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How to Hide My IP Address
Hiding an IP address is simple.
It only takes to know which tools and how to use them.
And if you are like me, someone who simply wants to hide my IP to unblock geo-restricted content, negate IP bans and keep personal privacy for myself, then keep reading
I’ve pointed out 7 simple ways to hide your IP address, but first, let’s begin with the basics.
What is an IP Address?
The internet is a massive collection of interconnected networks, and it requires a method of identifying and establishing communications between these networks. That is where the concept of IP address comes in to define, structure, and deliver information from one point to another.
Your IP address (also known as Internet Protocol address) is the unique set of numbers that is assigned to your computer or smart device and associated with all the activities you perform while you’re online.
This means your PC, smartphone, printer, tablet – they all must have an IP address.
The most common IP address looks like this: 188.8.131.52 (IPv4) or 2001:0db8:0000:0000:0000:8a2e:3257:7334 (IPv6).
IP addresses carry some important pieces of information they are allocated to, which include the location and Internet Service Provider (ISP). This information is necessary for establishing an efficient internet connection.
However, this information can be obtained by hackers when you visit the website or connect to not safe wi-fi, and it can be used to track, limit, and monitor your online activities.
That is why I choose to hide my IP address to bypass restrictions and ensure my online privacy and security.
7 Ways to Hide Your IP Address
These are the seven best ways to mask your IP address.
1. Use a VPN Software
Of all the methods listed below, this is not only my favorite way to hide my IP address, but it is also the best and the most convenient way to remain anonymous online. This is because a VPN (Virtual Private Network) software will:
- Hide your IP address;
- Encrypt the traffic flowing through your internet connection to help you avoid hackers and prying eyes;
- Help you bypass the geo-restrictions and access blocked websites like Hulu and Netflix;
- Allow you to torrent safely;
- Offer high-speed bandwidth and the ability to choose your preferred location.
As you can see here, VPN software will do all the work when you need to hide your IP address. It achieves this by assigning an IP of their server to the device you connect it to.
VPN apps require only a few minutes to set up without having to be technically sound to complete the setup – that’s another reason why I preferred this IP masking option.
Once you set it up on your device, changing or hiding your IP address will be as easy as a breeze, all at the click of the button.
Your new IP address assigned to your device will spoof your real IP address so the websites you visit will see a fake IP address instead of the real one.
Your real IP will connect to the said VPN while all other traffic will be channeled through the virtual IP address assigned to you by the VPN.
That means, all the websites you visit will only see the information about your fake IP address and not your real one, so you’ll continue surfing the web anonymously.
I installed a VPN software on my device, run it, connect to it, and select my preferred location and voila!
However, you have to select a good VPN service to enjoy all the benefits I mentioned above.
So, what VPN service do I recommend?
I am using ExpressVPN. This software is the most reliable, anonymous VPN in the market to protect your privacy.
Also, they have 3,000+ VPN servers in 160 server locations in 94 countries. That means 3,000+ different IP addresses to choose from.
2. Using a Proxy (Slower than a VPN)
When I have no chance to use a VPN I choose a proxy to hide my IP address.
However, it is slower and usually not as reliable as a VPN.
Proxie is a great IP masking solution that acts as a man-in-the-middle server in the flow of information within your internet connection.
Instead of allowing you to connect directly to the internet to share or receive information with your real IP address, a proxy server will allow you to connect to its server while it sends and receives information on your behalf using a different IP address.
This IP hider will simply intercept your internet traffic, control your connection, and mirror your online behavior so that the websites you’re trying to access will think of the proxy traffic as your real one.
Just like the VPN software, it’ll hide your IP address by connecting to your destination server using its own IP instead of your actual IP address.
Unlike VPN, proxy servers only suitable for low profile necessities like avoiding IP blockers and bypassing geo-blocks, and not for high profile necessities that require layers of extra security.
They cannot encrypt your traffic or remove any recognizable indicators from it.
That means proxy cannot shield you from the prying eyes of your government, internet service provider, or anyone that has access to the data flow through your connection.
