How To Install The qTox Client On Linux

Encrypted messaging is getting big on Linux, and one of the more popular protocols for this type of communication lately is Tox. It’s completely p2p, supports text, video, and has dozens of security and privacy features. The Tox protocol is open source, and the project encourages developers to create their own third-party AppImage to use the chat service. Out of all of the clients out there, qTox client is one of the most popular.

Install Dependencies

The qTox client itself, like all Tox clients, rely on the Tox protocol. On many Linux distributions, there aren’t official packages for the protocol, so you’ll need to build it manually. To compile the protocol, open up a terminal and install the necessary build dependencies. Then follow the commands to compile the code on your system.

Ubuntu

sudo apt-get install \
    build-essential \
    cmake \
    libavcodec-dev \
    libavdevice-dev \
    libavfilter-dev \
    libavutil-dev \
    libexif-dev \
    libgdk-pixbuf2.0-dev \
    libglib2.0-dev \
    libgtk2.0-dev \
    libkdeui5 \
    libopenal-dev \
    libopus-dev \
    libqrencode-dev \
    libqt5opengl5-dev \
    libqt5svg5-dev \
    libsodium-dev \
    libsqlcipher-dev \
    libswresample-dev \
    libswscale-dev \
    libvpx-dev \
    libxss-dev \
    qrencode \
    qt5-default \
    qttools5-dev-tools \
    qttools5-dev \
    git

Debian

Getting qTox built on Debian is no problem, though officially, only Debian 9 Stable (Stretch) has support. Those intending to build this software on Old Stable (8) or Testing (10) do so at your own risk!

In a terminal, install the following dependencies with the Apt-get package manager.

sudo apt-get install \
    automake \
    autotools-dev \
    build-essential \
    check \
    checkinstall \
    cmake \
    ffmpeg \
    libavcodec-dev \
    libavdevice-dev \
    libexif-dev \
    libgdk-pixbuf2.0-dev \
    libgtk2.0-dev \
    libkdeui5 \
    libopenal-dev \
    libopus-dev \
    libqrencode-dev \
    libqt5opengl5-dev \
    libqt5svg5-dev \
    libsodium-dev \
    libsqlcipher-dev \
    libtool \
    libvpx-dev \
    libxss-dev \
    pkg-config \
    qrencode \
    qt5-default \
    qttools5-dev \
    qttools5-dev-tools \
    yasm \
    git

Arch Linux

Arch Linux users should have no issue installing the qTox dependencies, as support for the OS is specifically outlined on the website. However, if you’re on Arch Linux and don’t feel like building the app from source, consider downloading the AUR package of qTox instead.

sudo pacman -S --needed base-devel qt5 openal libxss qrencode ffmpeg opus libvpx libsodium git

Fedora

Getting all necessary dependencies for Fedora Linux is a two-step process. First, open up a terminal and use DNF to install the Fedora development package group.

sudo dnf groupinstall "Development Tools" "C Development Tools and Libraries"

Next, use the terminal to get the special qTox/Toxcore dependencies.

sudo dnf install \
    autoconf \
    automake \
    check \
    check-devel \
    ffmpeg-devel \
    gtk2-devel \
    kf5-sonnet \
    libexif-devel \
    libsodium-devel \
    libtool \
    libvpx-devel \
    libXScrnSaver-devel \
    openal-soft-devel \
    openssl-devel \
    opus-devel \
    qrencode-devel \
    qt5-linguist \
    qt5-qtsvg \
    qt5-qtsvg-devel \
    qt-creator \
    qt-devel \
    qt-doc \
    qtsingleapplication \
    sqlcipher \
    sqlcipher-devel \
    git

OpenSUSE

sudo zypper install \
    libexif-devel \
    libffmpeg-devel \
    libopus-devel \
    libQt5Concurrent-devel \
    libqt5-linguist \
    libQt5Network-devel \
    libQt5OpenGL-devel \
    libqt5-qtbase-common-devel \
    libqt5-qtsvg-devel \
    libQt5Xml-devel \
    libsodium-devel \
    libvpx-devel \
    libXScrnSaver-devel \
    openal-soft-devel \
    patterns-openSUSE-devel_basis \
    qrencode-devel \
    sqlcipher-devel \
    sonnet-devel \
    git

Generic Linux

Linux users who want qTox and all of its components will need to visit the installation page and learn about what to install to build the code successfully. Alternatively, there is a qTox AppImage available. The AppImage will get the job done, though by not compiling it from source, the program will not be optimized for your PC.

