executable file, you run the risk of infecting your device with malware. True, this risk is negligible if you are careful from whom and what you choose to download, but by only accessing reputable proxy websites with a securely set up browser, you reduce the risk even more.

Anonymous proxy sites offer encryption. Encryption means a free IP hider website can be used for connection privacy and security as well as to browse the web anonymously. The better website-based IP-hiders offer an SSL encryption feature that can be activated for all your anonymous browsing (see idcloak's proxy at the top of the page – Encrypt page activates the encryption). This is an extremely useful tool when using your device to connect through a less-than-trustworthy WiFi hotspot, or through a network whose administrators may or may not be honest. Packet sniffing software is everywhere nowadays and allows even hobbyist hackers to easily hijack people's email or social media accounts. But with your connection to the proxy site encrypted, no data running between your browser and the proxy can be intercepted or viewed locally in any way.


Part II: How to Hide IP Address Technology #2: Hiding IP Address Software

Part III: How To Hide IP Address Technology #3: Anonymous VPN Account

Written by: 
Robin Welles; internet security team, expats team