Your IP address is 126.96.36.199 and you live in Ashburn, Virginia (United States). But wait – don’t worry, I’m not recording this, and I’m not saying this to scare you. The whole purpose of this article is to educate, not track you for some nefarious purpose. But is everyone like that on the internet? You can bet your digital life that the answer is no. That’s why VPN services are becoming so popular.
An IP address is a unique string of numbers separated by periods that identifies each computer using the Internet Protocol to communicate over a network. Knowing someone’s IP address is the first step to knowing who is behind the computer. A VPN hides your IP address from third parties by routing you through one of their servers first. This mean that only the VPN service is aware of who you are. Some VPNs like ExpressVPN don’t even record those connection details. It’s these types of services that enable true internet anonymity, especially when paying with something untraceable like Bitcoin. Of course, there is more to the story than a simple IP address trick.
What do I know about you from your IP? Just the information I detailed earlier – city, state, country, maybe zip code. I can’t discover your actual address without a subpoena from your local law enforcement. Of course, if a VPN doesn’t record logs there’s nothing to give them. One VPN service was even tested recently on their no log policy. Private Internet Access boasts recording no usage logs of any kind for their customers. When a subpoena was issued to them regarding the internet activity of a Preston McWaters, they had nothing to provide. It’s this type of service you’ll want to keep an eye out for when shopping for a VPN. A lot of them promise no logs, but it’s not something you can verify unless it gets tested like it did with Private Internet Access.
How much does it say to know your country or city? Depending on the density of your location, I can surmise your religion, ethnicity, and age. Generally though, this information is just used to modify website content like advertisements to serve tailor-made content. It’s all rather innocuous (aside from getting you to open your wallet). However, your ISP (Internet Service Provider) can easily trace the IP address they assign to you to access the internet. In countries like the United States, this information can now be sold in aggregate from ISPs to advertisers (supposedly with no personally identifiable information). It may not result in anything negative for you, but it is certainly unnerving. That’s why we wholeheartedly support the privacy that VPNs provide. By connecting to a VPN first, an ISP can only see that connection and not what you’re doing while on it.
Who are you? Why do I care? You have money, a life, information, and tons of other things that might matter to me. There are so many ways to profit off of individuals and almost all of them feel pretty dirty. It’s quite possible those details were already used to drive you this very article. Look, I’m sorry. I do hope you forgive me, and I hope this information has been worth it so far. But there’s more to a VPN than just protecting your privacy (though that’s especially important if you like torrenting at all).
A lot of internet content is restricted to specific geographical locations. For example, online streams of local sports games can only be accessed by people in the area. Netflix restricts shows and movies by country. The BBC only allows visitors from the UK to watch programs like Sherlock on their online iPlayer platform. With the availability to connect to thousands of servers in dozens of countries, all of those geographical restrictions fade away. If that’s news to you, check out the best VPNs for bypassing streaming restrictions.
As I said before, none of this is meant to scare you. The likelihood of anything bad happening to the average internet user is extremely low. The problem is that something happening can be catastrophic. Who here is actually comfortable revealing their entire internet history? I know I’m not. Even worse, identity thieves and law enforcement are no laughing matter. The privacy and security that VPNs provide is a lot like insurance. It doesn’t cost very much, but it can save you so much. If your privacy and online safety is valuable to you, choose something with a wide array of features like NordVPN. If price is a concern or you travel a lot, PureVPN is also a good option. A 2-year subscription with them is a very reasonable $2.95/month and offers VPN servers in 140 countries to ensure safety and speed while traveling abroad.
No matter what you choose, at least you’re a little more aware of why VPNs are increasing so dramatically in popularity. Fair’s fair though so if you’d like more information about us, our About page is a perfection destination.