How to Hide Your IP Address in 2023: 5 Easy & Secure Methods
There are plenty of ways to hide your IP address, but some methods are complicated, slow, or will outright put your data at risk. I tested 5 ways to hide your IP address and evaluated each one depending on how easy they were to use, how fast they were, and whether they had features to protect your data.
During testing, I found that the safest and most effective way to hide your IP address is by using a premium VPN. So I tested 40+ VPNs to find the best ones in the market — ExpressVPN is the easiest to use and most secure. It uses military-grade encryption on 3,000+ servers worldwide and never collects or shares your private data.
Best of all, it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test ExpressVPN risk-free. I tested the guarantee by requesting a refund via live chat. It was approved within minutes, and I got my money back 5 days later.
Quick Guide: The Easiest Way to Hide Your IP Address in 2023
- VPN — The easiest and safest way to hide your IP address in 2023. A VPN hides your IP address, encrypts your online traffic, and can access your streaming accounts.
- Proxy Server — Fast, but only changes your IP on your browser, not your entire device, so other apps can still reveal your real IP. It also doesn’t encrypt online traffic.
- Tor Network — A free way to hide your IP address and encrypt your traffic, but it is incredibly slow and difficult to use.
- Mobile Hotspot — Easy solution, but it does not encrypt traffic and can be costly for data-intensive activities such as streaming.
- Public WiFi — Free, but it puts your personal data at risk.
Why You Should Hide Your IP Address
Your IP address possesses the capability to expose personal information, enabling others to monitor your online activities, impose restrictions on accessing content restricted by geographical location, and potentially pinpoint your physical whereabouts. While this might initially appear harmless, the individuals with access to this data and their motives can be a source of concern. Acquiring your IP address is not a complicated task, as it is readily accessible on all websites you visit and can be seen by anyone with access to the router you’re connected to, including your internet service provider (ISP).
If someone possesses the necessary abilities and tools, they can utilize your IP address for engaging in illicit activities on the internet. This holds especially true if you reside in a country with stringent copyright regulations, as it may involve activities such as torrenting. Furthermore, hackers have the potential to launch a brute force attack, thereby obtaining complete control over your device by exploiting your IP.
That’s why hiding your IP address is crucial to maintaining your privacy on the internet. When you hide your IP address, you also get the following benefits:
- Hide your personal information and online history from anyone who might be tracking you. This stops them from passing your data on to advertisers and other third parties.
- Torrent anonymously and safely, without fear of malicious trackers and hackers.
- Access your local accounts abroad, including streaming sites, banking platforms, news sites, and more.
- Maintain your privacy in a surveillance-heavy jurisdiction by changing your IP address to one from a different country.
- Block targeted ads by preventing marketers from tracking your location and browsing.
- Stop hackers from using your IP address to conduct illegal activities, take control of your device, steal your identity, dox you, and more.
As you browse the internet, your IP address plays a vital role in creating your browser fingerprint, which is essentially an online profile used by websites to monitor your online activities. This fingerprint contains distinct details like your device’s specifications, including the time zone, and preferences, such as whether you have an ad blocker enabled. If you’ve ever been curious about why you receive advertisements related to recent searches, this is the reason behind it.
Remember: You Can’t Hide Your IP Address From Your ISP
Your ISP provides the IP address you use to connect to the internet, so it’s impossible to hide your IP address and your online activities from them. Even when you use a VPN or proxy, your ISP can see your original IP address (and the fact that you’re connecting to a VPN). However, a VPN will hide everything you do online — the websites you visit, apps you use, or data you download — from your ISP. And since websites are seeing the VPN’s IP address, they can’t pin down your actual IP address.
Utilizing a VPN also acts as a deterrent against bandwidth throttling. Bandwidth throttling refers to the deliberate slowing down of internet speeds by ISPs for users engaged in data-heavy tasks such as torrenting, gaming, or streaming. By keeping your online activities hidden from your ISP, you steer clear of throttling, ensuring swift speeds for data-intensive undertakings.
When you connect to a VPN server, only you and your VPN provider can see your real IP address, your online activity, and the data sent and received by your device. This is why it’s so important to choose a VPN service with a strict zero-logs policy to guarantee your data is private when connected. ExpressVPN’s RAM-based servers cannot physically store data, so you can rest assured your online activity is completely anonymous.
The Best Ways to Hide Your IP Address in 2023
1. VPN — #1 Safest and Fastest Method to Mask Your IP Address
The easiest and most secure way to hide your IP address is with a Virtual Private Network. VPN software protects your online privacy through 2 processes.
