Masking the IP address. Tools for hiding on the Internet

10.03.20 в 07:37 Other 2968

Today, a large number of people are thinking about ensuring security and anonymity on the Internet. This is important for many reasons. Means of identification and control over user actions are constantly evolving, causing more and more inconvenience.

There are many ways to identify a user on the Internet, but the simplest and most common way is to look up the IP address. An IP address is almost a unique attribute of the device from which the user accesses the Internet. Therefore, this parameter can be easily used to associate the client with its actions on a particular web resource.

Knowing the IP address, you can determine the country, city, and Internet provider that issued this address. Considering that ISP usually has full user data specified in the contract for providing access to the Internet, it turns out, that all activity on the Web is totally not anonymous.

As a result, the need to remain anonymous has led to development of various technologies for hiding IP addresses when working with web applications. Not all of these methods are widely used, because they are not all equally effective and easy to handle. The most common on the Internet would be proxy and VPN. In this article, we will talk about them, and about other methods that are also actively used around the world.

Hiding IP with a proxy server

Perhaps, a proxy server can be considered the most popular way of hiding the IP address. It is easy to use and has a lower price compared to other masking methods.

The principle of proxy operation is simple. It is based on a simple redirection of traffic coming from the client to the desired web server. In this case, the site receives a request from the proxy itself, and not from the real user. As a result, the IP address, that the target site actually receives, belongs to the proxy server, which allows you to hide the client's real identity. Proxy is your intermediary on the Internet.

And proxies can be used for different purposes: parsing, promotion on social media, mailings, and so on. If your task is to mask the IP, then you should pay close attention to the anonymity of the server you are using. All HTTP proxy servers are divided into three main types according to the degree of anonymity:

  • Transparent
  • Anonymous
  • Elite

To find out more about this, you can read our article on proxy anonymity.

Web resources can use the client's IP address to determine whether it belongs to a regular ISP,phone company or to a hosting. Some sites set different rules and restrictions for hosting IPs. The most freedom goes to the users with mobile IP addresses and data center IPs have the lowest trust.

Similarly, proxies can also be mobile, residential (home), and data-center-based. Each of these types has its own pros and cons. All types are actively used for certain tasks, which, as we already said, are many. You can read more about how to select and configure a proxy here.

An important feature of a proxy server is the type of protocol used. Most often, proxies use HTTP(S), Socks4/5 protocols. A comparative description of these proxy types is given here.

VPN: IP address masking and security

Another popular method of hiding the IP is VPN. VPN is the establishing of a private secure network between remote users. Clients and external web resources are connected via a VPN server that works similarly to a proxy.

The main difference between VPN and proxy is the encryption of all traffic passing from the client to the proxy server. This provides additional benefits: protects users' personal data from theft and possible surveillance.

Using VPN is somewhat more complex, than using proxy and often requires the installation of some software. Most VPN services use OpenVPN protocol to implement a secure network. However, large VPN service providers can develop their own implementations of the technology.

Changing the IP address and redirecting traffic through the VPN server works the same way as with a proxy. Additional advantages are provided by a secure connection.

This allows you to protect your data when connecting to a public Internet access point, hide your activities from the ISP or from other organizations in the middle. This can be especially important for users from countries, whose governments put heavy restrictions on the use of torrents and other web resources.

Another advantage of the VPN service is the presence of a large number of servers in different countries. At the same time, you can switch to another server for free and at any time, which is very rarely possible in the case of a proxy. Large services offer their users a choice of hundreds or even thousands of servers around the world.

Double VPN connection

For fans of extra anonymity, there is a special type of service called Double VPN. This is a chain of two servers located in different countries. Thus, all user data passes through several countries in encrypted form, before reaching the target resource.

Keep hiding the IP. Anonymous access via TOR

There are users for whom even the Double VPN is not secure and anonymous enough. For such cases, there is another method of masking an IP address, which is widely used on the Internet.

This is the TOR network (short for the Onion Router). A dedicated TOR browser has been developed and supported for using the TOR network. This is free and open source software designed for secure and anonymous browsing.

