Hide My IP : A How to Guide for Internet Security
1. What an IP address is
2. How to hide my IP
3. Top three VPN recommendations
4. Final thoughts
In the real world, when interacting with others, people identify each other by recognizing their shape, voice, and other external features. On the internet, it becomes more intricate, with cookies scouting what accounts you opened, and most importantly, websites wanting to know your location and IP address. In this guide, we will show you a few ways on "how to hide my IP address", granting you extra privacy.
An IP address is a unique series of numbers that identify your device/network on the internet. All Activities on the internet include two-way communications between parties, such as web browsers and servers.
Similar to how people exchange physical mails, with an address including a sender and a receiver, the internet works similarly by sending and requesting data, which replies to clients with responses.
Every client has an IP address that tells servers who is making the request. This means you won't find two computers with the same address on the internet, as an IP works as a personal identifier to your device, similar to how you won't find two houses with the same address.
1. Using a VPN
2. Using Tor
3. Using a proxy server
4. Asking your ISP
5. Using a public Wi-Fi
There are multiple ways for me as a user to hide my IP address, some are more secure than others, and some provide more speed when surfing the net, while others can cost you some money. In general, to hide my IP address, the following methods can be used:
A virtual private network (VPN) is a server that allows others to connect to it and acts as a proxy point, sending your data for you like a messenger under an alias name (IP) address. A great advantage provided by a VPN includes the ability to encrypt your data.
Data encryption means that when sending data, a tunnel between you and the recipient is made, meaning no one else can tell the content of the data. Usually, with every request you make on the internet, this data gets sent over to your internet service provider (ISP), giving them a digital fingerprint of what you're doing.
Using a VPN makes sure you remain private not only by changing your IP to a proxy but also by encrypting your data.
Our top recommendation for a VPN to use includes NordVPN, providing users with more than 5400 different servers, each with a different IP to connect to and change your IP.
Among the methods I used, a VPN was the best to hide my IP, providing amazing security, great speed, and access to the content I needed.
Torrent onion router (Tor) is another tool in my arsenal to hide my IP. Tor is very thorough at encrypting and providing security; after all, its main function is to be used for the dark web; therefore, it's only natural it's very secure.
The way Tor works is that it connects to other peers on the P2P Tor network. The first peer you connect to is called the entry node. This is the only node to which your IP address is exposed to the device you connect to. The next peers you connect to are called intermediate nodes, and the last peer you connect to is called the exit node.
This long process of connecting to peers makes sending any information much longer in comparison to the single step of a VPN, for example, as the data must travel through multiple devices until it eventually reaches the internet.
In addition, using Tor is often coupled with using a VPN, often because users want to protect their entry node, which is the only node your data is exposed. If you decide that you want to use Tor to access the dark web, for example, we recommend you use a VPN such as Express VPN as it has the best speed among VPNs, which becomes important for onion over VPN.
Using a proxy server means you won't have any encryption or protection when surfing online. It simply means you can switch from your current server and use another as a frontier, changing your IP address.
While the lack of encryption means it has the potential to be faster (not always the case, congested servers with multiple users can be extremely slow), it is an insecure method to change your IP. Depending on your goal, changing your IP using a Proxy server can be the best choice for you or a really bad one.
Yes! It is possible to ask your local internet service provider nicely to change your IP address. However, this method won't help you view any geo-restricted material on the internet. Rather it might help if you received an IP ban on some website or game (still, it's not a surefire way).
Using public Wi-Fi means using its IP address. It's another way to mask your IP behind another one for a short while. Depending on the circumstances, I might consider using public Wi-Fi to hide my IP. However, when doing so, one must keep in mind that other users using the same public Wi-Fi can access my device.
Using public Wi-Fi is usually not recommended without having a robust antivirus or a VPN service to make sure your device remains safe.
If your goal is not accessing geo-restricted content, such as Netflix, then we recommend you go for an antivirus service such as TotalAV, as it provides you with Wi-Fi protection and a protection-focused VPN service (not very effective for geo-restriction unblocking).
When changing my IP, I found myself multiple times coming back to VPNs, as they seemed very necessary for many uses. That's why I made a list of the top three recommended VPNs for you, taking into account the speed, the price, and the number of IP addresses available.
NordVPN is a favorite for so many people. It is based in Panama (Not a 5/9/14-Eyes Alliance) with a strict no-logs policy. It has over 5400 servers spread over 59 countries worldwide. It provides dedicated P2P servers to better facilitate torrenting download safely with high speed, making it very usable for torrenting. In addition, NordVPN provides RAM-based servers.
NordVPN provides a high-end encryption level (AES 256-bit military-grade encryption) and has “obfuscated” servers for geo-censorship countries like China to bypass The Great Firewall of China. Pricewise NordVPN is relatively lower than ExpressVPN, giving it an edge in this section. Overall, it's very adaptive and useful for many different situations when considering how to hide IP.
ExpressVPN is our top recommendation for torrents; It provides it all. It is based in the British Virgin Islands (not a 5/9/14-Eyes Alliance member) with a strict no-logs policy. It has over 3000 servers spread over 160 locations in 94 countries.
ExpressVPN has a high encryption level (AES 256-bit military-grade encryption) and has a kill switch. Furthermore, some countries like China use a firewall (The Great Firewall of China) to prevent locals from using a VPN. ExpressVPN is one of the few that can bypass this geo-censorship. ExpressVPN provides RAM-based servers.
ExpressVPN is one of the fastest, if not the fastest, VPN out there. This makes it very suitable for torrenting and even streaming. Its price is on the higher end of the VPN price spectrum. Use ExpressVPN if your goal is to change your IP while using Tor, Torrenting, or streaming.
Private Internet Access might not be the fastest VPN out there. However, it made this list because, by far, it's the VPN that can grant you the highest amount of IP addresses of all VPNs, that's because of the huge number of servers they have with more than 35,000 servers, with the runner-up CyberGhost having just above 6000 servers.
Private Internet Access is based in the USA (a member of the 5-Eye alliance). It has over 35,000 servers in 77 countries which is one of the widest varieties. It provides 256-bit encryption and has a kill switch.
All Private Internet Access servers allow for high-speed P2P sharing. And price-wise, it is rather good. Its only downfall is the 5/9/14 Eyes alliance localization. Nevertheless, they claim a no activity-log policy.
When considering how to hide my IP, depending on the reason I'm trying to hide my IP, the method used can be different, but the one that stands above the others is using a VPN. In many of the other methods, while using a VPN was not mandatory, it still held a lot of value.
Consider the reason you want to change your IP and use the method you see fit accordingly.