- It redirects your online traffic away from your ISP’s servers and sends it through one of its own servers instead. Since VPN users share the same IP address of the server they’re connected to, your online traffic stays anonymous as it can’t be differentiated from other users’ data.
- A VPN encrypts all information sent from your device, making it unreadable to anyone who might intercept it.
These two processes hide your IP address, so anyone who might be tracking your IP address will see your VPN’s IP address, not your actual one. This makes it difficult for advertisers (or anyone else) to pin your online activities to your actual IP or you. The end-to-end encryption ensures no one — not your government, your ISP, or any hacker sees what you’re doing online.
On top of safeguarding your privacy, a VPN lets you access your favorite streaming subscriptions even while you’re abroad. You’ll also be able to use your banking, government, and healthcare websites no matter where you might be.
A VPN is very easy to use, though you do have to pay a small subscription fee to get a good one. While it might be tempting to get one for free, most free VPNs come with many setbacks, if they even work at all.
All the VPNs I recommended on this list come with money-back guarantees (all of which I tested myself), so you can try them risk-free before you commit.
How to Hide Your IP Address With a VPN
- Choose a trusted VPN. I recommend ExpressVPN — it’s fast and passed all the IP leak tests I ran on various servers. Plus, its 30-day money-back guarantee allows you to buy in confidence.
- Download the app. You can do this from your device’s app store or your chosen VPN’s official website.
- Connect to a VPN server. Your internet traffic will be rerouted through the VPN server, and your IP address will be hidden.
Note: You can use this IP checker tool to confirm that your IP address is really hidden. If you’re seeing the VPN’s IP address and location instead of your actual one, the VPN is successfully protecting your IP address.
2. Proxy Server — Fast, but Not Ideal for Torrenting and Unreliable for Streaming
A proxy server is an easy-to-use, often-free tool that can change your IP address. However, it only changes your IP on your browser — not your entire device. This means other apps and programs on your device can still reveal your real IP address.
Not all proxies have encrypted servers or strict privacy policies, so whoever’s running the service can access your browsing information and use it however they’d like (unlike premium VPNs with no-logs policies). That said, I suggest using a vetted proxy server only for casual browsing.
Proxy services are not ideal for torrenting. Your proxy server can log and store all your torrenting activities and trace them back to your original IP address.
How to Hide Your IP Address With a Proxy
- Choose a proxy. Hide.me has a free proxy that allows you to change your IP from one tab on your browser.
- Enter your website URL on hide.me’s proxy service tab. For other proxy services, you might have to install a browser extension. Don’t forget that your IP is disguised only from that tab or browser, so don’t switch.
- The site is now seeing the proxy IP address. Your IP address will now be hidden.
3. Tor Network — Free and Provides Anonymity, but It Is Very Slow
Tor is a free way to hide your IP address if you’re accessing sensitive information, but it’s incredibly slow and quite difficult to use. Tor routes your traffic through numerous servers and multiple layers of protection, so it can take more than 10 seconds to load a single webpage. Aside from being too slow, Tor assigns a random IP address to all users, so it’s not ideal if you’re trying to connect to a server in a particular country.
It’s important to keep in mind that Tor is not designed for torrenting, streaming, or normal web browsing — it’s designed to access sites on the dark web (.onion sites) through anonymous accounts. ISPs can see if you’re using Tor, and, in countries where Tor is illegal, they would have to alert the authorities once they detect anyone using it.
How to Hide Your IP Address With the Tor Browser
- Download Tor. Make sure you download Tor from the legitimate site.
- Install Tor. Double-click the installer that you’ve downloaded.
- Start Tor Browser. Double-click the Start Tor Browser icon to start browsing on Tor anonymously.
4. Create a Hotspot From Your Smartphone — A Quick Solution, but You Can’t Access Geo-Blocked Content
Setting up a WiFi hotspot from your smartphone is a quick way to get a new IP address from your mobile network (while masking the one assigned from your home router). This method is appropriate for short-term IP masking — like if you wanted to buy something online and didn’t want the transaction associated with your usual IP address.
Unfortunately, it’s unsuitable for accessing geo-blocked content (like if you wanted to watch your home Netflix US content from another country while you traveled abroad). Your new mobile network IP address still reveals your location, which will be detected by websites that block users outside certain places. This also means your mobile carrier can see all your online activities (on top of charging exorbitant prices for data-intensive activities like streaming).
How to Hide Your IP Address With Your Mobile Network Hotspot
- Turn on your phone’s hotspot. Android users can do this by swiping down and tapping on the Hotspot icon. iPhone users can turn on Personal Hotspot by going to Settings > Cellular > Personal Hotspot or Settings.
