How IP addresses affect internet access

Understanding how the internet works is the key to conquering it with the most innovative tools. At the core of every IT device, there is a sequence of numbers – an IP address used to identify a device to ensure proper communication between hardware and software. What looks like a very simple set of digits carries a lot more information about the user and their ability to visit certain websites and experience localized content.

That is the key aspect we would like to focus on – the location assigned to your IP. Because your address is associated with the internet service provider (ISP). In this article, we will discuss the ways your location impacts the web and the content you see. As we continue, you will learn about different versions of the internet and what are the best internet privacy tools to manipulate these rules to your advantage. For example, some countries block access to specific sites, and businesses restrict visits to potential clients from one region. Thankfully, we have internet privacy tools that help us achieve these goals – proxy servers.

For example, a Philippines proxy opens the localized internet in the region. This means you will see the same ads, search engine results, and local website access as an internet user from the Philippines. Giving equal opportunities to all internet users is not worth it, as it would lead to overcrowded servers across the world. However, with a Philippines proxy, or a server from any other location, you can experience the location changes and how they affect your online experience. Keep reading to learn more about these tools, or check out a blog article from Smartproxy – one of the biggest proxy providers in 2023.

Why web servers know your location

For devices that access the web through a public IP address, every visited website will know your approximate location and change the rendered information to adjust to your region. This is usually done by search engines, social media platforms, and online ships to create the most comfortable experience for the visitor.

Thankfully, the information about your location is only approximate. These pages do not know your accurate address (unless you disclose it during account creation or product checkouts) but instead, trace back the information about the region to your ISP.

While this information is not too invasive and does not put you in real danger, being bound to one region forces you to see its advertisements, localized search engine results, and location restrictions that could block you from accessing the content in other regions.

What to do when a website is blocked?

If you cannot access the page with your main IP address, we have two cybersecurity options to bypass limitations: VPNs and Proxy servers.

Change your IP with a VPN

VPNs, also known as Virtual Private Networks, change the direction of your connection, routing it to a remote intermediary server. Its unique strengths are encryption and unique tunneling protocols that make sure the connection stays invisible to any spying attempts.

Even if you connect to the web through a public Wi-FI network, VPN encryption makes sure that the information is encrypted before leaving your device. As it passes the default gateway, it is already protected; therefore, even the owners of the network cannot look inside.

However, VPN services also have drawbacks. The most popular providers rarely have servers in more than 50 locations, and the fleets of available servers only produce a few thousand IPs. Also, the deals from the best providers are often more expensive than proxy servers.

VPNs are a solid choice for a private browsing experience, but they have drawbacks for business-related tasks.

Use proxy servers

Proxy servers are a better alternative due to their simplicity and broader application. First of all, we have two options: datacenter and residential proxies.

Datacenter servers have IPs bunched up in big data centers running on high-end hardware. They are cheaper than residential proxies and produce faster speeds but have no affiliation with internet service providers. When you test your IP address on the internet, the information about your ISP adds legitimacy to the connection, making it look like real, organic internet traffic. Datacenter IPs do not look like normal web traffic, which makes them easy to recognize and ban.

Residential IPs are the addresses used by real computers and smartphones serviced by ISPs. The best proxy providers have massive server fleets with millions of residential addresses in all countries that can be used to mask your connection. Residential addresses provide more options and work better for private browsing sessions and the automation of data scrapers, social media managers, and other bot software.


While IP addresses affect how we see the internet, they can be easily changed with VPNs or proxy servers. With good proxy providers, you can access millions of addresses with hundreds of locations and change the visible content at any time.