In a nutshell, your IP (Internet Protocol) address is assigned to your network by your ISP (Internet Service Provider). This sequence of numbers can be used to identify you, track your online activities, and approximate your geographical location.
If that sounds unacceptable, you may be interested in ways of hiding your IP address, for example, with a VPN (Virtual Private Network). It can redirect your web traffic through a remote server, hide your online habits, and mask your IP address. That way, you can enjoy top-notch privacy and even circumvent geographical restrictions.
How to hide your IP address with a VPN
- Subscribe to a secure VPN service. We stand by NordVPN, currently available for 68% off!
- Download the VPN software and connect to any server
- Reap the benefits of a hidden IP address!
How can I hide my IP address in 2022?
Your IP address is much like your online home address – it’s tied to your identity, it reveals your actual location, and it’s used to send you unwanted advertisements. Luckily, there’s a fair number of options to mask your IP address and minimize the exposure of your data.
- Tor Network
- Public Wi-Fi
- Mobile data
- Restarting your modem
- IP address renewal
- NAT firewall
- New IP from your ISP
The easiest and most reliable way of hiding your IP address is with a VPN service, but alternative methods are also worth considering.
Use a VPN
A virtual private network can redirect your web traffic through a remote intermediary server. During this process, your activities are encrypted, making them unreadable to any potential interlopers. Additionally, your true location is hidden, and your IP address is obfuscated behind the VPN server’s address.
While excellent for privacy, a VPN also provides benefits for other use cases. For example, you can connect to servers in practically any country and circumvent geographical restrictions imposed on your homeland. This means access to more content on Netflix and similar streaming services.
- Excellent security
- Great server list
- Awesome for Netflix
- Good for torrenting
- Very easy to use
- Affordable prices
Connect to a proxy
A proxy server works similarly to a VPN but does not encrypt your traffic. This absence leaves your browsing activities potentially exposed to interception and monitoring. Plus, the connection isn’t as sophisticated on a technical level, giving you slower connection speeds than with a VPN. Lastly, most proxies don’t secure your entire web traffic but only from a specific application, such as a web browser or torrent client.
Join the Tor network
You can use the Tor Browser and access the freely accessible Onion Network. It’s operated by volunteers all across the globe and provides numerous layers of encryption for top-notch anonymity. Unfortunately, repressive governments typically block it to curb free speech and activism.
Furthermore, most ISPs block Tor traffic since the network is frequently used for illegal activities. Lastly, connection speeds are painfully slow due to the many layers of encryption and huge travel distances between the Tor nodes.
Switch to public Wi-Fi
As mentioned earlier, your IP address depends on the network that you’re connected to. That means you can easily alter your IP address by relocating to a publicly accessible network, such as a cafe hotspot or public library. However, keep in mind that you don’t get any bonus anonymity via encryption. Plus, network administrators and other users on the network can potentially monitor your activities and intercept your communications.
Enable mobile data
A less common solution is to enable mobile data on your phone and then create a hotspot through it. Then you can connect to it as if it’s a regular Wi-Fi network. Unsurprisingly, this could end up draining your roaming data quickly and accumulating a significant bill at the end of the month. Overall, this is a temporary solution that you should only use in dire situations.
Restart your modem
In some cases, restarting your internet modem can grant you a brand new IP address. Of course, the chances of this happening are slim, although your odds are better if you disconnect it for a significant period. However, this method is unreliable and defeats the purpose if you intermittently unplug your web connection.
Renew your private IP address
In addition to your publicly visible IP address, there’s also a private one used by devices on your network to communicate between themselves. You can change it by following a few simple steps, but it won’t grant you the privacy you need.
- Open System Preferences on the Apple menu
- Go to Network settings
- Click on your current network
- Click Advanced
- Go to TCP/IP
- Click Renew DHCP Lease
- Go to the Command Prompt (also known as cmd)
- Run it as an administrator
- First, type in the command ipconfig /release
- After that, type in ipconfig /renew
Enable a NAT Firewall
Another method of hiding your private IP address is with a NAT (Network Address Translation) firewall. With it, multiple devices on the same network can hide their private IP addresses behind one public IP. This prevents unsolicited web communications from potentially malicious users. However, you’re still missing out on encryption and other security benefits.