- Connect the other device. Find the hotspot on your other device and connect as you would to any other WiFi network.
- Your other device is now using your phone’s IP address.
5. Use Public WiFi — Free, but Not Suited For Data-Intensive Activities
Connecting to public WiFi means you’ll have a different IP address from the one you use at home. All your activities will still be visible to the ISP of the network you’ll be connecting to.
Finding a place with a fast WiFi connection for data-intensive activities can be tricky. Plus, even if you do find a fast connection, public networks aren’t safe. Hackers often use them to harvest passwords and other personal information, either by intercepting the unencrypted connection or setting up an “evil twin” network.
Comparison Table: 2023’s Best Ways to Hide Your IP Address
|Hides your IP address?||Encrypts your web traffic?||Fast enough for streaming?||Bypasses geoblocks?||Works with a lot of devices?||Customer support available?|
The Best VPNs to Hide Your IP Address (Tested in 2023)
- 3,000+ high-speed servers in 105 countries for more options when switching IP addresses
- Private DNS on every server protects against DNS leaks
- AES-256 encryption, IP/DNS/WebRTC leak protection, TrustedServer technology, and an audited no-logs policy to keep your IP address hidden
- Connect up to 8 devices simultaneously
- 24/7 customer support through live chat and email
- 30-day money-back guarantee to test all of its features, risk-free
ExpressVPN is the best VPN to hide your IP address in 2023, thanks to a host of advanced features that protect your online privacy. Many VPNs can change your IP address but may still leak DNS or WebRTC data — revealing your location, IP address, and browsing history. When I ran multiple leak tests on random servers in the UK and US, I was impressed to find no leaks. I ran the same tests on its mobile app and got the same solid protection.
It also offers a comprehensive set of security features, including:
- RAM-only servers (no hard drives) to ensure none of your data is logged or stored and cannot be exposed during a cyberattack.
- High-speed Lightway protocol that makes it easy to reestablish connection in case of a sudden drop (stepping in and out of an elevator).
- Network Lock kill switch that blocks all internet traffic from leaving the device until the VPN connection is restored.
- AES 256-bit encryption (the same encryption standard used by the US government to protect classified data) that conceals your online activity.
- It owns and operates all of its DNS servers, which means your data isn’t sent to less secure, third-party servers.
- A twice-audited, no-logs policy that proves none of your browsing data is ever seen, stored, or recorded
In 2017, ExpressVPN’s no-logs policy was put to the test in Turkey during a government investigation. The authorities seized a physical server to track down a user, but ultimately couldn’t find any identifying logs stored on ExpressVPN’s server.
Speed is another one of ExpressVPN’s strengths. I ran multiple speed tests on various ExpressVPN servers, and my speed dropped just 15% on average — the lowest among all the VPNs I tested. My speeds rarely dipped below my default average of 350 Mbps. You’ll have no problem downloading large files, video calling, or playing multiplayer online games.
During my tests, I found ExpressVPN’s servers successfully bypassed network restrictions and firewalls. It was also able to access the following streaming platforms:
|Netflix (US & more)||Hulu||BBC iPlayer||HBO||ESPN|
|Amazon Prime Video||Disney+||FuboTV||ITV Hub||Hotstar|
|DAZN||Sky Go||Showtime||Apple TV+||…and more!|
ExpressVPN’s short-term plans are expensive. But its reliability, comprehensive security features, and speeds provide excellent value for money. If you’re looking to save a bit, purchasing the 1-year + 3 months plan brings the monthly rate to $6.67 a month (a discount of 49%).
A 30-day money-back guarantee gives you enough time to test how effectively ExpressVPN hides your IP address. I wanted to see how easy it was to claim a refund, so on the 28th day of my subscription, I requested a refund via live chat. The process was pretty quick, and the agent didn’t even ask me why I was canceling and just approved the request. After 5 days, the money was back in my account.
ExpressVPN works with: Windows, macOS, Linux, Chromebook, Android, iOS, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Nvidia Shield, Xiaomi Mi Box, Google Chromecast, Roku, Android TVs, smart TVs, routers, and more.
2023 Update! ExpressVPN has dropped prices for a limited time to a crazy $6.67 per month for the 1-year plan (you can save up to 49%) + 3 months free! This is a limited offer so be sure to grab it now before it's gone. See more information on this offer here.
- 10,200+ servers in 100 countries, including in Europe, Asia, the Americas, Africa, and the Middle East
- NoSpy servers, located in privacy-friendly Romania and physically maintained by the CyberGhost team.
