How to hide your IP address (8 ways, 6 are free) – Comparitech
I’ll show you how I hide my IP address as well as several other ways to change or hide an IP address free of charge. Your IP address can be used to track your device and location over the internet, so start hiding your IP now!
@pabischoff UPDATED: March 31, 2021
An IP address is a string of numbers and decimals that identifies your device and location. If you’re connected to the internet, then you have an IP address.
Your public IP address is unique and visible to everyone on the internet, so it can be used to track you and wall you off from region-locked content.
Because I like privacy and dislike censorship, I prefer to hide my IP address from internet providers, hackers, governments, advertisers and others. In this article, I’ll explain a few free and paid methods you can use to hide your IP address, as well as a few ways to change your IP address.
What’s my IP address?
In order to hide your IP address, you first have to know what it is. This is easy; just go to Google and enter “what’s my IP address? ”
You’ll see something like this:
123. 45. 67. 89
Specifically, that’s an IPv4 address. Some of you might have IPv6 connectivity, although it hasn’t been adopted everywhere yet. If your internet provider offers IPv6 on its network, you can look up your IPv6 address as well.
It’ll look something more like this:
For the most part, these two addresses serve the same purpose. If you want to hide your IPv4 address, then you’ll probably want to hide your IPv6 address as well, if you have one.
You can learn more about the differences between IPv4 and IPv6 here, but I won’t get too deep into that in this article.
Your IP address probably changes once in a while due to how the internet works, but you are the only one with your current IP address on the entire internet. Similar to physical addresses, IP addresses allow computers on the internet to find each other and communicate. IP addresses are an integral part of the IP protocol, the foundation on which the internet is built. Again, I’ll sidestep the nitty gritty details on how the IP protocol works.
8 ways to hide your IP address
#1. Use a VPN to hide your IP address
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network is a software service that encrypts all of the data sent to and from the internet and routes it through a VPN server in another location. The VPN server acts as a middleman between your device and the internet, so websites and online apps only see the server’s IP address and not your own.
Most VPNs are subscription services that cost a few dollars per month for access to hundreds or even thousands of servers around the world. You just need to sign up and download the apps for your devices. After that, hiding your IP address just takes a couple of clicks. It’s really easy.
WANT TO TRY THE TOP VPN RISK FREE? NordVPN is offering a fully-featured risk-free 30-day trial if you sign up at this page. You can use the VPN rated #1 for security and privacy with no restrictions for a month. This allows you to try its obfuscated servers out for yourself before you commit.
There are no hidden terms, either—just let support staff know within 30 days if you decide NordVPN isn’t right for you to claim a full refund. Start your NordVPN trial here.
If NordVPN. isn’t quite what you’re looking for, you might want to try Surfshark or ExpressVPN. These services have plenty to offer, and come with significant discounts for long-term subscriptions.
Here’s how to hide your IP address:
First off, check your current IP address by Googling, “what’s my IP? ”
Sign up for a VPN. We recommend NordVPN.
Download the VPN app onto your device. Windows and Mac users usually get their app from the provider’s website. iOS and Android users get their app from the App Store and Google Play, respectively.
Install the VPN app and run it.
Sign in using the account credentials you created in step two.
Select a server or server location. Your new IP address will be that of this server.
Click the Connect button or double-tap the server to initiate a connection.
Once the connection has been established, you will have a new IP address. To confirm, Google “what’s my IP? ” Your new IP address should be different than in step one.
Here’s a video of how to hide your IP address with a VPN
Most commercial VPN providers, including NordVPN, use shared IP addresses, meaning that all VPN users connected to the same server are hidden behind the same IP address–that of the VPN server.
A VPN that uses shared IP addresses not only hides your real IP address, it makes you indistinguishable from all the other users. Your online activity cannot be traced back to a single user, adding a significant layer of anonymity.
If you’re serious about hiding your IP address, it’s vital to get a VPN with these features:
Private DNS servers – DNS works like a phone book for the internet by translating domain names like “” into IP addresses that your device can use to communicate. By default, you probably use DNS servers operated by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or Google, which can see your IP address when you request a website, even when connected to a VPN. For this reason, it’s important to use a VPN that operates its own DNS servers so you never expose your IP address to a third party.
