Poor man's anonymizer?
June 26, 2011 3:27 PM   Subscribe

Internet ID filter: When i visit a site, then close my browser, then reopen it, and then visit the same site -- does the site see the same IP address for me as before?

Does the IP address my ISP assigns me remain in effect even if I close my browser and reopen it? Do I have to reset my modem to break it?
posted by LonnieK to Technology (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
restarting your browser will generally not be enough to get assigned a new ip address. resetting the modem may or may not work. you can experiment by using a site like what's my ip to see what works for your setup.
posted by jimw at 3:32 PM on June 26, 2011

Yes, your IP address is not requested/assigned by your browser.

Rebooting your modem does not necessarily change your IP either for that matter.
posted by deadwax at 3:32 PM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yes, your IP address stays in effect when you close your browser. Generally you would need to reset your modem to change it. Also you should note that even that does not always change your IP address, depending on how your ISP does things.

You may be interested in using a VPN. VPN service will encrypt your traffic and route it through a server not at your ISP. This serves two purposes. First, your traffic is encrypted until it reaches the VPN, so that your ISP should not be able to read it. Second, your traffic will appear to come from an IP address that is not associated with your ISP, and could be in another city or even another country from you. This can be useful for gaining anonymity or circumventing censorship.
posted by raygan at 3:35 PM on June 26, 2011

This isn't exactly what you asked, but since you used the word "anonymizer" in the headline:

You are always traceable via IP address, even if you keep changing it. Your ISP or cable company has records of what ISP is assigned to who, when, and these records can and have been subpoenaed by law enforcement.

If you really want to be anonymous you need to go through a proxy server or something more complicated like that.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:37 PM on June 26, 2011

For what it's worth, the only times my Comcast IP address has changed in the last 15 years are when I've moved, when I got a new router, or when they were doing some maintenance at the ISP level that caused renumbering.
Even through cable modem reboots and power outages, my IP has mostly remained the same.
posted by jozxyqk at 4:02 PM on June 26, 2011

The way IPs are normally issued from an ISP is via a service called DHCP. This service issues an IP address to your modem when requested. This issued IP comes with an allotted time called a 'lease.'

When you reboot your modem and are still within the lease, you'll get the same IP when requesting from DHCP. When your lease has expired, you'll still have your IP...however the next time you request one it may be different.

If looking for simple anonymous browsing...try a proxy like suggested, or just a web anonymizer like Anonymouse.org
posted by samsara at 4:02 PM on June 26, 2011

Even if you revisit the site using a different IP address, if the site has set any identifying cookies on your browser, the site will still "know" who you are. Actually, proper identification of website users (from the website's perspective) doesn't usually rely on your IP at all, since back in the Bad Old Days a user would usually have a different IP address every time they connected to the Internet with their (telephone) modem, and of course these days laptops and smartphones regularly roam about and use different connections.

If you want to be anonymous, block cookies and use a Web proxy or VPN. This won't stop the government or police, but it will muddy the waters significantly for just about everyone else.

(And if you're worried about Google, there's always Scroogle.)
posted by neckro23 at 5:01 PM on June 26, 2011

Just for the sake of being complete, there is a very, very, very tiny chance that your IP address could change in that instant. It is incredibly unlikely, and if it did change, it would have nothing to do with restarting the browser. But your lease could expire, and you could be assigned a new one that is different. How likely that is depends on your networking setup. Though in any configuration it's still incredibly unlikely.
posted by jeffamaphone at 5:17 PM on June 26, 2011

Oh, and your best bet for anonymity these days is probably Tor. Though I will make no claims about its effectiveness in the face of determined government agencies, etc.
posted by jeffamaphone at 5:18 PM on June 26, 2011

If you want to experiment, hit up whatsmyip, change something, then hit it again. You should see it remain fairly constant.
posted by jeffamaphone at 5:27 PM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

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