hide ip address

In today’s digital age, your IP address is akin to your digital fingerprint. Have you ever felt a nagging discomfort knowing that every online move could be traced? Are you frustrated by content boundaries dictated by your region? Is it possible to hide my IP address?

Your public IP address isn’t just a mundane string of numbers; it can be used to record your online habits, a beacon for prying eyes, hackers, advertisers, and even governments. For those who cherish online privacy and despise censorship, taking control of your digital identity is paramount.

After extensive research and hands-on testing, we’ve identified the top methods to shield your digital footprint, tailored for both the budget-savvy and those ready to invest. Dive in as we show you how to hide your real IP address.

What’s my IP address?

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:

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 also look up your IPv6 address.

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 of how the IP protocol works.

Why would I want to hide my IP address?

There are several reasons why you might want to hide your IP address, which includes:

  1. Privacy: Hiding your IP address helps mask your online actions from being tracked by the government, your ISP, the websites you visit, and the search engines you use. This can help you maintain your privacy and prevent unwanted surveillance.
  2. Accessing geo-blocked content: Some online content and services are restricted based on your geographic location. This is especially true of streaming services, that use your visible IP address to determine which content you can access. Hiding your IP address can help you bypass these restrictions and access content that would otherwise be unavailable.
  3. Preventing digital tracking: Ad networks and websites often track browsing history and behavior using your IP address. Hiding your IP address can limit the data they collect about you and help protect your online privacy.
  4. Protecting your data from hackers: Cybercriminals can use your IP address to find your physical location, track your online activity, and even intercept your online traffic. Hiding your IP address can help protect you from these threats. This is even more important if you’re traveling abroad and accessing open or public Wi-Fi networks.
  5. Avoiding government surveillance: Some governments monitor their citizens’ online activities. Hiding your IP address can help you maintain your privacy and avoid government surveillance.

8 ways to hide your IP address

#1. Use a VPN to hide your IP address

nordvpn servers - screenshot

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, known as intermediary servers. 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 virtual location, not your own.

Most VPNs are subscription services that cost a few dollars per month for access to hundreds or even thousands of servers worldwide. You just need to sign up and download the apps for your devices. After that, hiding your IP address (and therefore, your internet traffic) just takes a few clicks. It’s really easy.


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, eitherjust 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 another VPN service like 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:

  1. First off, check your current IP address by Googling, “what’s my IP?”
  2. Sign up for a VPN. We recommend NordVPN.
  3. 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 apps from the App Store and Google Play, respectively.
  4. Install the VPN app and run it.
  5. Sign in using the account credentials you created in step two.
  6. Select a server or server location. Your new IP address will be that of this server.
  7. Click the Connect button or double-tap the server to initiate a connection. You are now connected through a private network.
  8. 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 from the one 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 hides your real IP address and 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 and further securing your network connection.

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 “comparitech.com” 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 internet 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 activity logs of your internet browsing or any connection details that could be used to identify you. Always read the fine print as not every VPN is completely logless.

2. Use a proxy server to hide your IP address

Like a VPN, a proxy server acts as a middleman between your device and the Internet. Websites and apps see the proxy server’s IP address rather than 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 strong 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 browser circuit information

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 who can take advantage of the lack of strong encryption and authentication. Opt for networks that require a password, if possible.

5. Ask your ISP to change your IP address

Your ISP decides who gets what IP address. If you want to change your IP address for some reason, try calling them. You’ll need your account information and current IP address on hand.

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, 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:

  1. Search for the Command Prompt and right-click it to Run as administrator
  2. Enter ipconfig /release
  3. Enter ipconfig /renew

You should now see a new local IP address.

How to renew your IP on MacOS:

  1. Click the Apple menu and open System Preferences
  2. Select Network
  3. Highlight the network that you’re connected to in the left pane
  4. Click Advanced…
  5. Select the TCP/IP tab
  6. 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 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.

Hiding your IP address FAQ

Why would I need to hide my IP address?

Every time that you visit a website or online service, that site can detect your IP address. This allows the service to track you each time you return to its site. As a result, it can engage in profiling to determine your interest on its site.

Your IP address also allows the site to detect which country you are in, which allows it to enforce geo-restrictions. This may cause you to be locked out of its service when you go on vacation or serve differing content in different regions (as is the case on Netflix, for example).

Finally, if you engage in Peer-to-peer activities such as torrenting, you must conceal your IP address. When you connect directly to other internet users P2P it is possible for them to see your home IP. If you torrent without a VPN, for example, you could expose yourself to hackers who are also on the swarm, and those nefarious individuals could probe your IP for vulnerabilities such as open ports.

By using a VPN, you conceal your IP address from other internet users, which removes the potential of them attacking you either by exploiting vulnerabilities or by engaging in DDoS attacks (something that can happen if you play competitive games).

Can my IP address leak my identity?

Your IP address doesn’t directly give away sensitive information such as your contact details or exact location. As such, an IP address on its own does not leak your identity. However, cybercriminals could use your IP address as a starting point to find out more information about you. Piecing this together could lead to a cybercriminal hacking your device or impersonating you. Using a VPN ensures your IP address is hidden.

How do I hide my IP address on iPhone?

The easiest way to hide your IP address on your iPhone is to use a VPN. This requires signing up with a VPN service that offers an app for iOS (all major providers do). Once you’ve signed up, you’ll be able to download and install the iOS app on your iPhone. You can then log in to the app and connect to a server in your preferred location. This assigns you a new IP address, effectively hiding your true IP address and location on your iPhone.

