How to Hide Your IP Address on Any Device in 2024

Updated on: May 5, 2024
Fact Checked by Katarina Glamoslija
Kristel van Hoof Kristel van Hoof
Updated on: May 5, 2024

There are several different ways to hide your device’s IP address. All of them work well, though some are definitely better than others — especially when it comes to securing your web traffic (in addition to hiding your IP address).

In this guide, I’ll talk about all of them and also highlight my favorite one (using a VPN). In addition, I’ll answer other relevant questions, like why you would want to hide your device’s IP address, and how to make sure your IP doesn’t leak when you hide it. Editors' Note: ExpressVPN and this site are in the same ownership group.

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3 Ways to Hide Your IP Address

In my opinion, these are the most efficient ways to hide your IP address on any device — use a virtual private network (VPN), use a proxy server, or use the Tor network. I’ll cover each method more in-depth below, and I’ll also tell you why VPNs are my go-to option.

1. Use a VPN

A VPN is an online service that lets you connect to different encrypted servers from around the world. Those servers act as middlemen between you and the web — when you connect to a VPN server, it routes your traffic to the internet. So, any website you access, will think your traffic is actually coming from the VPN server. And that’s why the website will only see the VPN’s IP address, while your device’s IP remains hidden.

And on top of hiding your IP, VPNs also encrypt your device’s web traffic. This means they make it 100% unreadable — so, third parties (like your internet service provider, government, or cybercriminals) can’t monitor it to compromise your privacy.

There are many top VPNs that are good for hiding your device’s IP address, but I prefer using ExpressVPN the most — it provides the best value on the market, it has servers in 105 countries, it refreshes its server IP extremely fast, and it’s compatible with 100+ streaming sites.

Quick summary of the best VPNs for changing your IP address in 2024:

  • 🥇1. ExpressVPN — Best overall VPN for hiding your IP address in 2024 (with top-notch privacy & security).
  • 🥈2. Private Internet Access — Highly secure VPN for hiding your IP address with customizable apps + IP checker tool.
  • 🥉3. NordVPN — Reliable VPN with advanced security features (double VPN) for hiding your IP address.

2. Use a Proxy Server

A proxy server is an online tool that hides your IP address just like a VPN does — it routes your traffic through a server that stands between you and the websites you want to access. So, any site you browse will only see the proxy’s IP address.

That said, proxies aren’t as safe as VPNs in my opinion. They don’t provide encryption, so they can’t secure your online traffic.

3. Use the Tor Network

Tor is a privacy network that routes your traffic through several encrypted servers — any site you access while connected to Tor will only see the IP address of the last Tor server your data goes through. Also, Tor encrypts your data several times, providing strong security.

That said, using Tor isn’t as convenient as using a VPN — that’s mostly because, in general, the Tor network is much slower than a VPN. Plus, you can only use Tor via the Tor browser, so you need to access all websites in said browser. A VPN, on the other hand, hides your IP no matter what browser you’re using.

Editors' Note: Intego, Private Internet Access, CyberGhost and ExpressVPN are owned by Kape Technologies, our parent company

How to Change Your IP Address With a VPN in 2024

Windows PC

  1. Go to the VPN’s website (I recommend ExpressVPN because it has the best Windows app).
  2. Download the Windows App to start the installation process.
  3. Open the installation file on your computer after it’s done downloading.
  4. Click Yes when asked to allow the VPN to make changes to your device.
  5. Wait for the VPN to install (this process should only take 1–2 minutes).
  6. Log into the VPN app, scroll through the server menu, and connect to a server.
  7. You’re all set! The VPN will assign you a new IP address that matches your new location while keeping your actual IP address hidden.

Mac

  1. Go to the VPN’s website (my favorite VPN for Mac is ExpressVPN).
  2. Download the Mac app onto your device.
  3. Open the installation file once the download is complete.
  4. When prompted, click Yes to allow the VPN to make changes to your device (and take the same action where prompted for any other steps).
  5. Wait for the installation to finish, this process should take just 1-2 minutes.
  6. Log into the VPN app and connect to a server.

Linux System

  1. Go to the website of the VPN that you want to use (I recommend ExpressVPN thanks to its easy-to-install and intuitive Linux app).
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Linux VPN under Products.
  3. Select your Linux operating system (like Ubuntu) and download the app to start the installation process.
  4. Use the command line to finish the installation, run the cd command, navigate to where the installation file was saved, and install the VPN by running the command specific to your distribution.
  5. Click Yes when asked to allow the VPN to make changes to your device.
  6. Log into the VPN client.
  7. Run the VPN to connect to a VPN server — your IP address is now successfully hidden!

