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Tools To Mask Your IP Address While You Browse And Download
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Tools to Mask Your IP Address While You Browse And Download

When you browse the internet, you may find that you need to mask your IP address. I personally discovered this little trick when I moved to China and realized that many of my favorites sites were blocked because of The Great Firewall. I later learned that masking your IP can also unblock sites at work and school (in countries other than China), keep your location private, and even hide your online activity from your ISP or other users on your network. Here are some different methods of masking your IP online.

1. Open Proxies

Most users aren't aware that their internet browser is built to hide their IP address. Each browser, including Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, and even oldies like Netscape and Internet Explorer have advanced privacy settings which can be used to reroute your online traffic through a proxy server. Don't get scared - advanced isn't that advanced at all.

Basically you just need to find a reliable open proxy and type the IP address and port number in the manual proxy settings of your internet browser, and you're done! You're now masking your real IP with a proxy server. This trick can be used to bypass firewalls.

The only trick with this method is finding a reliable open proxy server. Not only should you be careful about who's server you use because of the direct security risk is poses, even the good guys can make mistakes and misconfigured their proxies, putting you at risk for exposure. Even aside from these possibilities, is also tough to find a proxy server that isn't going to change IP frequently, so you're going to have to frequently update which proxies you use.

2. Web based proxies

There are both free and paid versions of web based proxies. This, sometimes called web based VPNs, and 'based' on the internet, and don't require any installation. It's basically a web page where you can type the URL you want to browse invisibly, so all you need is the ability to surf the internet, and you can access many of these.

The risks with these are similar to the open proxies. Make sure you have a reputable source for your proxy, and that they're going to take responsibility with your private data. Free server are also bogged down with other users. These contributing factors are why I would suggest paying a nominal fee and signing up with a professional proxy service. Better maintained servers, more privacy, more bandwidth, customer support, and easy of mind are worth a few dollars a month.

3. Virtual Private Networks

If encryption, privacy, and invisibility is your thing, then a VPN is what you need. While proxies are good for jumping firewalls, and some of the better ones will make your invisible online, a VPN is your best bet for true anonymity. Also, when you mask your IP address with a VPN, you don't just mask your browsing activity like with proxies. VPNs encrypt all your online traffic, which means that software, games, and other programs that connect to the internet will also make use of the VPN connection. This can be handy for gaming, chatting, and downloading.


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