Leak protection – VPNs are meant to protect all the internet data traveling to and from your device, but sometimes they leak. When they leak, they expose your IP address. Get yourself a VPN that has DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leak prevention.
Kill switch – A kill switch or network lock cuts off your entire device from the internet if the VPN connection drops for some reason, preventing anything from being sent from your real IP address without the VPN’s protection.
No-logs policy – The VPN provider should not record or store logs of your internet activity or any connection details that could be used to identify you.
2. Use a proxy to hide your IP address
Like a VPN, a proxy acts as a middleman between your device and the internet. Websites and apps see the IP address of the proxy server and not your real IP address.
In fact, a VPN is technically a type of proxy. But when I say “proxy, ” I’m usually referring to either an SSL, SSH, or SOCKS proxy. These types of proxies typically lack the encryption and other security features offered by VPNs, but they do hide your IP address from websites. They can be configured in existing apps like your browser or, like a VPN, use a third-party app.
Proxies usually don’t usually include DNS traffic, so your website requests still go to a third-party DNS server that can see your real IP address. VPNs with leak protection don’t have this problem. Furthermore, your real IP could be exposed if the proxy connection drops for some reason.
Because proxies lack the authentication of VPNs, they are also more susceptible to man-in-the-middle attacks, in which an attacker can pose as the proxy server to steal your data.
Some VPNs offer HTTPS (SSL) proxies as browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. These do a decent job of protecting your browser, but other apps and DNS requests can still expose your IP address.
3. Use Tor to hide your IP address for free
Tor, short for The Onion Router, is a decentralized worldwide anonymity network operated by thousands of volunteers. When you connect to Tor, your internet traffic is encrypted and routed through a random sequence of these volunteer “nodes, ” which are sort of like proxy servers. Websites can only see the IP address of the last server in the sequence, called the exit node.
Each time you visit a website, the sequence of nodes changes. This makes it practically impossible to trace activity back to the original IP address.
The easiest way to use Tor is to download and install the Tor Browser. It works just like a barebones version of any other browser like Chrome and Firefox, and it’s completely free.
There are drawbacks, however. Tor is slow and not suitable for torrenting or streaming–stick to web browsing. Furthermore, Tor is often associated with criminal activity because it can be used to access the darknet and illicit websites. Some websites block connections from known Tor nodes, and your ISP might frown upon its use.
See also: How to set up a hidden Tor service
4. Connect to a different network to change your IP address
Whenever you change networks, your IP address changes as well. So if you think the IP address you’ve been using has been compromised, blocked, or tracked, then you can change networks to get a new one.
You can connect to a public or private wifi network, or use your smartphone’s mobile data connection. Note that public wifi hotspots and open networks can be hunting grounds for hackers that can take advantage of the lack of encryption and authentication. Opt for networks that require a password, if possible.
5. Ask your ISP to change your IP address
Your ISP is the entity that decides who gets what IP address. So if you want to change your IP address for some reason, try giving them a call. You’ll need your account information on hand, as well as your current IP address.
It shouldn’t be too hard to get a different IP address, but don’t expect it to stay the same forever. Because IP addresses are constantly being recycled in order to preserve the limited number of available IP addresses, your IP address will probably change once in a while. These are called dynamic IP addresses.
You could request a static IP address that never changes, but there might be an application process and an extra fee.
6. Unplug your modem to change your IP address
This isn’t guaranteed to work, but you can often get a new IP address by unplugging your internet modem and plugging it back in again. When you lose the connection to your ISP, your old IP address will get recycled. When you re-establish a connection, you’ll be assigned a new IP address.
The longer you leave the modem unplugged, the more likely this tactic will work. Try leaving it unplugged overnight if you have to.
Your ISP must use dynamic IP addresses for this to work. Most do.
7. Use a NAT Firewall to hide your private IP address
If you use a wireless router to connect to the internet, it’s likely that you’re behind a NAT firewall. In simplest terms, a NAT firewall allows multiple devices on the same network to use the same public IP address but unique private IP addresses. Network Address Translation (NAT) forwards requests and data from the private IP addresses of individual devices to their online destination under the router’s public IP address. This conserves address space (the number of available IP addresses) and prevents unsolicited inbound communication with potentially dangerous computers on the internet.