- Military-grade encryption, a kill switch, and a no-logs policy keeps your IP address private
- 7 simultaneous device connections
- Support via live chat and email
- A generous 45-day money-back guarantee
Connecting to one of CyberGhost’s NoSpy servers adds another layer of security to your online traffic. All NoSpy servers are completely owned and operated by CyberGhost, so it can closely monitor the network for security breaches. When you connect to a NoSpy server, you’ll connect to a server located in privacy-friendly Romania, a country with no data retention laws or memberships in intelligence-sharing alliances.
Leak tests on several CyberGhost servers proved it’s pretty effective at hiding your IP address. Both normal and NoSpy CyberGhost servers passed several IP, WebRTC, and DNS leak tests.
CyberGhost also protects your data with the following security features:
- Military-grade 256-bit AES encryption that renders your online traffic unreadable to any third-party observer.
- 4 different VPN protocols to choose from: OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard, and L2TP/IPSec, each optimized for different levels of speed and security.
- An automatic kill switch that prevents your unencrypted data from leaking on unsecure internet connections.
- A strict no-logs policy (recently audited by Deloitte) ensures none of your internet activity can be tied to you or your IP address.
Streaming-optimized servers make it easy to access your favorite content platforms (accessible through the “For streaming” tab). My teammates and I tested various servers (both standard and optimized) and found that they worked reliably with the following sites:
|Netflix||Amazon Prime Video||Hulu||Disney+||Kodi|
|HBO Max||BBC iPlayer||ESPN||fuboTV||YouTube TV|
Watching shows, playing online games, and browsing the web are seamless, lag-free experiences while connected to CyberGhost. Speed tests showed an average speed drop of around 36%. Seems like a lot (especially when compared to ExpressVPN’s meager 12%), but CyberGhost’s speeds are definitely more than enough for streaming videos in HD. Whenever you’re connected to slower WiFi connections, I suggest choosing servers closer to your actual connection to get optimal speeds.
CyberGhost even offers static IP addresses for an additional monthly fee. This is a good option if you travel often and want to avoid time-consuming authentication processes for services like online banking.
Like ExpressVPN, CyberGhost’s one-month plan is a bit pricey and only comes with a much shorter money-back guarantee. However, you’ll get excellent value on a long-term plan. On a 2-year + 4 months subscription, you’ll get a 45-day money-back guarantee and pay just $2.03 a month.
With the guarantee, you can try CyberGhost to hide your IP address free for 45 days. When I tested the policy, I requested a refund via live chat. After sending the agent my reference number, my request was approved, and the money was back in my account within 7 days.
CyberGhost works on: Windows, macOS, Linux, Chromebook, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Google Chromecast, Roku, Android TVs, smart TVs, routers, and more.
Get Black Friday Deal and Cyber Monday Deal from CyberGhost! You can subscribe to CyberGhost for as low as $2.03 per month + get an extra 4 months free with the 2-year plan (save up to 84%)! This is a limited offer so grab it now before it's gone. See more information on this offer here.
3. Private Internet Access — Hides Your IP Address and Protects Your Device With an Ad, Malware, and Tracker Blocker
- The largest network of 35,000+ servers in 91 countries
- Comes with a free ad and malware blocker that stops ads from loading and blocks malicious trackers
- Offers military-grade encryption, kill switch and a no-logs policy
- Supports up to unlimited simultaneous device connections
- Customer support available via 24/7 live chat support and email
- 30-day money-back guarantee
Private Internet Access (PIA) has a free ad, malware, and tracker blocker (called MACE) that provides extra protection when you’re online. MACE is one of the best ad blockers I’ve ever tested — it blocks all tracking and advertisement requests from a public blocklist. When I enabled it, I visited sites that are usually overrun with ads and found no ads at all!
By blocking pop-ups and trackers from loading, MACE also stops ads from hogging your bandwidth. Webpages load much quicker, making it feel like you’ve got a speed boost.
I conducted multiple IP and DNS leak tests on a range of global servers over 3 days. I tested around 30 PIA servers from different parts of the world and tried the test on my iPhone, Windows desktop, and Android device just to be sure — PIA servers were really good at keeping my IP address and location private.
PIA has the following security features as well:
- Military-grade encryption ensures that your ISP and network administrators can’t track your online activities.
- An automatic kill switch.
- A multi-hop feature that routes your internet traffic through 2 servers, so no third-party observer can link your activities to a single IP address.
With a global speed drop average of 48%, PIA’s speeds are fast enough for an HD streaming experience, depending on which server you’re connected to. I had no issues while connected to PIA servers close to my location. However, when I connected to a server in Perth (on the other side of the world), there were drops in video quality while streaming. If you need to connect to distant servers, I suggest trying ExpressVPN instead.
