What is My IP Address / WhatsMyIP?
WhatsMyIP? If you are asking yourself this question, you can see the answer above, alongside a lot of other exposed information about you. If you want to read more about IP addresses, and what information is exposed, see below. We also have tools that check for proxies and IPv6.
My IP Address, the what ?
The term ‘IP’ stands for Internet Protocol. An IP Address is given to each device connected to the Internet which will then allow that device to send and receive data from other devices. This IP is your online fingerprint, it can be used to track you by any entity online. “Think ISP/Websites/Hackers/Government..etc”.
Some of the uses of IPs online are :
- Offer you services or advertisements based on your location
- Block you from accessing videos or other services based on your location. I.e. Netflix, Hulu, Dazn and DSTV.
- Ban you from sites and forums
- Apart from that it also allows hackers to attack your devices directly as they do know on which door to knock.
- Allows your ISP to throttle your Internet speed
- Allows for an entity “hacker, government,ISP”. To eavesdrop on your traffic.
- Allows for law enforcement to know your exact address. In general, only your overall area is known. If legal action against your is in the run, a court order will force your IP to report your exact physical/home address.
Having said the above, if you wish to hide your true identity and encrypt your traffic. Read on below.
Does my IP Address Show My Exact Physical Location?
Before reading on I want to make sure this part is properly covered. By looking at your IP address, one can get a general idea of your geographical location, this narrows the location down to the city name. Yet your home address can not be pinpointed yet. However, if legal action against you is in the run, your ISP might be legally required to report your exact address. Your ISP can do that since they do have a database that connects every IP to the subscribers home address. Your IP address might be periodically changed by your ISP. However, in the case of a court order the ISP checks the IP change/assignment log to determine to whom the IP was assigned at the time an illegal/legal action took place.
Change/Hide my IP address, the why ?
To hide your true identity and online location, you have to change your IP address. If you want to take this to the next level you encrypt your traffic as well. The benefits are mainly the opposite of what is mentioned above. But I will state this once more :
- Traffic encryption prevents ANYONE from eavesdropping on your traffic
- Your physical location will be hidden. Your IP address basically tags your location.
- You can unblock websites that ban you
- You can bypass geo-restrictions some websites impose to restriction access to content. For example Netflix USA has the largest content of all Netflix libraries. That is more than 12000 movies/series. If you are in the UK for example you only have 4000 movies/series to choose from. Given you are paying the same price as an USA user you might think this is not fair. If you change your IP to a USA address you can access all 12000+ movies on Netflix USA on any of your devices. Then there are other free channel you can get access to : BBC IPlayer, iTV, ZDF to mention a few.
- Most importantly, this goes a long way of keeping you anonymous online.
Looking at the What and Why, it is pretty obvious that changing your IP address and encrypting your traffic has many benefits. The implementing is actually not as hard as you might think. It can boil down to a 3 click process, see the How below.
Hiding my IP address, the how ?
If you want to hide the information shown above, there are several tools that you can deploy to hide or change your IP address. Tor, VPN, proxies, and Smart DNS are the main methods used to spoof online location. I will explain what each of those is below. But I can tell you downright that VPN is the easiest and best solution.
VPN means ‘virtual private network’. It is used by regular users, companies and large corporations to protect private data. When you are connected to a VPN server, all your traffic is encrypted, your real IP address, your address and your private information including what sites you are visiting is hidden. The websites you visit will only see the IP address of the VPN server you are connected to.
In short :
- Your traffic is encrypted from your device all the way to the VPN server, this prevents any eavesdropping, tracing or hacking.
- When you connect to a VPN you can choose what location you want to use. This does not only change your IP address, it also provides the additional benefit of masking your location. This is great since you can now access content that was restricted. Think :
- Your address/identity is hidden since your new IP does not reveal the same information as the one you see in our information box above. You might be physically in Germany, but your new IP makes it look as if you are in the United States.
- More content for subscriptions you already have. I.e Netflix
- Free content, think BBC Iplayer
- Cheaper content. Think DSTV/DAZN for example, both of which are sports/entertainment sites that can provide you with the same content at a cheaper price than what you are paying to your local cable provider.
- Android/Iphone/Mac/Windows and Amazon Firestick have apps that make VPN easy to use. For other devices you can normally do a manual setup “This sounds harder than it really is”
At whatismyip.network we do regularly test and review VPN providers. Our VPN review procedure can be read here. For the last 12 months ExpressVPN has always come on top of results
Again there is a lot to gain, I did say it is a three step process. It is time for truth or dare, I choose truth :
Here’s how to combine the WHAT WHY HOW:
- Step numero uno : Subscribe to a credible VPN service provider. According to market rankings, ExpressVPN is the best option “fastest, most server locations, 30 day money back guarantee, live chat support and support for all devices”.
- Step numero duo : Download the app for your device. Let’s assume an Iphone is in play, go to the app-store and download the app.
- Last step. Logon to the application, choose a VPN server and click connect.
That is it, a 3 step process, subscribe, download and connect. At this point, you are connected to a VPN server. Your IP is changed, your geo location is masked and your traffic is encrypted. You can double check that your location is masked using this page, check what your IP address and location is in the top of this page. Connect to a VPN server and make sure your IP address and location has changed.
Depending on the VPN server you choose to connect to, you get to switch your online location to almost any country you like. You can use this process with other reputable VPNs as well. Check them out in the table below.
Below are some more honorable mentions, but nothing beats VPN.
Tor is short for The Onion Browser. When using the Tor Browser, your traffic is sent through different Tor servers making it very difficult to trace your online activity. In other words, you can browse the web anonymously. Tor however has a huge speed hit.
A proxy server is an intermediary between your computer and the Internet. When connected to a proxy server, proxy requests to websites and other servers on the Internet for you. This process has multiple benefits including the ability to unblock websites that would usually be banned in your region. The important part to note here is that there are many free proxies, running a proxy is quite costly, so you have to wonder how do they cover the costs.
Smart DNS essentially is a proxy service. While Smart DNS does not change your IP address like VPN, it still allows you to unblock and access geo-restricted channels and websites that block you based on your location. This is a good thing if you do not want all of your traffic to change it’s location. Smart DNS used to be a service you purchase independently, these days most VPN providers do offer Smart DNS as part of their subscriptions at no further cost.
Your IP Address, Let’s boil it down.
Your IP Address does expose more information than one might expect, and the same is true about the risks you face . If you want to hide your true identity, online location and encrypt your traffic a VPN is what you need. I would be more than happy to provide more information if you need it, use the comments section below for your inquiries.