Today while playing games online, some might consider hiding your IP Address for some reason and question if it is even possible. The short answer is yes, it is possible but it comes with quite a few caveats. This is because typically; when playing a game online, you care very much about response time and how quickly your machine and the Internet can send the game server data and receive it. This aspect of online gaming is referred to as latency or lag. While the latency on a game can never go below a certain point as a person's physical location and distance away affect this, adding layered overhead processes between the player sending data and receiving data from the server can negatively affect this. And as it so happens, all the methods in which one can use to hide their IP Address would generate some overhead and negatively affect this; some more so than others. When players have bad latency or lag while playing only games, the experience they get while playing the game deteriorates exponentially and can quite often cause them to be unable to play the game altogether.
Why would you hide your IP address?
You may ask why would anyone want to hide your IP address if it will cause their gaming experience to be worse or even unplayable? Well for starters, there are some games that are region-locked; meaning, only players within a certain region can access that game's servers. This is a very common thing in Korean Massively-Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) which are also quite popular. Because they check the user's IP Address to ensure it is a Korean one, they can stop non-Korean players from accessing the servers, giving incentive for westerners and others to look into methods of how to hide or spoof their IP Address to connect to the game servers.
Another reason might be to avoid some of the predatory advertisements a game company might spam a person with. When a player connects to a server, that server and its owner can essentially gather a plethora of information on that player because of their IP Address. They can cross-reference them to other websites the company owns and then match a series of advertisements that they might deem relevant to the player and push them into the player's face through their account (as all online games require some account and email setup to be usable).
There are also cases of some game companies getting hacked and then having their players' information exposed and shared to others on the internet who might use it for any number of nefarious reasons. Hacking game companies and servers was a lot more prevalent in earlier years when space was still young and developers and network engineers didn't follow best practices for security but even today, it is still known to happen every so often.
How to Hide Your IP Address While Playing Games Online?
So if you're considering hiding your IP Address, some good methods right off the bat to consider are VPNs, proxy sites, and proxy servers. Starting with VPNs first, virtual private networks are the modern-day solution that many uses as it creates a direct and secure connection between the user and a VPN server. Through this, one can achieve a spoofing of their IP Address which means the game server does not actually have the user's real IP Address. However, the caveat with VPNs is that they usually carry some network overhead in this connection as they add a layered process of encryption of data every time data is sent or received; meaning, while playing the game the player will definitely experience increased levels of lag.
Proxy sites are an older technology but one that still provides the capability of essentially hiding a person's IP Address. These work by essentially having the user go to a website first to act as a proxy and then enter the game's server through that website. The proxy site essentially acts as a middle-man between the two and relays the data sent and received between each of them. The problems with this technology, however, are more than just the latency issues of this (which can potentially be even more than a VPN because of where the website's server might be physically hosted from), but also a matter of security. Having to trust that the proxy website which your data is funneling your data through doesn't snoop or sniff the packets themselves is a very worrying thing. There is also the fact that this method is only really feasible with games that are browser-based games meaning it's quite limited in today's gaming world.
To a solution of proxy sites, proxy servers also came about which functioned as a proxy site but with the added bonus of taking away the website as a frontend. This meant one would first connect to the proxy server which would then have instructions to connect to the specific game; however, this setup and method still faced the majority of the problems of proxy sites. The only issue this method solved was the ability to allow others to use it for more than just browser-based games.
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