How to Hide Your IP Address

Category: Privacy

I'm concerned about my online privacy, so I want to hide my IP address. How can I do this?

Hide IP Address

Can I Hide My IP Address?

I'll start by saying yes, it's possible to hide or "spoof" your IP address. But I also think it's important to state upfront that your IP address DOES NOT personally identify you when you use the Internet. If you've heard that hackers with special equipment or software can easily discern your name or physical location, given your IP address, then you've heard wrong. For more information on this, read my companion article Does IP Address Reveal my Physical Location? Okay, that fear is put to rest. If you still want to learn how to hide your IP address, read on.

So let's talk about IP addresses for a moment. When you connect to the Internet, your ISP assigns you an Internet Protocol (IP) address, which in most cases changes every time you connect. Your IP address was never meant to be a secret. Whenever you connect to a website, download a file, or chat online, your IP address is sent along with your request to communicate. Think of it like the return address on an envelope... without it, the computer on the other end wouldn't know where to send the reply. A better analogy would be a return address that's a post office box. When that "letter" arrives at the post office, they put it in the correct box, and only the post office knows your true identity. The sender only knows your box number, and which post office handles your mail.

Even so, some people are concerned that ANY record of their online activity might pose a threat to their privacy or personal security. And it doesn't necessarily mean that the person is engaged in some sort of nefarious activity. In some countries (or even your workplace) it may be verboten to visit certain websites, so hiding your IP address might provide a way to circumvent the restriction. There are also websites that only allow visitors from certain geographic locations to connect. If, for example, you're a citizen of the USA, but living abroad, you might have trouble connecting to some US-based websites, because your IP address will identify you as outside the USA. An IP spoofer that makes it appear you're connecting from within the USA could solve that problem.

Using an anonymous proxy server will serve as a go-between between your computer and the Internet. The sites you visit will see the IP address of the proxy, instead of yours. There are many free ones but often they may be unreliable or disappear without letting you know. The best way to select one is to use one that has a known integrity and a clear privacy policy. For safety's sake, never pass any personal information, such as bank account information or passwords, through a proxy.

Some proxy servers are web based. StupidCensorship is one good example. You can visit this site, and enter a web address (URL). The proxy will fetch the page, and return it to your browser. Your browser history will show only that you visited the proxy site, not the URL you entered. And the website you "vistited" will only know that the proxy site fetched a page, not you.

Proxify and The Cloak are also anonymous proxy sites that supply an encrypted connection, keep cookies remote then delete them after a session. A proxy can also be configured to selectively remove content such as Javascript and Java. Usage is free, but a paid services with additional features are also available.

There are also downloadable programs to hide your IP addressess, which provide you with a phony IP addressess and location. Firefox’s SwitchProxy automatically switches between a list of proxy servers and can be a handy tool. SwitchProxy is a free service, and can be installed as a browser toolbar. IP addressess Shield 4.6 (US$69) is another such program. It works with both Firefox and IE, IMs, email, file sharing or other applications and will even provide you with a spoofed location in another country.

Have you used a proxy or software to hide your IP address? Post your comment or question below...

 
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Posted by on 20 Jul 2009


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Most recent comments on "How to Hide Your IP Address"

Posted by:

CompuDude
20 Jul 2009

I think it's important for the layman to understand that the use of IP hiding is limited to the realm of privacy, and not security. Some people think that they are *secure* against tracing or tracking if they use some sort of proxy or spoofing technique -- the truth is that any two-way communication has a starting and an ending point. So it is therefore *possible* to track communication protected by IP hiding, albeit, difficult and sometimes restricted to those with government clearance. =)

Having said that, using a proxy server and a web-based re-mailer (a website that allows you to send an email to/from any email address without tracing it to your computer) is a good example of where security and privacy are assured (but you'll never know if your anonymous email ever reached it's destination), because it's a one-way scenario.


Posted by:

James Fraser
20 Jul 2009

This may not be the most appropriate place to do this, but like all the information supplied by Bob Rankin, it is both helpful and informative. I certainly am no computer geek - I can spell computer, but that's about as far as it goes, yet when I read an article on these pages, not only do they make sense, they are understandable. Thank you very much.
James Fraser


Posted by:

Russell Loomis
20 Jul 2009

How are these solutions for online privacy different than the TOR Project? Any thoughts out there?


Posted by:

Thomas Smith
21 Jul 2009

So if my IP address is new (??) each time I log on then how did the RIAA find out that I down loaded some music off of a pirate site? (All I got was a warning from my ISP!)

My ISP has to have a record of my IP address each & every time I log on. Besides I get the impression that my IP address is the same and doesn't change. Therefore my ISP had a permanent record of who I am!

Please, anyone! What are your thoughts? Am I correct or is Bob Rankin, regarding a persons IP address?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Yes, of course your ISP knows your IP address, since they assign it to you. They are like the "post office" in my analogy. Given an IP address, anyone can see who your ISP is. But only the ISP can identify YOU personally. The RIAA complained to the ISP, who passed it along to you.


