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How to Hide or Change Your IP Address

Last edited: August 25, 2020
Reading time: 16 minutes, 20 seconds
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How to hide your IP address: a summary

If you want to surf the web anonymously and freely, a first good step would be to change your IP address. Your local IP address contains a lot of information about you. By hiding behind a different IP, you’ll be able to go online in a much more secure way. A VPN can help you do this. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Choose a VPN provider, for example CyberGhost, and get a subscription.
  2. Download the VPN software and log in with your account.
  3. Select a server (if needed) and connect to the VPN.

If you go online while using a VPN, others will only be able to see the IP address of your VPN server, while your own IP remains hidden.

A good VPN for beginners is CyberGhost. This provider is extremely user-friendly and has some very cheap deals on top of that.

Want to know more? Read our full article below for more information about your IP address, how you can hide and change it, and what other benefits this brings.

Over the past years, our privacy and the protection of our personal data have become increasingly important. You might have heard it’s a good idea to change or hide your IP address when surfing the web. Google, social media platforms, and even secret services track your online behavior on a large scale. Even though this is mostly common knowledge at this point, many people still don’t hide their IP address as well as they should.

These people risk their privacy. Perhaps they believe it isn’t necessary to hide their online life because they don’t have anything to hide. However, there are many other reasons to change your IP. Will you get on the bandwagon and change yours? In this article, we’ll explain how you can easily hide and change your IP address – and we’ll give you ten reasons why you might want to.

What is an IP Address?

The ‘IP’ in IP address stands for ‘internet protocol’. An IP address is a unique series of numbers that’s assigned to any internet connection. These numbers make your device identifiable when it’s connected to the internet. An IP address is essential for transmitting and receiving data across the internet. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to perform even the most basic tasks online.

Your IP address reveals a lot about you. It’s linked to your ISP (internet service provider) and can be used to determine your location. With this IP address others can follow, monitor, and trace all your online activities to you. That’s why many people choose to change or hide their IP address.

Would you like to see what information others can currently deduce from your IP address? Take a look at our IP address tool. This tool shows which IP address you’re currently using and what location you’re connecting from. If you don’t hide or change your IP address, this is the location that websites will see when you connect to them. Not a good feeling when every online page you visit knows exactly where you are, right? That’s why it’s wise to hide your IP address from others.

How Do I Hide or Change My IP Address?

There are a couple of ways to hide or change your IP address. Some of these are far more secure than others. To give you the best overview, we’ll be discussing the most common options for masking your IP address below, comparing them to each other as we go.

  1. Invest in a high-quality VPN: A VPN is a secure network connection that transmits your data through remote servers. Moreover, it encrypts your data, adding an extra layer of security. When you connect to a VPN, your real IP address is hidden and you take on the IP address of one of your VPN provider’s remote servers instead.
  2. Download the Tor browser: Another option to conceal your real IP address is by installing the Tor browser. This browser encrypts your data and then routes it through different servers (“Tor nodes”) all across the world. This makes it much harder for others to trace your online activities. The Tor browser also hides your IP address so other parties can’t see it. One drawback is that it only encrypts internet traffic within its browser, so it doesn’t protect you as completely as a VPN would. In addition, since your data is routed through many different servers, your browsing experience is likely to be considerably slower, unlike when using a top-tier VPN.
  3. Use a proxy server: Proxy servers are another method you can use to hide or change your true IP address. An important fact to mention, however, is that proxies don’t have any of the security features most VPNs have. A proxy is a type of server that functions as an intermediary between users and the internet. When using a proxy, all your online requests will be sent through the proxy server. The proxy then forwards your requests to the web server you’re trying to reach. During this process, the proxy changes some of your data, including your IP address. The proxy’s server will have an IP address of its own. Since all of your data is sent through there, this IP will be sent out to the rest of the web, instead of yours. However, it’s best to use proxy servers only when doing low stake tasks, because they don’t encrypt your data and can’t prevent third parties from accessing it. When you use a proxy, your ISP and other third parties can still monitor what you’re doing online.

Hide Your IP Address with a VPN

How to change your IP address

As we’ve already suggested in other sections of this article, the most secure way to hide your IP address is to use a high-quality VPN service.