TOR network

The principle of the TOR network is based on the so-called onion routing. The client connects to the target website through a system of three proxy servers. These servers are called the input, intermediate, and output nodes of the network, respectively. Before reaching the input node, all traffic is sequentially encrypted with three different keys, each of them is known only to one server, and this is an analogy with the onion layers.

The first node in the network decrypts data with a single key, getting information about the address of the next node. This operation is exactly the same as cleaning a single layer of an onion. However, the client data itself remains encrypted for the node.

Similarly, the data package is sequentially decrypted at the intermediary node and the output node. From the output node, data is sent to the target server. The server response is transmitted to the client via the host network in the same way. With this implementation of data proxying, only the output node sees the content of the traffic, and the actual IP address of the client is known only to the input node.

There are additional means to increase anonymity, such as connecting to the TOR input node through a VPN server. Some VPN providers give this option. Using it, you can hide the real IP even from the input Tor node.

The VPN+TOR bundle is probably the most reliable way to ensure anonymity of all the popular and affordable technologies today.

Simple and fast anonymizers and browser extensions!

Anonymizer is the simplest way of IP masking to bypass region or IP restrictions. Ease of use is achieved by the absence of any pre-setting.

Anonymizer page

Anonymizer looks like a browser inside a web page or a browser inside a browser. As a rule, this is a free service that allows you to download websites through a regular proxy. All you need to do is go to the anonymizer's website, select the proxy server country, and specify a link to the target resource.

The disadvantages of this method of hiding IP are the low speed of loading web pages and the lack of security guarantees for personal data. When using an anonymizer, all traffic passes through a free proxy. It is not possible to know in advance what policy regarding users' personal data is maintained by the proxy owners. Therefore, the use of this tool is recommended only for primitive surfing without transmitting passwords or financial transactions.

Other methods of hiding: Shadowsocks, SSH tunneling, JAP

These tools have got a lot of popularity among anonymity geeks. However, there are many more ways to hide an IP address.

Shadowsocks is not that popular, but it deserves special mention. This technology was developed for circumvention on the Internet in China. The Great Firewall of China is notorious for restricting millions of users in China and around the world.

During Shadowsocks development, special attention was paid to protecting the connection from being identified. Shadowsocks pretends to be a normal https connection, complicating the process of detecting and blocking users. This gives customers more advantages both for bypassing the firewall in China and for performing other tasks.

More information about Shadowsocks technology can be found in this article.

SSH tunneling. A technology that can also be used to hide an IP address. IP spoofing in this method is performed by using a mechanism similar to a VPN connection. This is why SSH tunneling is sometimes called a free VPN replacement.

The analogy with VPN is to use a secure SSH connection with a remote computer that serves as an intermediary for all network connections. Thus, all queries are made on behalf of the remote device with its own IP address. Meanwhile, two tasks are addressed at once: data encryption between the client and the proxy server and anonymous Internet access through this server.

The only drawback of this method is the need to have some special knowledge in the field of network technologies for organizing and configuring an SSH tunnel. And you also need to have full access to the intermediary computer, which is not always possible.

In the conclusion, let's take a look at another interesting technology for anonymity, which is called JAP. The JAP user installs a special client application on their device that provides communication with a server called Mix that serves as a proxy.

The peculiarity of interaction between the user application and the Mix server is that it is impossible to identify a specific user. Given that a single server is used by many clients, whom it doesn't know, this technology can be considered fairly anonymous.

Compare IP hiding methods

We have considered a fairly large number of methods, and in order to structure this data a little, it is useful to compare them with each other. Let's look at how these methods differ in the level of anonymity, data encryption, and ease of use.

IP hiding method



Ease of use

Proxy server


















SSH tunneling







If your top priority is maximum security and anonymity, then TOR is the best option. The easiest way to hide your IP is to use an anonymizer, but the security of your data when using this tool is questionable.

However, the most popular and versatile tools for hiding IP addresses on the Web are undoubtedly proxies and VPN. So it is a piece of cake to find providers of these services.


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