How do I hide my IP address on Android devices?

To hide your IP address on your Android device, you should sign up with a VPN provider before downloading its Android app. You can then download and install the Android app on your device (this should only take a minute). Open the app and then connect to a server. Any server will do, although the closer a server is to your location, the faster the connection is likely to be. You’ll now have a new IP address while your actual IP address is hidden.

Is hiding your IP address legal?

Yes, it’s perfectly legal to hide your IP address. Using a VPN hides your IP address, and the good news is that VPNs are legal in the vast majority of countries. A few exceptions include China, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates. However, it should be noted that any illegal online activities, such as torrenting copyrighted material, remain illegal, regardless of whether you’re using a VPN to hide your IP address.

How can I check if my IP address is hidden?

It’s actually very easy to check if your IP address is hidden. First, make sure you’re connected to a VPN server. This is how you are assigned a different IP address. It may be that the VPN app you’re using displays the new IP address. However, you can make sure by using our IP address checker tool. Not only does this show your current IP address, it provides an approximate location so you can see if it matches the VPN server to which you’re connected.

Is my IP address permanent?

Not exactly. The IP address provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) may be static, which means it doesn’t change. Alternatively, it may be dynamic, meaning it can change. If having a static IP address as assigned by your ISP concerns you, you can use a VPN to change your IP address. This means your browsing activity will no longer be connected to you.

Can I choose which city my new IP comes from?

Certain VPNs allow you to choose which city your new IP address points to. However, it’s rare for providers to have servers in more than a few cities in each country since the cost of maintaining hardware all over the world can quickly build up. This is also one of the reasons why free VPNs are less likely to let you select a city. After all, these providers are more focused on getting users an IP address from a few in-demand locations than on providing city-specific IP addresses.

Can I hide my real IP address from advertising networks?

There are a few ways to hide your real IP address from advertising networks and advertising trackers. One way is to use a VPN, which will encrypt your internet traffic and route it through a server in another location. This will mask your true IP address.

Another way is to use an ad blocker, which will block all advertisements from websites. This will also prevent advertising networks from tracking your activity on the web. However, ad blockers can be annoying to use and may not work on all websites.

Does incognito mode hide your IP address?

No, incognito mode does not hide your IP address. Incognito mode is a type of privacy mode that provides users anonymity when browsing the web. It prevents websites from storing cookies or other information associated with your browsing session on your computer. It keeps them from tracking what pages or searches you visit while in this particular “private” mode.

However, it’s important to know that incognito mode does not mask or hide your IP address. Your IP address is still visible to any website you visit – even when using incognito mode – which can be used to identify who is accessing their site and where they are located geographically.

What is IP masking?

IP masking (also known as IP address hiding) is the process of changing your visible IP address so that it appears to be coming from somewhere else.

It’s an increasingly popular technique individuals and organizations utilize to protect their online privacy, hide their location, and access blocked websites.

Essentially, IP masking involves replacing your actual IP address with a different one, usually from another country. This allows you to remain anonymous online and protect yourself from hackers and malicious programs.

What does an IP address reveal?

An IP address reveals general geolocation information, such as the city or ZIP code. It also shows the Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) name. It does not reveal your precise location, name, phone number, or other personal information. While it can be used to trace your location and online identity, it does not automatically give access to your personal information.

However, it is important to be cautious, as hackers can potentially use IP addresses to steal your identities or track you. It is recommended to take measures to protect your IP address, such as using a VPN from our list above when browsing online.

How can a business hide there IP address?

Businesses can hide their IP addresses in several ways. One of the most effective is using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which masks a company’s actual IP address with a different one and encrypts your data for secure browsing. There are many VPNs designed for businesses, like NordLayer and Perimeter 81.

Another method is using a proxy server, which acts as a go-between for your device and the internet, hiding your IP address. Businesses can also use a reverse proxy to hide their web servers’ IP addresses.

What is an IP address scrambler?

An IP scrambler is a tool that hides your IP address by using proxy servers to route your requests to target web servers. Instead of your IP address, the target web server would detect the IP address of the proxy server that you are using. An IP scrambler can be achieved by using rotating proxies that automatically change their IP address after each web request.

The significant difference between an IP scrambler and a proxy is that the former uses a proxy every time you connect. However, it will be a different proxy in each instance of a new connection, making it more like a rotating proxy. As a result, experts often prefer IP scrambler more than a typical proxy and often call it a proxy switcher.

Is there a browser that hides IP addresses?

Indeed, there are browsers and browser features specifically crafted to safeguard your online privacy by hiding IP addresses. ClonBrowser is a browser that excels in this aspect, effectively concealing your IP address and protecting your private information. Similarly, with its integrated VPN, the Opera browser is a robust tool that can hide your IP address. The Tor Browser, renowned for its data routing through the Onion network, ensures complete anonymity, including the concealment of your IP address. Moreover, the Brave Browser is lauded for its extreme privacy settings, including the capability to hide your IP address.

It’s crucial to understand that while these browsers are effective in hiding your IP address, for comprehensive online privacy, it’s often advised to augment them with a VPN and a private browser. Some browsers, like Opera, come with a built-in VPN, which is a good start. However, for enhanced privacy, a dedicated VPN service is strongly recommended.

See also: IP address blockers – the best free and paid services