Your IP address gives away your location and other identifying information to websites, governments, internet service providers, and other third parties. With it, they can track your online activity. To counter this, you should change or hide your IP address to protect your privacy online, browse anonymously, and even access geo-restricted content. Three easy ways to change your IP include:
- Use a VPN such as NordVPN, Surfshark, or CyberGhost.
- Use a proxy server.
- Browse in the Tor browser.
A VPN is the best choice because it provides holistic protection online and also helps you bypass censorship or geo-blocks. A great affordable VPN we recommend is NordVPN.
In the interest of protecting your privacy, it’s a good idea to change your IP address or hide your IP when surfing the web. This is because your IP address is a unique identifier that reveals your location and other information to websites and services.
This means that these websites, services, social media platforms, government authorities, and more can track your online behavior on a large scale. Of course, this compromises your privacy and lets third parties gather a lot of data about you. It can also restrict your access to certain content and services. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to hide or change your IP. The most secure way to hide your IP address is to use a high-quality VPN service.
Change Your IP Address with a VPN
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, which is the only IP others will 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 offers 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 effective or 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:
NordVPN: The safest VPN to hide your IP
NordVPN is another solid VPN that really values your online privacy. This provider is known for its 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.
- Excellent protection and a large network of servers
- Nice and pleasing application
- No logs
Surfshark: Fast and secure VPN to change your IP
Surfshark is a newer provider but has quickly proven its status as one of our top five VPNs. This VPN offers solid encryption and great customer service, which makes using it easy – even for new users. The Surfshark applications are user-friendly and straigthfoward. You can use one Surfshark VPN subscription on as many devices simultaneously as you want, and they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try their service out before committing to a subscription.
- Very user-friendly and works with Netflix and torrents
- 30-day money-back guarantee. No questions asked!
- Cheap with many extra options
CyberGhost: A cheap and easy way to change your IP
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 with. If you want to check out our personal experiences with this provider, you can check our extensive CyberGhost review.
- Very user-friendly
- High quality for a low price
- Torrents and Netflix possible
How to Change Your IP Address with a VPN
The process of using a VPN to hide your IP is pretty straightforward. Just set up your VPN, and as soon as you connect to a server, your IP address will be masked with an alternate one to prevent websites and other third parties from identifying you or knowing your location.
You could also try some of the best free VPNs to change your IP address. However, you should note that free VPNs often have limitations such as slower speed, limited data, and even privacy concerns. Therefore, we strongly recommend going for an affordable premium VPN. One of our favorites is CyberGhost, which costs just a couple of dollars per month.
Step-by-step plan: hide your IP address with CyberGhost
To make things easier, here’s how to change your IP address using CyberGhost VPN:
- Click this link to head to the CyberGhost website.
- Click the button “Get CyberGhost VPN” to be redirected to the price page.
- Select the contract that suits you best (monthly, yearly, etc.).
- Choose the payment method you wish to use and enter your email.
- Log in on the CyberGhost website and download the VPN client that works on your operating system.
- Open the installation file once the download is completed.
- Go through the installation process to fully install the VPN on your device.
- Open the installed VPN software.
- Log in with the account you made.
- Choose a server and turn on the VPN.
Your IP address will remain hidden as long as you stay connected to the VPN. This means you can safely and anonymously use the internet.
Your “fake” IP address will be located in the country of the VPN server you choose to connect to. So, you can change your IP by simply connecting to a different server.
Although using a VPN is the easiest way to hide your IP address, there are a couple of other options, too, as described below.
Hide Your IP with the Tor Browser
You can keep your IP address private by installing and using 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. Tor also hides your IP address, so third parties can’t see it.
However, one limitation is that it only encrypts internet traffic within its browser, so it doesn’t offer complete protection like a VPN. For instance, apps you use outside of the browser will be able to track your IP as usual. 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 fast VPN.
Hide Your IP with a Proxy Server
Proxy servers are another way 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 that most VPNs offer. 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. There are several proxy sites that you can use as well, but don’t expect similar protection as a VPN.
Why Hide Your IP Address?
It’s vital to hide your IP address to protect your online privacy and anonymity. This can help you browse more freely and stay safe online. Let’s look at the top reasons why you should hide or change your IP:
1. Visit websites without revealing your identity
Websites gather a lot of information about you when you visit them. They build a profile of you based on your online activity and identifying information gathered from your IP address. So, your IP becomes a digital fingerprint of sorts that helps websites and apps to show you personalized content and targeted ads.
While this might be useful in a way, it is also quite invasive and similar to getting spied on. Fortunately, you can use the methods described above to hide your IP and use the internet anonymously.
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 soccer match when you’re abroad. Streaming services know where you are by checking the location of your internet connection through your IP address. So, when you hide or change your IP, you’ll be able to get around any geographical restrictions, giving you access to Netflix and other streaming services as if you were in a different country. Keep in mind that this often only works with the right VPN provider.
3. Protect yourself against spies and hackers
Spies 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, making 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.
4. Use public Wi-Fi hotspots safely
Hackers often target public Wi-Fi networks because those 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 enjoying your drink.
That’s why it’s important to hide your location and identity when you use public Wi-Fi hotspots. This way, you’ll have a different IP that will keep 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.
5. Bypass censorship and surveillance
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.
By changing your IP address, you can pretend to surf the web from a different location in another country that does not block the content you want to access. So, in short, changing your IP address increases your internet freedom.
Moreover, many governments, particularly authoritative ones like those in China and Iran, go much further than restricting online content. They actively track everything that people within their borders do online. There are even intelligence alliances between countries, such as 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, and 14 Eyes, that make it easier for governments to share information about their respective citizens.
So, it’s wise to change your IP to protect yourself to an extent from this sort of government surveillance. 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 good VPN, your data will also be encrypted for added security.
6. 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.
7. 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.
Final Thoughts: Hide or Change Your IP to Browse with Confidence
If you don’t hide your IP address when using the internet, your activity and identity are tracked by the websites and apps you use, your ISP, and government authorities. So, for privacy’s sake, it’s always advisable to change your IP using a VPN or proxy server or by browsing in the Tor browser. Or, if you want a low-end option, try connecting to any of these free proxy servers.
Investing in a VPN is the best option, because it also gives you additional benefits, such as access to geo-blocked content. It’ll also help you avoid privacy risks if you live in a smart city. Do you have any other questions about why or how to change your IP address? Let us know in the comments below so we can help you out.
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 on 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 online activity. So, it’s a good idea to change or hide your IP address to:
- prevent tracking and protect your privacy online
- browse anonymously
- access geo-blocked content on streaming services such as Netflix and HULU.
- ward off hackers
You can hide your IP address by using a VPN service, a proxy server, or the Tor browser. The best option is to use a good and reliable VPN because it offers high levels of protection and you can choose a specific server to connect to. Click here for instructions on how to do this.
We recommend ExpressVPN, which is one of the best, most secure, and reliable VPN providers. It encrypts your data to keep you anonymous online. Plus, it’s super easy to use. It has a range of high-speed servers which you can connect to and hide your IP address from third parties. This not only enhances your privacy, but also lets you bypass censorship, access geo-restricted content, and enjoy more internet freedom.