How to Hide Your IP Address
Websites keep track of your IP address for various reasons, and in most cases, it’s nothing too concerning. The data is mostly used to create target advertisements that pop up on websites or social media platforms when you’re browsing.
However, there’s always a risk of personal information misuse by websites or even hackers. Another major roadblock is how your IP address can be used to censor what you can access and also to restrict content. After all, there’s nothing more annoying than logging into Netflix and seeing your favorite anime isn’t available for your region.
Luckily, you can pretty much sidestep all these issues by learning how to hide your IP address. In this article, we’ll show you how to do just that with two different methods. In addition, we’ll give you a step-by-step breakdown of how to do so on various devices and some more info on safe surfing.
How to Hide Your IP Address?
In a nutshell, there are two ways you can hide your IP address: by using a VPN (a virtual private network) or a proxy server. A VPN is considered a more reliable solution since it offers a highly secure connection to various local networks. For the purposes of this article, we’ll use ExpressVPN as an example.
ExpressVPN is an excellent service available in three different subscription plans. It protects your online identity and keeps your web activity safe from snooping while also sidestepping censorship. Once you sign up, you can use it with pretty much all devices, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
Of course, to make sure a VPN has successfully hidden your IP address, you first need to know what that address is. You can either do a simple Google search or use an online tool if you want to know your location as well.
After you get your location digits, you can download ExpressVPN. In the next few paragraphs, we’ll explain how to do so on different devices.
On a Windows PC
You can set up an ExpressVPN account with your preferred web browser in a matter of minutes. All you need to do is choose a subscription plan:
- Go to the ExpressVPN order page.
- Choose one of the three plans (monthly, quarterly, annual subscription). There’s a guarantee you’ll get your money back in 30 days if you’re unsatisfied with the service.
- Type your email address in the dialog box.
- Select a preferred payment method (Credit card, PayPal, Bitcoin, or other). Enter the required information.
- Click “Join Now” to complete the signup.
ExpressVPN works with all Windows PCs and laptops and is compatible with Windows 7, 8, and 10. Here’s how to set it up and hide your IP address:
- Sign in to your ExpressVPN account with your browser.
- Click on the “Download for Windows” button.
- Copy the numbers of the activation code for later.
- Click on the downloaded file to install the app.
- A pop-up screen will appear. Click “Continue” when prompted and then “Set Up ExpressVPN” to complete the process.
- Paste the activation code to sign in and launch the app.
- Click on the three horizontal dots next to your server location.
- Choose one of the locations available from the recommended tab.
- Click the “ON” button to connect to the VPN and start browsing.
After you’re done, type in what is my ip in Google to check if your data was successfully concealed.
On a Mac
ExpressVPN is compatible with all macOS devices running on OS X Yosemite or higher. You’re also required to sign up for one of the three subscription plans before downloading the app. Just visit the ExpressVPN order page and submit the necessary information.
Much like Windows PC, the setup process is pretty straightforward. You can more or less follow the same steps with a few minor distinctions:
- Open Safari and sign in to your ExpressVPN account.
- Click the green “Download for Mac” button and copy the activation code to your clipboard.
- Install the app by opening the downloaded file and following the on-screen instructions.
- After the process is completed, your Mac will automatically launch the app.
- Click the green “Sign In” button and use Command + V to paste the activation code.
- To hide your IP address, click the “ON/OFF” button to connect your computer to the VPN.
- Choose a different location server from the “All” or “Recommended” tab.
On a PS4
Unfortunately, most gaming consoles don’t support VPN services. On the upside, ExpressVPN offers an alternative solution. MediaStreamer allows you to break through the toughest restrictions and stream any content you like. The only catch is, since this isn’t technically a VPN, you won’t have the standard security benefits that come with it.
To hide your IP address on a PS4 with MediaStreamer, you first need to create a DDNS hostname. Here’s how to do it:
- Use a third-party provider to create a viable domain name. For example, Dynu is one of the more popular DDNS service providers.
- Create an account and wait for the verification email. Log in with the email link.
- Select “DDNS Services” from the Control Panel.
- Click on the blue “Add” button in the upper-right corner.
- Under “Option 1,” enter your preferred hostname in the corresponding boxes.
- Disable “Wildcard Alias” and check the box for “IPv6 Addresses.”
- Click “Save.”
Once you’ve set up your hostname, you need to register it with ExpressVPN and then change the DNS settings on your PS4. Here’s how:
- Sign in to your ExpressVPN. Open the “DNS Settings” tab in the menu bar on top of the page.
- Scroll to the “Dynamic DNS Registration” section and enter your hostname. Click the “Save” button on the right-hand side.
- Go back to the home page and open the “My Subscriptions” tab.
- Under the “Subscription ID” section, click the “Set Up ExpressVPN” button.
- You’ll be redirected to a new page. Select “PlayStation” from the panel on the left-hand side.
- Copy the IP address for your DNS server from the panel on the right-hand side.
- Turn on your PS4 and go to “Settings.”
- Go to “Network,” then “Set Up Internet Connection.” Choose your standard settings.
- When you get to DNS settings, select “Manual” and then “Primary DNS.” Paste the IP address from ExpressVPN and click “Done.”
- Restart your PS4.