Ask your ISP for a new IP address
Unsurprisingly, you can simply contact your ISP and ask for a new IP address. Unfortunately, this hardly solves the problem of online monitoring, censorship, or geographical restrictions. Plus, your IP may change once again in the future even without you asking for it.
Main advantages of using a VPN
Below, you will find a quick summary of why a VPN is superior to other methods.
|A large pool of IP addresses||One static IP address|
|Geographical restriction circumvention||Can’t unlock geo-blocked content|
|Military-grade encryption||No or weak encryption|
|Fast connectivity||Significantly slowed-down connection speed|
|Bonus security features against other online threats||No additional security benefits|
|Can be used for streaming, torrenting, or any other activity||Don’t enable different activities|
|Security for multiple devices, users, and networks|
Best VPNs for Hiding your IP address: overview
While a VPN is ideal for hiding your IP address, not every service is forged from the same ore. As such, you need to choose a sturdy and reliable option that won’t crack under government pressure to relinquish your data. Plus, it should be free of IP and DNS leaks to ensure that your actual IP remains hidden under all circumstances.
1. NordVPN – best VPN for hiding your IP address
24/7 live chat, Email
- Exceptionally fast
- Independently audited and secure
- Dedicated IP option
- No router app
The ultimate tool for keeping your IP address out of sight is NordVPN. It has exceptional privacy practices, robust security features, and fast connectivity.
First off, NordVPN is equipped with 5500+ servers across 60+ countries. Top-notch confidentiality is guaranteed thanks to the RAM-only technology that most server hardware utilizes. Furthermore, you can grab a dedicated IP from five countries (UK, US, Germany, France, Netherlands) to have exclusive access to a remote IP address.
NordVPN provides wicked fast connection speeds with its proprietary NordLynx tunneling protocol. That way, you’ll be able to stream HD content on Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video without any buffering or lags. Plus, you can use the VPN on various devices, such as Android TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Roku, and Kodi.
Typically, you can secure up to six different devices with a single NordVPN account. However, you can set up a VPN on your router and secure your entire home network with just one connection.
You can take NordVPN for a spin by claiming the 7-day free trial on the Google Play Store. On the other hand, subscriptions start at only $3.29/month if you utilize a coupon code. Best of all, each plan is secured with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of NordVPN, read our NordVPN review.
2. Surfshark – IP masking for an unlimited number of devices
24/7 live chat, FAQ
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Static IP servers
- Can include antivirus protection
- No-logs policy hasn’t been audited
Although the number of available IP addresses is finite, Surfshark allows you to connect an unlimited number of devices. Besides that, it provides unbreakable security and flawless privacy.
For starters, Surfshark uses 3200+ servers in 95+ countries. It has a great network with 100% RAM-only server coverage. Plus, you can pick from static IP servers if you wish to always connect to the same IP addresses. Just keep in mind that these servers aren’t exclusive.
Breakneck speeds are ensured with the modern and open-source WireGuard tunneling protocol. Therefore, you won’t notice any slowdown when unlocking bonus TV shows and movies on HBO Max, Netflix, Disney Plus, and other streaming platforms. Additionally, you can utilize the VPN on practically any device thanks to the Smart DNS feature.
Besides the VPN, Surfshark can include bonus security features that aren’t available with other providers. For example, you can use it to protect your device against viruses and browse the web privately with its secure search engine.
A Surfshark free trial is available both on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Alternatively, pricing starts at $2.30/month if you take advantage of a discount code. Lastly, all subscriptions are insured with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of Surfshark VPN, read our Surfshark VPN review.
3. PrivateVPN – affordable IP address security and streaming
24/7 live chat
- Excellent for streaming
- Solid security features
- 7-day free trial
- Small number of servers
Some VPN services are notorious for performing exceptionally well in specific scenarios. With PrivateVPN, that use case is streaming, although it will effectively hide your IP address and prevent leaks.
