How to hide your IP address is a question that’s frequently asked. Thankfully, we’ve created this guide to help you out. There’s more than one method to get the job done. Here are a few examples:
- Use a VPN
- Pair to a proxy server
- Browse on the Tor network
- Connect to public wifi
- Use a mobile network
To better understand how these measures work, I’ll take an in-depth look at each of them. Besides that, let’s also discuss what an IP address is and why it needs to be kept hidden.
So, What’s My IP Address?
This is your IP Address:
And your Geographical Location:
London, United Kingdom
An Internet Protocol (IP) address is an exclusive numeric code that identifies each device connected to the internet.
Its primary purpose is to facilitate the exchange of information between your computer and a website. That said, all internet-ready gadgets have a unique IP address. This includes everything from laptops to smart appliances.
You should know that two kinds of IP addresses exist: IPv4 and IPv6. The difference between them lies in the number of addresses they support. IPv6 allows for an unlimited amount, whereas IPv4 allows for a maximum of 4 billion.
No IP address is arbitrarily generated and assigned. A nonprofit organization called Internet Assigned Authority creates then provides them to the five regional internet registries of the world. These registries are the ones who hand them out to internet service providers.
For that reason, the IP address given to you can be used to identify your exact location.
Determining your IP address is not difficult. There are lots of testing software that you can use for free. As such, estimating where you’re based is relatively easy. With a few clicks, anyone can do this.
If you’re wondering, nope, IP addresses can’t be avoided. Your devices need them to access and exchange info online. Because of that, the only way to stay away from IP addresses is to mask yours with a different one.
Now, Why Would You Need To Hide Your IP Address?
You need to hide your IP address because leaving it exposed puts you at great risk. On top of that, it might limit what you can do on the internet. How so? Let's get into the specifics below.
1. Hide Your Geographical Location
An IP address can serve as an indicator of your exact geographical location. Thus, people that find it out will be able to know exactly where you are. If thieves and other troublemakers discover it, they’ll be able to tell where you live and do a home invasion.
Here’s what geo-information your IP address contains:
- Longitude & latitude
The notion that anyone can figure out your exact coordinates through an IP address is very frightening. If anything, this should be a good enough reason for you to keep yours hidden.
2. Hide Your Browsing History
Mainstream search engines like Google and Bing monitor your search history and requests. The data they collect is then used to create a user profile. It’s based on that profile that search engines tailor search results and targeted ads to your behavior.
Search engine operators claim to do this to provide you with better user experience. While this is true to some extent, their actions invade your privacy. After all, everything is done without your permission.
The entire process explained above is possible because most people access search engines using only a few IP addresses.
Hence, constantly changing your IP address and deleting your cookies will put you one step ahead. Search engines will find it next to impossible to accurately predict your activities.
3. Hide From Unwanted Surveillance
Governments all over the world monitor what their citizens do online. They even collaborate to do this more effectively. As such, it’s currently possible for a British citizen to be legally watched by US authorities.
ISPs often also collect your data. In most cases, they’re required to do this by the governments of wherever they operate. Since they own your connection, ISPs may obtain almost all of your private data. This remains true even if you browse the web in incognito mode.
Official institutions like police departments and national intelligence agencies have the authority to request the data your ISP collects from you. That data can then be used against you during investigations and many other things.
Fortunately, you can protect yourself from unwanted surveillance by hiding your IP address. Any government and ISP shall find it difficult to monitor you if you constantly change it. It’ll also be very hard to collect your information and save it. As a result, you’ll be able to evade them without any flaws.
4. Hide From Hackers And Attackers
Your IP address is often exposed to hackers and other attackers when you download torrents or stream content. The info they procure can be utilized in a plethora of ways.
For example, your PC can get remotely controlled. Besides that, malware may be injected into your device, corrupting every file it has, making it useless.
When you mask your IP address, cybercriminals get swept aside. They become almost unable to find your location and perform malicious acts. And yes, this remains true regardless of how advanced their equipment is or how well-funded they are.
5. Bypass IP Restrictions And Bans
The private networks of schools and workplaces frequently establish internet restrictions. You can bypass these restrictions with a simple change of your IP address. However, we do not recommend that you do this since there might be negative consequences if you’re caught.
Hiding your IP address can also work around the restrictions of some websites and services. It’s possible to access geo-blocked shows and movies that aren’t available in your area.
You may also watch live sporting events that would otherwise be unavailable. Moreover, you’ll get to download exclusive content that’s restricted to certain regions.
With a masked IP address, there are no limitations to what you can do online. Thus, you should strive to hide it since the benefits don’t only involve security. There are also a plethora of perks that you can take readily advantage of.
6. Remain Anonymous Online
It’s in your best interest to remain anonymous when using the internet. Why? Because others won’t be able to track your activity or collect your data. Everything you’ll do online will be a complete enigma. As such, the web shall be a safe place for you to roam around in.
Though a hidden IP address doesn’t provide 100% anonymity, it greatly helps. If you wish to remain an utter secret online, the best thing to do is change your IP address and adapt many other precautions.
