Do I Need to Hide My IP Address? | McAfee Blogs
What is an IP Address?
Think of this as your address on the internet — a location where you receive mail and other data such as webpages, images, and mesages. Your IP address is made up of a string of four groups of numbers, such as 192. 172. 33. 1, which identifies both the network you are on and the device you are using. With these two pieces of information networks and websites can both route data to you and check that you have permission to access it.
Why Would I Want to Hide My IP Address?
Since your IP address is needed to surf around the web, it can act as a fingerprint of your online activities. Webpages may choose to store this information to learn more about you and your interests for marketing purposes. Your data can also be potentially sold to third parties without your consent, or used to spy on you if someone has malicious intent. An example of this would be so-called “spyware, ” which can covertly log the sites you visit.
IP addresses are also used to restrict access to content, such as streaming services that are only available in certain locations. But hiding your IP address for this purpose is not something we advocate.
How Do I Hide My IP Address?
There are two main ways to hide your IP address: by using a virtual private network (VPN), or a proxy server. VPNs are the most common tools used by consumers to mask their IP addresses. This is a piece of software that allows you to create a secure connection to another server over the internet, so your data appears to come from the server you connect to. So, if you are in Los Angeles, for instance, the software can connect you to a server in London, hiding your actual location since your traffic appears to originate in London.
A proxy server is different in that it acts like a middleman between your device and the server you are trying to connect with. It receives a request from your device and then retrieves that information from the target server. The proxy can be either a computer or a piece of software that performs this function. It’s different from a VPN in that it doesn’t encrypt, or scramble, your information, making it less secure. That’s why we suggest that you use a VPN.
When Should I use a VPN?
There are a few scenarios when you may want to hide your IP address. The first is if you’re using public Wi-Fi, because your browsing activity might be accessible to anyone nearby. If you use a VPN, you can make a secure connection to the network and keep your activities private.
You may also choose to hide your IP address if you are concerned about your privacy on the web in general and want to make sure that there are no websites or cybercriminals tracking you.
Finally, users who want to connect with a private business or home network may also choose to use a VPN. Many businesses, for example, only allow their employees to connect to their internal network if their IP address is coming from an approved network. With a VPN, you can connect to the internal network from anywhere and you will be allowed access since it is coming from an approved IP address.
Other Ways to Protect Your Privacy
Check the privacy of all of your accounts to make sure they are on the strictest settings. On social media, make sure that only friends can see your information.
Turn off location services on websites and apps if you don’t need to use them. Unless you are using a service for mapping, or other location-critical functions, there is no reason to share your movements through the world.
Use complicated passwords and passphrases and keep them private. Password managers can help make this easier.
Install comprehensive security software on all of your devices. Try to choose a product that includes a VPN and identity theft protection.
When on a public Wi-Fi network, like in an airport or hotel, always use a VPN if you want to do banking and other sensitive activities securely.
Keep up-to-date on the latest threats, and how to avoid them.
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How do I Hide My IP Address? – Avast
What is an IP address, anyway?
An IP address is a series of numbers that identifies your device or network on the internet. Activity on the internet is a series of two-way communications between clients — software, such as a web browser, that requests data — and servers, which reply to clients with responses. Every client has an IP address that tells servers who is making the request.
So, it’s easy to understand what an IP address is and also why they’re important. IP addresses let search engines like Google know where to send the results of a search, help websites know who’s visiting their site, and make sure you receive the emails that are addressed to you.
In other words, IP addresses undergird how the internet works in general. Thankfully, it’s very easy to find your IP address if you need this information.
Three ways to hide your IP
Now, let’s take a look at three tools you can use to hide your IP address. Each offers its own blend of privacy, security, and practicality.
1. Use a VPN
A VPN is an intermediary server that encrypts your connection to the internet — and it also hides your IP address. A VPN encrypts all your traffic, not only in your browser but also in other apps, and then passes traffic onward to its destination. They’re a popular privacy solution, and as such, there’s a strong incentive for VPN providers to design tools that are as easy to use as they are secure.
Here’s how to hide your IP address with a VPN: Simply download a VPN such as Avast SecureLine VPN, log in, and turn it on to protect both your IP address and your internet traffic.
How does a VPN hide your IP address?
When you’re using a VPN, your IP address is hidden because your traffic takes a detour through the VPN server. When your traffic — sites visited, online apps used, uploads, downloads, etc. — reaches its destination, it does so under a “virtual” IP address assigned by the VPN.
