How to Hide Your IP Address in 2021?

by
Frederik Lipfert
Dr. Frederik Lipfert Founder, vpncheck
Updated on 9 Nov 2021

An IP address is like a tag or identification and each is unique. There are so many questions about hiding your IP address and to some, it might seem like something that only applies to “techies.” If you’re constantly on the internet or entering login information on different websites then this article is for you. Let us address questions on how you should hide your IP address and why you should do it.

TL;DR - Steps You Can Take to Hide Your IP Address

  1. Get a VPN
  2. Change the IP address
  3. Use public Hotspot connections
  4. Consider using a mobile network
  5. Try a proxy server
  6. Make use of a TOR browser

6 Ways To Hide Your IP Address

If you already know why you want to – or need to – hide your IP address, below is how you are supposed to do it. If you aren’t sure why it’s a good idea to do so don’t worry because we’ll get to that later in this guide.

Let’s discuss a few ways you can effectively hide your IP address.

Use A VPN

ExpressVPN connectedThis is by far the best and most popular way to conceal your IP address and prevent it from being visible to any prying eyes. If anyone is tracking your internet activity, all they will see is an IP address that is different from your actual IP address, and they will not be able to see the sites that you visit on the internet. 

A good VPN, such as ExpressVPN, places you at a completely different location and encrypts all the information that is going in or out of your device. After your information has been encrypted, it is transferred through the server that you have selected and uses that server’s IP address. You can use a VPN to access a torrenting site so you can download content and as an added advantage, your download speed can increase. 

The only downside to using VPNs is that you may need to sign up and pay a monthly subscription for you to use the best VPNs on the market. For example, a monthly subscription for one of the best-seen VPNs on the market, ExpressVPN, is $12.95 and you can also get a better offer if you choose to commit to a longer subscription ($8.32/month on a 12 months subscription). 

Another issue is that there are websites that can restrict your access if they suspect that you are using a VPN. This is another reason why you should choose your VPN wisely, as you are less likely to “get caught” if you use a secure and reliable VPN.

Assign A New IP Address To Your Connection

This method is quite tricky and there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to how you should do it as methods differ across devices. You can get a new IP address assigned to you by switching your modem off then turning it back on after a few hours. There is always the risk that you will still have your old one assigned to you if you turn your modem on too early before the switching process is complete and you will have to start again from the beginning. This process takes too long and doesn’t in any way make you untraceable, so I do not recommend doing it.

Use Wi-Fi From A Public Place

Signing up and using public wifi means that you are temporarily using a different IP address. As long as you are connected to the public WiFi, your usual IP address should be hidden. This sounds like a simple fix but it is quite risky as it can become a double-edged sword. Public WiFi is a breeding ground for hackers and using it without making your IP address may be asking for trouble. An unsecured WiFi network can give hackers easy access to your actual IP address and personal data.

Use A Mobile Network To Connect

This kind of protection is very easy to set up. You can set this up by switching on your mobile hotspot and using it as your Wi-Fi network. Screenshot of Mobile Hotspot and Tethering

Switching the network you are using will result in changing your IP address to the one that is allocated to you. Using a mobile network is barely anonymous and your actual IP address is still quite visible. The downside to this method is that your connection can become sluggish which can be frustrating and your data is not encrypted, which means that it is fully visible and can easily be tracked.

Make Use Of A Proxy Server

A proxy server is similar to a VPN and it works by rerouting your browser and taking it through filters that are already in place. Your browser might go through a school filter or a company filter and you will be using their IP address instead of your IP address but this process is illegal in some countries and if caught, you will be slapped with legal action. 

Using a proxy server is free and there is no need for you to download any apps on your phone to use it. When using a proxy server, your data is not protected so there is still a risk that you can be tracked. Unlike a VPN, a proxy server does not conceal all the activity that is coming from your device but it only conceals the activities that you select. 

When you choose to conceal some information, all your ISP will know is that you used a proxy server but they will not be able to access your activity. There is a chance that the proxy server you pick might be compromised in some way resulting in your actual IP address leaking, which makes you vulnerable to infection by malicious software, exposing you to hackers. 

Another downside is that your internet connection is likely to become sluggish since proxy servers are usually quite overloaded since they come free of charge, which just gives you a frustrating experience all in all. Your browsing history may still be logged so there is a chance that you are still leaving a trail behind you.

Use A TOR Browser

This method is effective but there’s a catch, it is quite slow. The TOR browser which stands for “The Onion Router”, offers you layers of protection every time you go on the internet and all your information passes through multiple servers. As your information goes through each server, there is speed loss, and since a TOR browser operates by routing your information through multiple servers, there is a significant loss of speed which renders streaming and buffering quite sluggish. It hides your IP address and makes it possible for you to be a “ghost” online. 