My teammates and I were able to access the following platforms while connected to PIA:
|Netflix||Disney+||HBO Max||Amazon Prime Video|
|Kodi||Crunchyroll US||Paramount+||YouTube TV|
It’s worth noting that PIA is located in the US, which has mass surveillance laws and is involved in multiple intelligence-sharing networks (including the 5, 9, and 14 Eyes Alliance). However, I was pleased that despite its US headquarters, PIA has a proven history of ensuring the privacy of its users. In two separate cases, the US police have asked for user information during criminal investigations — PIA couldn’t comply as there was no user data stored.
If you only want to hide your IP address for a short time, PIA has one of the best monthly VPN plans. But its 2-year + 4 months plan provides the best value — you’ll get 84% off and pay just $2.03 a month.
You can also use its 30-day money-back guarantee to get PIA’s full suite of features free. I tested the guarantee to make sure it works. After I finished testing PIA, I requested a refund from customer support over the 24/7 live chat. It was quickly approved and my money was returned within a week.
PIA works on: Windows, macOS, Linux, Chromebook, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera, Playstation, Xbox, AppleTV, Chromecast, smart TVs, Nvidia Shield, routers, and more.
Get PIA's Black Friday Deal! You can subscribe to PIA for as low as 2.03$ per month + get an extra 4 months free with the 2-year plan (save up to 84%)! This is a limited offer, so grab it now before it's gone! See more information on this offer here!
- Short and long-term subscriptions available
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- 5,900+ global servers in 60 countries
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Protect up to 6 devices at once
NordVPN is one of the best VPNs on the market — and you can get super cheap prices when you sign up for a long-term subscription. One thing to note, however, is that when it’s time to renew your subscription, prices do increase quite significantly.
I was particularly impressed with the high performance of every server I tested. Just because a VPN has thousands of servers doesn’t mean they all work. Servers can still struggle to work — and some can even fail to connect completely. However, NordVPN’s servers work with Netflix for smooth, buffer-free streaming.
I did, however, have issues with using NordVPN’s native Fire TV app. Although it mostly worked with Netflix, it sometimes had issues and kept crashing. I also found that NordVPN’s user interface for desktop devices was less user-friendly than ExpressVPN and CyberGhost.
NordVPN has the following security and privacy features:
- AES 256-bit encryption
- kill switch that cuts your internet access if your connection to a VPN server drops suddenly
- built-in ad and malware blocker, so you don’t need a third-party ad blocker
- fully audited no-logs policy (audited by PwC) – NordVPN doesn’t store any personal or identifying data while you’re connected to the VPN
In addition, NordVPN includes Threat Protection that protects you from viruses, infected websites, and trackers – and it works whenever you have the NordVPN app open, even if you’re not connected to a VPN server.
With plans that cost as little as $2.99 per month, it's easy to find a NordVPN subscription plan that suits your needs. You can also stream, torrent, and browse for free for up to 30 days with its money-back guarantee. I tested this to ensure that you’ll really get your money back. At first, the support team tried to give me an extended trial period — but they initiated my refund right away after I told them I wasn’t interested in the extension. I got my money back in 6 business days.
NordVPN works with: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, SkyTV, HBO Max, SHOWTIME, DAZN, ESPN, YouTube TV, and more
NordVPN works on: Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Chromebook, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Fire Stick, and Android TV
- Short and long-term plans available
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- 3,200+ global servers in 100 countries
- No bandwidth restrictions
- Connect unlimited devices at once
Surfshark offers the best value for money out of every premium VPN on the market. You can connect an unlimited number of devices with a single subscription, which means you can use Surfshark on all your devices without getting logged out.
I tested Surfshark’s simultaneous connections on 2 PCs, 2 phones, a Fire Stick 4K, and an iPad. My connection remained reliable on all 6 devices. Even while I was actively streaming on all my devices, my average speed was 112 Mbps — fast enough for UHD quality.
When I saw the price of this service, I thought it couldn’t possibly have top-grade security features for such a low price, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Surfshark has the following security and privacy features:
- AES 256-bit encryption on all devices, with ChaCha encryption available for Android users
- Wireguard VPN protocol enabled by default
- diskless, RAM-only servers to protect your privacy (no data can be physically extracted from any servers)
- kill switch (although this isn’t enabled by default)
- IP and DNS leak protection
Surfshark offers two-factor authentication (2FA) on your account. This feature requires you to enter an extra code before you can log in to ensure that only you can access your account.
While Surfshark does have slightly fewer global servers than rivals such as CyberGhost and PIA, I didn’t experience any issues during my tests. I easily connected fast working servers every time, and I had excellent speeds for streaming, downloading torrents, and browsing the internet.
