Hello, my name is Nicholas Kats. I am an employee of Switcherry VPN. In this article, you will learn what an IP address is and why, why it sometimes has to be hidden, and how to do it for users of the Google Chrome browser.
Google Chrome – the most popular browser in the world. Despite the fact that Chrome is considered one of the most secure browsers, it, like all other browsers, allows the leakage of critical information that makes it possible to identify the user. This information contains, among other things, your IP address, which immediately identifies the country and region where you live.
And not only the country – knowing the IP address of the user can learn a lot about it, almost everything, up to the home address, which is known to his Internet provider. And the Internet service provider records all the network activity of its customers in log files. According to the legislation of most countries, these log files must be stored on the servers of the Internet provider for at least six months and presented to the employees of government agencies on demand.
Thus, if you do not take any security measures and protect your personal data during your online activity, then all the most confidential information about you can fall into the hands of outsiders and can be used against you. The purpose of this article is to tell users of the Google Chrome browser how to remain anonymous while surfing the web and how to protect themselves from the leakage of personal data.
Read our review “How to hide your IP in Windows“.
Table of contents
What is IP
IP-address (Internet Protocol Address) – is a digital identifier assigned to each server, computer, or any other device connected to the Internet. There are two types of IP addresses: old IPv4 (version 4 IP addresses) and new IPv6 (version 6 IP addresses). IP addresses of the 4th version are a 32-bit binary number, which is usually represented as four decimal numbers separated by dots. A typical IPv4 address looks like this: 18.104.22.168 or so: 22.214.171.124. Due to the lack of IP addresses in version 4 (the total number of IPv4 addresses can not be more than 4.3 billion), a new Internet addressing system was developed – IPv6. The IP address of version 6 is a 128-bit binary number represented by a series of hexadecimal numbers separated by a colon. Example IPv6-address: 2001:67c:2660:425:21b:21ff:feb5:b89c.
The IP addressing system allows computers and other devices to exchange information on the network. Just as any person receiving mail has a personal unique email address, any device connected to a network has its own unique IP address. And if the user does not take any measures to protect personal data, then the IP address of his computer or tablet can be identified as easily as by his postal address.
Read more about this here.
How to hide IP in Google Chrome browser
Many Internet users hide their IP address not only for security reasons. Spoofing a real IP address allows users to change their geolocation and thereby gain access to blocked sites and streaming services. Since prices in many online stores depend on the customer’s location, changing the geolocation also makes it possible to make purchases online at minimal prices.
There are several proven methods of hiding and spoofing an IP address in Chrome: installing various browser extensions designed to ensure anonymity and security of surfing on the network, as well as using anonymizers, proxy servers and VPN.
Using anonymizers is the easiest way to hide your real IP address. The main function of anonymizers is to allow users to visit websites that are blocked in their countries for one reason or another. In most cases, anonymizers refer to web anonymizers – online services that allow their users to surf the web anonymously.
How anonymizers work
For the average user, the web anonymizer looks like a regular website. The main element of the web anonymizer is the address bar, in which the user enters the address of the target web page. The anonymizer uploads this page to its server and, after processing, sends it to the user on behalf of its server. That is, the web page that the user needs turns out to be «inside» the anonymizer’s web page. The anonymity and confidentiality of the user are ensured as follows:
- IP-address server anonymizer substitutes the user’s IP address, so that the user can visit web resources that are blocked by their owners for viewing in their region;
- IP-address of the visited web page is also substituted with the IP address of the anonymizer server, which makes it possible to overcome the censorship and blocking of the Internet provider.
New IP Now
A popular anonymizer that allows the user to change the geolocation and choose a new IP.
To visit the site you need, select the appropriate geolocation and IP from the list, enter the site address in the Connect To field, and tap Enter.
Hide My Ass
Advanced web anonymizer that allows you to select a new geolocation and set up a connection.
Select the desired geolocation from the drop-down list, enter the address of the site you plan to visit in the upper field, and tap Enter.
4 Ever Proxy
One of the most advanced web anonymizers. In addition to the server that spoofs the user’s IP address, you can also choose an intermediate web server. A secure «tunnel» connection is created between the two servers, which maximizes the security and confidentiality of the connection.
Select a new geolocation, the location of the intermediate web server, enter the address of the web page in the upper field, and click the Go button or tap Enter.
The simplest web-proxy that does not allow the user to select geolocation.
