An IP address reveals certain information about you. For example, where you’re located (approximately) and what internet-connected devices you use.
What’s more, your ISP or mobile carrier can see what websites you visit through your public IP address.
If the above concerns you, you should hide your IP address. The most common and user-friendly ways to do this are to use a web proxy, or a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
A web proxy (usually available via a website, or web application) lets you route internet traffic from applications on your device to a proxy server, and then on to your web destination.
Proxies are typically setup on an application by application basis, e.g. a web browser.
When you connect to a proxy server, your IP address changes to one assigned by the server. This masks your true IP address while using a proxied application, and the websites you visit only see the proxy’s IP address.
A VPN is a better software version of a web proxy, which you can install and use on most devices.
Like a proxy, VPNs divert your internet traffic through a private server, which assigns you a different IP address.
Unlike proxies, secure VPNs use sophisticated connection protocols (OpenVPN, WireGuard, etc.), and encryption (e.g. AES 256-bit), to further secure your internet data transfers.
The best VPN services route all your internet traffic through a secure VPN Server. They anonymize your web activity, regardless of which application you’re using.