Compiling Toxcore

At the center of qTox is the Tox protocol (aka toxcore). Toxcore is the main dependency, and without it, the qTox program will not build correctly. Luckily, building and installing the Tox protocol on a Linux system is super simple.

Start the installation process of Toxcore by grabbing the latest code in a terminal with the Git tool.

git clone https://github.com/toktok/c-toxcore.git toxcore

CD into the new “toxcore” folder and run cmake.

cd toxcore
cmake .

Build the Toxcore software by executing the make command.

make -j$(nproc)

Lastly, finish up the process by installing Toxcore.

sudo make install
echo '/usr/local/lib/' | sudo tee -a /etc/ld.so.conf.d/locallib.conf

sudo ldconfig

Install qTox Client

Toxcore is working, so now it’s time to build the qTox client and install it on Linux. Like with toxcore, building the qTox client starts by cloning the code locally via Git.

git clone https://github.com/qTox/qTox.git

With the qTox code on your Linux PC, use the CD command and move the terminal into the sources folder.

cd qTox

Inside the sources folder, run cmake to generate a makefile.

cmake .

Compile the qTox code on your Linux PC with the make command.

make -j$(nproc)

Install the software on your Linux PC with make install.

sudo make install

Using qTox

Launch the qTox app on your Linux desktop. After the app finishes starting up, you’ll notice a login window. If you’ve already got a Tox account, log in with your user information. Alternatively, select the “New Profile” button, and create a new user.

Once you’re in qTox, you’ll be able to add friends by pasting their ID codes into the “Tox ID” box, under the “add friend menu”.

Read How To Install The qTox Client On Linux by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

The Best Cloud Gaming Services for Streaming Video Games

Around 2015, a few companies started to pop up that offer “cloud gaming,” a service promising to turn your cheap laptop into a high powered gaming rig through the power of “the cloud” (and a fast internet connection). A lot has changed in the few years, and cloud gaming is now a fully realized service, with many different options from which to choose.

What is The WPA3 WiFi Security Standard?

Your router comes with a layer of security that keeps the network safe. To the average person, this security is the password they need to enter in order to connect to the network but it’s far more complicated than that if you look under the hood. The password is part of the security protocol that a router uses to keep your network and your connection safe and your router isn’t the only one that employs a security protocol.

Your devices, whether it’s your phone or your computer, also make use of a security protocol to protect your online activity as well as your devices from hackers. At present, all devices and routers use the WPA2 security protocol but that is going to change over the course of the next few years. The next WiFi security standard developed by the WiFi Alliance is ready for certification. Dubbed WPA3, this new security protocol is built to tackle the shortcomings of WPA2, and meet the security needs of growing IoT devices.

WPA3 WiFi Security Standard

The WPA3 WiFi security standard is the successor of WPA2. At present, it’s only in its certification stage and you can’t find a device that supports it just yet. Once it rolls out though, it will make WiFi, particularly public WiFi more secure. It will also plug security holes created by IoT devices on your network, make hacking your network much more difficult, and encrypt your data better.

Protection Against Brute Force Attacks

WPA3 offers protection against brute force attacks. At present, the WPA2 protocol allows hackers to basically bombard your network with attempt after attempt at guessing the password. In many cases, they succeed by sheer force and volume of tries but also by relying on intelligent guesswork, and poor password setting conventions followed by users. With WPA3, this method will no longer work because passwords are authenticated differently. Each password attempt forces the device to communicate with the network. The devices will authenticate differently compared to the way they did in WPA2 making a brute force attack much less effective.

