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How to Hide Your Real IP Address? The Ultimate Guide

    Use Tor as a Proxy in Your Browser to Hide Your Real IP Address

    Your IP address reveals much information about you and your online activity. It identifies your device on the internet and can be used to pinpoint your location. While IPs are necessary for accessing the web, you may want to hide yours at times for privacy or security reasons.

    Fortunately, there are various effective methods to hide or mask your real public IP address. This comprehensive guide will explain an IP address and why you may want to hide yours, and provide step-by-step instructions on concealing your IP using various tools and techniques.

    What is an IP Address?

    An Internet Protocol (IP) address is a unique identifier assigned to each device connected to a network or the Internet. It allows for communication between devices and networks through routing.

    How to Hide Your Real IP Address

    Basically, there are two types of IP addresses:

    Public vs. Private IP Addresses

    • Public IP address – A globally unique address that identifies your device on the public internet. It is assigned by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). This is the address of the websites and services you will see when you connect.
    • Private IP address – An IP address used on private networks only, such as your home or work network. These addresses are commonly assigned by your router and are not visible to external sites.

    IPv4 vs IPv6

    • IPv4 – The most widely used protocol, with 32-bit IP addresses like 192.168.1.1. The number of available IPv4 addresses is running out.
    • IPv6 – The next generation protocol with 128-bit addresses like 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334. IPv6 has an almost unlimited number of IP addresses.

    Why Hide Your IP Address?

    When you use the internet, your computer or device is given a unique number called an IP address. This IP address can reveal your private information if others can see it. Here are a few important reasons why you may want to hide your real IP address:

    1. Avoid Geolocation Tracking

    Websites and services can geolocate you accurately based on your public IP address. Hiding your IP prevents them from knowing your city, state, or country location while browsing.

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    2. Prevent Targeted Ads

    Many ad networks build profiles of you based on your IP to serve targeted, personalized ads. Masking your IP makes ad tracking more difficult.

    Your IP is logged when downloading torrents or accessing copyrighted content illegally. Concealing it reduces the risk of receiving infringement notices.

    4. Bypass Region Blocks

    Some websites block access based on geographical IP location. Hiding your IP allows you to bypass these region blocks imposed due to licensing or other restrictions.

    5. Improve Security & Privacy

    Your real IP can launch various cyber attacks like DDoS attacks, MITM attacks, etc. It also reveals your ISP, location, and hardware details. Masking it improves your online privacy and security.

    6. Access Censored Content

    Authoritarian regimes censor or block access to certain websites and services. A masked IP lets you bypass government filtering to access blocked content.

    How to Hide Your IP Address?

    There are many ways to hide your real IP address. Here are some of the most popular and effective methods:

    How to Hide Your Real IP Address

    1. Use a VPN Service to Hide Your Real IP Address

    A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is the easiest and most secure way to hide your real public IP address. VPN is used by many users and is very popular among internet users. How to Hide Your Real IP Address Using a VPN? Here’s how it works:

    • You can connect to a VPN server through an app provided by a VPN provider.
    • This creates an encrypted tunnel from your smartphone or PC to the VPN server.
    • Your internet traffic flows through this tunnel and exits from the VPN server’s IP address, not your own.
    • Websites see the VPN server’s IP instead of your public IP when browsing.

    Advantages of using a VPN:

    • It hides your IP even from your ISP, providing full anonymity.
    • Encrypts all traffic, providing extra security and privacy.
    • Bypass geolocation blocks, censorship, and surveillance.
    • Works on all devices and platforms like Windows, Android, iOS, etc.
    • Unlimited bandwidth on most VPN plans.

    When choosing a VPN, choose a reputable paid (premium) provider like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, Surfshark, etc. They offer reliable connections, high speeds, and zero logging of your activities.

    2. Use the Tor Browser

    Tor (The Onion Router) routes your traffic through a worldwide volunteer network of servers to conceal your IP address. To use it:

    • Download and install the Tor Browser for your OS – Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, etc.
    • The Tor browser automatically encrypts and bounces your requests via a random series of Tor servers or “relays”.
    • The exit relay loads web pages through its IP, not your real one.

    Advantages of Tor:

    • Free and open source software.
    • Provides a high degree of anonymity by masking your IP.
    • Allows access to .onion sites and dark web content.
    • Circumvents censorship and surveillance systems.

    Drawbacks are slower speeds, and some websites may block access via known Tor nodes.

    See also  Are Free VPNs Really Safe? Consider Before Using a Free VPN Service

    3. Use a Proxy Server to Hide Public IP Address

    A proxy server is an intermediary between your device and the wider internet. When you connect through a proxy:

    • Your requests to websites go to the proxy server first, not directly from your IP.
    • The proxy forwards your requests from its own IP to the destination site and relays the response to you through the encrypted tunnel.

    This masks your real public IP address from the sites you’re visiting. Some ways to use proxies include:

    • Web Proxies – Free public proxy sites/pages that allow you to route your web traffic through them.
    • SOCKS Proxies – Proxy protocols like SOCKS5 that you can configure to tunnel traffic on your browser or device.
    • Residential Proxies – Paid premium proxies based on real residential IPs making them harder to detect and block.

