How to Hide Your IP Address

Keep your web browsing habits private

Man hiding behind laptop computer

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Browsing the web has its risks. Luckily, there are ways to make this experience secure and hide your IP address to reduce those risks.

What Is An IP Address?

An IP address is an identifying number for any device connected to a network. Once a device has an IP address, it can be used along with other network protocols to communicate with other devices connected to the network.

There are different types of IP addresses, including:

Each of these types can also be represented by the two different versions of IP addresses, IPv4 and IPv6.

Why People Hide Their IP Address

As mentioned above, an IP address serves as an identifier for a device connected to a network. That means that not only it can be used to communicate with other devices, it can also be used to track you down. Therefore, there might be times when blocking your IP address from others will keep you secure.

In this article, we will discuss different technologies you can use in order to hide your IP address. These technologies are supported by different operating systems. In some cases, there might be some specific tools or software that aren't compatible with your preferred operating system. If that is the case, you can use a comparable tool or software that supports the technology.

How to Hide Your IP Address Using A VPN Tunnel

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is probably one of the safest ways to block others from tracking your IP address.

When using a VPN, all your traffic is sent through a private and encrypted tunnel; which means that even if someone were to intercept it they would not be able to see the content nor determine where it came from. Not only your traffic is encrypted and your IP is hidden, but some VPN clients also allow you to change or set a geographic location of your choice.

Unfortunately, there are some downsides to using a VPN to hide your IP address. First, you need a VPN client. However, not all clients are supported across different operating systems.

Also, even though there are several free VPN clients that support most operating systems, they often have limitations for the amount of data you can send through their tunnel on a monthly basis.

Finally, there might be times when the features of a free VPN are not enough. The good news is that there are VPN service providers that will offer more advanced features with a subscription plan.

Mask Your IP Address Using A Proxy

Web proxies act as a bridge between your device and the internet, which means that all your traffic first passes through the proxy before hitting the internet. Similar to VPNs, an anonymous proxy will mask your IP address and prevent other devices from knowing where the traffic is coming from.

Where a proxy falls short is in comparison to the security features that a VPN offers. Proxies do not encrypt the traffic. Instead, they add an extra hop to your connection. Also, proxies are limited to your browser traffic while using a VPN will take care of your device traffic as a whole.

Block Your IP Address Via TOR

Another useful tool to hide your IP address is using Tor. If your needs come down to being completely anonymous and avoiding getting tracked, then Tor is an effective tool. As free and open-source software, it was built with the concept of facilitating anonymous communication.

When using Tor, your signal is bounced around several internet servers that are part of the Tor network. Your IP address will be effectively masked by these multiple servers since it is almost impossible to track where you are when the signal bounces between so many different servers prior to hitting its final destination.

Because it is open source software, Tor is accessible for anyone to use. Unfortunately, this also means that not everyone or everything on the Tor network is reliable. There are many users that use Tor to keep their browsing habits private, including hackers and other threats.

Other Ways To Hide Your IP Address

There are other ways you can use to hide or mask the IP address of the devices connected to your home network.

You can connect to your mobile hotspot. By doing so, your devices will no longer access the public IP address of your home network. Instead, they will have the public IP address assigned to your device from your carrier.

Hotspots are usually slower than home connections and they do not provide any type of encryption.

You can also try connecting to a public Wi-Fi access point to hide your location. Similar to connecting devices to a hotspot, connecting them to public Wi-Fi your devices will get the public IP address of the place where you are connected and not your home IP address.

Public Wi-Fi networks are less secure, they are usually open to everyone, including hackers and your traffic will be susceptible to be intercepted.