The only useful element of the page is the address bar in the center. Enter the address of the site you need in it, click on the Go button or tap Enter.
Very simple HTTP web anonymizer without advertising.
Is it safe to use anonymizers
Only anonymizers that use the secure HTTPS protocol can be considered relatively secure, since they encrypt traffic, protecting the user from surveillance by supervisory authorities and hacker attacks. Many old web anonymizers, for example Anonymouse, still use the insecure HTTP protocol. It is not recommended to use such anonymizers! You can also not trust the new, newly created web anonymizers, since it may well be that they were created by hackers to intercept passwords and other sensitive user data.
The main disadvantage of web anonymizers is the ease of blocking them. In fact, a web anonymizer by definition looks like a normal website and can therefore be blocked by an Internet service provider very easily. For example, in China, Iran, and Russia, the vast majority of popular anonymizers are blacklisted and blocked by local regulatory authorities. Therefore, for residents of these and similar countries, almost all web anonymizers are inaccessible and useless.
Features of web anonymizers
- not all web anonymizers have the ability to choose geolocation. A simple anonymizer automatically redirects all user requests to the nearest unloaded server;
- the ability to unblock streaming services in practice is difficult due to the fact that it is not always possible to choose a new geolocation, as was mentioned in the previous paragraph, and if such a possibility exists, the choice of available IP addresses is always very limited and, most likely, blocked. Also, due to the fact that web anonymizers significantly reduce the speed of the Internet, they can not be used to watch streaming videos;
- downloading from torrent trackers is extremely difficult and unsafe, since all web anonymizers significantly reduce the data transfer speed and do not protect against tracking. Web anonymizers are created exclusively for surfing the web!
- web anonymizers are available for all devices that have any modern browser installed, including Google Chrome.
Proxy extensions for the Google Chrome browser
Another way to protect your anonymity and hide your IP address for Google Chrome browser users is to install the Proxy extension. By default, the Google Chrome browser uses the system settings for using a proxy server. Proxy extensions for Chrome make it possible to use a proxy server only for this browser. That is, the system settings are not affected, other browsers running simultaneously with Google Chrome will still access the Internet directly, without using a proxy server.
How Proxy extensions work
After installing, configuring, and enabling the Proxy extension, all browser traffic will go through the intermediate proxy server specified by the user in the settings. At the same time, the «native» IP address of the user is replaced by the IP address of the proxy server. If the connection between the browser and the proxy server is encrypted (when using an HTTPS proxy), the Internet service provider will not be able to censor and block access to prohibited sites.
Popular Proxy Extensions
Proxy SwitchyOmega – this extension allows you to manipulate dozens of proxy servers by setting the conditions for their use in the parameters. The user specifies the protocol, IP address, port number, and proxy servers. Also, in the settings, you can specify which proxy servers to use when visiting certain sites, make lists of exceptions, etc.
Falcon Proxy – popular Proxy extension for Google Chrome browser.
Proxy Helper – the simplest proxy server manager for the Google Chrome browser.
Best Proxy Switcher
Best Proxy Switcher – this extension offers you to use free proxy servers or buy access to paid VPN servers. Unfortunately, most free proxy servers are not anonymous, do not encrypt traffic, and significantly reduce the speed of the Internet.
Is it safe to use Proxy extensions
Proxy extensions themselves are not malicious programs, but the use of proxy servers does not always guarantee security and anonymity. Proxy servers hide the user’s IP address, but they can transmit critical information about the user that can be used to identify the user. Also, the Internet service provider, using modern technology of deep packet analysis (DPI), can determine what type of content the user is viewing, what files he downloads, whether he uses a torrent, etc.
Proxy Extension Features
- Proxy extensions for Google Chrome provide the user with the ability to choose geolocation (the appropriate location of proxy servers is selected);
- free open proxy servers are blocked by the administration of streaming services. But even users of paid proxy servers can not always overcome the blocking of streaming services, since the entire range of available IP addresses of companies that provide proxy server rental services is usually known to the owners of video services, and is blacklisted;
- to download from torrent trackers, you need to install an additional extension – the Torrent client for Google Chrome. Only paid proxy servers allow you to freely download files from torrents, but your Internet service provider, using deep packet analysis technology, can determine that you are using a torrent and block your Internet access.
- Proxy extensions can be installed on any device that has the Google Chrome browser installed.
