How to Hide Your IP Address in 2022 — Some Ways Are Free
- Quick Guide: How to Hide Your IP Address in 3 Easy Steps
- 5 Best Ways to Hide Your IP Address in May 2022
- Use a VPN — The Easiest and Safest Way to Hide Your IP
- Connect to a Proxy Server — Good for Bypassing Geoblocks, but Not Super Safe
- Use the Tor Browser — Multiple Layers of Encryption, but Very Slow Speeds
- Create a Hotspot on Your Smartphone — A Readily Available Solution, but Sometimes Costs Money
- Use Public WiFi — Mostly Free to Use, But Leaves Your Connection Vulnerable
- Best VPNs to Hide Your IP Address in May 2022
- ExpressVPN — World-Class Privacy Features That Hide Your IP Address
- CyberGhost — NoSpy Servers Hide Your IP Address and Keep Your Connection Private
- Private Internet Access — Hide Your IP Address With Customizable Security Options
- 3 Other (Not So Great) Ways to Change Your IP Address
- FAQs on Hiding Your IP Address
- Hide Your IP Address Today
There are many ways to hide your IP address, but not all of them are safe or effective. Some put your privacy and security at greater risk, while others can considerably slow your speeds. To make your life easier, I tested several ways to hide your IP address and found 5 that work reliably. The key is to find a method that works best for your situation.
Out of all 5 methods, the easiest and safest is to use a VPN. It’s a simple app that hides your IP address in 1 click. Plus, it encrypts your connection and doesn’t significantly slow your speeds, like some of the other methods do.
ExpressVPN is my top pick. It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, too, so you can hide your IP with ExpressVPN risk-free. If you’re not impressed, you can claim a full refund.
Quick Guide: How to Hide Your IP Address in 3 Easy Steps
- Choose your IP changing method. I recommend the VPN method because it's the easiest and you can choose from thousands of IPs to mask your own. My top pick is ExpressVPN.
- Configure and run the software. Or, if you're not using IP-changing software, just connect to the new WiFi hotspot.
- Browse the web with a new IP. Once your connection is established, you’re free to browse the web with a different IP address, meaning yours is effectively masked.
1. Use a VPN — The Easiest and Safest Way to Hide Your IP
- Pros: Hides your IP and browsing activity on all apps across multiple devices, bypasses geoblocks and tough firewalls, lets you torrent privately, allows you to choose from thousands of IP addresses, access to customer support
- Cons: Good VPNs cost money, can slow your speeds slightly
A VPN is a popular and simple way to hide your IP address. It’s an app that redirects your internet traffic through a private server, which replaces your actual IP address with the server’s IP. Since VPN servers are usually spread across the globe, you can use an IP address from many different countries.
In addition to hiding and changing your IP address, a VPN encrypts your connection, enables private browsing, and bypasses regional geoblocks. For these reasons, people use VPNs to enhance their online security and privacy. Most VPNs have shared IP addresses, which means other people also use the same IP address as you. The advantage is that it’s harder to trace your online activity back to you, which provides extra layers of protection. Many others use VPNs to access geoblocked streaming content like Netflix, Hulu, or BBC iPlayer in regions where they're normally not available.
Downloading and installing a VPN app onto your device is super easy, too, and it only takes a couple of clicks to hide your IP. The apps are very intuitive, making them suitable for all experience levels. Downloading and installing ExpressVPN on my MacBook Pro took me less than 15 seconds, and connecting to a server was even quicker.
Most VPNs are subscription-based services, where you make a monthly or annual payment to use the full service. The amount is usually just a few dollars per month, making them very affordable. VPNs also tend to come with a money-back guarantee, which lets you use them for free for a limited time. This allows you to claim a full refund (usually within 30 days of purchase) if you’re not satisfied with the VPN.
How to Hide Your IP With a VPN in 3 Easy Steps
- Download a VPN. My favorite is ExpressVPN because you can choose IPs in 94 countries to effectively hide your own. It also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Choose a server. They are organized by location.