You can try Surfshark for yourself with the 30-day money-back guarantee. It has plans that cost as little as $1.99. Requesting a refund is easy with Surfshark’s live chat feature. Although the support team asked why I wanted to cancel my subscription, I had no problem getting my money back (and it only took 4 days!).
Surfshark works with: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Sling TV, Hotstar, HBO Max, DAZN, and more
Surfshark works on: Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, Linux, Fire Stick, Samsung Smart TVs, LG Smart TVs, Android TV, Kodi, and selected routers
- 200+ High-Quality Network (HQN) servers in 63 countries
- Stealth VPN hides VPN traffic, perfect for use in censored jurisdictions
- Leak protection, AES-256 encryption, and kill switch ensures IP stays private
- Protects 10 devices simultaneously
- Help available via 24/7 live chat, email, remote help, and FAQ page
- 30-day money-back guarantee
PrivateVPN is the most budget-friendly premium VPN for hiding your IP address, whether you choose a short-term or long-term subscription. For just $2.00/ month (3-year plan), you can keep your IP address hidden and browse privately from anywhere.
You’ll also have solid security and privacy protections, which include:
- DNS and IP leak protection to keep your real IP address stays hidden.
- Customizable encryption — 256-bit or 128-bit for a faster connection.
- A strict no-logs policy.
- An automatic kill switch.
- Stealth VPN, which disguises your VPN connection as regular traffic and allows you to bypass VPN-detection systems on most sites.
With Stealth VPN, my team and I were able to access the following platforms on the first try:
|Netflix||Disney||Amazon Prime Video||HBO Max|
The Stealth VPN feature, coupled with competitively fast speeds, makes Private VPN one of the best options for streaming. On multiple servers worldwide, I only experienced an average drop of around 32%. I could still enjoy shows in HD without much buffering or interruptions.
You can get a 3-year subscription for $2.00 a month, or you can try PrivateVPN completely free with its 30-day money-back guarantee. Getting a refund is easy but can only be done via email. When I tested it, I only had to provide a reason for canceling before my refund was approved. The money was returned 5 working days later.
PrivateVPN works on: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Nvidia Shield, smart TV, routers, and more.
- 2,200+ servers in 75 countries
- Connect unlimited devices at the same time
- AES 256-bit encryption, kill switch, leak protection, and an audited no-logs policy
- 24/7 live chat support and a detailed FAQ page
- 30-day money-back guarantee (on yearly subscriptions)
If you want to hide your IP address on multiple devices, try IPVanish — it allows unlimited simultaneous connections. It also has a native app for most devices and operating systems. I especially like IPVanish’s detailed mobile interface that contains important information to make choosing the best server easier.
Running IP, DNS, and WebRTC leak tests on various IPVanish servers showed that it successfully hides your IP address. It also offers a comprehensive list of security features, including:
- Military-grade encryption.
- Multiple protocols such as WireGuard, IKEv2, OpenVPN (TCP and UDP), and IPSec protocols.
- A kill switch feature (not available on iOS).
- An audited no-logs policy ensures your online activities stay private.
My teammates and I were able to access content from the following apps while connected to IPVanish:
|Netflix||Disney+||Amazon Prime Video||HBO Max|
|BBC iPlayer||Sling TV||ESPN||…and more|
IPVanish servers had an average speed drop of about 37%, and I had no problems streaming in HD. The thing is, IPVanish isn’t consistent when it comes to unblocking sites. One server in a given location might work on a platform, while another in the same location might not. If you’re looking for a VPN that consistently unblocks streaming sites, I recommend trying CyberGhost or ExpressVPN.
The longer-term plans (yearly and longer) come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test all IPVanish features yourself. Claiming a refund is straightforward. You won’t even have to talk to an agent. You can cancel your subscription yourself through your account dashboard. When I did it, I got the money back a few hours later.
IPVanish works on: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Kodi, Roku, smart TV, routers, and more.
4 Worst Ways to Hide Your IP Address (You’d Be Surprised)
A quick web search produces thousands of results telling you how to hide your IP address, but some of the suggestions simply don’t work or aren’t safe.
1. Use Incognito Mode
Incognito windows don’t save your browsing history, cookies, and other data. However, your ISP and browser can still see all your online activities, and your data is still vulnerable to third-party tracking and surveillance.
If your goal is to keep your IP address and browsing history private, you’ll need to connect to a good VPN while using your browser’s Incognito Mode.
