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First of all a clarification, it’s important to remember unless you own an ISP (Internet Service Provider) then you probably can’t actually change your IP address. It’s assigned by whatever device enables your access to the internet, if you’re at home that’ll be a modem or router connected to your ISP. You have no control over this process and can’t select a new IP address at will, although with some providers if you reset your modem it can sometimes change.
Yet of course, we read all the time about changing IP addresses for all sorts of reasons – bypassing internet blocks, watching TV stations online, internet marketing and even providing some safety against regimes who monitor online activity. Yet a more accurate description would be hiding your real IP address which is certainly possible and something that literally millions of people do every day.
There are lots of method of obscuring your real address but most of them involve using an intermediary server to act as a buffer between you and the websites you are using. They hide your real location and act as an online IP changer for your connection.
So if I want to buy a set of limited release sneakers from Nike, I might bounce my connection through a US server to hide the fact that I’m on the other side of the world. The server would see the US IP address of the server and not my real one and hence my actual location. These servers are generally known as proxies or VPN servers, you can find them online and pay for a service which provides them for you. For instance, there are lots of these sneaker proxies you can rent which are located close to the various retailers for maximum speed when applying for limited release sneakers.
For many activities, it’s the location and the IP address of these servers which is important. For example to use Craigslist, you need an IP address located near the target region you’re intending to use. So an internet marketer would use a proxy based in the US to be able to place adverts on the New York board. An internet marketer may use a a proxy or proxies to manage their multiple Instagram accounts, hiding the fact that they’re all managed by one person on one connection. The list of activities that need the ability to use multiple IP addresses in different countries grows every year, for many of us one address is nowhere near enough.
Now for many purposes, the IP address requirements are even more complicated. Our Instagram marketer, can’t just use a shared proxy as loads of people will probably be using Instagram on it too. This will raise huge red flags when they try and manage their accounts, it’s the last thing you need if you’re using software or trying to keep a low profile. Also for many activities the classification of the IP address is important too – for example residential addresses explained here typically suggest you’re a normal home user.
Yet for many, these complications don’t exist – some people just need to hide their own address and route through a specific country. For those people you don’t need to spend a lot of money or invest in specialised proxies, as we can see in the next section.
Using a VPN That Can Change IP Address as Required
There are quite a few VPN services which offer both a secure connection and the ability to use lots of different IP addresses. Some as in the example below even offer the facility to switch addresses automatically and route your connection through different countries too.
The program being used in the above video is called Identity Cloaker and is a secure VPN service. You use the software to connect your client (or server) to whichever server you like. The software then creates an encrypted tunnel to that specific server, hiding your real IP address and presenting the server one instead. Basically you are completely anonymous, your data is even protected in the logs of your ISP because of the encryption layer.
One of the most popular uses for Identity Cloaker, indeed why I use it most days, is to access BBC iPlayer from outside the UK. However it has lots of other potential uses also – here’s a quick list of some of the tasks I use this for.
- Watching UK TV channels – from outside the UK (by selecting UK servers)
- Using Research and Keyword analysis tools. Many of my research tools require lots of calls to search engines such as Google. If you do this from one IP address you’ll get a temporary ban, I set Identity Cloaker to switch addresses every five minutes.
- Link Building Tools – I promote many of my websites by using software to build links. To do this on any scale I need to switch IP addresses a lot. Country is immaterial just a different IP so I set Identity Cloaker to rotate my IP address.
- Geo-Restricted Sites – lots of other sites restrict remote access from different countries. I often change to a UK IP address to access them – sites like my online bank and some betting sites for example.
For variety, security and anonymity a VPN service like this is hard to beat. It’s perfect if you just want to change IP address online routinely but it’s definitely not suitable for all tasks. For example one of the crucial points to remember is that all the IP addresses used here are registered as commercial ones assigned to datacentres. So for some sites this is used as a detection mechanism to filter out ordinary home users and others.
Social networking sites like Instagram don’t block non-residential IP addresses, but they are definitely flagged. If you’re using software, managing multiple accounts or promoting accounts aggressively then you don’t want to do this from commercial IP addresses. The professional marketers will use specialised proxies, those with residential IPs or even mobile/4g proxies too.
So using a VPN like Identity Cloaker isn’t an option for some tasks. However for many which basically just require anonymity and a new address, then it offers a much cheaper and secure option than using simple proxies.