While I've mentioned it in most of my articles and reviews, I haven't told you how to hide IP address, yet. But I'm filling the blank today. Because your IP address is an information you'd better keep out of sight, to protect your privacy. There are several ways to hide your IP address. And I've reviewed them all below. If you wonder: How to hide my IP address? I have the perfect answer, keep reading!
The BEST way to hide IP address: Use a VPN
First of all, I'd recommend to buy VPN – thank you Captain Obvious… But wait, there's a really good reason here: VPNs change IP address and replace it with the IP of their server. And that's exactly what you want today: To hide your IP. So it does the job. And it has many other benefits to improve your security and protect your privacy.
I won't bother you with a VPN definition. But what you need to understand is that a VPN server acts as an intermediary between your device and the Internet. It actually browses the websites on your behalf. And it retrieves the information you want. Therefore you don't contact websites directly, with your real IP address, leaving a trace of your activity. But you instruct the VPN server to do it for you: It fetches data.
And that's how to hide IP with VPN! Websites and snoopers (hackers, advertisers, government agencies) can't see your IP, only the server's. In addition, a VPN encrypts the data between your device and its server. And no one can intercept your traffic.
But what if snoopers decide to monitor the VPN server? Is your privacy at risk? No, because your traffic is mixed with the traffic of all the users connected to the same server. And there's no way to identify which requests are yours: You're hiding in plain sight!
Finally, you can hide IP address free, thanks to free VPN solutions. But be careful: Some providers are not reliable. And they could use your data behind your back…
Hide my IP address with Tor – FREE but slow
The Onion Router (Tor) is an anonymous open source network. And it allows users to browse the web without compromising their privacy. So it's a good way to hide your IP address. And to make yourself harder to find.
Indeed, when you use Tor to hide the IP of your device, you can connect to the Tor network. And your traffic goes through a series of nodes before reaching your destination. A node, or relay, is just a device that receives traffic on the network and pass it along. And the last node browses the websites for you, much like a VPN server.
When your data is traveling on Tor, it's encrypted individually between each node, adding a new layer of encryption. And that's where the name is coming from: The layers of encryption, like the layers of an onion.
Tor is great to hide IP address. But all your traffic has to pass through at least three nodes before it reaches websites. And this heavy-duty encryption slows down your connection… Furthermore, it's not really convenient to use. While you could use Tor Browser, it covers only your web traffic. And you'd have to set up each app to use Tor: qBittorrent for example.
Also, if you want to be on the safe side, you can use a VPN for Tor!
A riskier method: Use a proxy to hide your IP address – SLOW
If you wonder “how to hide my IP online”, you're on the right page. And another solution could be to use a proxy server. But it's not what I'd recommend. Because it's risky. A proxy is a tool similar to a VPN, which allows users to hide IP online. But unlike a VPN, it doesn't include any layer of security.
So how does it work? Well, you could consider the proxy server as a mirror of your own device. And everything you do on your device, the proxy repeats. When you're using a proxy, you're not accessing websites directly, but through the server that relays data back and forth. As a result, you're not browsing with your real IP, but with the IP of the proxy.
Proxies hide IP address. And they can help you bypass simple geo-restrictions, like VPNs. But there's no encryption on your traffic, none. So everything you're doing is in the clear – and accessible to your ISP and other potential snoopers. In addition, most proxies log your activity. So you can really say farewell to your online privacy…
Finally, most proxies are web-based. So you can only mask IP address of your web traffic. Let's say you're at home, watching US Netflix with a proxy (if the connection is not too slow). And you want to download torrents while spoofing your IP.
Because the proxy doesn't intercept your torrenting traffic, only your web traffic (from your browser). So you'd be downloading torrents with your real IP… Please don't: The copyright trolls won't make any mistake, them!
How to change your IP address? Change network – TEMPORARY
While this solution doesn't really hide IP address, it's worth mentioning. Because your IP is not linked to your device: It depends on the network you're connected to. So if you don't want to use your usual IP address, you can connect to a new network and browse the web with another IP.
You can use the network of your mobile, for example, thanks to the hotspot feature. But it's linked to your identity. So you wouldn't be anonymous at all. If you want to temporarily hide your IP address, I'd recommend to connect to a public Wi-Fi network. While there are always risks when connecting to unsecured WiFi networks, this guarantees that you'll get a new IP address.
Why should I hide my IP online?
Do you want to share your home address, your email address or your phone number with advertisers and other third parties? Of course not. Because these are personal and sharing them would result in spamming, or worse. And it goes the same with your IP. Let's review the reasons why you should hide IP address.
- Hide your location: There's a lot of data harbored in your IP. And anyone can locate you precisely with it. Don't trust me? Check the what is my IP page which lists the country you're in, the region and the city. And it would also possible to display your GPS coordinates… So you really should hide IP address!
- Bypass IP restrictions: Governments, companies and schools set up restrictions to block you from accessing certain content and websites, using your IP. And the only way to decide which content I want to access is to change my IP address.
- Protect your device from attacks: If you're a gamer, this is for you. Because when hiding your IP address, you can block DDoS attacks. And any other attack targeting your vulnerable IP address.
- Browse anonymously: Last but not least, privacy is a right. So you should protect it from all the snoopers. How? I hide my IP address with a VPN. And you should definitely do the same!
These are just a few reasons why I hide my IP online. And I'm sure there are many others I haven't even thought of. But these suffice to convince me that all surfers should hide their IP, for their own sake.
There are several methods to hide IP address online, some are even free. And they have each their own advantages and drawbacks. My favorite solution to hide my IP address is to use a Virtual Private Network. Because it adds a layer of security, protecting my privacy. And it covers all the traffic from my devices, not only the web traffic. So I can use my VPN connection to download torrents anonymously for example. I've been an ExpressVPN user for years. And here are my recommendations to hide your IP address with a VPN:
How to change IP address? Simple as pie: You just need to connect to a VPN server. And that's it. Some VPNs even allow you to set a timer to automatically renew your IP, for further protection. With a new IP, you can hide your real location and bypass geo-restrictions. So make yourself a small gift and protect your privacy with a VPN. You won't regret it!
I hope my article has helped you shed the light on how to hide IP address. And please share it with your family, friends and colleagues if you feel it's worth it. Because they should be hiding their IP as well. Finally, feel free to get in touch with me to share your experience or if you have any question regarding VPNs in general.
This was my guide: Hide IP address: How to hide your IP address free? Stay tuned for more articles coming soon.