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, encrypts all your internet traffic and hides your IP address. This ensures you stay anonymous and safe online. Once you’ve subscribed to a VPN service, you can access the internet through their servers. You take on the IP address of the VPN server you choose, and this is the only IP others will be able to see. Your real, personal IP remains hidden.

A big advantage of a VPN is that, aside from hiding your real IP, it’ll encrypt all your data. This means nobody will be able to see what you do online. Therefore, a VPN is the best way to hide your IP address. It even creates the least lag on your internet speed. A VPN is the most complete protection you can get on the internet, but how do you know which VPN to choose?

There are countless VPN providers out there, but not all of them are good and trustworthy. That’s why we constantly test and rate VPNs, showing you which ones are the very best. To make things even easier, we’ve chosen three great providers you might want to try out. Here they are:

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is one of the best VPN providers on the market. This VPN offers solid encryption and great customer service, which makes using it easy – even for new users. The ExpressVPN applications are user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing. You can use one ExpressVPN subscription on up to five devices at the same time and they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try their service out before committing to a subscription.

ExpressVPN
Our pick
Our pick
Deal:
3 months for free with a one-year subscription
9.5
  • Very easy to use VPN
  • Perfect for anonymous browsing, downloading, and streaming (i.e. Netflix)
  • 3000+ servers in 94 countries
Visit ExpressVPN

NordVPN

NordVPN is another solid VPN that really values your online privacy. This provider is known for their high levels of encryption and extra security measures. You can use one subscription on up to six devices at the same time. NordVPN is very affordable, easy to use, and comes with great customer support. Read all about this provider in our review of NordVPN.

NordVPN
Deal:
Only $3,71 a month for a 2-year subscription
9.1
  • Excellent protection and a large network of servers
  • Nice and pleasing application
  • No logs
Visit NordVPN

CyberGhost

CyberGhost is another VPN service we wholeheartedly recommend. This provider offers great speeds and has a strong focus on safety and privacy. Moreover, it’s very cheap and user-friendly, so it’s a great VPN to start out with. If you want to check out our personal experiences with this provider, you can check out our extensive CyberGhost review.

CyberGhost
Deal:
Try CyberGhost for $2.75 per month!
9.3
  • Very user-friendly
  • High quality for a low price
  • Torrents and Netflix possible
Visit CyberGhost

Would you rather try out a limited, free VPN first? Take a look at our list of the best free VPNs on the market at this moment. These are our personal favorites, all of them reliable and a good choice for anyone who wants to try out a VPN before committing to a yearly contract.

How to Change Your IP Address with a VPN: a Step-By-Step Guide

To make things as easy as possible, we’ll show you how to change your IP address using a VPN step-by-step. As an example, we’ll be using CyberGhost. The process of setting up your VPN is quite straightforward. To change your IP address with CyberGhost, all you have to do is follow these steps:

  1. Click this link to head to the CyberGhost website.
  2. Click the button to claim the deal. You’ll automatically be redirected to the price page.
  3. Select the contract that suits you best (monthly, yearly, etc.).
  4. Choose the payment method you wish to use and enter your email.
  5. Log in on the CyberGhost website and download the VPN client that works on your operating system.
  6. Open the installation file once the download is completed.
  7. Go through the installation process to fully install the VPN on your device.
  8. Open the installed VPN software.
  9. Log in with the account you made.
  10. Choose a server and turn on the VPN.

Laptop With Lock

As soon as the VPN has connected, your own IP address will be hidden and you’ll have taken on the IP address of your chosen VPN server. For as long as this connection stands, you’ll be able to safely and anonymously use the internet. Leave the VPN software to run in the background, and your connection will be protected.

If you want to, you can change the location of your ‘new’ IP by choosing a different server. Simply scroll through the server menu and pick the country you’d like your new IP to be situated in. By doing this wisely, you can get around geo-restrictions put up by websites, as we’ll discuss in more detail later on.

Why Should You Hide or Change Your IP Address?

Hiding your IP address is a way to protect your online privacy and anonymity. Changing your IP address can greatly increase your internet freedom. Usually, hiding and changing your IP address happens in one go, for example when you use a VPN. This means you can get both the extra protection and more online access with just one solution.

Here are ten reasons why you might want to hide your IP address:

  1. Visit websites without revealing your identity.
  2. Access Netflix and other streaming services wherever you are.
  3. Protect yourself against spies and hackers.
  4. Use public Wi-Fi hotspots safely.
  5. Access geographically blocked websites and content.
  6. Bypass online restrictions set up by your school or workplace.
  7. Bypass eavesdropping and censorship from governments.
  8. Hide your internet activities from your ISP.
  9. Prevent search engines from logging your searches.
  10. Increase your internet freedom.