 

WiFi Easy Connect

One of the chief things this new protocol targets is security for IoT. WPA2 never had to deal with devices that had no proper control panel for connecting to networks. At the time, not many people might have envisioned their fridge or thermostat connecting to the internet, or their WiFi network but that is how things are today. To make it easier to connect these devices to your network, WPA3 has WiFi easy connect whereby a reliable device already connected to your network such as your phone will scan a QR code on your router and the device you want to connect to. Your phone will act as an intermediary to connect the device to your network. Easy Connect is optional so while it’s a great new addition, users will need to consciously look for and buy devices that support it if they want to use it.

Data Encryption On Public WiFi

It’s no secret that public WiFi is never considered safe. Even for private WiFi networks, security experts recommend using a VPN to keep your data safe. With WPA3, you no longer have to worry about public WiFi being unsafe. If the router, and your device both support this protocol your data on the network will be encrypted.

Impact On Devices

Devices, both routers and network cards used in phones and computers, will need to be updated to this standard. In some cases, existing routers and devices will be able to switch to WPA3 with a firmware or driver update however, in most cases you’re looking at buying new hardware. This means buying a new phone, a new computer, and a new router. It might sound expensive but the new protocol will become common in the next few years and most people are likely to buy a new device. Older devices that can only support WPA2 will still be able to connect to a router that supports WPA3 so you’re not going to wake up one day with a device that cannot connect to the internet.

At present, there are no devices that comply with WPA3. Certifications for it have only been announced a few days ago and it will take a reasonable amount of time for device manufacturers to become certified. Only time will tell which existing devices can be updated, and which ones need an upgrade.

Read What is The WPA3 WiFi Security Standard? by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

6 Best WAN Optimization Tools We’ve Put to Test in 2018

Wide Area Networks, or WANs, are common in large organizations with multiple locations. A WAN allows network connectivity between each site and can allow, for example, users on one site to use resources located on another site. Unfortunately, WANs don’t always offer the level of performance users expect. They often have limited bandwidth and can easily get congested. To improve performance, two main options exist: Increasing bandwidth or optimizing. The price of increasing bandwidth is often prohibitive, leaving optimization as the only viable solution. Today, to help you see clearly through the maze of optimization products and solutions available, we’re having a look at some of the best WAN optimization tools.

Since we can’t assume that everyone has the same knowledge of WANs, we’ll start off our discussion by explaining what they are and, more importantly, why they often suffer from performance degradation and slowdowns. Then, we’ll talk about optimizing WANs. We’ll tell you what it means, why you should do it and how it can be done. We’ll finally be ready to introduce the best tools for WAN optimization. We’ve picked five of the best and most reputable ones and we’ll briefly review each of them, discussing their main features, advantages, and drawbacks.

Wide Area Networks In A Nutshell

Networks started as a local thing. Early networks were intended to connect several computers in a small business to share resources. For instance, all interconnected computers could use a common printer connected to one of them. To differentiate them from large inter-university inter-networks, they were called Local Area Networks, or LANs. They were essentially peer-to-peer installations where multiple computers shared their resources. It eventually became common practice to dedicate one of the computers—usually the most powerful one—to provide its resources to its peers. The server was born.

Larger organizations with multiple sites soon saw an advantage in interconnecting their various locations. It would allow for easy transfer of documents from one site to the other and could even allow for centralized servers, with smaller office having only workstations that use resources from a remotely located server. These networks became known as Wide Area Networks or WANs.

In simple terms, a WAN is simply a bunch of LANs interconnected together. Now this interconnection can be done in several ways. In the beginning, serial communication over telephone lines using modems was used. Then data transmission services became available in the form of ISDN and then broadband services. Each evolutionary stage typically provided more bandwidth and lower prices.

Causes Of WAN Performance Degradation or Slowdowns

Performance degradation is common with WANs and it is usually reported by users as slowdowns. Users will complain that it takes forever to open a document located on a remote server whereas opening a local document is quick.

There is one single cause which accounts for probably 99% of all WAN performance degradation issues: network congestion. Network congestion is exactly like traffic congestion. WAN circuits, the physical links that interconnect various locations all have a certain capacity. And that capacity is limited. You can think of a WAN link as a highway between two cities. It too has a limited capacity. A five-lane highway can obviously carry more traffic than a two-lane one. And what happens when the amount of traffic exceeds the road capacity? Traffic jams. Well, congestion is the traffic jam of networks.

