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Hide my IP address

The complete guide to how, when, and why you should hide your IP address with a secure VPN proxy service like ExpressVPN. Hide your location, protect your privacy, and restore your freedom in under two minutes.

Video: IP addresses and privacy explained

What is an IP address? IP addresses and privacy explained

How can I hide my IP address?

Step 1

User signing up for ExpressVPN.

Sign up for ExpressVPN and its blazing-fast service.

Step 2

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Connect to any of our server locations.

Step 3

Magnifying glass over a browser: A VPN hides your IP and encrypts your data, so no one can snoop on you.

Stay anonymous with your real IP address hidden by a different, shared IP.

Will having a shared IP address help?

When you use a VPN to connect to the internet, the VPN creates an encrypted connection, known as a tunnel, between your device and the internet. The VPN masks your IP address with its own IP address in the tunneling process. That IP address is shared with thousands of other VPN users—this makes it virtually impossible for anyone to trace your internet activity back to you.

By using a VPN, your own IP address is masked (or “scrambled”) by the VPN, protecting your location, identity, and online activity from anyone who wishes to find you through your IP address.

What does ‘hide my IP’ mean?

Everyone on the internet has a public IP address. Every time you connect to the internet, you’re sharing that IP address with every website, app, and service you use.

Internet connection with exposed IP

But if you use a VPN proxy, websites, apps, and services will see the public IP address of the VPN proxy server instead of your personal device. This is what it means to “hide my IP” or “change my IP”:

VPN hiding personal IP address online

Websites, apps, and services may not even know that your IP address has been hidden or changed. From their perspective, you are simply an anonymous internet user.

Why would I want to hide my IP?

Your IP address says a lot about you. When you don’t hide your IP address, you’re probably revealing more than you realize about your location, your identity, and your activity, allowing other parties to control your online experience.

IP address changing from city to tropical island

Hide my IP = Hide my location

IP addresses are often tied closely to a physical location. Anyone who knows your public IP address can make a very good guess as to where you are right now.

Depending on who you are, this can be either very convenient or very dangerous. Either way, most people want to be in control of who they reveal their location to and when, and don’t enjoy having their location revealed without their permission.

ExpressVPN lets you replace your IP address with a secure VPN IP address in any of 160 locations in 94 countries around the world, putting you back in control.

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Woman's identity hidden by VPN

Hide my IP = Protect my identity

Because each device on the internet has a unique public IP address, that IP address can also be used to uniquely identify that device, which can be traced back to a single person. That makes it relatively easy for a website, service, or app to link specific internet activity to a specific person.

This is very convenient for people and companies who want to keep track of you, but not great for anyone who believes in personal privacy. If you’re not comfortable with third parties knowing which websites you visit, what you download, and who you talk to, you need to hide your IP.

A hand held up as a stop sign, with chain links that become unlinked.

Hide my IP = Restore my freedom

Knowing your public IP address allows websites, apps, and services to control your experience based on where or who they think you are. But if you can change your IP address, you can enjoy whatever experience you want.

Other parties along your connection, like your Wi-Fi network operator, internet service provider, or even government agencies, can also use your IP address to block, redirect, and censor your web activity. Proxying your traffic through a VPN with a different IP address allows you to defeat censorship and restore your freedom.

Should I hide my IP with a VPN or a proxy?

Some “proxy” services offer to hide your IP address without the security benefits of a VPN. You should be very careful before sending your traffic to an anonymous proxy service, especially if it advertises itself as a “free proxy.”

Free proxies may hide your IP address for free, but they may also monetize your traffic through trackers, ads, and other malware.

Proxy servers also generally lack the security benefits and other features of a premium VPN service. Check out what you get by hiding your IP address with ExpressVPN versus a free proxy.

With ExpressVPN:

  • Hides your IP address

  • 256-bit AES encryption

  • 160 server locations in 94 countries

  • Network Lock / kill switch

  • No activity logs, no connection logs

  • 24/7 live chat support

A proxy might only help to hide your IP address.

VPN for PC, Mac, iPhone, Android, and more

ExpressVPN shield logo on a range of devices.

Or try ExpressVPN for Routers and protect your whole Wi-Fi network.

Don’t see your device here? Check out ExpressVPN’s setup guides to hide your IP address on a wide range of other devices with manual configurations.

Why is ExpressVPN the best choice to hide my IP?

Though there are many ways to hide your IP address, only ExpressVPN does so with a comprehensive set of security features and a die-hard commitment to privacy.

ExpressVPN employs a dedicated staff of security engineers in our Privacy Research Lab to constantly investigate a wide range of new and emerging threats to your privacy, including DNS and WebRTC leak testing.

Stay tuned to the ExpressVPN blog to keep up-to-date on the latest trends in digital privacy and security improvements.