The Best Ways to Hide My IP Address

Your IP address follows you around wherever you go online as your shadow follows you down the street on a sunny day. You cannot lose it. But unlike your shadow, which only indicates that someone is there, your IP address identifies the specific computer or device that is connected to the network.

Without an IP address, you will not be able to access the Internet to perform any online activities. Every website you visit can see your IP address as soon as you connect. It is necessary in order to allow data to flow between you and the website.

In fact, we captured your IP address when you decided to come to this webpage. Take a look at the top of the page and you will see your IP address displayed as well as any additional information that it might provide, such as your physical location. This is done by every site you visit. Your IP address also allows your ISP and other entities from monitoring your online movements and determining your identity.

Why Would I Need to Hide My IP Address?

You might want to hide your IP address for a variety of reasons. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ones.

Preserving your online privacy – As we have demonstrated by displaying your IP address on this page, there is no place you can go online without someone watching. If you want to move around the Internet without being tracked by your ISP, ad networks, or search engines, the only way is to hide the IP address. This way you can surf while maintaining your anonymity.

Evading government censorship – Certain governments monitor and censor the online activities of their citizens. This data may be used against you in an attempt to prove anti-government sentiments and lead to criminal charges or worse. A way around this practice is to hide IP addresses whenever you go online.

Protection from hackers – Just as your ISP, search engines, and governments can follow you around by using your IP address, so can hackers. These nefarious entities may not just want to monitor your movements and may be able to learn your identity and location through the IP address. This opens you up to potential malware and other types of digital attacks.

Using public WiFi safely – Free WiFi is everywhere these days and can be very attractive to users on the go or individuals who might not have their own WiFi network at home. While it sounds great, using free WiFi without hiding your IP address can be a recipe for disaster. Free and unsecured WiFi networks are notorious for enabling hackers to compromise the data of unsuspecting users. You don’t want them to see your real IP address and perhaps use it against you.

Accessing geo-blocked content – There are restrictions enforced in many geographic locations regarding the streaming or downloading services that you can access. In some cases, this is due to the enforcement of copyright laws that are intended to prevent you from accessing a site that provides torrents with which to download media content. Hiding your IP address can get you around these blockades and allow you to access any site on the Internet.

Bypassing organizational online restrictions – Your workplace or school may restrict access to sites when you are using their network and IP address. If you can hide IP addresses you can get around these types of limitations.

How Can I Hide My IP Address?

Now that we have you interested in how you can hide IP addresses, let’s look at some ways you can actually do it.

Use a VPN service
Use a proxy server
Access the Internet using the Tor browser
Connect with a mobile network
Use a public WiFi connection

There are some pros and cons related to each of these methods to hide IP addresses. We will now take a closer look at each one.

Use a VPN Service

A VPN service is a reliable way to hide your IP address. It is one of the most popular methods of maintaining your online privacy. When you are using VPN service you can spoof your IP address to appear as if you are located anywhere in the world. Your computer or device connects to one of the VPN service’s servers located throughout the world and then uses its IP address rather than your own. This effectively hides your IP address.

Pros and Cons

  • Your online privacy is maintained by masking your IP address.
  • Data is encrypted during transmission keeping it secure.
  • You may experience higher download speeds.
  • Can be used for torrenting or any online activity.
  • No logging of your online history.
  • The best VPNs require a small monthly fee.
  • Some websites may refuse to connect if they suspect you are using a VPN.

Since VPNs are so widely used, we will identify some of the best ones to use after running through the other ways to hide your IP address.

Use a Proxy Server

A proxy server is similar in ways to a VPN but has some very important differences. It will allow you to stream or view websites that may be geo-blocked. After connecting to the proxy server, you are using its IP address to connect to websites. Your data is not encrypted and full address spoofing is not provided, so you can still potentially be monitored by your ISP or government.

Pros and Cons

  • Can be used to get around geo-blocking efforts.
  • Hides your IP address.
  • Slow data transmission speeds.
  • The potential for using a compromised proxy server.
  • Most proxy servers log your activity.
  • No data encryption.

Access the Internet Using the Tor Browser

The Tor browser is a software application that lets you use the Tor network to hide your IP and browse anonymously. It is a freeware, open-source program and can be run on many different operating systems.

Pros and Cons

  • Eliminates Internet censorship by unblocking all websites.
  • Enables access to dark websites.
  • No encryption to secure your data.
  • Can be monitored by authorities.
  • Slow performance due to using the onion network.

Connect with a Mobile Network

Changing networks will change your IP address since the address is assigned by the router when you access the network. If you have a mobile device with a data plan you can create your own wireless hotspot and use that network instead of your usual means of connecting. This will hide your true IP address.

Pros and Cons

  • Easily set up with your mobile device.
  • Slow connection speeds.
  • Drains your data plan.
  • No data encryption.

Use a Public WiFi Connection

Similarly to connecting through your mobile device, using a public WiFi network will give your device a different IP address and effectively hide your IP address.

Pros and Cons

  • Free access that can be found in many locations.
  • Unsecured network poses security risks to your machine and data.
  • Unreliable connections due to the number of simultaneous connections.

More on VPNs

The best answer to the question of how to hide my IP is to use a VPN service. They offer high-speed connections, data encryption, and the ability to maintain your online privacy by masking or spoofing your IP address. There are many VPNs out there for you to choose from, and we suggest that a paid VPN subscription will afford you the greatest level of protection.

Here are three great VPNs that will enable you to conduct your online activities anonymously. They are all a great way to hide your IP address.

  • Not Enough Ratings
ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN

Pros and Cons

  • Military-grade 256-bit AES data encryption to ensure data security.
  • A large network of over 2,000 VPN servers in over 90 countries.
  • High-speed connections.
  • Protect multiple devices.
  • No logging policy.
  • Limited configuration options.
  • Lack of phone support.
  • Not Enough Ratings
NordVPN
NordVPN

Pros and Cons

  • 256-bit AES data encryption Keep your data secure.
  • An extensive network of over 5,000 VPN servers in over 60 countries.
  • Protect multiple devices.
  • No logging policy.
  • User-friendly interface.
  • Slower connection speed than some other VPNs.
  • VPN servers primarily located in Europe.
  • Not Enough Ratings
CyberGhost
CyberGhost

Pros and Cons

  • Hardware used for VPN servers is directly owned by the company.
  • Data is secured with 256-bit AES encryption.
  • A wide diversity of VPN server locations.
  • Higher priced than other VPNs.
  • Maintains 30-day logs of online activity.
  • Less-extensive VPN server network.

The issue of how to hide my IP address can be critical to you depending on your geographic location and the types of activity you engage in when online. Hiding your IP address protects your privacy and inhibits the ability of any entity to monitor online movements. We highly recommend employing a VPN service if these issues are important to you.

Have more questions?
Submit a request or write a couple words.

Read next in All about Wi-Fi

If you want to dive deeper into this Wi-Fi thing, check out the following articles about Wi-Fi security, the best apps for wireless networking, inflight WiFi, etc.

Other Articles

Get NetSpot for Free
Wi-Fi Site Surveys, Analysis, Troubleshooting runs on a MacBook (macOS 10.10+) or any laptop (Windows 7/8/10) with a standard 802.11a/b/g/n/ac wireless network adapter.