Buy a proxy server and configure the operating system to work with it
Installing the Proxy browser extension protects traffic originating only from this browser. But you can make sure that all the computer traffic goes through the selected proxy server. To do this, in the network settings of the operating system, you must specify that you want to use a proxy server and enter its parameters – IP address and port number.
How it works
Just like the Proxy extension for the browser, but it protects not just one browser, but the entire computer. From a consumer point of view, proxy servers are divided into commercial, for the use of which you have to pay and free (open) proxies.
- Paid proxy servers. Now there are a huge number of companies in the world that provide proxy server rental services. In some of them, you can purchase a specific proxy server with a specified geolocation and a static IP address, while others offer to install software that allows customers to independently select the location and IP address of the proxy server and change these parameters «on the fly» for IP address rotation.
- Open proxy servers. The main disadvantage of free proxies is their unstable operation and short lifetime. The «life» of free proxy servers is usually quite short. On the Internet, you can find many sites that publish regularly updated lists of «live» free proxy servers. Use open proxy servers with great caution, as they do not guarantee security. In addition, some free proxy servers are created by hackers specifically to intercept confidential information.
Is the method safe
Everything that was said above about the security of the Proxy extension for the browser also applies to proxy servers. Paid, highly anonymous HTTPS proxy servers provided for rent by reliable companies can be considered relatively secure. Using open free proxies is always associated with the risk of personal data theft.
VPN extensions for Google Chrome
VPN extensions allow you to choose geolocation, replace the user’s IP address, and securely encrypt traffic. Using VPN extensions is the best way to protect yourself from tracking and circumvent censorship and geo-blocking.
How it works
In fact, the VPN extension for Google Chrome is an ordinary VPN client that works «inside» the browser. Immediately after the VPN client starts, it creates a secure connection to the VPN server – a so-called «tunnel». All browser traffic passes through this «tunnel». The user’s IP address is substituted with the IP address of the VPN server, the data is encrypted and protected from tracking. In this case, the system settings are not affected, other browsers work on the network directly, under the user’s own IP.
Popular VPN Extensions for Google Chrome
DotVPN – one of the most popular extensions for the Chrome browser. The choice of geolocation is limited to 30 countries. Only the paid version of the extension works.
VPN.AC – a VPN extension for the romanian company’s Chrome browser. Geolocation is limited to 20 countries. It works only after registration and payment for access.
Tunnello VPN – this extension has a seven-day trial period, after which you must pay for access.
Hotspot Shield Free VPN Proxy
Hotspot Shield Free VPN Proxy – a popular VPN extension for the Chrome browser. In the free version, you can only connect to US VPN servers. To get the ability to choose geolocation, you need to buy premium access.
Switcherry VPN is an extension for the Google Chrome browser of our company. It appeared in the Google Chrome store quite recently, but has already managed to gain great popularity among users due to the high connection speed and stable operation. The main thing that distinguishes our extension from the products of competitors is a large selection of countries, the full operation of the free version of the program and the low price of premium access.
Is the method safe
Currently, a VPN is considered the safest way to change the IP address and protect personal data on the network. The VPN extension for Google Chrome will help users bypass censorship and geo-blocking, ensuring complete anonymity and privacy.
- all full-featured VPN extensions have a choice of location;
- all VPN extensions are able to unblock streaming services, but 100% success is not guaranteed;
- secure download from torrent trackers is guaranteed, but the download speed may decrease slightly;
- VPN extensions for Google Chrome are available for all devices and operating systems that have the Chrome browser installed.
Why you should try the SwitcherryVPN extension for Google Chrome
We have made our extension for Google Chrome as user-friendly as possible. Distinctive features of the SwitcherryVPN extension for Google Chrome:
- easy to install and configure;
- intuitive interface;
- stable operation;
- changing the current geolocation with a couple of clicks;
- a large selection of geolocations – more than 70 countries are available for registered users! Our app will help you easily unblock Netflix and other streaming services, bypass censorship and geo-blocking;
- the highest possible data transfer speed, which is not available to our competitors, allows you to easily download files from torrents and watch 4k video streaming;
- the basic version of the extension is completely free, premium access (more professional settings) for a small fee.
Installing the SwitcherryVPN extension for Google Chrome and other products of our company will ensure your privacy, protect you from surveillance, protect you from hacker attacks, and raise your network security to the highest level.