Every digital device connected to the internet has an IP address. With an identity provided by an internet service provider (ISP), we need IPs to find the right recipients and only send data to the desired destination.
However, the average web user is often unaware of how information is contained within their IP address. In addition to identification that organizes devices into subnetworks in the Wide Area Network, IPs can be used to determine your approximate geographical location.
Unwillingly giving up location information during all connections sounds frightening, but having this data within the network identity has some benefits too. In this article, we will describe how the approximate location of your IP address affects your browsing experience. By understanding how visited websites change depending on where you are, you will also be able to manipulate your version of the internet with web privacy tools that change your IP address.
For example, we will go over VPNs that change your location, encrypt internet traffic, and cover proxy servers. This most lightweight solution keeps letting you change your geolocation at will. Do you want to visit a website in the Philippines, but it is unavailable where you live? With Philippines proxy, you can lift these restrictions and navigate under a completely different IP address. If a Philippines proxy does not unblock your desired website, you can choose a new location and network identity and try again. The best proxy providers have different types of IPs and servers worldwide. You can choose either a Philippines proxy or any other address in southeast Asia.
Although having your location tracked, even if it is not extremely accurate, can feel daunting and uncomfortable, website localization creates a smooth browsing experience. If you visit a page that has been adjusted to welcome visitors worldwide, the region information in your IP address helps the web server find an appropriate, translated version of the page and automate this process for all visitors.
These changes are beneficial for e-commerce, whereupon a visit, you see prices and shipping options for the right currency and appropriate locations. Other websites, including social media pages, use this information to present the most relevant ads and avoid marketing products and services unavailable in your region.
Search engines like Google take a step further, basing the relevancy of search results pages on your location to help the user find data, goods, and services according to the most important keywords for the region.
The average browsing experience would not be as smooth without location tracking, and most internet users do not mind approximate location tracking as long as the website does not know the exact home or apartment you reside in.
Of course, because there are no direct options to opt out of location tracking, and plenty of web server owners, as well as government agencies, use the approximate geolocation within the IP address to restrict access to visitors from different regions, or block off the undesired parts of the internet, a move often utilized by authoritarian countries. Thankfully, we have an arsenal of internet privacy tools that can change our IP address.
Now that we know there are tools to change your digital location, which option is better: a VPN or a proxy server? Let’s go over these options to choose a suitable and affordable solution.
VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, are large-scale networks of specialized servers which act as middlemen for our connections. Before reaching the intended destination, the data packets go through a VPN server to obtain a new identity and, with it — a new geolocation. VPN servers use encryption protocols to protect the data on its way to a remote server. This is great for accessing the internet via public networks, as it will prevent any third parties from spying on your connection. The main downsides of VPNs are pricing and quantity of available IPs. VPNs are expensive and usually give you no more than a few thousand IP addresses that are constantly shared by multiple people.
Proxy servers are a far simpler alternative that offers more for your buck. You can choose fast datacenter addresses or more private residential proxies and get access to a fleet of millions of addresses for countries all over the world. While VPNs are robust for average connections used by most web surfers, proxy servers let you protect automated bots and equip them with different identities without endangering your main IP. With access to more locations, you can unblock restricted websites and even use data collection software to its full potential without endangering your primary identity given by your internet service provider.
Every device we use to access the internet has an IP address with approximate geolocation linked to you. This information is often used to restrict access to specific websites or, for good — to localize websites and make them easier for native speakers. With proxy servers, you can change your location and access a different version of the internet.
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