WAN circuits are usually expensive. Very expensive when compared to LANs. For that reason, organizations typically install the smallest circuit that will suit their current needs. But, just like disk space, network bandwidth is something you always need more of. Eventually, most WAN circuits will become congested. When that happens, two options are available: increasing the circuit’s capacity or optimizing its usage. Optimization, you would have guessed, is what we’re interested in today.

WAN Optimization: The What

In one sentence, WAN optimization is simply making the best use of the limited available resources of a WAN circuit. Concretely, this could be achieved in several ways. In its most basic form, optimization can be achieved through regulating usage. An organization could, for instance, have a usage policy that forbids sending emails with attachments bigger than a certain size or using the Internet for personal purposes.

Another typical way that WAN circuits can be optimized is through data compression. You can think of it as zipping the data before sending it over the WAN. Modern compression algorithms can achieve impressing compression ratios, greatly reducing the required bandwidth.

Traffic shaping is another popular optimization method. Traffic shaping simply means the prioritization of certain traffic that is considered more “important” over other traffic which is less. For instance, an organization could decide to give high priority to traffic related to its ERP system and low priority to Internet browsing.

We’ll soon see how these optimizations can be implemented but first, let’s have a look at why optimization is useful.

WAN Optimization: The Why

While the obvious solution to WAN performance degradation seems to be to increase the bandwidth, it might not always be the best option. There are several reasons for that. First, bandwidth is expensive. In fact, it can be very expensive. Imagine a WAN connection that uses a technology that is already used to its maximum capacity. Increasing bandwidth, in this particular situation, would entail replacing the circuit with a different technology.

Another important reason not to increase bandwidth is that it is only a temporary measure. Eventually, you will run out of bandwidth again and will have to start over. In the long run, there is no way this can be economically sensible.

Bandwidth optimization, on the other hand, is relatively inexpensive–especially when compared to frequent bandwidth increases–and most of the time very scalable. You can deploy some optimization technology today and gradually apply more and more bandwidth-saving features as your utilization increases. In the long term, it seems clear that optimization will serve you better.

WAN Optimization: The How

There are several ways that bandwidth can be optimized. Let’s briefly review the main ones. The first technique is called deduplication. It works by eliminating the transfer of redundant data at the byte level and by sending references instead of the actual data. Compression is similar to deduplication but relies on data patterns that can be represented more efficiently. The technique is similar to the compression of files but it is applied on-the-fly by optimization systems.

Caching and proxying are two techniques that rely on human behavior to achieve optimization. If, for instance, it is observed that the same chunk of data is transferred multiple times, it makes sense to keep a copy of it where users need it rather than fetching it over the WAN each time.

Traffic shaping is another common technique used for WAN optimization. The idea here is to control the data flow for specific applications. It gives administrators the power to determine which applications take precedence over others. It is commonly used to prevent one protocol or application from hogging all the available bandwidth. Some traffic shaping systems can also optimize traffic on a per-user basis in addition to per-application. Prioritization is achieved either by using multiple queues with different priorities, by reserving part of the bandwidth for priority traffic, or often a combination of both

Finally, latency optimization is yet another way that WANs can be optimized. Latency optimization is a broad term which can include TCP window size scaling, selective acknowledgments, or layer 3 congestion control algorithms. Co-location strategies where applications are moved closer to their users is also a form of latency optimization, albeit a manual one.

The Best Tools For WAN Optimization

Several of the best-known vendors of networking equipment have solutions for WAN Optimization. We’ve explored the market trying to find some of the best solutions. Most of the solutions in this field are hardware appliances as they often provide the best combination of functionality and performance. The various solutions are listed in no particular order as it is impossible to rank them against one another.

1. SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (Free Trial)

Our first entry is not an optimization tool per se but we’ve decided to include it as it is a tool that you should probably install before you even start thinking about WAN optimization. It is a bandwidth monitoring tool. You can use it to monitor bandwidth utilization on all your WAN circuits. This will enable you to better plan the deployment of your optimization efforts and also to measure their effectiveness.