- Connect to the server. Usually, just clicking on the server location will automatically connect you to your new IP, so you’re good to go in 1 click.
2. Connect to a Proxy Server — Good for Bypassing Geoblocks, but Not Super Safe
- Pros: Mostly free, easy to use, and bypasses geoblocks
- Cons: Lacks security and privacy features, overcrowded servers that can have slow speeds, only hides your IP in your browser
Like a VPN, a proxy server hides your IP address by sitting between your device and the sites you visit. So whenever you visit a website, it sees the IP address of your proxy server instead of your real one. A decent proxy server lets you choose from several different server locations, and they tend to be popular because they’re usually free.
But where a proxy server falls short is its lack of security and privacy features. Since they don’t encrypt your connection and don't cover DNS traffic, unwanted third parties can still see your online activity and collect data about you. They're also more susceptible to man-in-the-middle attacks because they lack authentication that VPNs have.
I also experienced slow speeds when using hide.me’s proxy because the server was most likely overcrowded. This is very common with free services since they don’t have enough funds to offer global networks. And since they’re application-specific, they will only hide your IP in your browser, unlike a VPN that hides it across all apps.
How to Hide Your IP With a Proxy in 3 Easy Steps
- Choose a proxy server. I recommend either hide.me or HMA.
- Go to your proxy server’s website. Then, enter the URL of the site you want to access in the proxy server entry form, choose a location (if available), and press “Enter” to load the page.
- Enjoy your new IP address. You’ll use the website in the same browser window, but using the IP of the proxy server.
3. Use the Tor Browser — Multiple Layers of Encryption, but Very Slow Speeds
- Pros: High level of encryption and privacy, free to use
- Cons: Very slow speeds, can’t bypass geoblocks, only encrypts browser traffic, unavailable on iOS, associated with criminal activity
The Tor (The Onion Router) Browser sends your internet traffic through a decentralized, open-sourced network to protect sensitive information. It encrypts your traffic by sending it through multiple servers called “nodes”, which add extra layers of encryption. These layers resemble an onion, hence the name “Tor”. Since websites can only see the IP address of the last server you use (called the exit node), it hides your IP address.
Even though the Tor Browser is free, a big drawback is that its encryption layers significantly slow you down. It took me a little over 10 seconds to load a basic webpage, while activities like streaming and downloading became a chore.
In addition, your ISP can still see that you're using Tor (although won't be able to see what you browse using it), so it's still not as private as a VPN, for example. Another issue is its association with online criminal activity since it’s the main portal to access the dark web — for this reason it is illegal in some countries. And finally, it struggles to bypass geoblocks since you can’t control where the exit node is located.
How to Hide Your IP With Tor in 3 Easy Steps
- Download the Tor browser. Go to the Tor website and download the installation file for your device.
- Install the Tor browser. Click on the download file and follow the installation instructions.
- Enjoy secure browsing with a new IP. Open the Tor browser and use it like your regular browser, knowing your real IP address is hidden.
4. Create a Hotspot on Your Smartphone — A Readily Available Solution, but Sometimes Costs Money
- Pros: Easy to set up, good to use temporarily
- Cons: Can’t bypass geoblocks, doesn’t change your virtual location, no privacy or security measures, uses data that can cost money
If your actual IP address gets compromised, or you don’t want to use it temporarily, then creating a hotspot on your smartphone can work well. Plus, it’s easy to set up. I just needed to go to my phone settings to enable my hotspot and then connect my laptop to it, which took me a little over a minute.
While this method changes your IP address, there are 3 downsides. Firstly, your mobile carrier can see all of your online activity, so it’s not private. Secondly, you can’t bypass geoblocks because your online location won’t change. And lastly, it can quickly chew up your mobile data and can become costly.
How to Hide Your IP With a Mobile Hotspot in 3 Easy Steps
- Turn on your personal hotspot. Go to your phone settings, turn off your WiFi, and enable your personal hotspot.