Reason 1: Visit websites without revealing your identity

Anonymity SmartphoneWebsites gather a lot of information about you when you visit them. They build a profile on your behavior and sometimes even have access to information you shed on other websites. They collect this info by connecting your online actions to your IP address. This is how your IP becomes your digital fingerprint.

With all the information the websites have obtained about you, they can show you content and even advertisments that are specifically tailored to you. A website trying to sell you new suede boots after you’ve been searching for fancy footware is no coincidence.

Your location can be used in a similar way. A pop-up such as “Click here to find the cheapest iPhones in Italy!” might come across your screen when you’re browsing the internet during your holiday in Rome. These messages are often automatically composed, but do illustrate how websites actively “spy” on you.

If you hide your IP address, websites will have a much harder time creating a profile on you. You never know what websites could do with the info they collect on you, which makes protecting yourself from onlookers all the more important. With a VPN, websites will only see a random IP address that continuously changes. Moreover, there’s no way for websites to track your online actions. You’ll be able to browse anonymously.

Reason 2: Access Netflix and other streaming services wherever you are

Ever tried accessing Netflix in a different country? You’ll find that the available content will differ from what you’re used to. Streaming services, like Netflix, often put geographical restrictions on their services. This means that some (or all) of their content is only visible in selected countries. For instance, the streaming services of most national television channels are only available for people in that particular country.

This often means you can’t watch your favorite show or football match when you’re abroad. Streaming services know where you are by checking the location of your internet connection through your IP address. By hiding and changing your IP, you’ll be able to get around any geographical restriction, giving you access to Netflix and other streaming services as if you were in a different country.

Reason 3: Protect yourself against spies and hackers

HackerSpies and (black hat) hackers would love to get their hands on your IP address. With your IP, hackers can easily find out your location and identity. Like websites, a hacker could be tracking your actions. If that hacker has bad intentions, they can use this information against you. There’s a lot of possible damage to be done here: think of crimes such as identity theft.

When you hide your IP address, you take back control. Hackers won’t see your IP, but only a false one that can’t be traced back to you. They won’t know who or where you are, which makes it a lot more difficult to do any harm. If you use a VPN to hide your IP address, you can even prevent hackers from seeing any of your online actions at all.

Reason 4: Use public Wi-Fi hotspots safely

Hackers with bad intentions are just as much of a problem in our direct surroundings. Public Wi-Fi networks are often targeted by hackers, because they generally aren’t very secure. By breaking into a public Wi-Fi network, a hacker can get access to many devices in one go. And hackers are all around us: a black hat criminal could be sitting two tables away from you at Starbucks, trying to break into your device while you’re sipping your Chai Latte.

That’s why it’s important to hide your location and identity when you use public Wi-Fi hotspots. This way, you’ll have an IP address that differs from that of the Wi-Fi, keeping you safe. The best way to protect yourself is to use a VPN. VPN software will hide both your IP address and all of your online actions by encrypting them.

Reason 5: Access geographically blocked websites and content

Although the web sometimes seems like a bottomless pit of information, there are restrictions to what you can access. In some countries, the government restricts access to certain websites. This type of censorship determines which websites and what kind of information residents of a country can see online.

In a lot of ways, these restrictions are similar to the geoblocks used by streaming services. By changing your IP address, you can pretend to surf the web from a different location in another country. If this country doesn’t block the content you’re trying to reach, you’ll have free access again. In short: changing your IP address increases your internet freedom.

Reason 6: Bypass online restrictions set up by your school or workplace

Schools and workplaces sometimes restrict the internet access of users of their network. For example, schools often block social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to prevent students getting distracted. A proxy allows the school to pick and choose which websites students have access to. However, this is only the case when those students use the school’s network with the school’s IP address. If you change your IP address while using a restricted network, you can easily get around any of these restrictions.

Reason 7: Bypass eavesdropping and censorship from governments

Eye on LaptopAs mentioned before, some governments censor the internet for their citizens (examples are China and Iran). However, aside from blocking online content, governments can also track everything you do online – and use what they find against you.