A NAT firewall doesn’t hide your public IP address, but your private IP address. All devices connected to a NAT-enabled router will share a public IP address. The NAT firewall will prevent any online communication that isn’t in response to a request you sent from a private IP address. All other requests and data packets are discarded because they don’t have a private IP address to which they can be forwarded.
8. Renew your IP address to change your private IP address
As mentioned above, if you’re connected to an internet router by wifi or ethernet cable, then you’ve probably got a private, or local, IP address as well. It’s not as important to keep this IP address a secret while online, but there might be instances in which you need to change it.
You can do this by entering a few simple commands into your Windows Command Prompt or Mac Terminal.
How to renew your IP address on Windows:
Search for the Command Prompt and right click it to Run as administrator
Enter ipconfig /release
Enter ipconfig /renew
You should now see a new local IP address.
How to renew your IP on MacOS:
Click the Apple menu and open System Preferences
Highlight the network that you’re connected to in the left pane
Select the TCP/IP tab
Click Renew DHCP Lease
Your Mac will now have a different private IP address.
You can never hide your IP address from your ISP
It’s not possible to hide your IP address from your ISP. It makes sense: my ISP provides me with internet service and therefore an IP address. Without an IP address, I can’t connect to the internet.
VPNs and proxies don’t literally replace your existing IP address. They just mask your IP address with one of their own so that other computers and servers on the internet can’t see yours. But your real IP address is still there, communicating through the proxy or VPN server as an intermediary.
Even though you can never hide your real IP address from your ISP, you can hide the content and destination of your internet activity with a VPN. The encryption prevents your ISP from seeing what information you send and receive, and the ISP can only see that you’re connected to a VPN server—not the websites or apps you use. Conversely, the VPN hides your real IP address from websites and apps, but they still see the contents and destination of your internet communications.
The only parties that can see all three—your real IP address, the websites you visit, and what data is transmitted between the two—are you and your VPN provider. For this reason, I only recommend VPNs that don’t store any logs of your online activity.
How to Hide Your IP Address in 2021 – Security.org
What Is An IP Address
How To Hide
What Is My IP Address
Think of IP addresses like mailing addresses for devices. They tell your Internet Service Provider, would-be hackers, and websites your devices’ approximate locations and could give away more information about your online activity. For these reasons, many people want to hide their IP addresses but aren’t sure where to start. We’ve got just the answers.
ExpressVPN is our #1 Pick to Hide Your IP Address
What Is An IP Address?
First, let’s take it back a notch and define what an IP address really is in the first place. IP stands for internet protocol, and it’s essentially a device’s identifying number that’s associated with a specific computer or network of computers. Using the IP address, computers can receive information. However, IP addresses can also be used to track the user’s approximate location and web activity, so hiding is a must if you want to remain private online.
How To Hide Your IP Address
Just like skinning a cat, there are a few different ways to hide your IP address, a process also known as IP masking.
The easiest way to hide your IP address, in our opinion, is to use a VPN.
What it does: VPNs, which stands for Virtual Private Networks, hide a user’s IP address, replacing it with either a dedicated address, a static address that’s shared with multiple users, or a dynamic address that changes with each connection. Your Internet Service Provider will only be able to see these replaced addresses and not your device’s real IP address.
How to get it: Getting a VPN is easy.
Figure out which one you want (our best VPNs list is a great place to start).
Create an account.
Download the app.
Connect to a server.
VyprVPN Server Info
Want to hide your IP address on a web browser for free? Meet Tor.
What it does: Tor is a web browser that blocks tracking, which is not the case for popular browsers like Chrome and Firefox. Rather, as soon as you’re off of a website, your cookies will clear, as will your browsing history. The website won’t see your real IP address, but instead the one that Tor has replaced it with. And the best part? Tor encrypts all of your information three times, so you know it’s secure.
How to get it: To download Tor:
Go to Tor Project’s website1.
Install the browser.
Note: Tor is available on the macOS X, Windows, Android or Linux operating systems. It is not currently available for iOS devices.
Many people put proxy servers head to head with VPNs, as we did in our VPN vs. proxy server comparison. And while it’s true that both options will hide and encrypt a user’s IP address, only VPNs also encrypt their web activity. However, proxy servers have the advantage of being free, typically, while most VPNs cost money. In sum, we’d recommend proxy servers if you need coverage on one website or app for a single use.
