How to change IP address with a VPN (and why you should do it)?

Estimated read time 6 min read

How to change IP address with a VPN (and why you should do it)?

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What is an IP address?

The IP address (for “Internet Protocol”) is what devices connected to the internet use to find each other when they need to get in touch. Virtually everything that is publicly available on the internet has an IP address. A bit like every house and every organization has a postal address.

For your home network, for example, an external IP address has been assigned by your ISP (Internet Service Provider). The ISPs themselves draw on the reserves of available IP addresses. In the United States, these are assigned to them by the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority), a division of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).

Thanks to this system, several elements can be determined by consulting a given IP address, starting with the ISP which manages the IP address and the location of the person using it (within a radius of about 40 km).

The IP addresses used today come in two forms: IPv4 and IPv6. IPv4, older, remains the most commonly used format by home network equipment. It usually looks like (a common internal IP address used by home modems and routers) or to (a public IP address used by Google at the time of writing this document). IPv6 addresses use much longer alphanumeric strings, such as 2001:db8:3333:4444:5555:6666:7777:8888. This more complex set of characters can support a much larger number of addresses, which makes it possible to protect the Internet network against the exponential growth of connected devices.

Why hide your IP address?

The idea is to protect your security and your privacy. To determine your ISP and your location, easy-to-use IP address search tools are indeed accessible to everyone. Less dangerous, but just as invasive, your IP address can also allow advertisers to bombard you with localized advertisements and collect your browsing data to track your online activity.

Not all of us have the same motivations for hiding our IP address. When some simply want to keep their browsing private, others protect themselves from repressive political regimes or flee abusive relationships.

Be that as it may, there are people ready to do anything to seize this information, which can then be exploited as part of cyberattacks or scams, or which can be resold at a gold price. Even if you are not specifically wanted, cyber attackers can exploit your IP address to access your home network and everything connected to it, especially if you have not properly secured your equipment.

Beyond security and privacy protection measures, some people use a VPN for entertainment purposes, simply to circumvent geographical restrictions related to the distribution of content, especially on streaming platforms.

How do I change my IP address?

To change your IP address, you must use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). The VPN acts as an intermediary between a site, an application, a service or a device and the person who connects to it via the internet. It also works well on a home network on public.

How does it work? The VPN acts as a mask that conceals the identity of the person who uses it from everyone, but also from everything on the internet. In the absence of a VPN, anyone or device with which you are connected can see your IP address. With a VPN, it is the IP address of the VPN that becomes visible.

For example, if you are the victim of a phishing campaign, have clicked on a malicious link or have visited a corrupt website without a VPN, cyber attackers can recover your personal IP address and all the information associated with it. On the contrary, if you have a VPN, they will only manage to seize the IP address of your VPN – which will not be of much use to them.

What are the disadvantages of using a VPN?

The advantages of a VPN are usually greater than its disadvantages if you attach great importance to the security of your data and the protection of your privacy. However, this service may have effects on your connection.

The first drawback of the VPN concerns the speed of your connection. This is because your traffic must cross the VPN’s private network to reach its final destination, and then return. And this journey takes time. Thus, your upload and download rates (upload and download) can be greatly slowed down. If you use your connection with a VPN to simply browse between web pages, the slowdown can be imperceptible, especially with the right VPN, compatible with your location. As a general rule, the further the region of your VPN is from your location, the slower your connection can be. A resident of the Southern United States, for example, will not notice so much difference if he uses a VPN that has a node in a neighboring state. On the other hand, his connection will be greatly slowed down if he has to connect to a node located in the United Kingdom.

The second drawback, in the same vein, is latency. While the raw connection speed determines the speed of page loading and the buffering of streaming media, latency affects the responsiveness of online games. This factor, measured in milliseconds, can have a great influence if you are playing online, and a low latency can be enough to make your game turn into a nightmare. A drop of only 50 ms can indeed be noticeable.

So, if you join an online competition, disable your VPN – or set up a split tunneling, which will allow your traffic to use your standard connection to play, while protecting your other activities using the VPN network.

What are the other advantages of VPN?

VPNs can also encrypt your traffic. Thus, even if your data is captured along the way by cybercriminals, it is unusable without the required encryption key.

The exact management of this feature, the strength of the encryption and the resulting benefits depend on the VPN you have chosen and other factors. However, this is another form of protection that is almost always preferable to activate.

Which VPN to choose?

To choose the best VPN service according to your use, you can refer to our selections :

The 5 best VPN routers of 2023

The 3 best VPN services for Mac in 2023

The 4 best VPNs for streaming in 2022

Android: Which VPN to turn to in 2022?

Which mobile VPN to choose in 2022?

NordVPN vs. Surfshark: Which is the best VPN for you?

Which VPN to turn to for streaming in 2021?


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