Well that’s sounds a mouthful but using something to hide and route your IP address is one of the most useful tools you’ll find online. An IP proxy is simply a server which routes all your internet requests and forwards them on, it’s a little like using a separate mailing address – everything works the same but nobody finds out your real address. The server just receives your request for a web page and forwards it, then when the reply is received that’s passed on to you. No information is changed or modified, yet your privacy is maintained.
There are numerous advantages to this, but certainly privacy is one of the important one. Most websites now record and analyse all their visitors, plus your web traffic is also logged at your ISP. How many logs and who can access them is usually reliant on the location of your ISP and the target server, but let’s face it the US and American Intelligence agencies don’t really bother with things like that. As long as you trust the owner of the IP proxy then it adds a significant layer of privacy to your connection.
Here’s a quick video which demonstrates a US IP proxy in action:
You can see that there is another important function available to routing your address through another server, basically the ability to access content which is normally blocked. For instance in our example the user is based in the UK, and so everything he does online is based on that location. This is fine for accessing UK based resources but when trying to access US web sites it becomes a bit more problematic. So you’ll see one minute you can happily be watching Test Match Special or Dr Who on the BBC iPlayer, but try and switch to catch an episode of the Walking Dead on HBO and you’ll be blocked. Same goes for Pandora, Hulu, NBC and virtually any US media site worth watching.
So this is where routing your address through an IP proxy comes in handy. If you switch to one based in the USA you’ll effectively have a US IP address irrespective of where you happen to be physically located. Suddenly all the US based web sites, any American only videos become accessible – you’ve effectively changed your internet nationality with a click of a button. Of course, it’s fairly ridiculous that this is even necessary using a global medium like the internet, but sadly it’s becoming more and more segregated as the big multi-nationals try and split up their markets to maximise profits.
On a final note, there are many different technologies that support IP routing however almost all of these now are detectable (and blocked) by the big websites. Make sure whatever service you choose is a VPN that encrypts your initial connection. These cannot currently be detected as long as they’re configured correctly although the biggest media companies like Netflix actively block these service manually.