There’s only one party who’ll be able to see your actual IP address: your VPN provider. That’s why you should choose a trusted VPN provider that isn’t going to keep logs on your activity.
Avast SecureLine VPN is a safe, secure, and convenient way to mask your IP address. It’ll hide your online activity from your internet service provider (ISP), employer, school, and anyone else on your network, including a snooping cybercriminal. And we never keep any logs on sites you visit, apps you use, or content you view.
2. Use Tor
Comprising thousands of volunteer-run server nodes, Tor is a free network that conceals your identity online via multiple layers of encryption. When you access Tor, typically by using the free Tor Browser, your traffic is relayed and encrypted through a series of three relay nodes, each of which decrypts one layer of encryption to learn the identity of the next node. When your traffic leaves the final node, it’s fully decrypted and sent to its destination.
The relay system hides your IP address, but not without cost: because Tor’s encryption system is so thorough, it takes a long time for your traffic to complete its journey. You’ll be sacrificing browsing speed for Tor’s anonymity. This is a worthwhile tradeoff when it really counts, such as for whistleblowers and political dissidents. But if you’re simply seeking to hide your IP address, when comparing Tor and a VPN, you’ll find a VPN to be a far more convenient and faster solution.
How does Tor hide your IP address?
When you use Tor, each relay node along your traffic’s pathway through the Tor network knows only the IP address of the node immediately before and after it. Even if an attacker manages to intercept your traffic while it travels from the final node to your destination server, it’d be very difficult at that point to parse your original IP address.
3. Use a proxy
A proxy server handles your internet traffic on your behalf. A proxy sits in front of a client or network of clients, forwarding requests while also receiving and delivering responses from servers. You may need to manually adjust your device’s proxy settings if you want to use a proxy.
Unlike a VPN, most proxies won’t encrypt your traffic, and they also won’t hide your IP address from anyone who can intercept your traffic on its way from your device to the proxy. Proxy servers, especially free web-based proxies, tend to be less reliable than VPNs. That’s why proxies are best used as a quick, temporary solution as opposed to a long-term privacy plan.
How does a proxy hide your IP address?
Some proxy servers can mask your IP address with a fake one. You’ll appear as though you’re based in the same country as your proxy server. If you’re using a proxy to hide your IP, be aware that not all proxies offer equal protection.
Transparent proxies conceal neither your IP address nor your use of a proxy.
Anonymous proxies hide your IP address but not your use of a proxy.
High anonymity (or elite) proxies hide both your IP address as well as your use of a proxy.
Some sites or content platforms may block traffic from known proxies, so you’ll have to be careful if you’re trying to use a proxy to access media.
Why should I hide my IP address?
Your IP address identifies you online, and in today’s data-driven world, your online activity is very valuable. It’s important to hide your IP address so that you can regain control over your privacy while you’re online. Among other sensitive info, your IP can reveal your shopping and buying habits as well as your physical location. So why hide your IP? You’ve got plenty to gain, and not much to lose.
Hide your IP to browse anonymously
Advertisers and marketers can track you across the internet and analyze your browsing habits with the goal of marketing to you more effectively. Unfortunately, even hiding your IP address won’t stop them, because tracking cookies also deliver this information — which is why you should regularly take the time to delete cookies from your browser.
To take private internet browsing to the next level, consider a dedicated private browser like Avast Secure Browser. It includes a range of advanced anti-tracking features to let you use the internet without leaving any clues behind that companies and individuals can use to follow your activity.
Hide your IP to shield your location
Hide your IP address behind another IP in a different part of the world and no one will know where you really are. This includes websites and services that host geo-restricted content. For example, if you’re traveling abroad and want to access movies or TV shows that are available only for your home country, you can use a VPN or proxy to unblock that website with a false IP address in the correct location.
Many IP addresses are linked to a real-world address, or at least to a general location. If you’re frequently using false IP addresses to change your online location, no one will be able to figure out where you actually are.
Can my IP address ever truly be hidden?
While it’s not possible to hide your IP address from everyone, you can achieve an effective level of privacy sufficient for everyday needs. With a VPN, the only entity that can link your online activity to your IP address is your VPN provider itself. This is why it’s so important to choose a VPN provider with a reliable reputation for security, and one that doesn’t keep logs of user activity.
Your ISP can see the type, timing, and amount of traffic you’re sending to the VPN server, but they won’t know the specifics. The same goes for Tor. Many proxies don’t encrypt your traffic, and so your ISP will be able to access your activity if it wants to while you’re using a proxy. And, as mentioned earlier, all the websites and services you use while connected to a VPN will see only the VPN’s IP address, not yours.