FYI: The reason proxy servers are free is usually because they sell user data, making VPNs a better choice for privacy. And don’t forget, there are some free VPNs out there, along with VPNs with free trials.
What it does: Proxy servers are single-use servers that users can connect to to encrypt and hide their IP address.
How to get it: How to get a proxy server to hide your IP address differs based on what operating system you’re using.
In the Safari app, click on Preferences.
Click on Advanced.
Click on Change Settings.
Update your settings with the information that the Network Administrator provided. And you’ll get a new, protected window!
In administrative templates, hit Windows Components.
Click on Data Collection And Preview Builds.
Configure Authenticated Proxy Usage.
Set it to Enable.
Click on Apply.
In Settings, click Wi-Fi.
Click Network info.
Click on HTTP proxy section.
Choose the Manual option.
Click on Edit Proxy Settings.
Turn on Authentication.
Save by going back to the Wi-Fi Selection page.
Under Settings, click Wi-Fi.
Clock Network Name.
Choose Modify Network.
Click on Manual.
Enter in your Hostname and Proxy Port.
Don’t forget to click Save! 2
This method is by far the least effective, but you can technically hide your IP address by joining a public Wi-Fi network.
What it does: Your device’s private IP address will be changed to that of the network you’re connected to.
How to get it:
Simply go into your phone or computer’s settings.
Enter the Wi-Fi area.
Join the public network.
Why Should I Hide My IP Address?
Our research on VPN usage shows that for nearly half of VPN-users, general security and privacy were the greatest reasons for using the VPN. While VPNs aren’t the only way to hide your IP address, we’re guessing that if you want to hide it, it’s for similar reasons. Here are some other reasons why someone would want to hide their IP address:
Anti-tracking: Haunted by targeted ads that follow you around the internet? Or maybe you just don’t want to be added to a million different listservs everytime you go to a new website. By hiding your IP address, you’ll confuse websites and apps, warding off tracking.
Secure networks: With the rise of remote work, many people are turning to their home offices rather than their work cubicles. But for those of us handling sensitive information, hiding your IP address can be a great way to keep your web activity to yourself.
Bypass government restrictions: People in places with high levels of internet censorship might want to hide their IP address in order to access banned websites or apps.
More privacy: Journalists, activists, and anyone doing sensitive work online will appreciate the anonymity of hidden, private IP addresses.
Stream: Finally, hidden and replaced IP addresses allow users to stream content in other countries’ libraries, be it on Netflix, Hulu, or any streaming service. If you want to hide your IP address with a VPN so you can stream more freely, check out our lists of the best VPNs for Netflix, the best VPNs for Hulu, the best VPNs for Prime Video and the best VPNs for Disney+.
Can IP Addresses Really Be Hidden?
While VPNs, the Tor browser, proxy servers and public Wi-Fi networks can hide and replace your devices’ private IP addresses, ultimately, your Internet Service Provider will still be able to see the replacement, as will every website you visit. So while you can hide your device’s private IP address, the replacement will be visible. 3 We like to think of these replacement IP addresses like a Halloween costume; while a scary mask can hide your face, people will still be able to see the mask itself.
What Is My IP Address?
Each device comes with a unique IP address, but where in the world can you find it?
In the taskbar, select Wi-Fi network.
Click on Network.
Click on Properties.
Choose the IPv4 address.
Under Settings, click on Wi-Fi.
Look at the Network that you’re connected to.
Look at the right of the name of the Network, for a circular button with a lowercase “i” in it.
Click on that button to reach a new page specifically for that Network.
Scroll down to where it says IP address.
Under System Preferences, hit Network.
Select your Wi-Fi network.
Check under where it says IPv4 address to find your IP.
Last but not least, on your Android phone:
Choose IP address.
Changing You IP – On Android, Scroll to IP address to see your IP address.
While you can’t truly hide your IP address from absolutely everyone, you can hide your device’s private IP address and mask your location. Even in the age of ever-present technology, privacy is still something to strive for, so hopefully this article helped you move towards that goal.
Of course, if you’re still left with some questions, we’re happy to answer them as well.
How do I hide my IP address for free?
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.
Is hiding your IP address illegal?
In the U. S, hiding your IP address is not illegal.
