IP addresses are key to how the internet works, they are needed to identify machines on a network and without them, routers wouldn’t know where to send data.

Whilst in a LAN situation, hiding your IP address isn’t such a big deal, your public IP address is something that you may want to obfuscate for a number of reasons.

The use case for hiding your IP address varies widely, depending on what is important to you, so how do you hide IP address?

What actually is an IP address?

IP is an abbreviation of “Internet Protocol”. Your IP address is essentially your position on the internet, servers use this information in order to send data to your machine.

There are two types of IP addresses, IPv4 and IPv6. The former is the most commonly used nowadays but due to the amount of IPv4 addresses actually running out, IPv6 is needed in order to
make sure there are enough addresses in the future.

IPv4 uses the decimal notation system, this means IPv4 addresses are formatted with three points separating four groups of numbers (otherwise known as an octet). These numbers can range anywhere between 1 and 254, 0 is reserved for the network ID and 255 is reserved for the broadcast address in the first and last octets.

IPv6 uses the hexadecimal system, this means it uses numbers and letters separated by colons and it is a lot longer. IPv6 can be shortened if there are many zeroes, as even whole hextets can be omitted if there are just four zeroes. IPv6 has some useful security features built in that really make it better than IPv4 but uptake has been slow.

Why would I want to hide my IP address?

There are quite a few reasons as to why you would want to hide your IP address.

The most common reason is in the name of security. Whilst you are browsing the internet, everything you try to access online is given your IP address so that it can send the relevant data to
you. This data can be used nefariously, so many people take the precaution of hiding their IP address to the outside world.

Others may want to hide their IP address in order to gain access to geo-blocked services. Netflix for example, if you don’t live in the US, only has a fraction of what the US flavour has to offer. By hiding your IP address and using an IP address from America, you can gain full access to Netflix US, for no extra cost.

So, how do I hide my IP address?

The most effective way of hiding your IP address is to use a VPN.

Using a VPN means you connect to a server that is located elsewhere, this creates a secure tunnel between you and the server. All information that you access goes through the VPN server first, meaning all online services think you are accessing from the location of the VPN server.

This means the VPN server’s IP address is the one that is front facing.

The encryption from the VPN connection will also make it nigh on impossible for anyone, even your ISP, to intercept and know what is being sent within that secure tunnel.

If you really want to make sure your IP address is hidden, you can do something called “VPN cascading”. What this means is that you connect to a VPN server, and then when you are connected, you connect to a second VPN server. This means that your IP address is obfuscated twice.

Though not many VPN providers offer this, it is the ultimate in hiding your IP address.

If you are trying to hide your IP address so you can access geo-blocked services, by connecting to a VPN server in a different country, it seems as though you are accessing from the correct location.

As far as the service is concerned, you are accessing it from within the country.

The issue with this is that some online services, such as Netflix, have been cracking down on this and have been blocking known VPN server IP addresses, so you have no chance of using the service at all through the VPN.

It is important to make sure that your VPN provider doesn’t keep any logs whatsoever, this is key to making sure your IP address doesn’t get out at all. This happened a while ago with Hide My Ass VPN, they kept logs and when the authorities came a knocking, they had no choice but to give up the logs.

If there are no logs, there is nothing to hand over.

The best VPN providers for hiding IP address

Here are our recommended VPN services for hiding your IP address:

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NordVPN are a good choice, though a little expensive. At $11.95 a month, it is a significant investment, you do get a lot for your money though.

They keep absolutely no logs whatsoever and offer servers in a number of countries. They offer many different protocols such as PPTP, L2TP, and OpenVPN.

They also offer TOR over VPN, which is a fantastic way to hide your IP address, though it isn’t recommended for everyday use as it is extremely slow. They also offer specific servers for cascading, so if that is something you want to do NordVPN is a great choice.

CactusVPN is another good choice, though a lot cheaper. At just $7 for their premium package you get access to PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, OpenVPN, and SoftEther. CactusVPN keep absolutely no logs

The issue with CactusVPN is that their VPN service cannot be used to unblock different regions of Netflix, they gave up that fight a while ago. They are a relatively small VPN provider, so they didn’t have the resources to fight the behemoth that is Netflix.

For the money CactusVPN is a fantastic choice to hide your IP address.

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