    The downside is proxies are slower than VPNs. Public proxies have bandwidth limits and lack strong encryption.

    4. Use the Inbuilt Firefox Private Network

    Mozilla Firefox offers a free browser-level VPN service called Firefox Private Network. You can use this stuff to hide your real IP. Below are how to use it:

    • It’s built right into the desktop and mobile Firefox browsers.
    • Easy to enable from Settings – just toggle on “Firefox Private Network”.
    • Routes your Firefox browser traffic through Firefox’s proxy servers, hiding your device IP.
    • Provides basic protection against trackers and IP detection.
    • Limited to Firefox browser, with slower speeds than full VPNs.

    5. Use the Opera Browser Built-in VPN

    Like Firefox, the Opera desktop and mobile browsers also have a free built-in VPN feature. This is the best way to hide your real IP Address. Here are how to use it:

    • Toggle on the VPN from Settings and ensure it says “Protection activated”.
    • It will route your Opera browser’s traffic through Opera’s servers, masking your IP address.
    • Offers limited VPN protection for the Opera browser only.
    • Has lower speeds, limited choice of virtual server locations, and less configurability than full-fledged VPN services.

    6. Use Tor as a Proxy in Your Browser to Hide Your Real IP Address

    You can route your regular browser traffic through the Tor network for added IP address protection. Tor is a good private browser to hide you real IP Adress and protect you from hacker or any harmful stuff.

    • Install the Tor Browser first from torproject.org
    • Enable proxy settings in your normal browser like Chrome or Firefox.
    • Set it to route traffic through Tor browser, which acts as a proxy, by pointing to Tor’s local SOCKS5 proxy port.
    • Your browser will now tunnel traffic through Tor, hiding your public IP address.
    • Provides Tor’s IP masking and censorship circumvention abilities to your regular browser.

    7. Mask Your IP with a Cloudflare Subdomain

    Cloudflare offers a free workaround that obscures your real IP address:

    • Sign up for a free Cloudflare account and add your website domain.
    • Cloudflare proxies your website through its servers and provides a subdomain like yourdomain.cloudflare.com.
    • Visiting your Cloudflare subdomain hides your origin public IP since traffic goes through Cloudflare first.
    • Offers basic IP obfuscation though not as complete as a VPN.
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    8. Use the I2P Anonymous Network

    I2P or Invisible Internet Project is an anonymity network with features similar to Tor:

    • Traffic is end-to-end encrypted and routed through a distributed network of peer nodes.
    • Allows accessing I2P exclusive .i2p sites and services not on the regular internet.
    • Offers stronger anonymity than typical VPN services.
    • Use the I2P browser or client apps to access the network.
    • Speeds are very slow since everything is routed through multiple hops.

    9. Leverage Multiple Connections in File Sharing Apps

    P2P and file-sharing apps like BitTorrent often allow making multiple simultaneous connections:

    • Open multiple instances of your torrent client or file-sharing app on your device.
    • Configure each instance to use a different connection method like VPN, proxy, or Tor.
    • Maintaining multiple concurrent connections over different IPs makes it harder to trace the downloads to you.
    • Provides added anonymity specifically for P2P traffic.
    • It can slow down your download speeds considerably.

    Other Ways to Hide Your Real IP

    How to Hide Your Real IP Address Using VPN - Softwarecosmos.com

    Here are some other less common tactics and tools you can use to conceal your public IP:

    • SSH/VPS – Rent a private VPS or use SSH tunneling to route traffic first through the intermediary server.
    • Shadowsocks – Install tools like Shadowsocks that proxy traffic through their own encrypted protocol.
    • PhiIP – Services like PhiIP provide disposable temporary IP addresses that self-destruct after use.
    • Mobile data – Your mobile network IP is different from your home ISP’s IP. Switch to mobile data instead of WiFi if you need a different public IP.
    • MAC address spoofing – Spoofing your MAC address may force your router to assign you a new private and public IP.
    • Ask your ISP – Some ISPs may assign you a new public IP if you request it, either for free or a small fee.

    Risks of Hiding Your IP Address

    Risks of Hiding Your IP Address - Softwarecosmos.com

    While IP masking does improve your privacy and security, there are also some risks to consider:

    • Using open or unsecured public proxies carries risks of snooping, data theft, malware attacks, etc.
    • Excessive or illegal downloading via an obscured IP to avoid consequences remains unethical.
    • VPNs and proxies are banned on some restrictive networks, so check your school or workplace IT policies.
    • Changing your IP too frequently can appear suspicious to websites or network administrators.
    • Accessing dark websites maliciously can carry legal risks regardless of IP masking.
    • All internet activity leaves a digital trail, so a subpoena can potentially de-anonymize you.

    Conclusion

    Your IP address can reveal sensitive information about your identity and browsing history. There are legitimate reasons you may want to hide your real public IP at times – ranging from securing your connection on public WiFi to bypassing geo-blocks or government censorship.

    VPNs are the most robust and simple way to hide your true IP address. Other methods like Tor, proxies, dedicated IP anonymizing services, and even built-in browser VPNs can also effectively mask your public IP.

    Take precautions, use trusted services, and avoid illegal activities even with an obscured IP address. With the right tools, masking your digital identity can enhance your online privacy and security.