SolarWinds is a well-known name in the network administration field. The company has been making some excellent tools for years. It is also known for its free tools that address some specific needs of network and system administrators. Its free Kiwi syslog server or subnet calculator are among the most popular.

The Network Performance Monitor, or NPM, is SolarWinds’ flagship product. This is a network monitoring platform that uses the Simple Network Management Protocol to poll network devices, read their interface’s bit counters, compute bandwidth utilization, and display it on graphs depicting their evolution over time. In the context of bandwidth optimization, it’s an excellent tool to evaluate and measure the current baseline. Comparing it with the post-optimization measurements will provide a quantitative and objective evaluation of the improvement.

SolarWinds NPM - Network Summary

NPM features a user-friendly GUI interface that administrators can use to monitor devices and to configure the tool. Talking about configuration, adding a device is just a matter of specifying its IP address and SNMP community string. The software also has some very useful alerting features that can automatically notify you when something abnormal–such as a circuit going down or utilization exceeding a predefined threshold–happens. NPM is easily scalable from the smallest networks to large installations with hundreds of devices spread over multiple sites.

Price-wise, the SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor starts at just under $3 000 and varies according to the number of devices to monitor. A free 30-day trial is available from SolarWinds so you can try the product to make sure it fits your need.

FREE 30-DAY TRIAL: SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor

2. Riverbed Steelhead SD

The Riverbed Steelhead SD appliance is arguably one of the best solutions out there. Its immense popularity partly stems from the fact that it proposes a set-and-forget approach to optimization. Riverbed claims the device can be set up in fifteen minutes. Once the devices are installed and configured behind the routers at each end of a WAN circuit, they immediately start optimizing traffic.

RiverBed SteelHead SD - Front View

The Riverbed Steelhead SD uses several powerful technologies to accomplish its feat. First, the device uses a form of compression where multiple packets are compressed into one, thereby reducing the latency. The system also uses data referencing which is a type of deduplication. This is an “intelligent” process that can achieve speed improvements of 60% to 90%. Transaction prediction is another way the Riverbed Steelhead SD can optimize WANs by predicting what users are about to do. For example, if a user clicks on a file name, chances are he will download it. The appliance will, therefore, start downloading it right away.

3. Blue Coat PacketShaper

The Blue Coat PacketShaper, now from Symantec after they acquired Blue Coat a couple of years ago has been optimizing WANs for almost 20 years. It is by far one of the best-known WAN optimizing solutions You’ll get from the name that the main technology it uses is traffic shaping.

The Blue Coat PacketShaper will easily identify all business and cloud applications, and application traffic. It provides easy-to-deploy policies for managing application traffic. It can guarantee bandwidth for critical applications while prioritizing them. Of course, that bandwidth guarantee comes at the cost of other non-important or disruptive traffic that the PacketShaper will constrain.

BlueCoat PacketShaper 7500

The PacketShaper provides a full 360° view of the network and it monitors the network traffic on all ports and protocols. The PacketShaper reports provide insights on application and user behaviors that can impact network performance or integrity. Furthermore, its built-in reporting feature delivers pre-configured reports for a quick overview of important network statistics.

4. Citrix NetScaler SD-WAN

Citrix claims that the NetScaler SD-WAN is the only one to combine proactive application traffic management, end-to-end QoS, routing, and WAN optimization. The system’s goal is to deliver a better branch office user experience for SaaS, enterprise, and virtual desktop applications. It can help lower network costs, simplify remote office networking, and provide visibility into application performance.

Citrix NetScaler

The NetScaler SD-WAN uses data compression and deduplication for faster app performance. It also supports a broad set of acceleration protocols, including industry-leading HDX acceleration for faster application delivery. The system offers centralized policy definition and integrated WAN Optimization configuration which makes building a software-defined WAN intuitive and simple. It also features dynamic routing which learns about network changes and can it be deployed as a branch WAN router.

This system is also a great security appliance. It has an integrated application-aware firewall, making it simple to deploy centralized firewall policies. With its built-in encryption and tunneling capabilities, it doesn’t require the use of a VPN to establish remote office connections over the public Internet.