- Connect your device. Locate the hotspot on your primary device and connect to it.
- Enjoy your new IP address. Use your smartphone data to browse the internet with the IP assigned by your mobile carrier.
5. Use Public WiFi — Mostly Free to Use, But Leaves Your Connection Vulnerable
- Pros: Usually free to use, quick and easy to set up
- Cons: Only a temporary solution, leaves you vulnerable to hackers, slow speeds, possible data caps and network restrictions.
Changing your WiFi network can hide your real IP address — even if you switch to a public network. If you can’t access a website or service and have public WiFi access, then this option can be a short-term fix.
But it’s not the safest option because hackers often use public WiFi networks to conduct unsuspecting attacks. Since these networks lack encryption and authentication, hackers can use them to easily obtain sensitive data, such as passwords and credit card numbers. Another issue is the possibility of slow speeds, which result from overcrowding.
- No-logs policy, private DNS servers, and TrustedServer technology
- 160 servers in 94 countries
- 5 simultaneous device connections
- Can unblock: Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, and more
- Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, routers, and more
ExpressVPN has its own IP leak protection, which stops your actual IP address from being exposed accidentally. When I tested 4 US and 3 UK servers on ipleak.net, no leaks were detected, which meant my real IP address was always hidden. In addition to hiding your IP address, it runs its own private DNS servers, adheres to an audited and verified no-logs policy, and uses its TrustedServer technology, all of which ensure the VPN stores no identifiable information about you (especially not your real IP).
With over 160 servers in 94 countries, ExpressVPN lets you choose from thousands of IP addresses to hide your own. Another benefit of this is that it lets you bypass regional geoblocks on sites like Netflix. When I connected to its US servers, it replaced my IP address with a US one, and I accessed the US Netflix library in less than 20 seconds.
Its robust security features protect your online identity and make it harder for malicious parties to obtain your real IP address. Thanks to its AES-256 bit encryption, it’s impossible for hackers to intercept your data and steal your IP address. Meanwhile, its kill switch keeps you safe even if the VPN disconnects for any reason, ensuring your real IP is never exposed.
Since ExpressVPN is a top-tier VPN, its pricing plans are a bit more expensive than other VPNs, as the cheapest plan is $6.67/month. Even though it’s pricier, ExpressVPN’s website has regular deals that let you save. I managed to get the first 3 months for free when I signed up for its 1-year plan.
Additionally, all of its plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee that lets you test all of ExpressVPN’s features risk-free. If you’re not satisfied with it, you can get your money back. I was keen to test this policy, so I asked a customer service representative on live chat to cancel my subscription on day 30. After answering 2 easy questions on user satisfaction, she proceeded with my request, and I got my money back after 2 business days.
- Superfast speeds
- 8,028 servers worldwide, including NoSpy servers in Romania
- 7 simultaneous device connections
- Can unblock: Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, and more
- Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, Apple TV, and more
CyberGhost has a network of 8,028 servers in 91 countries, which includes some NoSpy servers. These servers are based in CyberGhost’s private data center in Romania and provide extra security by removing the third party. When I tested a couple of NoSpy servers on ipleak.net, no IP leaks were detected. This means your proper IP address won’t be revealed accidentally.
Added to this is its strict no-logs policy, which guarantees that your online behavior won’t be recorded. It won’t collect data like your IP address, browsing history, or search preferences. CyberGhost’s headquarters are located in Romania, a privacy-friendly country outside the 14 Eyes Alliance. In short, your identity and data will be well protected.
Its lightning-fast speeds provide a smooth online experience without any disruptions. When I tested the speeds of its US servers, my download speed averaged 45.6 Mbps. Considering I’m more than 10,000 km away from the country, the speeds were very impressive. These speeds were fast enough for me to stream on Disney+ in Ultra HD without any buffering.