The primary purpose for hiding your IP address is to protect your online activity and location from third-party observers: websites, advertisers who use ad tracking techniques, and cybercriminals. When your safety and privacy is at risk, it’s important to be proactive.
What is IP masking?
IP masking is the technique of concealing your IP address by adopting a false one. This is how hiding your IP address works — they’re two ways to refer to the same thing. If you’re interested in learning how to mask your IP address, you can apply the same techniques described in this article. After all, the only way to hide your IP address and still use the internet is to mask it behind another one.
Your traffic is always going to need an IP address online, since that’s how websites and services know who’s making the requests and where to send the replies. Clients use IP addresses to reach servers, and servers use IP addresses to send requested data back to the correct client.
That request-and-response system is part of the TCP/IP model, which governs how devices on the internet communicate with one each another. IP addresses are classified in a variety of ways: IPv4 vs. IPv6, public vs. local, and static vs. dynamic IP addresses. Read more about IP addresses here.
Hide your IP the easy way with a VPN
Avast SecureLine VPN lets you hide your IP address by choosing from any one of our blazing-fast servers located in dozens of countries all over the world. With your online activity securely encrypted and our no-logging policy, you’ll be able to easily access blocked content, disrupt tracking techniques, and browse the internet freely, with complete confidence in your online privacy.
Geo-spoofing: How to change your location online – Comparitech
If you want to unblock region-locked websites and services, you’ll need a VPN. We’ll show you how to pretend to be in a different country and let you know the best VPNs to fake your location.
Geo-spoofing is the process of changing your location or country online so you can appear to be in a location of your choosing. It’s hugely popular and usually achieved by using a VPN. There are lots of reasons to use geo-spoofing but the most common are to access blocked content, apps and streaming services or to conceal your real location to protect your privacy.
Chances are you’ve come across geo-blocked content online. This is often due to copyright and licensing issues, which is why streaming services such as Netflix or Disney+ have different content from one region to another. Additionally, some countries have very strict online censorship, which might mean that anything from online gambling to political blogs could be blocked. Fortunately, a VPN lets you fake your location, providing you with access to otherwise restricted content. This means if you travel abroad you can still connect to your usual home streaming services, websites and apps.
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, offers a number of benefits. First, it lets you fake your location which enables you to view content that’s usually inaccessible in your current location. However, VPNs also offer several security advantages. In particular, they encrypt your internet traffic and hide your real IP address and location. As such, you can enjoy greater online freedom and improved privacy and anonymity when using a VPN.
How to pretend to be in a different country (fake your location) with a VPN
The process of faking your location is the same whether you’re connecting to a server in the US or Australia. Below is our short step-by-step guide explaining how you can quickly and easily spoof your location.
Here’s how to fake your location with a VPN:
1. First, sign up with a VPN provider – we particularly recommend NordVPN. However, Surfshark and ExpressVPN are two strong alternatives.
2. Next, download and install the appropriate VPN app for your device. Many of the best VPNs also offer browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
3. Open your VPN app (or browser extension) and connect to a server in the country from which you want to browse. For example, you’d use a server in the US to unblock Netflix US.
4. You now have a new, temporary IP address which you can use to unblock geo-restricted online content.
5. Still finding blocked content? Try clearing your browser’s cache and cookies. You may also connect to another server in case the IP address you’re using has been blacklisted. Alternatively, contact your VPN’s customer support for further guidance.
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There are no hidden terms—just contact support within 30 days if you decide NordVPN isn’t right for you and you’ll get a full refund. Start your NordVPN trial here.
How to fake your location in Google Chrome
Some browsers such as Google Chrome use the latest geo-location API which means they may be able to detect your location even if you’re connected to a VPN. The best way to protect against this is to connect to a VPN’s browser extension. However, you can also block location sharing by turning off geo-location settings within your browser.
Here’s how to fake your location in Google Chrome (with a VPN):
1. Click on the three dots in the top right corner of your Chrome window and select Settings.
2. Click on the Advanced tab on the left hand side of the screen.
3. Select Privacy and Security and then Site settings.
4. Select Location underneath the Permissions section.
5. Finally, click the toggle button so that location-sharing is blocked. Now you can simply follow the steps above to set up the VPN of your choice.
How to fake your location on Android
It’s also possible to fake your location on your Android device. However, it’s worth knowing that this is more difficult on iOS as it requires the phone to be jailbroken.
Here’s how to turn off location tracking on Android:
Go to Settings
Search for Security and Location.
Turn off Location.