5. Cisco Solutions

Cisco is certainly the best-known name when it comes to networking. And with the broad portfolio of solutions the company offers, it’s no surprise that it includes WAN optimization. In fact, Cisco has a whole range of products and solution to address WAN optimization. Let’s see what they are.

First, there is Cisco SD-WAN. This solution works by selecting the most efficient link for each application. You’d typically use it in a remote office that has a WAN link and an Internet circuit. Cisco SD-WAN could then automatically route unimportant traffic through the Internet, leaving the WAN available for business-critical applications.

As good as Cisco SD-WAN is, it does not directly address latency, jitter, and packet loss introduced over the WAN. Cisco WAAS uses a combination of techniques and application acceleration features to overcome the most common challenges associated with transporting traffic over a WAN. It applies per-application protocol acceleration and caching techniques to WAN traffic flows, making sure your apps operate properly. Cisco claims that WAAS will make “applications operate over the WAN as well as they do over the LAN”.

Cisco WaaS

WAAS can also be combined with cloud caching services from Akamai—a leader in content distribution—and deliver optimization by “extending the Akamai Intelligent Platform directly into your branch router.” Furthermore, all the Cisco solutions can be centrally managed, monitored, designed, and configured using Cisco DNA Center and Virtual Central Manager for WAAS.

6. Silver Peak NX & VX

Silver Peak offers several solutions in the Software-Defined WAN, hybrid WAN, and WAN optimization and acceleration field. Its NX WAN optimization appliances sit between network resources and the WAN infrastructure and let you overcome network bandwidth, distance, and quality challenges when moving application data over the WAN.

Silver Peak NX-1700

The Silver Peak NX appliances do not require any client, server, or application reconfiguration to operate. These devices are the industry’s highest-performance WAN optimization devices according to Silver Peak. Devices are available for the smallest branch office to the huge data center, supporting up to 5 Gbps of WAN bandwidth and 512 000 simultaneous flows. The system is also available in a virtual form as the Silver Peak WX which can run on virtually (pun totally intended) any hypervisor.

Conclusion

No matter what solution you choose, all the products reviewed here will provide excellent value. And a monitoring solution such as the SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor will help you with the planning phase of your deployment and allow you to demonstrate the improvements. There might be several reasons why you choose to optimize your WAN but in the end, the biggest advantage of WAN optimization is that users of your network will benefit from the best possible experience.

Read 6 Best WAN Optimization Tools We’ve Put to Test in 2018 by Renaud Larue-Langlois on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to Hide Your IP Address on Android: 3 Easy Solutions

An IP address is a unique string of digits that represents your specific device, and it can be used to track your online activities. If you are concerned about privacy or if you want to improve your security, then hiding your IP address is an important step in improving your overall digital protection.

It is particularly important to hide your IP address from your phone, as it holds a huge amount of information about yourself and your location as well as your online activities. Android is by far the most popular mobile operating system in the world, so knowing how to hide your IP address on this OS is an immensely valuable skill. Read on for an in-depth tutorial on how to hide your IP address on Android.

How Android Users Are Assigned An IP Address

Whenever your phone connects to an online network, it is automatically assigned an IP address. This is a string of numerical characters which is used to uniquely identify your device’s connection to the internet, as well as to alert websites of where you are physically located in the world. With this information, ISPs and websites (along with other third parties) can effectively track your activity online, as well as your geographical movements. Scary stuff, right? Luckily, a large degree of anonymity can be retained by simply masking your real IP address with that of a VPN’s proxy server.

Why Android Users May Want To Hide Their IP Address

There are many reasons that Android users might want to hide their IP address, such as the following:

Protect Your Privacy

When you leave your actual IP address exposed, any site that you visit can record your IP address and keep records of your activity on that site. This means that there exists a record of all of the sites that you visit and all of your online activities, which are linked by your IP. Your ISP or the government can easily use your IP address to keep tabs on you, even when you try to use a site anonymously. Hiding your IP address makes it much harder for your online activities to be tracked.

