The internet has to a certain extent brought us a huge amount of freedom. We are less restricted than ever before. It’s now relatively easy to learn about different places, we can speak to different people, we can even work online if we want. Geographical boundaries are less important, twenty years ago if I wanted something translated from Mandarin – it would have been a difficult task. Now it would take me minutes to get a rough translation, and only a little longer to get one from a native speaker. I don’t know many Chinese in real life, but the internet gives me the capability to contact them easily.
Unfortunately this freedom is slowly being eroded in all sorts of ways. The obvious issue is of course internet censorship, places like China, Thailand and a host of other places are actively blocking access to thousands of sites using all sorts of methods. They are also filtering and indeed monitoring what people people do online. Depending on where you live, this could be either an intrusion to your privacy or a real threat to your safety.
State intrusion and control of the internet is obviously a worry, but it’s not only them! Everyone seems to be trying to exert control over what you do or see online. Commercial websites instantly monitor your location, track your habits and carefully control what you can do or see on their sites.
Whether it’s an E-Commerce site, who are controlling what price you pay depending on your demographic or a media site which will only broadcast to specific locations. Literally thousands of sites, control and manipulate what you can do depending on who you are and where you are from. This phenomenon is growing too, exponentially.
Take Control of Your IP Address
So if everyone is trying to manipulate what you do online? How do you take back that control and operate more freely online. This is an important issue for all of us, however for certain groups of people it’s pretty much essential. Anyone who works or makes their income online will need that control. Whether it’s for research, marketing, buying or selling – being able to operate freely is vital to success. If people control your online activity through your IP address it’s going to be virtually impossible.
Why is it so difficult to operate online with a single registered IP address? It’s mainly because you’ll keep hitting restrictions wherever you go and whatever you do online. Here’s a few situations that you might face:
- Research: Search engines tailor your results based on the location of your IP address. So it’s hard to research a market in a different geographical area, which is kind of the point of the internet!
- Commerce: the price you pay online could be hugely influenced by your location. Which is annoying for a retail purchase but vital in E-commerce.
- Advertising: is often restricted by your location. The classified ads site Craigslist will only let you place ads in your local area, which is pretty restrictive for an online business.
- Online Marketing: promoting your business online often requires multiple accounts and identities. Big social media sites like Instagram and Facebook will often restrict your access based on the classification of your IP address or it’s location.
There’s so many more, but basically having a single IP address locked to your exact physical location hugely limits what you can do online. Whether it’s posting adverts, buying products or simply streaming movies it will largely depend on your network address and it’s location. Fortunately there are methods, to control all aspects of your IP address which in turn will allow you much more flexibility online.
You Can’t Change, But You Can Hide Your IP Address
It’s important to remember that taking control of your IP address doesn’t mean changing it all the time. In fact, this is impossible for the vast majority as the IP address is assigned directly by whatever allows you access. So at home, your ISP will assign you an address through your modem/router, that coffee shop will have an access point that gives out an address, the mobile tower will assign one to your smart phone and so on. There is simply no way to change your address directly without controlling all the infrastructure which allows you access to the internet.
Fortunately you can hide your actual address and control what others see. The simplest way to do this, is to route your connection through an intermediate server – normally a proxy or a VPN. This server can act as a ‘middle man’ to route your connection through to the web service or application – completely hiding your actual address.
Further more this server can also choose which IP address is used and what country it’s registered in. Indeed using a specialist service such as a backconnect proxy you can actually rotate your address through literally thousands of options, all completely untraceable.
Of course, most people don’t need thousands of IP addresses at all. Millions of people use these services to watch things like BBC iPlayer from outside the UK, to access Hulu away from the USA or to basically access a service or site which is not available in their current location. To watch the BBC you just need a UK IP address you can use, you certainly don’t need a bank of thousands.
Online Entrepreneurs Still Need that Ninja IP Address
Although for most people the location of the IP address is paramount, for many people there’s another important factor. That’s the classification of the IP address which is assigned by it’s registration. The main problem is that most of the addresses which are available from these services are classified as commercial or datacenter IPs.
However this is also considered a huge warning to many websites that –
- The connection is probably not an ordinary individual user.
- There is a high probability that the address is from a proxy or VPN.
- It is likely that the connection is routed from a different location
Typically any site which is on the lookout for people hiding their real location, will have a huge warning when it sees a commercially registered IP address. It’s not difficult to find out how these addresses are classified too, there are many online databases with all the information readily available.
To stay completely hidden, to stay under the radar then you have to ensure that the address you use is classified as a residential IP too. The true ninja IP address is not only hidden but makes you look like an ordinary residential user too! The services that provide these will generally be described as residential proxies or some variant. If you see no mention or residential or the service is described as datacenter then it’s going to supply you with the cheaper more available commercial IP addresses.
Residential Addresses Cost More Because They’re Much Harder to Obtain
It’s true, residential IP addresses and proxies are much more expensive that commercial ones because they’re difficult to source. The main supplier of these addresses are Internet Service Providers who aren’t in the habit of selling them to proxy providers. There are various ways to obtain these addresses but they all cost more money and frequently they can be quite slow and unreliable too.
Be warned though if someone is selling you a very cheap residential proxy then they’re probably lying. It really costs to supply these addresses and you’re not going to get them for a very low cost unfortunately. However there is some good news, technological advancements are starting to bring the prices down and you can find things like rotating proxies which share out residential addresses more efficiently.
Most people will have a use and a reason to hide their real IP address. It may simply be for some privacy or simply to be able to watch the BBC from outside the UK. Yet for most purposes, a commercial IP address is sufficient although you should check your specific requirements to confirm whether you need one or not. If you need to look like a normal web surfer though for research, buying or marketing purposes then you’re much more likely to need a residential IP address.
If you want a real Ninja IP address it will certainly be both residential and hidden.
Situations where you’ll definitely need a residential IP are for using Craigslist, running multiple accounts on platforms like Instagram and Twitter or doing any sort of serious market research online. The sources of residential addresses are varied, but they all cost more.
Be aware that many of the methods used to get these IPs mean they can be slower and slightly less stable than addresses registered to a datacenter. If speed is not something you want to sacrifice then check out a company who operate their own hardware to run residential proxies like these guys – Storm Proxies.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.