On the Xbox
You can use MediaStreamer with Xbox as well. The same rules apply: you need to sign up for an ExpressVPN subscription, create a DDNS hostname and adjust your DNS settings. Here’s how:
- Follow the instructions from the previous section to create a hostname.
- Register the name with ExpressVPN (see the previous heading for step-by-step instructions).
- Turn on your Xbox and go to “Settings,” then “Network Settings.”
- Select “Advanced Settings” from the options menu.
- Open “DNS Settings” and choose “Manual.”
- In the box marked “Primary DNS,” paste the IP address you got from ExpressVPN.
- Enter the same digits for secondary DNS.
- Press “B” to save the settings.
An alternative solution is to purchase a router that supports VPN and connect it with your console. If you’re interested in some good recommendations, check out this website.
On an Android Device
There’s no reason why you couldn’t benefit from your ExpressVPN subscription while scrolling on your phone. You need to get the mobile version for Android devices from the Google Play Store. The app is free to download and compatible with all smartphone and tablet models. Here’s how to set it up:
- Launch the Google Play Store app and use the search function to find ExpressVPN.
- Tap the green “Install” button to download the app. When prompted, give it permission to access the data on your Android device.
- Once it’s finished, launch the app and sign in to your account.
- Tap on the “ON/OFF” button in the middle of the screen.
- Change your server location by tapping on the three horizontal dots on the right-hand side. Choose an alternative from the list of options.
- Start scrolling!
On the iPhone
Unsurprisingly, there’s an iOS version of the app available in the App Store. It’s also free to download and easy to set up:
- Launch the App Store app from your home screen or Applications folder.
- Type “ExpressVPN” into the search box at the top of the screen.
- Tap the blue “Get” button under the app name to download it.
- Enter your Apple ID. You can also use Touch ID, depending on the device.
- Launch the ExpressVPN and sign in to your account. Agree to the Terms and Conditions.
- To connect to a VPN, tap on the “ON/OFF” button on the home page and choose a server location.
While Playing Minecraft
If you’re merely playing the game and want to change your IP address, turning on ExpressVPN and then logging into your account should do the trick. However, if you want to host a Minecraft server without revealing your IP address, it’s a little trickier since it involves port forwarding and other advanced configurations. You can check out this website for additional information, but if you’re not that tech-savvy, you might want to reconsider.
While Using Discord
Once you sign up for ExpressVPN, you can jump from one Discord server to the next without worrying about data abuse. Switch to a different server location and then log in to your Discord account. For more detailed instructions on how to do it with both Mac and Windows PCs, go back to the corresponding sections.
How to Hide Your IP Address Through a Proxy?
A proxy server acts as a middleman between you and other internet servers. Instead of your actual data, websites can only pick up on the IP address of the proxy server. However, this method doesn’t ensure complete encryption of your personal information and is, therefore, less secure than a VPN.
Probably the easiest way to set up a proxy server is with Google Chrome. The browser has one of the best proxy settings among the popular search engines, not to mention it’s completely free. Here’s how to do it:
- Open Chrome and click on the three vertical dots to access a drop-down list.
- Go to “Settings,” then “Advanced.”
- Scroll to the “System” section and click “Open Proxy Settings.”
You can also use third-party software like FoxyProxy to create a proxy server with other browsers. While the VPN service isn’t free, it comes with a seven-day money-back guarantee.
How to Hide Your IP Address by Using a Public Wi-Fi Network?
There is one other way to hide your IP address, all be it the least effective. When you join a public Wi-Fi network, your device will switch to the IP address of the network. However, this is only a temporary solution and not entirely practical.
What if I Just Want to Update My IP Address?
Updating your IP address can come in handy when you need timely information specific to a particular location. For example, when you want to find a motel to spend the night or a gas station that’s nearby.
If the situation allows for it, the easiest way to update your IP address is to switch to a public network. There’s also a wide range of online tools you can use, such as WhatIsMyIPAddress. Go to the website and select the option to refresh your current location.
Is There Anything Illegal About Hiding My IP Address?
There’s nothing illegal about covering up your IP address when you’re merely browsing the web. On the other hand, if you’re using false information for advertising purposes, you might get in trouble. Much like catfishing people with fake Facebook profiles, it falls under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
What Are Free Options Are There to Hide Your IP Address?
As mentioned, you can either use a Chrome proxy server to hide your IP address or hook up to a public Wi-Fi network. That’s the only way to surf safely with 0% risk.
Does Using a VPN Truly Anonymize and Hide the IP Address?
It really depends on the service. There are some solid free alternatives, but ultimately your safest bet is going with a paid provider. ExpressVPN is one of the many popular VPNs that offer full encryption in exchange for a monthly or annual fee.
A Game of Hide and Seek
There are many reasons you would want to hide your IP address. The thought of your personal data being up for grabs may be too much for you. Also, there’s the pesky censorship getting in the way of your binging schedule. Either way, you have plenty of options.
If you’re looking for something that’s free of charge and easy to set up, try using a Chrome proxy server. On the other hand, those in need of bullet-proof protection should turn to paid providers like ExpressVPN. Whatever your preferred choice, make sure you’re doing things by the book.
Do you use ExpressVPN? What’s your preferred method for protected browsing? Comment below if you know of an easier way to change the IP address while playing Minecraft.