How to hide your IP address (8 ways, 6 are free) – Comparitech
I’ll show you how I hide my IP address as well as several other ways to change or hide an IP address free of charge. Your IP address can be used to track your device and location over the internet, so start hiding your IP now!
@pabischoff UPDATED: March 31, 2021
An IP address is a string of numbers and decimals that identifies your device and location. If you’re connected to the internet, then you have an IP address.
Your public IP address is unique and visible to everyone on the internet, so it can be used to track you and wall you off from region-locked content.
Because I like privacy and dislike censorship, I prefer to hide my IP address from internet providers, hackers, governments, advertisers and others. In this article, I’ll explain a few free and paid methods you can use to hide your IP address, as well as a few ways to change your IP address.
What’s my IP address?
In order to hide your IP address, you first have to know what it is. This is easy; just go to Google and enter “what’s my IP address? ”
You’ll see something like this:
123. 45. 67. 89
Specifically, that’s an IPv4 address. Some of you might have IPv6 connectivity, although it hasn’t been adopted everywhere yet. If your internet provider offers IPv6 on its network, you can look up your IPv6 address as well.
It’ll look something more like this:
For the most part, these two addresses serve the same purpose. If you want to hide your IPv4 address, then you’ll probably want to hide your IPv6 address as well, if you have one.
You can learn more about the differences between IPv4 and IPv6 here, but I won’t get too deep into that in this article.
Your IP address probably changes once in a while due to how the internet works, but you are the only one with your current IP address on the entire internet. Similar to physical addresses, IP addresses allow computers on the internet to find each other and communicate. IP addresses are an integral part of the IP protocol, the foundation on which the internet is built. Again, I’ll sidestep the nitty gritty details on how the IP protocol works.
8 ways to hide your IP address
#1. Use a VPN to hide your IP address
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network is a software service that encrypts all of the data sent to and from the internet and routes it through a VPN server in another location. The VPN server acts as a middleman between your device and the internet, so websites and online apps only see the server’s IP address and not your own.
Most VPNs are subscription services that cost a few dollars per month for access to hundreds or even thousands of servers around the world. You just need to sign up and download the apps for your devices. After that, hiding your IP address just takes a couple of clicks. It’s really easy.
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Here’s how to hide your IP address:
First off, check your current IP address by Googling, “what’s my IP? ”
Sign up for a VPN. We recommend NordVPN.
Download the VPN app onto your device. Windows and Mac users usually get their app from the provider’s website. iOS and Android users get their app from the App Store and Google Play, respectively.
Install the VPN app and run it.
Sign in using the account credentials you created in step two.
Select a server or server location. Your new IP address will be that of this server.
Click the Connect button or double-tap the server to initiate a connection.
Once the connection has been established, you will have a new IP address. To confirm, Google “what’s my IP? ” Your new IP address should be different than in step one.
Here’s a video of how to hide your IP address with a VPN
Most commercial VPN providers, including NordVPN, use shared IP addresses, meaning that all VPN users connected to the same server are hidden behind the same IP address–that of the VPN server.
A VPN that uses shared IP addresses not only hides your real IP address, it makes you indistinguishable from all the other users. Your online activity cannot be traced back to a single user, adding a significant layer of anonymity.
If you’re serious about hiding your IP address, it’s vital to get a VPN with these features:
Private DNS servers – DNS works like a phone book for the internet by translating domain names like “” into IP addresses that your device can use to communicate. By default, you probably use DNS servers operated by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or Google, which can see your IP address when you request a website, even when connected to a VPN. For this reason, it’s important to use a VPN that operates its own DNS servers so you never expose your IP address to a third party.
Leak protection – VPNs are meant to protect all the internet data traveling to and from your device, but sometimes they leak. When they leak, they expose your IP address. Get yourself a VPN that has DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leak prevention.
Kill switch – A kill switch or network lock cuts off your entire device from the internet if the VPN connection drops for some reason, preventing anything from being sent from your real IP address without the VPN’s protection.
No-logs policy – The VPN provider should not record or store logs of your internet activity or any connection details that could be used to identify you.
2. Use a proxy to hide your IP address
Like a VPN, a proxy acts as a middleman between your device and the internet. Websites and apps see the IP address of the proxy server and not your real IP address.
In fact, a VPN is technically a type of proxy. But when I say “proxy, ” I’m usually referring to either an SSL, SSH, or SOCKS proxy. These types of proxies typically lack the encryption and other security features offered by VPNs, but they do hide your IP address from websites. They can be configured in existing apps like your browser or, like a VPN, use a third-party app.
Proxies usually don’t usually include DNS traffic, so your website requests still go to a third-party DNS server that can see your real IP address. VPNs with leak protection don’t have this problem. Furthermore, your real IP could be exposed if the proxy connection drops for some reason.
Because proxies lack the authentication of VPNs, they are also more susceptible to man-in-the-middle attacks, in which an attacker can pose as the proxy server to steal your data.
Some VPNs offer HTTPS (SSL) proxies as browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. These do a decent job of protecting your browser, but other apps and DNS requests can still expose your IP address.
3. Use Tor to hide your IP address for free
Tor, short for The Onion Router, is a decentralized worldwide anonymity network operated by thousands of volunteers. When you connect to Tor, your internet traffic is encrypted and routed through a random sequence of these volunteer “nodes, ” which are sort of like proxy servers. Websites can only see the IP address of the last server in the sequence, called the exit node.
Each time you visit a website, the sequence of nodes changes. This makes it practically impossible to trace activity back to the original IP address.
The easiest way to use Tor is to download and install the Tor Browser. It works just like a barebones version of any other browser like Chrome and Firefox, and it’s completely free.
There are drawbacks, however. Tor is slow and not suitable for torrenting or streaming–stick to web browsing. Furthermore, Tor is often associated with criminal activity because it can be used to access the darknet and illicit websites. Some websites block connections from known Tor nodes, and your ISP might frown upon its use.
See also: How to set up a hidden Tor service
4. Connect to a different network to change your IP address
Whenever you change networks, your IP address changes as well. So if you think the IP address you’ve been using has been compromised, blocked, or tracked, then you can change networks to get a new one.
You can connect to a public or private wifi network, or use your smartphone’s mobile data connection. Note that public wifi hotspots and open networks can be hunting grounds for hackers that can take advantage of the lack of encryption and authentication. Opt for networks that require a password, if possible.
5. Ask your ISP to change your IP address
Your ISP is the entity that decides who gets what IP address. So if you want to change your IP address for some reason, try giving them a call. You’ll need your account information on hand, as well as your current IP address.
It shouldn’t be too hard to get a different IP address, but don’t expect it to stay the same forever. Because IP addresses are constantly being recycled in order to preserve the limited number of available IP addresses, your IP address will probably change once in a while. These are called dynamic IP addresses.
You could request a static IP address that never changes, but there might be an application process and an extra fee.
6. Unplug your modem to change your IP address
This isn’t guaranteed to work, but you can often get a new IP address by unplugging your internet modem and plugging it back in again. When you lose the connection to your ISP, your old IP address will get recycled. When you re-establish a connection, you’ll be assigned a new IP address.
The longer you leave the modem unplugged, the more likely this tactic will work. Try leaving it unplugged overnight if you have to.
Your ISP must use dynamic IP addresses for this to work. Most do.
7. Use a NAT Firewall to hide your private IP address
If you use a wireless router to connect to the internet, it’s likely that you’re behind a NAT firewall. In simplest terms, a NAT firewall allows multiple devices on the same network to use the same public IP address but unique private IP addresses. Network Address Translation (NAT) forwards requests and data from the private IP addresses of individual devices to their online destination under the router’s public IP address. This conserves address space (the number of available IP addresses) and prevents unsolicited inbound communication with potentially dangerous computers on the internet.
A NAT firewall doesn’t hide your public IP address, but your private IP address. All devices connected to a NAT-enabled router will share a public IP address. The NAT firewall will prevent any online communication that isn’t in response to a request you sent from a private IP address. All other requests and data packets are discarded because they don’t have a private IP address to which they can be forwarded.
8. Renew your IP address to change your private IP address
As mentioned above, if you’re connected to an internet router by wifi or ethernet cable, then you’ve probably got a private, or local, IP address as well. It’s not as important to keep this IP address a secret while online, but there might be instances in which you need to change it.
You can do this by entering a few simple commands into your Windows Command Prompt or Mac Terminal.
How to renew your IP address on Windows:
Search for the Command Prompt and right click it to Run as administrator
Enter ipconfig /release
Enter ipconfig /renew
You should now see a new local IP address.
How to renew your IP on MacOS:
Click the Apple menu and open System Preferences
Highlight the network that you’re connected to in the left pane
Select the TCP/IP tab
Click Renew DHCP Lease
Your Mac will now have a different private IP address.
You can never hide your IP address from your ISP
It’s not possible to hide your IP address from your ISP. It makes sense: my ISP provides me with internet service and therefore an IP address. Without an IP address, I can’t connect to the internet.
VPNs and proxies don’t literally replace your existing IP address. They just mask your IP address with one of their own so that other computers and servers on the internet can’t see yours. But your real IP address is still there, communicating through the proxy or VPN server as an intermediary.
Even though you can never hide your real IP address from your ISP, you can hide the content and destination of your internet activity with a VPN. The encryption prevents your ISP from seeing what information you send and receive, and the ISP can only see that you’re connected to a VPN server—not the websites or apps you use. Conversely, the VPN hides your real IP address from websites and apps, but they still see the contents and destination of your internet communications.
The only parties that can see all three—your real IP address, the websites you visit, and what data is transmitted between the two—are you and your VPN provider. For this reason, I only recommend VPNs that don’t store any logs of your online activity.
5 Ways to Protect Yourself from IP Address Hacking – Security …
5 Ways to Protect Yourself from IP Address Hacking
Your IP address is an extension of your online identity, so you must be diligent in protecting it through unique passwords, VPNs or adding extra protective layers.
Internet Protocol, also known as the IP address, is the identity of your device in the vast world of the internet. All the traffic to and from your device is maintained with the help of your IP address.
An IP address is just like your house address and is unique for each device. On the surface, it seems quite harmless if someone knows your IP address, but in reality, it can be very dangerous.
You are responsible for all the activities carried out through your IP address and cybercriminals take advantage of it. They hack your IP address and then use it for various unethical and illegal activities like hacking someone’s account or downloading prohibited content. Your IP address gives the hacker the freedom of using your location for any manipulative task and he can also attack your device with malware.
How can I protect my IP address?
No matter where you are in the world or the nature of your device, your IP address is vulnerable to hacking. Most people are quite ignorant about the security of this simple numeric identity, but it needs to be well guarded.
Here are some practical and easy ways for protecting your IP address.
1. Create Unique Passwords
Your device password is the only barrier that can restrict people from accessing your device.
Some people prefer to stick to the default passwords of their devices, which makes it vulnerable to attack. Like all your accounts, your device also needs to have a unique and strong password that is not easier to decode. Always use a password that is a mix of various upper case and lower case alphabets, numerals and characters. This will help in safeguarding your device against IP address hacking.
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How to Hide your IP address – Kaspersky
In an age where it’s common to read headlines about hackers breaking into company and personal networks, internet sites tracking online consumer behavior, and other forms of digital spying and intrusion, it’s no wonder that so many are seeking ways to hide their IP address. But if you aren’t that internet savvy, all this talk of cybercriminals and hackers and tracking and IP addresses may have you worried every time you connect to the internet.
But don’t worry — there is a way to improve your security and hide your digital footprint from prying eyes, and it isn’t as difficult as you might think. You don’t need an advanced degree in computer coding; nor do you need to install expensive applications on all your devices. You simply need to know how to hide your IP address.
What is an IP address?
IP stands for Internet Protocol, which is essentially the system that enables data to move across the internet. An IP address refers to the address given to a specific device that is connected to the internet. Every single device that is connected to the internet, whether it’s a desktop computer, smartphone, laptop, or tablet, has a unique IP address.
When a device is connected to the internet, Internet Protocol utilizes the address of that device to know where to send and receive information from. And, yes, this activity is often tracked. That’s why after conducting a search about kitchen tables, for example, you’ll suddenly see ads for kitchen table retailers popping up on other sites you visit.
Getting personalized ads isn’t such a terrible thing, and it can even make your browsing experience more pleasant. But that really isn’t the main reason many people want to know how to hide their IP address.
Reasons you might want to know how to hide your IP address
It wasn’t too long ago that the main reason people wanted to hide an IP address was so that they could illegally download music and movies without being tracked by sites that monitor such activity. But over the years, many realized that there are many more important reasons to learn how to hide an IP address.
To keep your physical address private
A sophisticated hacker or cyber criminal may be able to discover your approximate location or even your actual physical address using your IP address. Typically, this information isn’t available to just anyone — in fact, you normally need a court order to receive it. But someone utilizing advanced IP lookup tools may be able to obtain a physical address illegally.
To avoid geographic restrictions
Many countries impose harsh censorship protocols on the internet, limiting what sites are available for browsing. China is one example of this. Other countries block copyrighted content that was produced elsewhere. For example, YouTube or Netflix videos that can be viewed in the United States may not be available for viewing in Germany or Ireland. When you hide your IP address, you can sometimes trick the servers into thinking that you are actually connecting to the internet from another country, bypassing the restrictions.
To stop companies from tracking your online activities
Understandably, privacy is a big concern of many. But almost everything you do online can be tracked, and it often is. Many companies track your online activity for consumer research purposes, enabling them to learn more about consumer browsing habits so they can develop better marketing plans. Other companies collect your data and sell it to large research firms that utilize the data for a variety of reasons.
If you don’t want your personal information studied or misused, you’ll definitely want to learn how to hide your IP address. This will stop companies from tracking your browsing habits, as well as prevent ad networks from discovering every product you are interested in. Websites you visit also have the legal right to collect data on your browsing activity pertaining to that site. Again, this is normally used for market research data, but if you want your digital footprint kept very private, you’ll want to hide your IP address.
To stop your ISP from tracking you
Unsurprisingly, your own internet service provider (ISP) also tracks your online activity. Like websites you visit, they have the legal right to do so. Unfortunately, it places your digital browsing data at a higher risk, since you normally don’t have many ISPs to choose from and not all of them are as secure as others.
Additionally, while your ISPs don’t normally sell your data, they could provide marketing research firms and advertising networks with your data if they chose to. When you hide your IP address, you not only prevent third-party companies from tracking your activity, but your ISP as well.
Keep your searches private
If you don’t want friends or other family members looking through your search history, chances are you don’t want complete strangers and unknown companies studying it either. Major search engines such as Google and Yahoo! automatically track every single search query you make, as well as what sites you visit, what links you click, how long you spend on a particular web page, etc.
When you learn how to hide your IP, you can stop the search engines from connecting any searches you make with your particular IP address. As an added measure, you can use the private browsing option that most browsers offer as a feature today.
Keeping your searches and online activity private is also important if you conduct a lot of private and sensitive research for a particular profession, such as law enforcement or investigative journalism.
How to hide your IP address
There are essentially two methods you can choose from to hide your IP address. One is using a proxy server, and the other is using a virtual private network (VPN). Either one will be sufficient, but there are a few cons associated with proxy servers that make VPNs a more optimal choice for many.
What is a proxy server?
Imagine internet traffic moving along major roads and highways. As an example, suppose you begin a search on Google. That is your starting destination. When you click the link on one of the search results, your data moves along a route until it reaches the next destination, the link you clicked on. This continues until your browsing activity is done for the session.
The data moving from one point to another is routed through different servers. Consider them something of an internet checkpoint. Each server logs your activity and your IP address. And so a complete route of your internet activity is recorded by various servers and websites and other companies.
When you use a proxy server, it is like driving those internet roads and highways in a secure, private limousine with darkly tinted windows. The limousine, which is the proxy server, has a different IP address than your current device that is connected to the internet. The servers, search engines, and other companies see only the IP address of the proxy server, and not your own.
Pros and cons of a proxy server
The main reason people use proxy servers is to hide an IP address. All your internet activity is routed through the proxy server, keeping your own IP address hidden from prying eyes. Using a proxy server also improves security since it adds an extra layer of protection against hackers. And, if you want to browse the internet anonymously, using a proxy server is one of the best ways to hide your identity.
One of the biggest drawbacks of using a proxy server is that even though you are able to visit websites anonymously, the proxy server can still cache sensitive information such as the usernames and passwords you use to access an online account. If you choose to use a proxy server, you’ll either want to avoid signing into private accounts or choose a proxy server with high levels of security.
Some inexpensive proxy might be incompatible with other server networks or your ISP. Or, you may be consistently annoyed by pop-up ads. It’s recommended you do your research before choosing a proxy server to ensure that you select one that offers a strong combination of reliability and security.
What is a VPN?
A virtual private network works in a somewhat similar fashion to a proxy server. When you connect your devices to a VPN before going online, your device will appear to be on the same network that the VPN is operating on. Your internet traffic data will be sent to the VPN via a secure connection and routed appropriately to the sites you intend to visit, effectively making your own IP address private and hidden.
These days, it is recommended that anyone wishing to improve the security of their devices and internet activity utilize a VPN. This is especially true if you often engage in internet activity while using public Wi-Fi. Accessing private accounts when using public Wi-Fi is a huge security risk, but when using a VPN, it offers much more protection from hackers. The VPN connection is encrypted and secure.
Pros and cons of a VPN
VPNs are great tools for securing your data, such as private messages, passwords and usernames, financial information, and anything else that is a normal part of your digital footprint. Using a VPN not only hides your IP address but also encrypts all the data related to your internet browsing sessions. Some premium VPNs use advanced encryption protocols that make you nearly invisible to anyone else on the internet.
Obviously, VPNs also keep your IP address secure from other entities that track the activity related to it, such as your ISP, search engines, social media platforms, or government agencies. Because your IP address is hidden and your data is encrypted, your online actions will pass undetected through servers.
If you enjoy visiting websites or watching online content that is normally unavailable to you because of geographic restrictions, a VPN can help with that too. A VPN allows you to change the country that your internet traffic appears to be coming from, enabling you to easily connect to data only available in certain countries.
Subsequently, a VPN is a great tool for accessing the internet if you are in a country where many internet actions and websites are prohibited. A VPN with very strong encryption will enable you to conduct normal online activity without fear of repercussions.
Not all VPNs are equal.
There are free VPNs available, but to ensure top levels of security and encryption, you’ll definitely want to use a higher-quality VPN. These typically charge a monthly fee. Take the time to research different VPN providers so that you can familiarize yourself with the different types of features they offer. For example, Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection offers IP address masking and zero activity logs for improved privacy and security from cyber criminals and hackers.
Depending on your needs, you may not feel that you need a premium VPN. But be wary of cheap or free VPNs, which usually don’t offer the same levels of security. Free VPNs can also be more congested or will bombard you with ads as you use it. Some VPNs may even collect your data, which is contrary to the whole point of using a VPN in the first place!
A reputable VPN, while still being able to see your online activity, will never retain or sell your data. Be sure to read the privacy and security details provided by each VPN you research to make sure that the VPN you choose goes through great efforts to protect your privacy.
Also, keep in mind that a VPN may cause your internet speed to be reduced. Routing your internet traffic through a VPN’s remote servers can result in a slower connection. However, if you value your privacy online, a VPN is definitely worth it.
How do you install a VPN?
Installing and setting up a VPN is fairly simple, which is another reason they have become increasingly popular for people who want to hide an IP address. With most VPNs, all you need to do is install the software or download and install the app. You can do this for both computers and mobile devices, so that you can protect as many devices as possible.
Once the application is installed, you simply need to create an account and sign in. Then, when you are ready to use your VPN, you’ll start the VPN before going online. The VPN will connect to the closest server, but you can select servers in other areas or countries if that suits your purpose.
Choosing the right VPN
Different VPNs will offer different levels of security and encryption, but there are a few criteria that you’ll also want to consider before deciding on which one to use. For starters, you’ll want to choose a VPN that allows you to use several devices simultaneously. That way, if you have a household where everyone likes to be online at the same time for various things, you can all use the same VPN service.
As mentioned above, some VPNs may also affect your internet speeds. Look for VPNs that don’t slow down your online activity. Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection, for example, utilizes the fastest servers worldwide so that you don’t need to sacrifice speed for a secure way to enjoy the web.
Ultimately, it’s about choosing a VPN service you can trust. A VPN is a service meant to provide privacy and security. To begin with, when choosing a provider, it is better to consider those companies that have been on the market for a long time. This is an indicator of reliability: if the provider survived, then most likely it did not offend customers, did not steal data, and so on.
Kaspersky can protect you from all major threats, including malware, spyware, and trojans. The Total Security Suite also offers bank-grade protection for your online payments while keeping your data safe with a VPN. Discover the secure way to enjoy the web without compromising on speed.
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