Another reason why I prefer the use of a VPN software instead of proxy is that proxy servers lack encompassing spoofing.
While a proxy server will only intercept your web traffic on a per-application basis, a VPN will encrypt and tunnel the whole data flowing through your system, so you can browse and torrent files without being monitored.
3. Using TOR (Unsafe)
Using TOR (The Onion Router) is another effective method I employ to hide IP address for free.
This IP scrambler work by using a series of servers across the globe to hide IP address while making it harder for you to be trailed.
Instead of having a flow of traffic from point A (your device) to point B (your destination website’s server) and back, your traffic will be relayed randomly between different TOR nodes (from A to B to C to D) before you reach your destination.
If anyone would try to intercept your traffic between any of the TOR nodes, they would only be able to know your previous and next jumps but won’t be able to know where the chain ended or began due to TOR’s layers of encryption.
The hacker or attacker usually lose your trails and will have to figure out the entire path of your traffic through the network to discover who you are.
TOR is free, but it is not entirely safe and has its limitations even though it is considered safer than proxy servers due to the encryption.
The slow surfing speeds and loading times is another downside of TOR, and this is because it has to relay your packet data through several servers before it reaches your final destination website.
Also, TOR is being used for illegal transactions and criminal activities, so you may be placed on a “watch list” if you use this IP masking option.
4. Ask Your Internet Provider to Change It
Another way to change your IP address is simply contacting your ISP and asking them to change your IP address for you.
This can be a good way to temporarily hide your internet traffic especially if you’re using a static IP and you notice you’re being tracked.
However, this will not prevent you from being monitored by your government, ISP, and other prying eyes.
Also, your identity is not hidden, nor your traffic encrypted, and your new address will belong to the same country as before and that will not allow bypassing geo-blocks and IP restrictions.
Considering the time it takes to call the ISP and sit on hold every time they intend to change the IP address, I wouldn’t recommend this option.
5. Change Your Physical Location
Your IP address is location-based and will not travel with you, so if you change your physical location, your IP address will change. Changing your physical location seems to be an easy way to change and hide your IP, but it is not.
It does not offer an immediate solution when you need to access geo-blocked websites.
Also, your government, ISP, and other prying eyes can intercept your traffic since it is not encrypted.
6. Connect to a Different Wi-Fi
You can also hide your regular IP address by connecting to different Wi-Fi.
When you connect to the public Wi-Fi of a hotel, bookstore, or coffee shop near you, you’ll be registered online with their network’s IP address until you disconnect from it.
However, public Wi-Fi is not secure, so you should avoid logging into a high-security website like your bank or email while using the network unless you’re using a VPN software (remember VPN encryption?).
Also, this option will not help you avoid IP restrictions and bypass geo-blocks or prevent your internet traffic from being monitored.
7. Reset Your Modem
Resetting your modem is another way to change your usual IP address.
Unplug or turn off your modem for about 5 minutes and turn it on or plug it back in.
Once you do that, your modem should register on the net with another IP address.
You can equally unplug your modem and leave it overnight if your IP doesn’t change after unplugging it for 5 min.
Looks like an easy way to change an IP address to a new one, and it is, actually.
But the downside of this method is you still would get a local IP, that will not unblock restricted content you want to access.
Also, if it does not work in five minutes… Who has time to wait for it these days?
Why Hide IP?
There are several reasons why you may want to hide your IP address.
1. Hide Your Location
As I mentioned above, an IP address carries information about its user’s location. So your IP address reveals the country from which you’re browsing the net, as well as your city, region, ZIP code and your latitude and longitude. That means a hacker or criminal can access your exact location by simply finding your IP address.
2. Bypass IP Restrictions
Since IP addresses can precisely identify the location of its users, they are used to restrict people from accessing certain information. We are in the information era, and no one should be denied access to information or oppressed to share their views.
However, governments like those in Russia, China, and the US restrict access to some services and websites by blocking the IP addresses of their nation. If you need to get around these websites and services, you’ll have to hide your IP address to spoof the websites and circumvent the restrictions.