Download in Safety

If you are going to participate in file sharing, then you absolutely need to take steps to protect yourself. This is especially important if you use torrent files, as when you download using these files, you expose your IP address while others download from you. This means that it is very easy for your downloading activities to be tracked. By hiding your IP address, you throw down a virtual smoke bomb that makes it impossible for third-parties to see what you’re downloading, or even that you’re downloading anything in the first place.

Improve Your Security

When your IP address is public, it can be used to target you for cyber attacks. For example, a DDoS attack occurs when a person wants to knock your device off the internet. This type of attack, called a distributed denial of service attack, works by co-ordinating various machines from around the world to send huge packets of data to the same IP address – in this case, your IP address – to overwhelm the server you are connected to and thus knock you offline. You can protect yourself against DDoS attacks, as well as other cyber attacks such as phishing and vishing, by hiding your IP address so that malicious actors cannot target you.

Bypass Regional Restrictions and Censorship

One way that IP addresses are used by websites is to restrict the access to content based on the location of the user. For example, sites like the BBC iPlayer can only be used to watch video within the UK. When you try to visit the iPlayer website, the site reads your IP address and works out your location. If your location is within the UK, you are allowed to watch the videos, but if your location is elsewhere then the videos will not play. This means that if you want to want region locked content like the BBC from outside the UK on your Android device, then you will need to hide your IP address.

How To Hide Your IP Address On Android

The best way to hide your IP address on Android is to use a virtual private network. A VPN works by installing an app on your Android device, and this app then encrypts all of the data that your device sends over the internet before it leaves your device. This encrypted data passes through your internet connection as usual, though no one else can access the data or read it. The data is then sent to a server located elsewhere in the location of your choosing, and at the server it is decrypted and sent on to its original destination. When the data leaves this server, it is assigned a new IP address which corresponds to the location of the server rather than your actual location.

This process means that your real IP address is masked behind the new address assigned to you by the server. If you are based in one location – such as Germany, for example – you can connect to a server in another location – such as the UK – and your German IP address will be hidden behind a UK IP address. Then, when you visit a website, you will appear to be browsing from the UK and you can access UK content like the BBC iPlayer. This also means that your real IP address will be kept safe and private.

Using A VPN App On Android

The particular app that you will use to connect to your VPN server on Android depends on the VPN provider that you choose. However, the general principals of these apps are all the same. When you open a VPN app for Android, you will not yet be connected to the VPN. First you need to find the list of servers that are available in the VPN app. Often this will be on a separate tab in the form of an alphabetical list, or there may be a map showing locations of available servers.

Decide which server that you want to connect to, based on the following factors:

  • Firstly, consider the country of the server. If you want to access region locked content, then you need to select a server in the region where you want to access the content from. Alternatively, if you do not need to access region locked content, then you should choose a server that is nearby to your actual location for the best possible speeds.
  • Secondly, look at the ping and load of the servers. The ping is an indicator of how fast the server is responding to messages sent to it, so you want a server with a low ping so that it will respond quickly and you can get a fast connection. The load indicates how many users are currently using the server, so you want a server with a low load so that you are not sharing limited resources with too many other people.

Once you have selected the server that will best meet your needs, click on the name of the server and you should see a message indicating that you are being connected to that server (it should only take a few seconds for the connection to be made). Once the connection is made, you will see an indicator on the app that the VPN is running, usually in the form of a green light or icon. You will also see a key symbol in your Android status bar to show that you are connected to a VPN.

Now your IP address is hidden, and most VPN apps will show you your new IP address if you navigate to the home screen. This means you can now browse the internet sagely and privately from your Android device.

Recommended VPNs For Android

There is a massive selection of VPNs available for various devices, so to help you choose which VPN provider is right for you we have compiled a list of our top VPNs for Android, based on the following criteria:

  1. Software support for Android and other operating systems, so that you can install your VPN and use it to protect your Windows, Mac, and iOS devices as well as your Android device.
  2. Excellent security to keep your data safe and private, such as the use of strong 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy so that your online activities will never be recorded.
  3. Fast connections so that using your VPN doesn’t slow down your browsing or downloading too much.
  4. Many servers available so that you can easily find a server in the location that you need, and that doesn’t have a high load on it.

