How To Hide Your IP Address

In this article, we discuss how you can protect your privacy by hiding your real IP address. Know the different ways by which you can hide your IP address and the steps to do so.

An Internet Protocol (IP) address is the unique number assigned to your network connection that informs the servers about who is behind every data request across the internet. The truth is, if you are on the internet, websites and servers can identify who you are, the device you are using, the time you are logged into the internet, and the activities you performed via your IP address.

Your IP address may take this format— (for IPv4 addresses) 
2001:db8:3333:4444:5555:6666:7777:8888 (for IPv6 addresses).

Although an IP address gives you a virtual presence, it puts you at the risk of cyberattacks and related threats. Anyone can easily track you using your IP address because it is visible to the entire world. If you are wondering what is your IP address, here is a good tool to find your IP address. Hence, to safeguard your privacy and sensitive information, you should be interested in discovering ways to hide your IP address from stalkers, internet providers, hackers, advertisers, or maybe the government—as part of your individual or business strategy.

4 (Four) Ways to hide your IP address

There are so many ways to hide your IP address. Some include VPN and browsers. Some devices have their own methods and they will be listed below.

1. Use a VPN

A Virtual Private Network is your middleman between any device and the internet. It encrypts your data sent to the internet and re-routes it to a different location. Using a VPN is one of the best options you can explore to hide your IP address because of its high-speed bandwidth, secure connection, and private access to blocked sites. VPN communities will assign you a virtual IP address associated with your chosen country while concealing your real location.  

Also, commercial VPNs use shared IP addresses that make you indistinguishable from other users connected to the same IP address. This feature provides some level of anonymity since your online activity cannot be traced to a single user. Although there are free VPN communities, for the most part, VPNs are subscription services that grant you access to thousands of servers in the world. The disadvantage is that there are a lot of poor-quality VPN communities, so you must do your due diligence before settling for the best VPN service provider.

Steps to hiding your IP address using a VPN
Download the VPN app from the App store. After downloading, install the VPN on your device and sign up using your preferred account credentials. Select a server in a country where you want to connect. Double click on the connect button or power button to initiate a connection. Once your connection is initiated, you will have a new IP address. To confirm the change, you can Google "what is my IP".

2. Use a proxy server

It is sometimes called open proxy or proxies. Although a VPN is a type of proxy, a proxy server typically refers to an SSL, SSH, or SOCKS proxy. It is used to re-route your browser around geo-blocked content. It is however risky because it may be running on compromised machines and could also slow your internet connection. Proxy servers may hide your IP address, but it lacks the encryption and other security features that VPN offers. Thus, there is a possibility of your real IP address being leaked as well as your Internet service provider having access to your activity records. 

Steps for hiding your IP address using Proxy Servers on Android
If you want to hide your IP address using proxy servers on Android, the first step is to open your settings app. Click on the Wi-Fi tab under settings and select add network. When you enter the Network Name, choose 'Modify Network'. You can then proceed to click on Advanced options. Also, select the Manual option from the Proxy menu. Enter in your Proxy Hostname and Proxy Port, and click Save.

Steps for hiding your IP address using Proxy Servers on iOS
For iOS, go to your settings and select Wi-Fi. From the Wi-fi menu, select the name of the Network to which you are connected. Click on the HTTP proxy option. If you intend to manually set up your proxy server, you should:
  1. Select Manual
  2. Fill in the address of the proxy server and the port that is required.
  3. If it requires a password, enable the authentication option, and fill in the details.
On the other hand, if you intend to enable automatic proxy detection, select "auto". Your iPhone will detect whether a proxy is necessary and automatically configure your settings if necessary.

Steps for hiding your IP address using Proxy Servers on Windows
For Windows, click on settings from the Start menu. On the Start menu, select Network & Internet and click on Proxy. Then, turn on the "Use a proxy server" button and also make sure that the "automatically detect settings" is also on. You should also turn on the "Use Setup Script" button so that if windows find a PAC file, you can simply enter the Script address and click save.

Steps for hiding your IP address using Proxy Servers on Mac
For Mac, open the Safari app, on your Mac and select System Preferences. Also, click on Network and select the network service you intend to use. Click on advanced and then select proxies.
If your proxy settings are configured manually, you will have to:
  1. Select a proxy server and type out the address and port number
  2. Where the proxy server is protected by a password, click the tick box, and enter your account username and password.
On the other hand, if your proxy settings are configured automatically, select the auto proxy discovery or automatic proxy configuration depending on the setting you are using. If you use auto proxy discovery, your device will automatically discover proxy servers from which you can make your selection. Alternatively, if your setting is for automatic proxy configuration, you will have to insert the PAC file address in the URL field. You should also be ready to update your settings with the information that your Network Administrator provided (where necessary). 

3. Use Public Wifi

This is the least effective way to hide your IP address. When you visit the coffee shop, the airport, or any public area, connecting to their wi-fi changes your private IP address to their IP address. It temporarily hides your usual IP address and connects you to the network's IP address for the period you are online. It is important to note that this method exposes you to malware, security threats, and even hackers. It can be likened to your risky last resort. 

Steps to hiding your IP address using Public Wifi
To hide your IP address using Public wi-fi, make a visit to the public wi-fi area. Click on your phone or computer's settings, and log into the public network.

4. Use Tor

The Onion Router (Tor) is a browser that blocks tracking and encrypts your information three times to guarantee your security. With Tor, you can never go wrong. Unlike other browsers, Tor replaces your IP address whenever you send or request data across the internet. No website will be able to track your activities or your location due to its encryption process. Thankfully, it is available to macOS, Windows, Android, or Linux operating systems.

On the Steps to hiding your IP address using Tor, all you are required to do is download the Tor browser and install the browser. Once that is done, you can freely browse the web.

In addition, you can also choose to ask your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to change your IP address or opt for a NAT firewall for your private IP address among other options.

Why should you consider hiding your IP address?

It is no doubt that the internet has become our work cubicles with private information stored in the cloud. Hence, hiding your IP address creates a safety net against targeted ads on the internet and remains a great way to keep your sensitive information to yourself. There are a lot of reasons why you might want to hide your VPN. Some of these include the need to avoid web tracking, hide your geographical location, bypass content filters, access banned websites, stream freely without geographical restrictions, etc. For Journalists and other persons whose job description requires some level of anonymity, private IP addresses are lifesavers.


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