2. Ask Your ISP For a New IP
While it’s possible to reach out to your ISP’s customer support and request an IP address change, this does not make you any more anonymous — it only gives you a new, still-trackable IP address. Since most ISPs use dynamic IPs for their users, this “new” IP address can change and be reassigned if you’re not using it, and it will still reveal your location and ISP to any third party who might be watching.
That said, using a VPN is more effective at keeping your activities private than asking for a new IP. ExpressVPN has multiple IP addresses associated with each server, so all you have to do is reconnect to get a brand-new IP address. Your actual location and ISP stays private, every single time. CyberGhost will even provide a static IP address for an extra fee — allowing you to use an IP address that no one else is using.
3. Use a NAT Firewall
A Network Address Translation (NAT) firewall does not hide your public IP address, only your private IP address. It does this by assigning a single IP address to all the devices connected to your router and using private IP addresses to ensure that the correct data gets to the right devices. This mechanism is built into most common routers.
The main benefit of using a NAT firewall is blocking unsolicited, potentially malicious online communication from unknown sources. That’s it. Your true location and online activity are still readily trackable by anyone since your public IP is still visible. To access blocked content, torrent securely, and browse anonymously, you will need another secure tool, like a VPN.
4. Unplug Your Modem
While unplugging (and reconnecting) your modem can sometimes change your IP address, your new one will still reveal your location and ISP. All your online activities will still be visible to your ISP, your browser, and any other third-party tracker.
You’ll need a good VPN to successfully hide your IP address and prevent any third-party surveillance. A VPN also allows you to choose the location that websites “see,” giving you access to blocked content from anywhere.
How I Tested and Ranked the Best VPNs to Hide Your IP Address
Finding the top VPNs to protect your IP address and online data can be a bit tricky — a lot of VPNs in the market today claim to be able to hide your IP address and keep your online information private, but most of them don’t deliver. I tested some of the leading VPNs in 2023 and ranked the top-performing providers based on the following criteria:
- Reliable leak protection — I ran several IP, WebRTC, and DNS leak tests to make sure that every VPN on this list successfully hid my IP address on multiple servers.
- Comprehensive security and privacy features — The VPNs on this list protect your data with military-grade encryption, secure VPN protocols, and a clear no-logs policy (preferably independently audited).
- Consistently fast speeds and a large server network — Every VPN on the list above allowed me to stream videos, browse, play online games, and download files without any issues. I also noted how many servers each VPN offered (more servers means more options, less overcrowding, and better speeds).
- Works with most major streaming sites — I included the VPNs that reliably accessed 15+ popular international streaming platforms.
- Reliable money-back guarantee (and customer support) — The guarantee should give you enough time to test the VPN yourself (at least 30 days). I made sure that the money-back guarantee worked and checked how easy it was to claim a refund.
The Basics: What Is an IP Address?
An Internet Protocol (IP) address is a unique string of numbers that identifies your device on the internet. Think of it as your device’s address, assigned to you by your internet service provider (ISP). This is how data moves between your devices and websites on the internet without any information getting lost.
There are two types of IP addresses, IPv4 and IPv6. IPv4 came first, consisting of 4 sets of numbers separated by periods and ranging between 0 and 255, like 192.168.1.1. This combination allows for around 4 billion unique IP addresses. That’s nowhere near enough to cater to global demand, so IPv6 was developed. An IPv6 address looks something like this:
This allows for more unique combinations. However, most ISPs still use IPv4 while IPv6 is being rolled out, so you’re more likely to see the shorter number when you search for your IP address.
Static IP Addresses vs. Dynamic IP Addresses
There are two types of IP addresses:
- Static IP addresses — An IP address permanently assigned to a router or server. Static IP addresses are usually reserved for business-owned devices and won’t change unless the device is deactivated.
- Dynamic IP addresses — Most IP addresses assigned by ISPs are dynamic IP addresses. These IP addresses are selected and assigned by an ISP’s Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) servers. Dynamic IP addresses get frequently reassigned among ISP subscribers.
Public vs. Private IP Addresses
Whenever you use the internet, you’re using two IP addresses:
- Public IP — This is the IP address assigned by your ISP to your home network (your router); the one seen by the websites you visit and other third parties.
- Private IP — This is the IP address your router assigns to every device connected to the network. This is so that the devices on your home network have their own identifiers and information packets are not lost along the way.
How to Find Your IP Address
You can use this online IP address lookup tool to see your public IP address. You’ll also be able to see the location seen by websites you visit and your ISP.
To see your Private IP address:
- On Windows: search for cmd on the search bar, type “ipconfig,” and press enter.
- On macOS devices: select System Preferences, then Network.
- On Android: select Settings, then About Phone, then Status.
- On iPhone: select Settings, go to WiFi, and tap the “i” beside the network you’re connected to. Your Private IP is the set of numbers in the DHCP tab.