Unfortunately, I find CyberGhost’s short-term plan pretty expensive and was disappointed that it comes with a shortened money-back guarantee. But its long-term plans are really affordable starting at $2.29/month. You can upgrade your plan to include a static IP address that only you use, making it easier and faster to access restricted services while traveling.
The long-term plans also come with a generous 45-day money-back guarantee. This allows you to use CyberGhost to mask your IP (and try all its other features) with the assurance that you can get a refund if you’re not satisfied. I tested this policy myself by asking customer support over 24/7 live chat to cancel my subscription. After giving them a reason for canceling, my refund was approved and I got my money back in 3 business days.
- Choice of AES 128- or 256-bit encryption, an automatic kill switch, and multiple security protocols
- 29,650 servers in 84 countries
- 10 simultaneous device connections
- Can unblock: Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Vudu, and more
- Compatible with: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, Apple TV, and more
Private Internet Access (PIA) has robust, customizable security features that keep you safe while hiding your IP address. You can choose between AES-128 or 256-bit encryption, so you can streamline your connection how you want. AES-128 will offer faster speeds with less encryption, while 256-bit is a higher encryption standard for maximum safety, but will have slightly slower speeds.
It also provides DNS/IP leak protection to stop your IP address from being revealed to third parties. I tested 4 of its US servers on ipleak.net, and not once was my IP address detected.
I was initially concerned with PIA because it’s based in the US, which is at the heart of the 14 Eyes Alliance. This is a network of countries that collect and share user data with each other. However, its no-logs policy has been proven in court — PIA has never shared any data with authorities because it simply doesn’t have anything to share.
When I checked its pricing plans, the most affordable is $2.19/month. It’s no different from the short-term plan except it lets you save more money over time. There’s even an option to buy a dedicated IP address, which is an IP address that only you can use. It’s handy because it stops you from being flagged on safe sites for using a different IP.
You can also test PIA completely free by taking advantage of its 30-day money-back guarantee. I canceled my subscription through a live chat representative during the 30-day period. All I had to do was provide my reason for canceling, making it an easy process. After 4 business days, I was fully refunded.
3 Other (Not So Great) Ways to Change Your IP Address
1. Unplug Your Modem
While it may sound silly and obvious, unplugging your modem can sometimes change your IP address. Whenever you disconnect from your ISP, the link with your current IP address gets deleted. Therefore, re-establishing your ISP connection can give you a new IP address. This will only work if your ISP uses dynamic IP addresses, which is common.
The trick with this method is to leave your modem unplugged for as long as possible. However, it isn’t very reliable as it doesn’t work most of the time, so it shouldn’t be your first choice. Plus, your ISP can still see your online activity and it provides no security or privacy protection, so it won’t add any protections. And since you can’t change your location, you won’t be able to bypass geoblocks either.
2. Use a NAT Firewall
A NAT (National Address Translation) firewall lets different devices on the same network use the same public IP address — this only hides the devices’ private IP address. It takes requests from the private IP address of each device and forwards them all through your public IP address before reaching the online destination.
In short, a NAT firewall doesn’t actually hide your IP address. While it does protect devices by hiding their private IP addresses, your real location and online behavior are still visible because your public IP is not hidden.
3. Get Your ISP to Change it For You
All you have to do here is contact your ISP directly and ask them to change your IP address. Just make sure you have all your account information handy, as you’ll most likely get asked. But keep in mind that most ISPs use dynamic IP addresses, which means you won’t always use your new one. If you want to continue using the same IP address, then ask for a static IP address.
Also, this method only gives you a new IP address, which means it won’t provide any security or get around geoblocks. Plus, your ISP can still track your online activity and collect data about you, so it’s not ideal from a privacy standpoint.
FAQs on Hiding Your IP Address
Does an IP address reveal my real identity?
An IP address on its own won’t reveal your real identity, but it can be combined with other data to identify you. For example, your IP address and browsing activity could be combined to construct a profile that identifies your online presence and movements. Then, advertisers can use this data to target you with specific ads.