How do I hide my IP address on Google Chrome?
How to hide your IP address on Google Chrome depends on what device you’re using it on. However, with the majority of devices you can hide your address on Chrome through a VPN, a proxy server or the Tor browser.
What does an IP address reveal?
An IP address reveals your Internet Service Provider and, in some cases, your approximate location.
5 Reasons to Hide your IP Address Online – Government Technology
Most people don’t think about it, but everything you do online can be tracked. It’s how ad networks know what you’ve been searching and are able to predict what products you might be interested in, and it’s how websites know when to cut you off from their content due to geographical restrictions.
This is all done through your IP address. Your IP address is like an identification number connected to your device that tells websites where your Internet traffic is coming from. Companies like Google can keep long records of your search history by connecting each of those searches to your IP address.
The good news is that there are ways to mask your IP address to maintain your privacy online. It starts with connecting to a virtual private network (VPN), which creates a secure connection to their servers. They can route your activity through their network to give your packages of data a new IP address. A good VPN service won’t log your activity, so there won’t be any way for someone to track your browsing data back to you.
There are plenty of reasons you might want to use a VPN and hide your IP address. Here are just five reasons to get you started.
You may not realize that when you signed up for Google or Facebook, you gave these companies permission to track your browsing history in order to serve you relevant advertisements. This type of targeted marketing might seem convenient to some people, but others will find it intrusive.
If you’re uncomfortable with ad networks like this watching your every move online, you don’t have to stop using their tools completely. Instead, hide your IP address with a recommended VPN like CyberGhost or PIA and they won’t be able to tell that the searches are coming from your device.
Hide Your Activity from Your ISP
Like ad networks, Internet service providers (ISPs) can track your online activity through your IP address. There are currently no restrictions in the United States that stop ISPs from doing so. This can put your data at higher risk because most people have no choice with their ISPs whereas they do have a choice in which ad networks to use.
Though your ISP may protect your data now, they could turn around and start selling it without your explicit consent. By handing over your browsing history to advertisers and marketing analysts, they’re now profiting off more than just your monthly Internet bill.
Hiding your IP address prevents this data tracking. When you connect to a VPN, the only thing your ISP can see is that you’ve connected to that network. Everything beyond that—including your searches and the new IP address you’ve been assigned—will be protected from your ISP’s prying Your Sensitive Research Private
If you work in a profession where you conduct a lot of sensitive research, you may not want that research traced back to you. This might be the case with journalists, law enforcement, political candidates, celebrities, and more. Hiding your IP address keeps these searches private and otect Your Data from Government Surveillance
It’s no secret that some countries keep an eye on their citizen’s Internet activity, and there’s no guarantee that others won’t start doing so in the future. You may be doing nothing wrong, but that doesn’t mean you want the government to be able to freely spy on you. If you value your privacy, use a VPN to hide your IP address from the government so they can’t see what you’re up Around Geographical Barriers
If you don’t live in the US—or if you’re traveling abroad—you might have a difficult time accessing various websites and services. Streaming services such as Netflix, for example, limit the content available to international users due to copyright laws.
However, masking your IP address can help you get around these barriers. Your IP address is tied to your location, but if your VPN provider routes your data through a server in another country, it will look as if the traffic is coming from that new location. The website or streaming service won’t know you’re actually located in another country, so it will unlock these content restrictions for you.
Hiding your IP address is a matter of principle. If you want your Internet activity to stay private, then you’ll want to use a VPN. Not only do VPNs hide your IP address, but they’ll encrypt your data to add an extra layer of security to your Web browsing.
Frequently Asked Questions about protect your ip address
How can I protect my IP address for free?
How do I hide my IP address for free? 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.Sep 10, 2021
Is it important to protect IP address?
Hiding your IP address prevents this data tracking. When you connect to a VPN, the only thing your ISP can see is that you’ve connected to that network. Everything beyond that—including your searches and the new IP address you’ve been assigned—will be protected from your ISP’s prying eyes.Oct 4, 2017
Is it illegal to hide your IP address?
Is it illegal to hide my IP address? No, it’s not illegal to hide your IP address – or to use a VPN to do so. Even in countries like China, where VPNs are strictly regulated, it’s not technically against the law to use one.Sep 21, 2021