FAQs: Hiding Your IP Address
Can I hide my IP address for free?
Yes, there are multiple ways to hide your IP address for free (like connecting to the Tor network or a proxy server). However, the safest way to hide your IP address is by using a quality VPN. You don’t necessarily have to spend money. For example, CyberGhost is one of the best VPNs on the market, and it comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee, so you can essentially test it for free for 45 days.
I don’t recommend using a free VPN. Many free VPNs have been reported to collect and sell user data and, in the worst cases, even infect users’ devices with malware. Even the safest free VPNs come with data caps, low speeds, or only offer limited server options, making high-bandwidth activities like streaming and torrenting virtually impossible.
How do I hide my IP address when streaming on Netflix?
How can I hide my IP address on all my devices?
You can hide your IP address by using a VPN — for example, ExpressVPN has a dedicated app for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, routers, Amazon Fire Stick, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, and Apple TV. It even works on devices that don’t typically support VPNs, like PlayStation, Xbox, and smart TVs. You have to manually configure some settings, but ExpressVPN offers 24/7 customer support over live chat and email, so it’s easy to get personalized instructions for your device.
Another option is to install a VPN onto your router. This ensures you can hide the IP address of every device connected to that router.
Do I need to hide my IP address when torrenting?
I recommend hiding your IP address when torrenting, using a reliable method like a VPN. When you download torrents, information like your IP address is shared with other users downloading or uploading the file. This makes it possible for malicious actors to obtain your IP address and trace it back to you, compromising your data security — putting you at risk of malware or identity theft.
However, masking your IP address alone isn’t enough to guarantee your privacy while torrenting — you also need to encrypt your data. This makes your internet traffic unreadable if your ISP ever tries to spy on you. Your ISP can throttle your speed if it isn’t torrenting-friendly or report you to authorities if it discovers you accidentally downloaded copyrighted material.
For maximum security, you should use a VPN to hide your IP address when torrenting. ExpressVPN provides high-level encryption and leak protection to guarantee your data is secure. Plus, it supports P2P file-sharing on every server for fast downloads in every location.
Is hiding my IP address legal?
It depends on where you are. Using a VPN to hide your IP address is illegal in the following countries:
- North Korea
VPN use is tightly regulated in:
Make sure you’re aware of the regulations surrounding IP address masking in your location, so you’re not breaking any laws.
In most other countries, it’s perfectly legal to hide your IP address to protect your online privacy from hackers, advertisers, and other web trackers. However, you can’t hide your IP address to perform illegal activities. For instance, you can’t hide your IP address to cyberstalk, hack, or download and share copyrighted materials.
Is my IP address permanent?
In most cases, your IP address will regularly change. Most ISPs use dynamic IP addresses that often change rather than static IP addresses that are fixed. Static IP addresses usually have to be requested and incur additional charges.
Your IP address will change when you switch to a different internet connection. This is because the IP address is specific to the network itself. For example, going from your home network to public WiFi will give your connection a different IP address.
Some VPNs offer static IPs for an additional fee if you want high-level privacy with a permanent IP address. CyberGhost provides dedicated IPs only you can use, giving you the same IP address no matter which network you’re connected to. This is useful if you travel often and want to get around additional authentication for activities like online banking and shopping.
Can my IP address reveal my identity?
Not exactly. Your IP address isn’t directly linked to your identity — but if you don’t take measures to hide your IP address, your IP address can be vulnerable to hacking. Combined with other information, your online habits can be used by third parties to identify you. Hackers can tailor a cyberattack based on the sites you visit, or use an IP spoofing technique to make it seem like malicious activities are coming from your IP address, essentially “framing” you for cybercrimes.
Aside from avoiding illegal activity, the best way to protect your online privacy and hide your IP address is to use a quality VPN. With military-grade encryption and leak protection, your private data is kept secure, including your IP address, browsing history, and usernames and passwords.
How do I hide my IP address on Google Chrome?
Mask Your IP Address and Stay Anonymous With a VPN
It’s important to be careful when trying different IP-masking techniques. Some leave your private information vulnerable to hackers, while others slow your connection speed so much that you can’t stream or torrent. A VPN is the easiest and safest way to hide your IP address, secure your data with encryption, and maintain fast speeds.
Of all the VPNs on the market, ExpressVPN offers world-class privacy and security features. Its no-logs policy has even been proven in a real-life government case, so you can rest assured that no one can track down your real IP address.
You can use ExpressVPN to hide your IP address without any risk, as it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not satisfied with its performance, contact the customer service department to request a refund — I got my money back in only 5 days.