While there are numerous reasons for wanting to hide your IP address,
most of those reasons involve privacy concerns. For example, you may
wish to prevent websites from tracking your visits, or you may want
to prevent marketing databases from creating a profile based on your
Unfortunately, it is not possible to browse the Internet without an
IP address, as when you visit a website it's that address that your
requested information (web page) is sent to. However, you can achieve
the effect of hiding your IP address by simply changing it. And this
page will discuss the various methods by which you can do that.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to hide your IP address for the
right reasons (it's not much different than using "Caller ID Blocking"
on your telephone). However, keep in mind that doing anything illegal
is illegal whether you're hiding your IP or not. Law enforcement, courts,
and government authorities have legal processes they can use that render
most "hiding" attempts useless. So the information on this
page is provided with the understanding that it be used only for legitimate
purposes, and does not guarantee untraceability.
We'll discuss both free and paid options, ranging from the obvious
OPTION #1: Obvious Ways to hide your IP address
- Do you have a dialup ISP? If so, then just dialing up through another
access number will usually change your IP. Subscribing to a service
like Earthlink will give you access to numbers (IP's) in all major
cities of the US.
- Using a computer at an Internet cafe (or taking your laptop there)
will also change your IP address.
- These days, most libraries offer free Internet access via wifi with
no login requirements. Surfing from a free library connection all
but guarantees anonymity.
- If you live in a dense neighborhood, take a look at the "Available
Wireless Networks" in your system tray. Many people leave their
wifi connections open for community access, which means you can surf
with their IP address.
OPTION #2 to Hide your IP address: XP / Vista / 7 / Etc
For those on cable/DSL/broadband connections, you should be able to
get a new IP address from your ISP, in effect "hiding" your
previous IP. Please review the risks below before checking out the instructions
for Windows XP, Windows
Vista (and Windows 7).
- RISKS: Some ISP's may have rules governing the number of IP's you
may be issued within a certain time period. So it would be advisable
to only use this method rarely, if at all.
- IMPORTANT: This technique hides your IP address by changing it.
You won't be able to return to your previous IP, it will not change
your visible ISP, and it will not change the geographic location of
OPTION #3 to Hide IP address: Free Proxies
Proxy servers are basically "Internet relays", or intermediate
servers, lying between you and the websites you surf. If setup to be
anonymous, then the websites you visit will only see the proxy IP, and
not your own. After reviewing the information below, you can check out
the configuration instructions on this same site for Internet
Explorer, Firefox, or
- RISKS: The identity and motives of parties operating such relays
is very difficult to ascertain. And since most of these relays are
not compatible with secure web pages, there is a significant risk
of data interception. Therefore, while they may hide your IP address
from the destination website, you should not use free proxy servers
for privacy from 3rd parties in general. If the server operator has
criminal intent, they may be able to intercept usernames, passwords,
financial data, and more. The safe conclusion: only use such servers
for purely recreational purposes (surfing and viewing web pages only).
- OTHER ISSUES: Good (working) free proxies are difficult to find,
as you'll probably discover if you try using them. Finding one that
actually connects may take a lot of trial-and-error, and even then
may not remain accessible for long. Read
OPTION #4: Paid Proxies
Up to this point, the best overall option to hide your IP address was
probably #2 above. Unfortunately, you'd still be using a "real"
IP address that's reveals your ISP and geographic location.
If you're willing to consider a fee-based service, there are various
companies that will make their higher performance (and usually secure)
proxy servers available to you. Our service, iPrivacyTools,
is one example. Such services may also include software that simplifies
the process of configuring your browser for the relay.
- THE GOOD: You'll typically experience much better speeds while surfing
with a paid service, and you'll also be able to access SSL pages.
That means you can safely login to membership websites, email services,
shopping sites, and more.
- THE BAD: Costs money
OPTION #5 - Hide IP address with VPN
VPN's are typically used as a method to connect to a remote network
(e.g. login to your office server from home). However, they can also
be configured so that you can surf via that server while connected.
This has the effect of allowing you to use the VPN server as a relay,
much as you would with a proxy. The major difference is that VPN's usually
work with all applications on your computer (whereas proxies work only
with the Internet browser or applications that are configured to use
them). But that also means that the bandwidth requirements and fee are
typically higher for VPN.
If you're interested in getting your own VPN, please contact
us. We can help you rent a private IP in the US, UK, and several
other countries for around $10/mo. Unlike other VPN services, our configuration
gives you a completely private IP address and server resources (no sharing
bandwidth with other users). A small setup fee may apply, depending
on your requirements.
- ADVANTAGES: VPN will hide your IP address in almost all Internet
applications. Option for encrypted connection makes WiFi access secure
and prevents snooping by 3rd parties, such as by your employer or
- DRAWBACKS: Usually more expensive than proxies.
ALWAYS CONFIRM THE IP CHANGE BEFORE SURFING
It doesn't matter how you choose to hide your IP address, always confirm
that your IP has actually changed by using a page like iPrivacyTools.com/my-ip-address/
Congratulations - you now know how to hide your IP address!
If you have any questions about this article, feel free to contact
us. We may add your question to our new Q&A forum.
*Remember that there are other means by which 3rd parties can track
your Internet usage and habits. Of utmost concern are cookies. Therefore,
whenever you use any of the methods above, but sure to also delete your
browser cookies before surfing with the new or changed IP address.