This “spying” of citizens by governments happens more and more often. Alliances between countries, such as 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes and 14 Eyes, even make it easier for governments to share information about their citizens with each other. In other words, the online browsing activities of a German citizen could easily be in the hands of the American government.

To safely use the internet in countries where this kind of datacollection is an everyday fact, it’s best to change your IP address. When you access the internet with an IP that appears to be situated in a different country, your own government will not be able to link your online activities to your location or identity. If you use a VPN on top of this, your data will be encrypted as well.

Reason 8: Hide your internet activities from your ISP

Internet service providers, or ISPs, have access to an incredible amount of information about you and your browsing activities. All your online data goes through them – they own the connection you’re using, after all – and they can log and save everything they have on you.

ISPs are often required to keep a record of your internet usage for a certain period of time. This record includes everything you do, even the websites you visit in incognito mode. Official institutions such as the local police can ask ISPs to show them your browsing history. Even after the legal period of time has passed, your ISP could still be saving your data. By changing your IP address, your ISP won’t be able to link your online activities to you.

Reason 9: Prevent search engines from logging your searches

Like websites, search engines such as Google and Bing keep track of your search requests and the websites you visit. They use this information to create an often scarily accurate profile of individual users. From there, they can adjust their search results to your browsing behavior and even show you targeted ads.

Again, they’re able to do this because most of us access these search engines from one IP address. By changing your IP, you can keep search engines from looking over your shoulder. Don’t forget to erase your cookies, too. Websites and search engines use cookies to trace your online behavior. You’ll only be anonymous if you both delete your cookies and change your IP, otherwise they’ll still be able to follow you across the internet.

Reason 10: Increase your internet freedom

The internet should be available to everyone. Creativity, innovation, education, communication, and the exchange of ideas are inseparable from the freedom the internet offers. If you want to enjoy this freedom in full, without the negative consequences of online trackers, you’re much better off hiding your IP address. This protects your online privacy and freedom of speech. In other words: changing your IP address is the key to real internet freedom.

Final Thoughts: Hide Your IP Address

If you don’t protect your IP address, governments, the websites you visit, your ISP, and even the people using the same network could be looking into your data traffic at any given time. If you don’t like this idea, it’s wise to hide your IP address. This is also the case if you think you don’t have anything to hide. What you’re doing online simply isn’t anyone’s business but yours.

Moreover, changing your IP comes with a couple of nice benefits. You could, for example, use a VPN to get access to blocked websites or geo-specific content. Similarly, changing your IP address will make it much harder for your ISP to track you or spy on you, and it will also keep advertisers from accessing your data. When it comes to hiding and changing your IP address, a VPN is by far the most secure and effective method. By investing in a reputable VPN service, you can conceal your IP address and maintain the highest levels of privacy and security whenever you’re online.

Hide or Change Your IP Address: Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question about changing or hiding your IP address? Check our overview of frequently asked questions below to see if your question is listed. Click a question to see the answer.

IP address stands for “Internet Protocol” address. Your IP address is a unique code that is assigned to your internet connection when you access the internet. It’s like your home address, but online. Everyone who can see your IP address knows where you are. Many people therefore choose to hide their IP address.

Your IP address provides a lot of information about you. An IP address allows others to see your location and track your internet activity. People who are very attached to their privacy often choose to change their IP address artificially.

With a VPN, you can hide your IP address and surf the internet more securely and anonymously. In addition, you enjoy many other benefits online and can access geographically blocked websites.

 

You can hide your IP address in different ways. The best way is to use a good and reliable VPN. A VPN changes your IP address to the IP address of a VPN server of your choice. This keeps your real IP address hidden.

We recommend ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN is one of the best VPN providers of this moment. This provider offers good encryption and is very easy to use. With ExpressVPN you can change your IP address and prevent third parties from identifying you by your real IP address. This way you can bypass censorship and get more internet freedom.

Tech journalist
Nathan is an internationally trained journalist and has a special interest in the prevention of cybercrime, especially where vulnerable groups are concerned. For VPNoverview.com he conducts research in the field of cybersecurity, internet censorship and online privacy.

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  1. Security is paramount. I’m very afraid to be hacked and even feel uncomfortable, as I’m not private while browsing. That’s why VPN is a must. I didn’t try different providers, I got Nord, and I’m satisfied. It meets all my needs and keeps me anonymous.

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