If you’re concerned about protecting your privacy online, hiding your IP is a solid way to do that. Keep in mind that some methods are better for privacy than others. The best way to protect your online identity from being tracked is to use a VPN. While other methods like proxies and Tor will hide your real IP in a browser, a VPN takes it a step further by hiding your IP across all apps on your device as well as encrypting your entire internet connection.
Is it possible to hide my IP address on all my devices?
Yes, you can hide your IP address on all of your WiFi devices. Some IP-hiding methods only work with certain operating systems and devices, though. So make sure you choose a method that works for the devices you want to protect.
A VPN will have the most compatibility — you can install it on a router, effectively hiding your IP on every device on your home network. A VPN’s native app will also hide your IP in all the apps you use on your device. Proxies only work in your browser, and Tor is only compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux (and only hides your IP within the Tor browser itself).
Can I hide my IP address for free?
Yes, it’s possible to hide your IP address for free, but free methods have some pretty big drawbacks. A proxy server is easy to use and is good for bypassing geo-blocks because it lets you choose from several IP addresses in different locations. However, proxies lack security and privacy features, and since many people use them they can become overcrowded and slow.
The Tor browser is recommended for security and privacy because it provides multiple layers of encryption. But, it’s always really slow as a result, making it unsuitable for streaming and downloading.
VPNs cost a small monthly fee, but they are the easiest, safest way to hide your IP (and won’t slow you down, either). One tip is that many VPNs offer money-back guarantees so you can easily claim a refund if you’re not happy with the service (you usually have around 30 days to make the claim). So, it’s possible to use a VPN to hide your IP without paying anything if you take advantage of its refund guarantee.
Is it legal to hide my IP address?
Yes! Hiding or changing your IP is legal because it’s one way to protect your online privacy from hackers. However, there are a few ways to hide your real IP address. Depending on your location and the method used to change your IP, rules and laws will differ. Connecting to a public WiFi network will change your IP and isn’t illegal. However, it’s not very effective or useful in the long run. Plus, it leaves you vulnerable to hackers since you’re on an unprotected shared network.
The safest (and easiest) way to hide your IP address is to use a VPN. VPNs are legal in most parts of the world, but there are a few countries where they are restricted (like China and Russia). If you’re located in a country where VPNs are regulated, then you should always check the most recent local laws to make sure you’re not breaking any rules before you use one. In most cases, they’re legal to use, but better to be informed.
How do I hide my IP address on Google Chrome?
There are several ways to hide your IP address on Chrome. One way is to use a proxy server, which is easy to use and free. All you need to do is go to a proxy server website, choose a server, and type the URL of the website you wish to visit. While proxy servers hide your IP address, your ISP can still see everything you do online because there’s no encryption.
If you’re concerned about privacy, most VPNs come with Chrome extensions. But keep in mind, these are usually also just proxies and lack strong encryption. The safest way to hide your IP in Chrome is to use a VPN app — not only will it hide your IP in Chrome, but in any app you use that needs an internet connection. Plus, VPN apps will also protect you with military-grade encryption and a no-logs policy. These features hide your online activity, so even your ISP can’t track what you do online.
As a side note, there’s a common misconception that Incognito Mode will hide your IP address. This isn’t true — all Incognito Mode does is removes all cookies and browsing history from Chrome when you close the window. All of your online activity and data is still visible to your ISP.
Do I need to hide my IP address while torrenting?
Hiding your IP address while torrenting is strongly recommended for privacy and security reasons. Torrenting is a form of P2P sharing, which means you download files from other users and share your own. Therefore, your IP address is revealed to others, who can use it to identify your location or target you.
There are a few ways to hide your IP address while torrenting, but the only one I’d recommend is a VPN. Unlike other methods, it has world-class security features like military-grade encryption, a kill switch, and DNS/IP leak protection. These keep you well-protected from DDoS attacks and malware threats, which can occur while torrenting. Additionally, a VPN’s no-logs policy ensures all your online activity isn’t accessible, so even your ISP can’t see any of your online movements.
