While riding the tidal waves of Web information, Internet surfers want anonymity in order to protect themselves from identity theft and their computers from tracking cookies and hackers. Although you cannot permanently block your IP address and host name--doing so would prevent you from ever surfing the Web because IP addresses and host names are provided by your Internet service provider--you can use an anonymous server proxy that will hide your IP from many Web servers.
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Move your cursor to the lower right-hand side of your computer screen and locate the icon that looks like a computer sitting on a gold bar with a globe behind it. Hover over this icon to see your service provider (host) IP address. The IP will be a series of numbers.
Visit an IP-revealing website (see Resource 1). This website will reveal your computer's IP address as well as your location--city, state, zip code, latitude and longitude--as well as what type of Internet connection you have. The aforementioned information is based on your host IP, not the computer's IP. Your IP address appears as soon as you visit the website, so no additional work is required.
Write down both IP addresses for your records. Once you obtain an IP proxy, the host IP will not change in the corner of your desktop, but your computer's IP will.
Locate a reliable anonymous server proxy program. Programs like Tor/Privoxy, which is free to download and use, and Easy-Hide-IP, which is a three-day trial and purchasable for a one-time fee, are virus-free and easy to use. Other programs like IP Hider, a three-day trial that is also purchasable for a one-time fee, and CyberGhost VPN, which is free to download but you need to pay to have updated, offer online anonymity and erase your tracks from many websites you visited.
Download the program of your choice. Follow the on-screen instructions for the program you downloaded to make sure your program uploads correctly.
Turn the privoxy program on according to the on-screen directions once you open the program's main menu. Tor and CyberGhost VPN have step-by-step guides to help you set up the IP mask, so setting the programs up incorrectly is not an issue.
Open the privoxy program to see if you are online and using the program. For example, with Tor, your icon will be green if the program is working correctly and yellow if you are disconnected from the network. IP Hider's map is blue when you are connected and yellow when you are not. Pay attention to the icons and maps to ensure the program is working for you.
Move your cursor to the bottom right-hand corner of your desktop and locate the icon that looks like a computer over a yellow bar. Hover over the icon to see if the host IP is the same as it was previously. The IP address will be the same.
Visit an IP-revealing website again to view your IP address. The IP should differ from the original IP address you wrote down previously. Check the statistics that appear below the IP address to see if your location changed. If it changed, your IP host is also masked although it does not show that it is in the corner of your desktop. You have successfully hid both IP addresses.
Tips and warnings
- Check to see if your IP address is different each time you log on to the Internet. If your IP address reverts back to your original IP on an IP-location site, you need to reconnect your privoxy network.
- If your IP does not change when you download the program, you may need to change your security settings in order to get the program to work. You may need to uninstall and reinstall the program to get it to work.
- Do not download and use more than one privoxy program. The programs will cancel each other out and you will not receive the privacy you want.
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