Chromebook

  1. Open the Play Store app on your desktop taskbar or shelf and search for the VPN (ExpressVPN has a really good Android app for Chromebooks).
  2. Install the VPN (the process should only take a few minutes).
  3. Open the VPN app and connect to a server.

iPhone or iPad

  1. Go to the Apple store on your iOS device and choose and download a quality VPN (ExpressVPN is the best option for iPhones and iPads).
  2. Select Allow when you receive a message saying the VPN would like to add VPN configurations.
  3. Log into the VPN app with your credentials.
  4. Scroll down to the server menu and connect to a server.

Android Smartphone or Tablet

  1. Go to the Google Play store on your Android device and search and download a VPN (ExpressVPN has the best Android app).
  2. Tap Install to begin the download process, which should take around 1-2 minutes.
  3. Enter your credentials and log into the VPN app.
  4. Scroll down to a nearby server and tap Connect to Server.
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What Is an IP Address & Why Is It Good to Hide It?

An IP address is a unique string of numbers that identifies your device on the web. Similar to a mailing address, an IP address is how your internet service provider (ISP) and websites are able to identify your location.

Hiding your IP address helps keep sensitive information secure (like your location) so that malicious actors can’t spy on it. Additionally, hiding your IP address with a VPN stops internet service providers (ISPs) from seeing what sites you browse, which provides better privacy.

Other Key Benefits of Hiding Your IP Address

  • Preventing tracking — Websites can use your IP address to monitor your online activities and target you with annoying ads.
  • Bypassing government firewalls — If you’re in a country that restricts access to the internet, like Russia, the government can use your IP address to deny you access to certain websites. When you connect to a server in a different country and hide your IP address, it will allow you to visit any website you wish. Note that doing so is illegal in some countries, so you should always check local laws and regulations.
  • Gaming — With a hidden IP address, threat actors can’t locate your network, making it much more difficult to target you with a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, which can flood your network with unwanted traffic to disable web access.

Other Ways to Hide Your IP Address

A VPN is the best method to hide your IP address, but there are other alternative options.

You can also hide your IP address by connecting to a proxy server, which changes your IP address to align with your new location — but it doesn’t have encryption.

An alternative to consider is the Tor network — it directs your internet traffic through 3 separate servers, providing additional encryption levels and modifying your IP address. However, due to the intense encryption, it functions at a reduced speed, and your ISP is able to detect when you’re on Tor.

You can also obscure your IP by connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, such as in airports or cafes. But remember, these networks might be insecure and susceptible to breaches.

How to Prevent IP Address Leaks

A good way to prevent IP address leaks is by getting a top VPN that has protection against IPv6, DNS, or WebRTC leaks. In order to verify if the VPN you’re using has leak protection, it’s a good idea to conduct DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leak tests while connected to different servers on your device.

To prevent IP leaks, opt for a VPN that includes a kill switch. This feature will disconnect your internet connection if the VPN service fails, thereby ensuring your IP address stays hidden.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can an IP address reveal my identity?

No, your IP address only reveals your location (but just your city and not your actual street address). That being said, if you still want to hide your IP address and prevent third parties from identifying your location, I recommend purchasing a VPN — when you connect to a VPN server, it masks your real IP address and assigns you a new IP that matches your new location.

My favorite VPN for hiding your IP address is ExpressVPN because it has servers in 105 countries, comes with robust security features like 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, and full IP leak protection, routes your DNS requests through its own DNS servers, and has a strict (and independently audited) no-logs policy that doesn’t log your IP address.

Can I hide my IP address without a VPN?

Yes, there are other methods, such as using proxy servers and the Tor network. But those methods come with drawbacks — proxy servers don’t provide encryption, and the Tor network is very slow.

I instead recommend buying a premium VPN like the ones on this list, which hide your IP address 100% of the time, provide excellent security features, and come with a money-back guarantee so you can test the service risk-free.

Yes, but there are some countries that ban the use of VPNs. I strongly suggest that you check your country’s local laws regarding the use of VPNs to make sure you’re not violating any laws. Also, it’s still against the law in all countries to hide your IP address and use your new one to engage in illegal activities.

The best VPN for hiding your IP address in restrictive countries is ExpressVPN, which has fast and secure obfuscated servers that allow you to access a free and open internet.

Can I hide my IP address with a free VPN?

Maybe, but I wouldn’t trust a free VPN to hide my IP address. There are some bad free VPNs out there that don’t change your IP address at all, and even the ones that do often lack essential security features to keep your real IP address hidden. Additionally, free VPNs almost never work in restrictive countries. Rather than risk your privacy by using a free VPN, I recommend getting an affordable paid VPN instead.

Best VPNs for Hiding Your IP Address on Any Device in 2024 — Final Score:

Our Rank
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1
9.8
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2
9.6
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3
9.2
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About the Author
Kristel van Hoof
Updated on: May 5, 2024

About the Author

Kristel van Hoof is a former tech researcher and writer for SafetyDetectives with a keen interest in online privacy and cybersecurity. For more than 3 years now, she has been testing and reviewing VPNs and other products for online data protection. When she’s not writing for Safety Detectives, she's dancing with her kids, traveling around the world, and cooking her favorite dishes.