First, PrivateVPN runs an efficient network of 200+ servers in 63+ countries. It retains complete control over the hardware, preventing unwarranted intrusions and risks from third parties. Plus, all connections are facilitated with the tried and trusted OpenVPN tunneling protocol.
What makes PrivateVPN so great are its dedicated streaming servers. They ensure optimal performance when watching popular platforms, such as Disney Plus, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and many more. Meanwhile, the VPN is compatible with Android TV, FireOS devices, and Roku.
A single PrivateVPN subscription enables you to simultaneously secure up to ten different devices. If that’s not enough, it’s possible to configure a router with a VPN connection. Then you’ll have practically no limits on how many devices can be secured on your network.
You can take PrivateVPN for a spin thanks to the 7-day free trial on its official website. Otherwise, you can use a coupon code and snag a subscription for a mere $2.00/month. Best of all, each plan is protected with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of PrivateVPN, read our PrivateVPN review.
4. IPVanish – IP address hiding and antivirus protection
24/7 live chat, email, knowledge base
- Infinite simultaneous connections
- Can provide cloud storage and virus protection
- Lightning-fast with WireGuard
- No anonymous payment
IPVanish is the ideal IP hiding service just because of its name. Additionally, it can include 500GB of cloud storage or antivirus protection.
You can make your actual IP address disappear by connecting to any of the available 2000+ servers in 50+ countries. It’s worth noting that IPVanish has full responsibility for the fleet, guaranteeing top-notch security and performance. Plus, the performance of this service with WireGuard will leave you electrified.
You can use IPVanish to tear down geographical restrictions through services like Hulu, Netflix, YouTube TV, etc. Plus, the VPN is compatible with Android TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, desktop, and mobile devices.
IPVanish is available as a standalone VPN app or with an additional benefit in the form of cloud storage or antivirus protection. Sadly, one subscription cannot include all possible cybersecurity features.
Unfortunately, IPVanish does not provide a free trial to get familiar with the service. However, you can still take advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee. Plus, IPVanish discount codes allow you to grab a subscription for only $3.99/month.
For a deeper investigation of IPVanish, read our IPVanish review.
5. Atlas VPN – cheapest VPN for alternating IP addresses
Email, tickets, FAQ
- Unlimited connections
- SafeSwap servers for IP switching
- Free plan
- Lackluster device compatibility
Making your home IP address disappear shouldn’t cost as much as hiring a personal trainer to burn off unwanted pounds. Thankfully, Atlas VPN is available to do your dirty work at an exceptionally affordable price.
First off, Atlas VPN is equipped with 750+ servers in 37+ countries. What’s more impressive is the SafeSwap feature which can alternate your IP address without interrupting your connection and affecting performance. Additionally, you’ll be moving at the speed of light with the lean and mean WireGuard tunneling protocol.
Geographical limitations cannot weigh down Atlas VPN. It can effectively curb restrictions on BBC iPlayer, Netflix, HBO Max, and countless other platforms. Moreover, it has dedicated apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.
You can use Atlas VPN to hide your IP address on an unlimited number of devices. However, the free plan only permits one connection with a 10GB monthly data cap.
An Atlas VPN discount code will grant you $1.99/month starting prices. Besides that, each plan is packaged with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
For a deeper investigation of Atlas VPN, read our Atlas VPN review.
The best aspect of each VPN
- NordVPN – Best VPN for hiding your IP address
- Surfshark VPN – IP masking for an unlimited number of devices
- PrivateVPN – affordable IP address security and streaming
- IPVanish – IP address hiding and antivirus protection
- Atlas VPN – Cheapest VPN for alternating IP addresses
How to hide your IP address: video guide
Visit our YouTube channel and you’ll be able to follow our guide on hiding your IP address effectively with a VPN.
Why do you need to hide your IP address?
Without a VPN, your IP address is like a breadcrumb trail that shows everyone where you’ve been on the web. With it, digital advertisers create a profile about you and send personalized ads based on your activities. Plus, government agencies can conduct surveillance and curb any hope of confidentiality. Lastly, anyone can check what you’ve been torrenting by inputting your IP address.