Will hiding my IP address let me unblock Netflix?
You can hide your IP address while watching Netflix by using either a proxy server or a Netflix VPN. Both of these options replace your real IP address with one from a different country, which makes it seem like you’re actually there. For example, connecting to a US server from Australia will make Netflix think you’re in the US, which provides access to Netflix US.
Since Netflix regularly updates its geoblocking technologies, many IP addresses that belong to VPNs and proxy servers get blocked. VPNs have larger server networks than proxy servers, which means there are more options to unblock Netflix. Plus, they have DNS/IP leak protection, which means your real IP address can’t be leaked accidentally. If it was leaked, then your chances of unblocking Netflix are slim.
Why should I hide my IP address?
A visible IP address can reveal a lot about you, making it a significant privacy risk. It can divulge your actual location and personal information to other parties, like your browsing activity. But the biggest issue is that it lets your ISP obtain sensitive data, like your passwords and credit card numbers. These details can be used to link to your online activity and identity.
There are a number of ways to hide your IP address, so here are some reasons why you should (or might want to) hide it:
- Protect your data from malicious parties — If malicious parties get hold of your personal data, they can gain access to personal accounts and target you with unwanted attacks. This also includes viruses, malware, and spyware.
- Torrent safely and anonymously — Torrenting is a form of P2P sharing that involves millions of people sharing files. If your IP address is revealed to online strangers, they can target you with malware and DDoS attacks.
- Bypass regional geoblocks — Many websites and services enforce geoblocks by checking IP addresses and blocking ones that don’t match their location. Hiding and changing your IP address lets you access those sites from anywhere.
- Avoid online surveillance — Certain countries conduct mass surveillance on their population by monitoring online activity. Examples include member states of the 14 Eyes Alliance and China. Your IP address can reveal your online activity, so hiding it prevents unwanted surveillance.
- Stay protected on public WiFi networks — Whenever you use a public WiFi network, you share that network’s IP address. This means hackers can easily penetrate your connection, obtain sensitive data, and take control of your device.
What is an IP address?
An IP address is a unique set of numbers that acts as an online identifier. Whenever you send data to view a website or online service, your IP address gets sent to your final destination, which makes it public. It means your ISP can track all of your online activities and provide that data to governments, advertisers, or anyone else, really. To find your IP address, you can go to a site like ipleak.net that reveals it for you.
There are 2 types of IP addresses: IPv4 and IPv6. IPv4 addresses are much shorter and more common as they’ve been around for longer. In contrast, IPv6 addresses are longer and were developed to meet the growing demand for global internet use. It’s faster and more secure than an IPv4 address. Both addresses serve the same function, so they’re not overly different.
Since making your IP address public has many privacy risks, many people use a VPN to hide their IP address. It replaces your IP address with a new one in a few seconds by redirecting your internet traffic through a private server. This means you’ll be using the IP address of the private server instead. Additionally, its no-logs policy stops your online behavior from being recorded, so that your ISP and other third parties can't see what you do.
Hide Your IP Address Today
Choosing a trusted method when hiding your IP address is always important, as some are more risky and unreliable than others. In particular, you don’t want to use a technique that makes your data visible to unwanted third parties or significantly slows your internet speeds.
Therefore, I tested a number of ways to hide your IP address and shortlisted 5 that work well. All of them have different features, which means some are better suited for certain situations than others.
My favorite method is a VPN. A VPN like ExpressVPN is easy to use, well-rounded in its features, and has fast speeds making it suitable for any online activity. Plus, it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, which lets you try ExpressVPN without risk. If you find it’s not for you, then you can claim a full refund.
To summarize, the best VPNs for hiding your IP address are…
Your data is exposed to the websites you visit!
Your IP Address:
Your Internet Provider:
The information above can be used to track you, target you for ads, and monitor what you do online.
VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 49% off.