Note that the menu layout and titles vary from phone to phone. As such, it may be easier to simply type ‘location’ in the search bar in order to quickly find what you’re looking for.
Best VPNs to fake your location
Ready to unblock geo-restricted content while enjoying greater online privacy? Here’s our list of the best VPNs for faking or spoofing your location:
NordVPN: Best VPN for faking your location. Unblock Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Offers over 5, 000 servers including P2P and Double VPN servers. 24/7 support and a strict no-logs policy.
Surfshark: Budget choice. Secure an unlimited number of devices simultaneously. Unblock Netflix and Disney+. No-logs VPN with Double VPN servers. Includes 24/7 live chat support.
ExpressVPN: Good all-rounder with consistent connections and servers in over 90 countries. Secure with encryption and very user-friendly. Unblocks Netflix and includes 24/7 support.
CyberGhost: Easy for beginners. No-logs VPN with very fast servers in 90 countries. Connect up to 7 devices simultaneously. Includes 24/7 live chat support and very strong security.
IPVanish: Servers in 15 US cities for watching Netflix US abroad. Allows up to 10 simultaneous connections. No-logs policy and encryption for your online security.
PrivateVPN: High-speed VPN for streaming and torrenting. Easy-to-use apps and live chat support. Protects your privacy with a no-logs policy and encryption.
Hotspot Shield: Fake your location with 70 countries. Servers in 27 US cities for watching Amazon Prime Video. Beginner-friendly apps and secured with encryption.
There are plenty of factors to consider when choosing a VPN. These include the available server locations, connection speed, and security features. We based our selection of the best VPNs for faking your location on the following criteria:
Servers in dozens of countries
Fast, consistent connections
Protects your privacy with encryption
Beginner-friendly desktop and mobile apps
Offers live chat and email support
Supports multiple simultaneous connections
What is geo-spoofing?
You may have come across the term “geo-spoofing”. Spoofing your location is just another term for faking or hiding your location. This requires changing your IP address. One of the easiest ways to spoof your location is to use a VPN. This allows you to connect to a server in another country and obtain a different IP address.
Why would I want to pretend to be in a different country?
There are two main reasons to use a VPN to fake your location. The first is to access geo-restricted content. For many people, this means streaming services such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer. However, some countries have strict online censorship which can mean blocks for anything from social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to news and political sites. Connecting to a server abroad and obtaining a new IP address is a way around this.
The second reason to pretend to be in a different country with a VPN is security. A VPN helps protect your online privacy. In countries with limited freedom such as China and Saudi Arabia, a VPN can be essential for avoiding government surveillance. A VPN secures your data with encryption and hides your location, protecting you from hackers and snoopers. Plus, if you choose a no-logs VPN, you can rest easy knowing that your personal information stays private at all times.
Can I use a free VPN to pretend to be in a different country?
While there are plenty of free VPNs on the market, we recommend you stay away from them. If you want to fake your location, free VPNs can prove limiting due to the lack of servers and server locations. Furthermore, the average free VPN service is very slow. This is often down to heavy server load as well as bandwidth throttling by VPN providers.
The poor performance of free VPNs makes for slow browsing but is particularly frustrating when streaming and torrenting. Even if you find a free VPN that offers reasonable speed, it’s possible you’ll encounter poor unblocking abilities. For example, most free VPNs are unable to unblock popular streaming services such as Netflix and DAZN.
Despite all this, we still haven’t mentioned the biggest flaw of free VPNs — security. When you use a free VPN service your data may not be secured with encryption. The service may also lack a kill switch that protects your data from leaks. While some free VPNs make money through advertising, some log your browsing data and sell it to third parties.
Frequently Asked Questions about how to mask my ip location
How do I mask where an IP address is located?
Three ways to hide your IPUse a VPN. A VPN is an intermediary server that encrypts your connection to the internet — and it also hides your IP address. … Use Tor. Comprising thousands of volunteer-run server nodes, Tor is a free network that conceals your identity online via multiple layers of encryption. … Use a proxy.Apr 8, 2020
Can you fake your IP location?
Spoofing your location is just another term for faking or hiding your location. This requires changing your IP address. One of the easiest ways to spoof your location is to use a VPN. This allows you to connect to a server in another country and obtain a different IP address.Apr 8, 2021
Can you mask an IP address?
You can hide your IP address by either using the Tor browser, a proxy server, or a free VPN. You can also join a public Wi-Fi network. … However, with the majority of devices you can hide your address on Chrome through a VPN, a proxy server or the Tor browser.Sep 10, 2021