Considering these factors, here are the VPNs that we recommend for Android:

1. ExpressVPN – Best Mobile VPN

ExpressVPN is a top-recommended VPN not only for Android, but across most major platforms. This is largely due to its foolproof user interface, which places simplicity front and center while backing it up with considerable security provisions. All you’ll see on your android device when you fire the app up is a simple green “on” button, which automatically connects you to the nearest server. Of course, you can take a look under the hood and manually select one of their 2000+ servers located in 94 countries to dial in your VPN experience.

Underlying this streamlined user experience is unbreakable 256-bit AES encryption, and a no-nonsense logging policy which guarantees never to track your traffic online. Extra features include a built-in speed test and the option to launch the app upon starting your Android, ensuring that you’re never without VPN protection. Your subscription extends protection to your other devices as well, including Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Linux, and more.

Read our full ExpressVPN review here.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL: Sign up for a year with ExpressVPN at $6.67 per month and get 3 months FREE! There’s also an amazing risk-free 30-day money back guarantee, just in case you’re not completely satisfied.

2. NordVPN – Advanced Options Galore

NordVPN is an exceptional provider among the greater VPN market largely due to its massive offering of servers. To date, their network numbers 4827 nodes across 62 countries, which on its own is an almost ludicrously large amount. However, where NordVPN truly shines is with its array of specialty servers which are optimised for a variety of tasks, such as P2P, anti-DDoS, onion over VPN, double VPN encryption and more. Whatever you may want to do online, NordVPN will help you do it in the utmost security without compromising on performance.

Speaking of which, NordVPN offers some of the fastest connection speeds on the market. This is especially useful for those Android devices with gorgeous full-HD displays that are so often used as mobile streaming centres. And yes, NordVPN does work with Netflix and Hulu! You just have to spoof your IP address in the country where you want access, kick back, and enjoy your streams. If you have trouble connecting, NordVPN has graciously provided troubleshooting guides on their website and is directly available via their customer service.

The Android app makes it easy to select your preferred server with an attractive map interface. Backing this exceptional utility is industry-standard 256-bit AES encryption, and one of the most comprehensive no-logging policies you’ll find anywhere. The icing on the cake? NordVPN offers dedicated IP addresses, so you can hide your location without getting caught in the same dragnet as the shared IPs offered by most VPNs. Your subscription will cover your other devices as well, including Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Chrome OS and even Windows Phone.

Read our full NordVPN review here.

HUGE DEAL: Get a 77% discount on the 3 year subscription, just $2.75 a month! All plans are backed by a 30 day money back guarantee.

3. CyberGhost – Easy To Use

CyberGhost focuses on ease of use, making it ideal for new users who do not have a lot of experience with VPNs. Towards this end, the Android app has a simple graphical interface which makes it dead simple to use. However, this simplicity doesn’t come at a cost to security, as CyberGhost boasts the incredible 256-bit AES encryption along with a strict no logging policy. What’s more, there are over  2200 servers available in 60 countries to choose from, giving you a truly unlimited internet.

Perhaps most importantly to Android users seeking to hide their IP addresses is the option for a dedicated IP address. This is especially useful since many VPN blocking efforts such as those deployed by Netflix target the shared IP addresses which most VPNs offer. Having your own unique, masked IP address opens up a world of possibility. Regardless of where or how you choose to connect, CyberGhost promises fast and reliable connections across its entire network.

CyberGhost’s incredible protection is available across multiple platforms in addition to your Android device, including iOS, Windows, and Mac OS.

Read our full CyberGhost review here.

Get a 71% discount on CyberGhost’s two-year plan, for payments as low as $3.50 per month.

Conclusion

Android users may want to hide their IP address for a variety of reasons, such as improving digital security and protecting from DDoS and other attacks, getting around regional restrictions to access the internet more freely, to download files more safely, and to protect their privacy. All of this can be achieved through the use of a VPN which allows you to mask your real address behind an IP address assigned by the VPN server. We have recommended a number of VPNs which provide dedicated software for Android devices.

Have you tried any of these VPNs for Android? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

Read How to Hide Your IP Address on Android: 3 Easy Solutions by Georgina Jones on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter