If you want to protect your personal information and identity when browsing on the internet then hiding your IP address will give you the anonymity and security you need. However, with so many different ways of hiding your IP address, it can be overwhelming to know which solution is right for you.
Whether you are wanting to bypass geographical blocks to access streaming sites such as Netflix or BBC iPlayer or want to simply remain anonymous and secure when making online purchases, it is important to learn about the various ways that you can hide your IP address.
On the whole, the best way to hide your IP address is using a VPN which can help with a wider range of issues. Investing in a premium VPN, specifically, will ensure that you are completely protected when using the internet and will prevent any hackers from being able to access your information whilst also ensuring that your data is not stolen.
However, we’ll be discussing an array of options in this guide as well as everything else you need to know about IP addresses.
Hiding Your IP Address Using A VPN In Three Easy Steps
Here is a quick guide on how to hide your IP address using a VPN for those who don’t have time to read the full guide:
1. Choose Your VPN
The first thing you will need to do is select your VPN. The best option for this is ExpressVPN which is the best VPN service thanks to its fast speed and high level of security. Once you have chosen your VPN, you’ll be able to install it on your chosen device. Make sure that the VPN is compatible with your device before making any purchases.
2. Select Your Server
Once the VPN has been installed, you’ll be able to select a server that is located in the country where you want to connect.
Now your IP address is hidden and protected so you can start accessing and browsing the internet safely and anonymously.
What Even Is An IP Address?
An IP address is made up of numbers and periods which is unique to a specific device that can then connect to the internet. When connected, the IP address will be visible to your internet service provider as well as the websites that you log on to.
Search engines such as Google can take your IP address and are able to see a digital footprint which means that your browsing activity is tracked. Without hiding an IP address, everything you look at and what you do can be combined to create an identity that is known as a digital footprint.
If a hacker is able to access your IP address, they may be able to gain access to your browsing history which in turn will mean that personal information can be compromised such as financial information if you make online purchases as well as being detected and blocked when trying to access streaming sites that are based outside of your country.
Why Should I Hide My IP Address?
So now that you know what an IP address is, you may be wondering why you should hide your IP address at all. The main reason why hiding your IP address is a good idea is to preserve your anonymity and help prevent your personal information from being hacked.
If you don’t hide your IP address, your internet service provider and websites will have access to your browsing activity which then can be sold on to third parties as data that results in targeted ads generating profit for companies who pay for this data.
Hiding your IP address can also bypass a variety of blocks including geographical blocks as well as allowing you to visit websites if you are visiting countries with strict censorship laws.
9 Best Methods To Hide Your IP Address
Now that you know what an IP address is and why it is important to hide it, you’ll be in a position to look into the various methods that can be used to hide your IP address. No matter what reason you have for hiding your IP address, these are the best methods that are going to give you the best chance of maintaining your security and anonymity when accessing the internet.
Here are the top 9 best methods to hide your IP address:
1. Changing Your IP Address
You can ask your internet service provider to change your IP address. This is because your internet service provider is the one who supplies you with your IP address. This does require you directly contacting them and providing account information but overall, it is a straightforward process.
However, there are some downsides to simply asking your internet service provider to change your IP address. The first disadvantage is that it is not going to solve any long-term issues and certainly won’t allow you to bypass any geographical blocks.
Another thing you should consider if you are wanting to go down this route is checking whether your internet service provider uses dynamic IP addresses. If they do, this means that your IP address will be changed in the future.
However, if you want a static IP address that will remain the same, you can ask your internet service provider but bear in mind that they may charge extra and that it can take a lot of time to implement.
For those who want to bypass geographically blocked content, one of the best options is to apply a proxy.
Proxies are a commonly used method as it simply requires a proxy server that intercepts the website’s request for an IP address and provides one located within the country that you are trying to access. They are not hidden from your internet service provider who will be able to see what websites you are accessing and therefore not provide the security you would want.
Another downside to proxies is that they are not always reliable as they run on very slow speeds and don’t encrypt any traffic in the same way that VPNs do. This means that they cannot hide all of your activity from the websites you visit and your internet service provider.
If you are wanting to bypass geographical blocks but want maximum security, proxies are not going to give you the high levels of security and anonymity that other options can.
3. Mobile Network
For those who need a temporary solution, switching to your mobile network can be a good idea. This is because you are not relying on the internet connection and your provider.
However, there are many downsides to this option which is why it should only be used as a temporary solution and only if you have unlimited data. This is because it can be extremely expensive to run your phone on the mobile network if you are working with limited data as well as draining your data and battery quickly.
It can also take up a lot of storage space if you are planning on downloading content. Therefore, make sure that you are aware of the risks before you switch to your mobile network.
4. NAT Firewall
NAT firewalls are applied to those who have a private IP address that they want to hide. NAT stands for Network Address Translation and uses a public IP address to hide the private IP address.
This means that there are numerous private IP addresses that share the same public IP address meaning that you are protecting from seeing eyes as it will be hard for hackers to whittle down the different users.
The great thing about using a NAT firewall is that you are not at risk of receiving any third-party ads or malicious malware; however, the public IP address is not hidden meaning that there is a level of risk when it comes to security.
Although there is little chance of you specifically being detected, a NAT firewall doesn’t give you the same amount of security as a VPN does.
5. Public WiFi
One option that should only be used as a last resort is public WiFi. This is because your IP address is provided by your internet service provider and when you connect to another network, your IP address will change.
This means that connecting to Public Wifi will change your IP address and because it is a shared connection, it won’t be as easy to identify you since other people will be using it.
Therefore, it could be argued that public WiFi is actually safe to use; however, bear in mind that using public WiFi can leave you susceptible to hackers or other cyber threats. This is because the connection is public and therefore not guaranteed to provide the same level of security.
Also, you won’t be able to bypass any geographical blocks as the public WiFi’s IP address will be linked to a server in the country that you are in. It can be a short-term solution for any sites that your specific IP address has been blocked on but the chances are small.
6. Renewing Your IP Address
You can also try and renew your IP address if you are wanting to change your private IP address. Bear in mind that your primary IP address will be visible but when using WiFi or another form of private connection, you will have a private IP address as well.
Replacing your private IP address can be done by you on your device but depending on your device, the instructions differ slightly. This is because the operating systems work slightly differently.
Bear in mind that renewing your IP address may be a great short-term solution, but again, it is likely that your IP address may be detected after using it for a while and therefore get blocked.
Also, renewing your IP address isn’t necessarily guaranteed to boost your security so it shouldn’t be used as a long-term solution. Here is how you renew your IP address on MacOS and Windows devices:
Firstly, we’ll be looking at how you renew your private IP address on a MacOS. These instructions apply to those who have any Apple products and can be done on any Apple device such as a Macbook Pro, iPad, or iPhone among more.
The first thing you need to do is open the Apple menu and select System Preferences. Once you have done this, select Network settings and click on the network that you are currently connected to. Click on the “Advanced…” option and select the TCP/IP before “Renew DHCP Lease” and your private IP address will be changed.
Secondly, renewing your private IP address on Windows is just as easy but has slightly different instructions due to the different layout. These instructions apply to those who have devices that run on Windows operating systems which is the majority of laptops and computers that are not Apple products.
The first thing you need to do is search for the Command Prompt and then right-click on it and select the “Run as administrator” option. Once you have done this, you will need to type in ipconfig /release and then ipconfig /renew. Doing this will renew your private IP address and give you a brand new one.
If you are unsure what operating system your device runs on, simply research the name of the device online and you’ll be able to find out quickly. There should be instructions on how to renew your private IP address should your device not run on a MacOS or Windows operating system.
For those of you who want to hide their IP address in order to remain anonymous then you may want to consider using Tor.
Tor is a network that is made up of thousands of servers across the world that are operated by volunteers. Thanks to its high-level encryption technology, your identity will remain completely anonymous and remain impossible for hackers to be able to trace your IP address.
Another great thing about Tor is that you don’t have to worry about any third parties collecting your data as well as no targeted ads appearing when you use the internet.
The downside to using Tor is that it runs extremely slow which means that it is unsuitable for torrenting or streaming so if you want to use it for bypassing geographical blocks to run Netflix or BBC iPlayer, this isn’t the best option for you.
If you simply want to browse the internet and not worry about it affecting your digital footprint, then the Tor network is a great option. Bear in mind that the Tor network is best used when combined with a VPN to give you the highest level of security and prevent hackers from stealing your personal data.
8. Unplugging Your Modem
Unplugging your modem may seem like a strange suggestion but doing this actually changes your IP address as it causes your internet to disconnect. Your IP address will only change if your internet service provider uses dynamic IP addresses which is the most likely scenario so it is best to check this beforehand.
When you do unplug your modem, try and leave it unplugged for as long as possible to increase your chances of having your IP address changed.
Once you have plugged your modem back in and you reconnect, you should see that your IP address has changed. This option is similar to using public WiFi as it should only be used as a last resort since it doesn’t actually change anything in the long term.
If you are wanting to stream or torrent geographically block content then it is most likely that this solution won’t work as your new IP address will still be connected to a server in the country you are based.
The last recommendation is actually the best option that you should consider, regardless of why you want to hide your IP address. This is because VPNs don’t compromise security or speed meaning that you’re guaranteed the best results. However, there are plenty of VPN options on the market which include free and paid options.
Free VPNs may seem convenient because you don’t have to pay anything but there is a reason why they are free. They don’t come with the same level of security and are more likely to be detected and blocked by sites because of how often they are used.
On the other hand, paid VPNs are the best option for you as they contain military-grade encryption and fast speeds with little to no chance of detection. They do the best job of protecting your personal information and ensuring that you don’t have any chance of being detected and blocked.
VPNs are easy to use as you simply select your VPN service, download it and install it on to your device and then you are ready to browse. Their fast speeds mean that you don’t have to worry about your connection, especially if you are wanting to stream or download content.
Sites such as Netflix have advanced monitors that have become more resilient when it comes to restricting access but using a premium VPN service is guaranteed to bypass any blocks.
Another reason why VPNs are the best option is that they are the best option for those who want to torrent. This is because certain VPN services offer benefits relating to P2P profiles and torrenting meaning that they are incredibly versatile when it comes to their advantages.
Most premium VPN services also offer a money-back guarantee meaning that you can opt for a free trial to see if it is right for you without the pressure of having to pay for anything straightaway. Here are the top two VPN services that you should consider:
The first option is CyberGhost which is one of the most stable premium VPN services available. With over 7,000 servers located around the world, you can access any site no matter what kind of block you are wishing to bypass.
CyberGhost isn’t as fast as ExpressVPN but the speeds are fast enough to be able to download or stream content efficiently.
It is also the cheapest option out of the two without compromising on the security as it boasts military-grade encryption with leak-proof applications, zero logging, and an automatic kill switch that keeps your identity safe even when your server disconnects.
They also run a 45-day money-back guarantee so you can use the product with extra peace of mind knowing that you will get a full refund if you feel that it is not the right service for you. Also, they are currently offering discounts up to 83% off depending on the plan you choose meaning that you can save yourself a lot of money.
ExpressVPN is the best VPN service on the market and definitely the first company that you should consider. Boasting thousands of servers across the world, you can connect to servers in any country while also boasting incredibly fast speeds and high security.
No matter the reason why you want to hide your IP address, ExpressVPN offers the highest level of security whilst also ensuring that you remain anonymous at all times. The highly advanced technology can bypass the toughest of blocks from sites such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer and more whilst also supporting P2P connections which makes it possible to torrent with ease.
ExpressVPN’s technology incorporates DNS leak protection, TrustedServer technology, among much more meaning that you can be assured that your data is completely safe. They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee to give you extra peace of mind and security so you don’t feel pressured to stick with the subscription if it isn’t right for you.
They also have a discount at the moment which allows you to get three months free on your annual subscription so you can save a lot of money.
Checking Your IP Address
When you have selected your option to hide your IP address, it’s important to make sure that it is working. Once you have applied the method, it’s important to check immediately whether it is hidden properly. Doing this will mean that you can identify any errors or issues before it is too late and your privacy is compromised.
There are many IP address checking tools available online which you can use to ensure that it is hidden completely. When you use the checking tool, it will display your IP address as well as other information relating to it such as the geolocation it is connected to.
You’ll know that the IP address is hidden properly as the geolocation will be the same as the server that the VPN, proxy server, or other method has been linked to.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Else Can A VPN Do?
VPNs can do much more than simply hiding your IP address. They can provide you with access to content, even if it has been blocked due to geographical restrictions as well as helping to bypass an array of different blocks.
Whatever reason you want to ensure that you are being as safe as possible when using the internet, the chances are that a VPN is going to be a positive addition.
How Can I See My IP Address?
Seeing your IP address can be done easily and can be done by using an IP checking tool. There are a variety of different services available and depending on the quality of the tool, you’ll be able to see a range of information including your IP address, browser, city, and country.
Can My IP Address Reveal My Identity?
IP addresses cannot directly reveal your identity but when combined with an array of other information such as social media usernames and browsing activity, hackers will be able to find out who you are using a digital footprint which is a culmination of all of your internet information and data.
Using a VPN will allow you to remain anonymous and safe, preventing your personal data from landing in the hands of hackers.
Why Would I Need To Hide My IP Address?
Hiding your IP address can be crucial in some instances with the most common reason being to bypass geographical restrictions for streaming on sites such as Netflix.
It can also be great if you are visiting a country that has strict censorship laws such as China as you will be able to access sites such as Google which are banned. Having an exposed IP address also means that you are more susceptible to hackers and hiding it will make it more difficult for them to access your information.
How Can I Hide My IP Address For Free?
There are plenty of ways that you can apply to hide your IP address for free including the Tor network but this comes with issues as it is very slow when connecting. You could use a free VPN but there is a high chance that it will be detected by larger companies due to their popularity which will result in you being blocked.
Although there are a lot of free options, it is always best in paying for a VPN subscription as you are guaranteed the protection. A lot of VPN services offer a free trial so you can try it out to see if it is right for you.
What Is IP Masking?
IP masking is another way of saying that you are hiding the IP address. Using another server in an undisclosed location, your real IP address is masked with the most popular way being through a VPN which means that your identity and real location are hidden from hackers and websites. It will ensure that your browsing activity is done anonymously and privately.
Can I Use A Free VPN To Hide My IP Address?
As mentioned previously, you can use a free VPN to hide your IP address; however, it is advisable to use a paid subscription. This is because many websites can detect and block free VPNs due to their minimum security.
There are plenty of paid options that provide a free trial meaning that you can try out a high-quality service for free without the pressure of paying.
Is It Illegal To Hide My IP Address?
Hiding your IP address is not illegal and using a VPN isn’t illegal either depending on what country you are based in. Countries with strict censorship laws such as China restrict access to purchasing a VPN but actually using one is technically legal.
Keeping your IP address hidden may come across as shady as your internet service provider won’t be able to see what you browsing but will be able to see that you are using a VPN.
Is An IP Address Permanent?
IP addresses are not always permanent which means that they can change depending on whether you switch to an alternative internet connection. However, it is possible to create a static IP address although this can take a lot of effort and money.
Static IP addresses will not move with you so if you switch providers or connections, then you will receive a new IP address.
Is There A Way To Hide My IP Address From My ISP?
Your IP address cannot be hidden from your internet service provider but using a VPN can prevent them from seeing what you are doing specifically online. Although this may come across as shady to them, it will help to preserve your anonymity. This means that they won’t be able to see your browsing activity or personal information.
What’s The Difference Between IPv4 And IPv6?
IPv4 and IPv6 are different kinds of IP addresses with the former being the more common type which is made up of numbers and periods and has a simple structure.
On the other hand, IPv6 addresses are a lot longer with a complex structure that is made up of numbers and letters which are separated by colons. They are more advanced than IPv4 addresses and are capable of producing more IP addresses as well as providing solutions to issues with IPv4 addresses.
VPNs are always the best way to hide your IP address because they provide anonymity whilst also ensuring that you have a fast connection and high levels of security no matter what search engine you use.
Bear in mind that the best VPNs to invest in are paid subscriptions because these have higher levels of encryption and security and sites are not as likely to detect and block it.
Free VPNs are closely monitored by sites because they are so commonly used which makes them easily identifiable. Therefore, whether you want to bypass geographical restrictions, prevent hackers, or simply browse anonymously, a paid VPN is the best route to take.