When you hide your IP address online, it can be as simple or complicated as you want to make it. To tell you the truth, you don’t need to know anything to get started. Pick a service and go. However, if you want to understand a bit more about what you’re purchasing, or have to specific requirement as to what your anonymous surfing tool needs to/shouldn’t do, here’s a guide on different levels of anonymity of IP hiding tools that are available online.
You’ll find that a lot of open proxies are this kind of proxy. Its the least anonymous, and the easiest to get set up, so there are more people who can set up personal proxies this way. This kind of proxy can get you past some firewalls, but isn’t very anonymous at all. Sure, it makes traffic requests for you, but it also shows your real IP address to the sites you want to visit!
These are generally what people are looking for online. If you want to truly be anonymous, this is where it begins (though there’s higher levels of anonymity). This kind of proxy will fetch data for you from websites, and will not show your IP address. However, it still shows that it’s a proxy server, and will not get you past all restrictions (some sites block proxy access because of spam and other types of fraud).
High Anonymity Proxies
Not only does it hide your IP, it also hide the fact that you’re using a proxy. Some more advanced encryption here, you can expect that in most cases you’re going to have to buy something, and you may find that you need to pay a monthly fee to access this kind of servers.
Virtual Private Networks
A who ‘nother ball game, VPNs are at the top of the pile for anonymity. This is the stuff people are using in China and Iran to bypass some of the strongest Internet censorship in the world. SSL encryption codes your data so only those who are authorized to read it are able to, and “tunneling” protocols ensure safe passage to and from starting points/destinations. This will get you past almost any firewall, and will surely protect you against even hack-savvy criminals online.
If you goal is to hide your IP address for general browsing activity, a proxy will usually be enough, however if you’re truly worried about the privacy and security of your online activity, a VPN is a better choice. But there’s not reason to invest in a monthly payment for super security tools if all you want to do is unblock Facebook on your work network. If you have any software or programs including VOIP, chat, or download torrents, the a VPN is needed. Proxies only hide the IP of your browser, while VPNs do it all.