We’ve got a digital security guide on this website to help you. I recommend that you check it as it’ll provide you with the knowledge you need to attain utter digital security.
7. Use Public Wifi Safely
Public wifi hotspots are places that hackers often infiltrate as they’re generally not secure. Due to that, it’s a must to do what’s necessary to remain safe when tapping into them. One of the best measures is to keep your IP address hidden.
By having an IP address that’s different from the wifi hotspot you’re using, attackers won’t be able to detect your device. Consequently, you’ll stay protected and out of their reach.
Okay, How Do You Hide Your IP Address?
So far, we’ve discussed what an IP address is and why you should keep yours hidden. Now, let us talk about how to actually hide it. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are many ways to do so. Here are the specifics of each method:
A virtual private network (VPN) service is the best security tool at your disposal. Having the right one can make hiding your IP address as simple as one click. It won’t matter what you’re doing as you’ll stay protected, whether you’re torrenting, streaming, or gaming.
The best VPNs aren’t free. Fortunately, they’re not expensive either. You can purchase them at a very reasonable price. On top of that, a lot of services allow you to utilize anonymous payment methods like Bitcoin. Hence, it’ll be easy to keep your identity hidden completely.
It’s important to do your research before getting a VPN. The reason why is because they’re not all created equally. Some services are far better than others.
They have larger server networks, advanced security features, and more user-friendly interfaces. Additionally, they’ve got good reputations with no records of being hacked or disclosing user information.
Keep in mind that some VPNs do more harm than good. Why? Some have been caught sharing private data with third parties for a profit. A few have even infected their subscribers’ devices with malware to benefit their own malicious agendas.
If you’re having trouble picking out the right VPN services, it’s best to look at our reviews and comparisons. By reading them, it’s guaranteed that you’ll be able to determine what VPN is most ideal for your needs.
Connecting to a proxy server is another great way to mask your real IP address. That said, it’s important to remember that proxies don’t offer the same level of protection as VPNs.
For those who don’t know, a proxy is a kind of server that acts as an intermediary between your computer and the internet.
Upon pairing to a proxy, every online request of yours will be sent through it. When this occurs, the proxy server alters some of your data, including the IP address. It’s that changed data that gets received by the website you’re trying to access.
Despite how great it seems, I recommend that you only connect to a proxy when you’re doing low-risk tasks. After all, proxy servers do not encrypt your data. This makes it possible for third parties to access it.
Furthermore, a proxy does not completely keep your identity hidden. When using it, your ISP can still monitor everything you do online. Thus, proxies aren’t the best solution if you wish to hide your IP address as they have major disadvantages.
Tor is a secure internet browser that uses the Tor network. It’s free to use and can successfully hide your legitimate IP address. The browser does this by encrypting your data and relaying it through several servers (“Tor Nodes”). With this process, tracking and monitoring your online activities is much harder to do.
A major drawback that comes with using Tor is that it only encrypts internet traffic that passes within the browser. Furthermore, it’s quite slow because the process of relaying data through many servers takes time.
My suggestion is that you use the Tor browser alongside a VPN. When this is done, your online security shall be taken to the next level. While your browsing experience will be even more sluggish, I think that it’ll be well worth it.
4. Use A Mobile Network
Transferring to a mobile network instantly changes your IP address. However, I don’t think this is the best method to do so.
Why? Because monitors and criminals will still be able to pinpoint where you’re browsing from. Although they will not get to determine your exact location, they’ll still look in the right direction.
Besides the downside that’s stated above, mobile networks aren’t secure. They can easily be tapped into by hackers.
Furthermore, they’re controlled by telecommunication companies that are most likely in cahoots with the government. Hence, every time you connect, there’s a huge risk of you being spied upon by the authorities.
If there’s no wifi, mobile networks are the only option to access the internet. Because of that, connecting to them is sometimes unavoidable.
Don’t worry, though. There’s a way to stay safe when paired with your telco’s mobile network. Simply use a VPN over it, and you will remain completely protected and anonymous.
5. Public Wifi
Earlier, I talked about the dangers of connecting to public wifi hotspots. What I didn’t mention is that doing so could also hide your IP address. After all, hotspots have their own IP address, which is different from your own
Like with mobile networks, I don’t recommend using this method to hide your real IP address. It’s dangerous since you get left open to hackers as well as other third parties.
If you’ve absolutely got no choice, it’s essential to use a VPN while paired to public wifi. The right service will prevent others from discovering your location. It’ll also give you perks like providing access to geo-blocked websites and services.
As you can see, there are many ways to mask your real IP address. Some of which are safe while others aren’t. I think that IP addresses should only be hidden using VPNs, proxies, and the Tor browser. Each of these solutions is easy, convenient, and relatively safe.
Our team here at VPN Thrive hopes that we got to help you. Knowing what an IP address is and why it should be hidden, you’ll be able to secure yourself online. You’ll no longer worry about being secretly watched.
Remember that keeping your IP address a secret is only the first step in online security. There are many other precautions you must take to get the job done. You can learn more about these precautions, online privacy, and children’s safety guides.