Posted by:

Matt
24 Jul 2009

Some or possibly most ISPs will keep a track of which of their customers used what assigned IP addresses at which times, for security and logging purposes, as well as to be able to track down faults and errors (logs always help when errors occur!). You'll want to check your ISPs policies on what sort of logging they say they do or how they use the information.
They may keep these logs for months or years. Its all a matter of you finding out and switching if you don't like your current provider's level of information logging.

TOR is a free multi-linked proxy service, as opposed to most paid ones.
Most of the time, TOR will be very secure as your traffic gets sent encrypted through many publicly participating PCs and can only be traced at the very end or very start of its travel (where it gets unencrypted to actually ask to view a website or etc).
However, if snooping parties decide to participate in TOR, there is a chance (although usually a random chance and not something they can predict) that they will be the end destination for your traffic and be able to see what your request is, although they will have to trace the traffic right back through the other TOR nodes to find that you sent the communication.
For most needs TOR is a fine solution for hiding traffic, only very highly resourced parties would be able to track you at all.

Private services, you pay to be completely clandestine. They often operate in countries where the law will be on their side if other parties demand for them to release information about you.

You know that all information you send out will only ever be tracable to the company and not to you, and you're paying them not to give your identity away.
They often also have a policy of not keeping any logs of your usage with them as extra security.
Make sure you follow their guidelines and policies to make sure your computer only communicates through theirs and doesn't send out its own traceable traffic.


Posted by:

Valeen Ziegenhorn
30 Jul 2009

I needed to change my email address for summer and winter living so went with the gmail email address. I am disappointed with the gmail email process. So would like to go back to outlook express and would like to have the steps to continue with the gmail.com but use outlook express. The main reason wanting to leave gmail is once you forward a recieved email it also leaves your computer too. The only way to save a email after forwarding is to send the email to myself. Thank you

EDITOR'S NOTE: Forwarding an email with Gmail doesn't make it disappear. If anything, you'd have TWO copies -- one in your inbox, and one in the Sent Mail folder. How are you doing the forward?


Posted by:

ALex
10 Aug 2009

If I send someone on email on facebook, can they trace my IP address?


Posted by:

isaac
10 Aug 2009

I have uses Hotspot Shield to spoof my IP address.
It works on wireless and wired networks. Provides protection from hackers at wireless hotspots too! It is available at no cost from

http://www.anchorfree.com/downloads/hotspot-shield/


Posted by:

Christopher
20 Apr 2010

Hello I want to play a game of NCsoft (exteel N.america) the problem is that i'm not in USA; the game is not available in my region. So how can i use this system to connect to its main server. I'm aware that you can use proxyservers on browsers but is it possible for programs like exteel-us. and if it is possible how can i do it?


Posted by:

nike
27 May 2010

Thanks for the great post. Was exactly what I was looking for.


Posted by:

Seree
14 Sep 2010

My ISP may not reveal my home address in the headers of my web requests but it sure as heck provides not only the name of my ISP but my town. That pretty much narrows down my physical location. It is scary that ISPs do this to customers. Most are totally unaware of what information their ISP is giving out every time they browse to a website. I only know because I visit Steve Gibsons website and use his free utilities to check my security.


Posted by:

Shea
29 Dec 2010

Hi everyone,
I have to say, I am pretty much in the dark when it comes to all this ISP/IP address stuff but I was reading these posts and Im concerned that whenever I send out an email, etc that it will be easily traceable back to me...is this so and if so, how can I prevent it? Not that I am doing anything illegal but I find it very disturbing that my location can be so easily found.


Posted by:

itchtech
06 Apr 2011

@Shea: I use & I suggest a professional unblocker like MicroVPN ! It’s a great software that you can use anywhere, at school or at work, to unblock websites, or to encrypt traffic and protect from your ISP filters and monitoring !

Features:

- easy to use
- surf anonymous
- protect from password sniffers
- very fast and cheep
- multiple ip addresses
- rotating IPS
- new IP every 10 min
- unlimited Bandwith

You can check at: https://microvpn.com !


Posted by:

klausn
06 Apr 2011

About 1 years,i buy best-vpn,and i want to say..i am very very happy because i use it ! very easy to use ,Unlimited Bandwith,multiple ip addresses and very fast and cheep ! for more info,enter www.best-vpn.com
^klausn^


Posted by:

Eddie
01 Feb 2012

This is what I always use and no problems so far http://howtohacklife101.blogspot.com/2012/01/how-to-change-your-ip-address.html


Posted by:

DariaWilen
07 Mar 2013

I can hide my IP address by using "Hotspot Shield" Free Android Security. I use it because it ensures me complete privacy and system security. I am very much comfortable with this VPN app. It also save my phone bill as it supports data compression. Check it out here - http://www.free-android-security.com/

EDITOR'S NOTE: I see you've been quite busy posting these links all over the Web. Wouldn't it be better to disclose your relationship with the product, rather than pretending to be a user?


Posted by:

sam
13 Apr 2014

nice


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