How do I hide my IP? 5 ways to hide your Internet Protocol address

Dawna Roberts

Nov 28, 20235 min read

5 ways to hide your internet protocol address: Header image

Your Internet Protocol (IP) address is your specific ID on the world wide web. And while an IP address is meant to serve a legitimate purpose, it also identifies you to hackers, thieves, and miscreants looking to do you harm. 

The solution is to hide your IP so no one can find, track, or exploit you. This guide will teach you how to hide your IP via 5 different methods. Plus, we’ll explain how hiding your IP address works and how it helps keep you safe online.

How does it work when I hide my IP address?

Everyone online has an IP address. These unique numbers are assigned by your internet service provider (ISP). An IP is publicly visible, and by using your IP, bad actors can easily track you, monitor your online activities, and, in some cases, intercept your communications and steal data. 

Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly dangerous to use online resources without some type of IP address protection. The best way to keep yourself and your online activities private is to hide your IP address.

Why do I need to hide my IP address?

The bottom line is if you are online and don’t take specific steps to mask your IP, you are exposed.

One of the reasons to hide your IP is to keep your search history private. Marketing companies and data harvesters can collect a lot of information by knowing your IP address, location, device type, and operating system. Hiding your IP also keeps your online activities private from your ISP, some of which track their users and store data about what they do online.

Another big reason is to protect yourself from government surveillance. Plus, governments sometimes demand tracking information from ISPs. If you live in a country where websites are blocked, you might want to mask your IP to access resources you cannot access otherwise. 

Most importantly, allowing your IP address to be exposed can make you vulnerable to many online threats, including:

  • Man-in-the-middle attacks
  • Hacking
  • Malware
  • Ransomware

What happens when I hide my IP address?

By hiding your IP address using a few different methods, you will show up online with a different IP and location. You can even make it appear as if you are in an entirely different country. No one can track you or see your activities. 

What is IP masking?

IP masking is a means of making it appear as if you are using a different IP than your actual one. Just like putting on a mask, you present the world with a different number, thus hiding your real IP address. 

How can I check if my IP address is hidden?

Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell if your IP address is effectively hidden. Fortunately, you can use resources like WhatsMyIP to check your IP address to see if the number is different than the one you are used to. 

A screenshot of WhatsMyIP to check IP address.

How to hide IP in 5 different ways

There are several effective ways to hide your IP address. They include masking your IP with a VPN, using a proxy server or Tor browser, and using an alternative network like your mobile ISP or public Wi-Fi. 

1. How to mask your IP address using a VPN

If you’re wondering how to hide your IP address, the answer is simple. One of the fastest and most effective ways to mask your IP address is to use a VPN. A VPN provides a secure end-to-end encryption tunnel for all your online activities. 

As an example, we’ll use ClearVPN from MacPaw. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Download ClearVPN and open it.
  2. Choose Location Changer from the three options.
  3. Click Teleport me.
  4. Your IP is now masked, and you can browse online in private.
A screenshot of ClearVPN to mask IP address.

2. How to block your IP address with a proxy

Proxy servers are usually slower than VPNs but are still effective for blocking your IP address. That said, you may need to pay for proxy server access.

Once you have a proxy server on your Mac:

  1. Navigate to Settings > Network.
  2. Choose Wi-Fi or Ethernet, depending on how you are connected.
  3. Choose Advanced, then Proxies.
  4. You can choose Auto Proxy Discovery or Secure Web Proxy (HTTPS).
  5. Enter the server and port numbers. 
  6. If the server requires a password, select that setting and enter it. 
  7. Click OK to save your settings, and you are all set.
A screenshot showing how to use a proxy to protect an IP address.

3. How to disguise your IP address using your wireless network

A very simple way to disguise your IP address is to use your cell phone as a personal hotspot and connect your Mac to it. All your internet traffic will go through the phone and appear to come from a completely different IP address than the one associated with your wireless account.

To disguise your IP address using a personal hotspot:

  1. On your iPhone, navigate to Settings > Personal Hotspot.
  2. Enable the Allow Others to Join option.
  3. On your Mac, go to the Wi-Fi icon at the top right and search for your iPhone. (It will be under the heading of Personal Hotspot.) 
  4. Click to connect to your iPhone, and you’re done.

The downside to using this technique is that it will quickly drain your iPhone’s battery.

4. How to cover your IP address with Tor

Tor is a unique internet browser that works on the dark web and masks your IP and online traffic.

To use Tor: 

  1. Download Tor
  2. Install it on your Mac. 
  3. Use it whenever you want to mask your IP and browse online anonymously. 

5. How to conceal your IP address with public Wi-Fi

If you are searching for a way to scramble your IP address, another way is to use an alternative network or public Wi-Fi. However, using public Wi-Fi without a VPN is not the safest option. These open networks can be dangerous and expose you to man-in-the-middle or other attacks. However, if you need to hide your IP address in a pinch, logging onto a friend’s network or a public Wi-Fi network will do the job.

To log on to a new Wi-Fi network:

  1. On your Mac, click the Wi-Fi icon at the top right.
  2. Find the network you want to join. 
  3. Enter the password if it’s not unsecured.
  4. Start browsing. 

Do not access bank accounts or other private apps on any unsecured network. You never know who’s watching.

A VPN is the safest and most reliable solution to mask your IP, keep all your data secure, and keep your online activities private. And as always, follow standard online security practices to keep yourself safe.

This is an independent publication, and it has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Apple Inc. iPhone is a trademark of Apple Inc.

Dawna Roberts Dawna Roberts
Dawna has spent her entire career in web dev, cybersecurity, and IT. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Adobe, Airtable, Backblaze, Cyberleaf, Lifewire, and other online publications for the past ten years.