3. Negate IP Bans
One of the easiest ways for services and websites to immediately prevent your access to them is by banning your IP address. Websites and services like Netflix use this method to prevent access into a country’s catalog and access to its library of TV shows and movies from outside that country. So, if your IP address has been banned from accessing such services or web contents, you can quickly loophole your way back into it by changing and hiding your IP address.
4. Block Targeted Ads or Attacks
If a hacker has ever targeted you or you simply want to avoid targeted ads, hiding your IP address will become an important security measure you must take to prevent your personal information or data from falling into the wrong hands. When you change or hide your IP address, you can block or get rid of target ads and cyber-attack on your computing device.
5. Remain Anonymous Online
Our anonymity is becoming more important because ISP’s sells your browsing history and private internet surfing data to the highest bidder. By hiding your IP, you’ll surf the web anonymously without the fear of being monitored even by your ISP.
The internet is a scary place full of hackers and trackers. Thankfully, hiding the IP address is an easy and surefire way to ensure your security and protect your data.
I hope my tips on how I hide my IP address and my preferred IP masking options taught you how to how to why you need to do so.
Share it with your family and friends so that they can learn how to protect themselves and their data and improve their online security.
Still Got Questions? Here are FAQ's
A Virtual private network (VPN) is a service specifically designed to give its users complete online anonymity by masking/hiding the person’s Internet Protocol (IP) address to prevent third parties from tracing his/her browsing behavior.
VPN is useful for:
– Masking the users IP so as to protect sensitive data;
– Change IP address to bypass geo-restricted content e.g Netflix;
– Protecting personal data from online hackers and cybercriminals;
– Defeating Oppressive Government Censorship;
– Works well with TOR;
– Blocking unsolicited ads that slow down your browsing experience;
– Bypassing ISP bandwidth throttling, etc.
Yes. It even provides you with a steady speed and also allows you to stream some geo-blocked content on websites like Netflix, Youtube.
Yes, the use of VPN is legal. However, there are some countries where it is illegal to use VPN and there are countries that citizens are permitted to use only government-approved VPNs. Some of those countries are:
- China: Only government-approved VPNs are allowed to use
Why: The government wants to regulate VPNs which are going against the laws of the land.
- Russia: Only government-approved VPNs are allowed to use
Why: The law was enacted to prevent the spreading of unlawful content in the country.
- Iran: Only government-approved VPNs are allowed to use
Why: The law was enacted to fish out those who are violating some of the existing state laws.
- United Arab Emirates: Restricted for Individuals
Why: It was enacted to prevent people from using free VOIP services over the local Telecom companies of UAE.
- Turkey: Restricted
Why: To prevent circumvention of government-imposed censorship via VPN services.
- Iraq: Fully Banned
Why: To restrict ISIS from manipulating social media, although some government officials and government-owned institutions still use them.
- Belarus: Fully Banned
Why: It was banned so as to prevent the citizens from bypassing any restriction that the government may put in place.
Best VPN services are reliable and they keep no logs. That’s why you need to desist from using a random VPN so as to protect your data from online hackers and cybercriminals.
Free VPN services are not recommended. The reason is simple: various studies show they are capable of storing your personal data and can sell it to third parties.
If You‘re Not Paying For It, You Become The Product.
VPN does not necessarily impact your browsing speed. VPN can only be as fast as your connection speed, it cannot surpass it.
However, you may witness a small loss in speed (usually between 10-20%) when connecting to any VPN service because they encrypt all your data and it must come through their server.
Some other variables that can impact your internet speed – the geographical location of the server, encryption level, existing protocols, server load, ISP speed restrictions.
There are little or no risks of using a VPN. However, you may be putting yourself at risk when you make use of free or any random VPN as they may not be strong enough to protect you against online dangers or hackers.
Some other risks associated with using the unreliable VPN:
- They may compromise your security;
- They may track your online activity;
- They don’t unblock Netflix;
- They limit the amount of data you can use;
- They slow down your internet speed;
- They bombard you with ads;
- They may collect and sell your personal data.
There are many trusted providers to choose from, why expose yourself to such risks when a reliable VPN doesn’t cost a fortune?