All your data will be heavily encrypted and it is free. You can easily download it and use it whenever you need to surf the internet and it is compatible with multiple operating systems. A Tor browser will unlock all restricted websites and even give you access to dark websites like the famous dark web, but dark websites come with a lot of illegal activity and it would be unwise if you were to be caught up in any of them. The downside is that it does not protect or encrypt any of your data and it is still possible that you can be tracked and monitored by authorities or hackers. As an extra layer of protection you can use a VPN, such as ExpressVPN, to make sure you don’t leave traces on the Internet “field”.

Reasons Why You Need To Hide Your IP Address

It might seem unnecessary to hide your IP address but there are some benefits that you may not be aware of.

To Preserve Your Online Privacy

Your IP address acts as a tag and it can identify the exact device that you are using while browsing the internet and that’s too much easily accessible information already. Every page you visit on the internet, including this one, will be able to see your IP address and all the information that comes with it. Your Internet Service Provider can also see your IP address and as a result, they can track every single thing you do online. That makes you feel a bit exposed right?

To Conceal Your Geographical Location

Your IP address comes with a lot of information attached to it, and some of this information includes your physical location. Anyone who has access to your IP address can tell exactly where you are for as long as you’re on the internet; this leaves you vulnerable since it’s not just your ISP or the pages you visit that may be watching what you are doing. Hackers might be tracking you and you become vulnerable because your personal information is not protected.

To Access Restricted Services Or Content

Since your IP address has your location attached to it, if any content is restricted in your region, it is quite easy for a site to block you from accessing their content. Oftentimes, your region may be blocked because of copyright laws that block you from having free access to a site that will enable you to download content illegally. If you use a VPN to mask your IP address, you have the luxury of choosing which location you want to present and your VPN will connect you to the relevant server and you can have access to any site. That’s why, most VPNs on the market, ExpressVPN included, have servers all around the world or even especially assigned streaming servers with great unblocking capabilities and satisfying speeds.

To Prevent Government Censorship

In some countries, all the online activity of the citizens is tracked and there is someone constantly watching which sites you’re visiting and what you are downloading and uploading. All this data can easily be used against you to somehow prove that you are anti-government which can cause you some serious legal problems. It is safer to conceal your IP address whenever you log in online.

FAQs

What Is An IP Address?

IP stands for Internet Protocol, and an IP address is like a tag or a set of four numbers that are attached to all of your messages or information that comes from your device. Essentially, an IP address makes it possible for each device on the internet and all the information coming from it to be identified. Moreover, it makes it possible for devices to identify each other. 

An IP address makes it possible for the information to be exchanged between several devices without getting lost. Initially, IP addresses were created to improve internet security and to make sure the internet can easily be used by everyone without the risk of losing information. A typical IP address reveals your geographical location so that you only receive information that is tailored to you and relevant to you. 

A simple way to find out what your current IP address is would be to open your browser and just type in, “What is my IP address”, and you will be able to see it since your browser has information on your IP address every time you log in.

How Does An IP Address Work?

An IP address helps you to access the internet and it acts as an electronic address that helps to identify where each piece of information is supposed to go. An IP address helps organize information and assign it to its respective devices. This is how you can easily access your emails and all your information without getting any mix-ups. All your online activity or information is related to you due to the IP address attached to it, which can help to easily identify and track all your online activity.

Your IP address constantly changes. A simple action like using public Wi-Fi or turning your router on and off can change your IP address. If you change your location, your home IP address also changes since the network you are using will assign you a new one. But these types of IP changes do not make you anonymous. 

Your ISP is responsible for assigning you a new IP address but they also have access to your personal information, which means that they can easily track you and identify which IP address your device is using at any given time. Your IP address will show your geographical location, area code, and zip code but it will not show your exact location or other sensitive information like your home address and other specific data. 

How are hackers able to access your personal information? Hackers can track your online activity using your IP address and discover bits and pieces of information about you which they can use to their advantage. The biggest risk comes when you download or are exposed to malicious software that can copy your personal data, which is why it is necessary to install a secure VPN that can detect and block malicious software.

Final Word

If you are a regular internet user, it might seem unnecessary to hide your IP address but there are so many reasons why you should. From protection from hackers to enabling access to restricted sites and content. There are multiple ways that you can use to hide your IP address but the best is to use a secure VPN. A VPN will encrypt all that data that is coming in and out of your device and it will conceal your IP address and render you untraceable.