Hiding your IP address is the first step to maintaining your online privacy and getting control of your data. You’ll be less vulnerable to data breaches, your ISP won’t know what you’re up to online and won’t be able to throttle your data, and no one will be able to blackmail you with embarrassing information.
Additionally, changing your IP address also hides your current location. That way, you can curb geographical restrictions imposed in your country. This is a common issue when trying to stream TV shows and movies.
However, some countries don’t have the digital freedom that most of us grew accustomed to. Instead, they’re blocked from seeing independent media and are fed a steady stream of propaganda. Online protection tools, such as a VPN can alleviate this issue.
What kind of VPN can hide my IP?
There are plenty of excellent VPN services available besides the five mentioned above. If you’d like to search for some options yourself, we at least urge you to pay close attention to these aspects of any potential service.
- Privacy. Arguably the most important criteria when picking a VPN for hiding your IP. Ensure that the service is in privacy-respecting jurisdiction, adheres to a no-logs policy, and was independently audited by a third party.
- Security. Your device is exposed to other threats, such as viruses and malware, simply because it’s connected to the web. Check for essential security features that block malicious domains and phishing attacks.
- Speed. A VPN can guarantee fast connectivity with modern tunneling protocols, for example, WireGuard. Occasionally, proprietary solutions work as well. In any case, you can check a provider’s performance with our VPN speed test.
- Servers. A wide array of servers is crucial to keep traffic congestion minimal. Plus, a more significant country selection equals more access to geo-restricted content.
- Compatibility. Most VPN services have dedicated apps for Windows, Mac iOS, Android, and even Linux. Other commonly used devices typically have apps or can be configured manually.
- Price. An effective VPN service doesn’t come free of charge. However, there’s no need to overpay either. Good service on a long-term subscription should cost roughly $4/month.
- Customer support. It’s good to have 24/7 customer support available if you ever run into trouble while using your VPN app.
Should I pick a free VPN to hide my IP address?
While there’s no shortage of free VPN services, their quality can vary wildly. In most cases, they have some inevitable downsides, such as:
- Monthly data limitations
- Throttled bandwidth
- Small server selection
- Unreliable security features or even critical vulnerabilities
- Data logging and selling
- Poor performance when unblocking content
Using a shady no-cost VPN can end up putting you at greater risk than not using a VPN at all. As such, we recommend going with a reliable premium service. Even a cheap VPN provider is better than nothing. Best of all, some even come with free trials that allow you to test out the service completely risk-free.
Changing your IP address might sound trivial and unnecessary, but it has a massive impact on your digital privacy and data security. Therefore, it’s paramount that you effectively hide your IP address from online data brokers and even hackers. A VPN is the best way to do that, and the subscription cost is a small price to pay for ease of mind.
Which VPN do you use to mask your home IP address? Share your preferences by leaving a comment!
How do I hide my IP address for free?
You can hide your IP address for free using a no-cost VPN service. However, such providers usually have other downsides that may undermine your browsing experience. For example, a data cap will grant you security for a short time. Additionally, low-quality VPN services are prone to IP or DNS leaks, which end up exposing your true IP address anyway.
Can you really hide your IP address?
Yes, it’s possible to hide your true IP address using a high-quality premium VPN. Not only that, it can change your location and grant access to content that’s usually unavailable in your region. Plus, the VPN will hide your browsing activities from your ISP and other potential snoopers.
Does a VPN hide your IP address?
Yes, a VPN hides your IP address by redirecting your connection through a remote server and encrypting your traffic. Then your IP address and location are hidden behind the server’s data. Moreover, your online activities are unreadable to potential interlopers.
How do you mask an IP address?
You can mask an IP address by enveloping your web activities with encryption using a reliable VPN service. Alternatively, you can also use a different method, such as a proxy, that redirects your connection through a different server.
Ethan is a security researcher and digital privacy advocate. He spends his time unraveling various anonymity and security tools, plus contributing to open-source projects. Otherwise, he keeps a low profile by hiking or cycling around the countryside.