How to Use a Fake IP Address & Mask Yourself Online
Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp
Advertisement

We’ve argued before that online anonymity is important 3 Undeniable Reasons Why You Need Online Anonymity 3 Undeniable Reasons Why You Need Online Anonymity Many people don't believe in online anonymity, mainly because it has the potential to enable and encourage undesirable behavior. But without anonymity, people's lives can easily be ruined forever... Read More . And, as the notion of privacy gets trampled on with each passing year, online privacy will only become more important.

You’d be surprised by what someone can do with just your IP address How Doxing Continues to Be a Threat to Online Privacy How Doxing Continues to Be a Threat to Online Privacy Disregarding online privacy can lead to your personal details being shared online. This is known as "doxing" and can be an extremely painful experience. How can you stop doxing from happening to you? Read More .

Which is why many people use fake IP addresses. To be clear, “fake IP address” is a bit of a misnomer that implies creating a new one out of thin air. That’s not possible. The best you can do is hide your IP address behind someone else’s already-existing IP address.

This means you can’t truly be anonymous on the internet because a dedicated entity might be able to trace it back to you. But 95 percent of the time, masking your IP address is more than enough.

Method 1: Using a VPN

VPN stands for virtual private network, but is much simpler than it sounds. Basically, you can connect your computer or device to someone else’s network, then browse the web through their network. Whatever activity you’re doing looks like it’s coming from them, not from you.

In other words, when you connect to a VPN, you’re masking your IP address with one of the IP addresses in that network. This also means that all of your traffic gets routed through that network, which can have some unintended consequences How DNS Leaks Can Destroy Anonymity When Using a VPN, And How to Stop Them How DNS Leaks Can Destroy Anonymity When Using a VPN, And How to Stop Them When you're trying to stay anonymous online, a VPN is the simplest solution, by masking your IP address, service provider, and location. But a DNS leak can totally undermine the purpose of a VPN... Read More .

How to Use a Fake IP Address & Mask Yourself Online hide ip address with vpn
Image Credit: Denys Prykhodov via Shutterstock

For best results, use a paid VPN service because there are several risks and downsides to free VPNs Finally Get a Paid VPN Because Your Free VPN Won't Cut It Finally Get a Paid VPN Because Your Free VPN Won't Cut It VPNs are all the rage, but if you're thinking of going the free route, please reconsider. Free VPN services come with risks that may not be worth taking... Read More . Of the many risks, the most important one is that you can never quite trust a free service. Are they selling your data? If asked, would they give up your true IP address? It does happen.

As such, we only recommend using a logless VPN. Since they don’t keep logs, they can’t give up your IP address even if requested. Plus, most reputable paid VPNs strongly encrypt all of your traffic to and from the network, preventing any snooping from your ISP or government.

How to Get Started With a VPN

ExpressVPN and NordVPN are both excellent options. If neither suit you, check out our overview of best VPN services The Best VPN Services The Best VPN Services We've compiled a list of what we consider to be the best Virtual Private Network (VPN) service providers, grouped by premium, free, and torrent-friendly. Read More . Long story short: whichever service you pick, you just download an app, run it, and use it to connect to the VPN on demand. It’s really that simple.

VPNs are useful in so many circumstances. See our compilation of notable activities when a VPN is crucial 8 Instances You Weren't Using a VPN, but Should've Been: The VPN Checklist 8 Instances You Weren't Using a VPN, but Should've Been: The VPN Checklist If you haven't already considered subscribing to a VPN to secure your privacy, now is the time. Read More . Furthermore, educate yourself on these common VPN myths 5 Common VPN Myths and Why You Shouldn't Believe Them 5 Common VPN Myths and Why You Shouldn't Believe Them Planning to use a VPN? Not sure where to start, or confused about what they do? Let's take a look at the top five myths about VPNs and why they're simply not true. Read More as well as these signs that a VPN client is trustworthy 5 Signs You Can Trust Your VPN Client 5 Signs You Can Trust Your VPN Client Using a VPN helps protect your traffic from snooping and your information from theft. But how can you be sure that your VPN is protecting you? Here are five signs your VPN is trustworthy. Read More .

Method 2: Using a Web Proxy

A web proxy works in much the same way as a VPN: you connect to the proxy server, then all your web traffic flows through the proxy server. As such, your IP address gets hidden by the proxy server’s IP address.

But there are two major differences between proxy and VPN.

First, web proxies are typically unencrypted. Even if your IP address is masked by a proxy, the traffic itself can still be sniffed by your ISP, government, and snoopers. Not only that, but some websites may still be able to see your real IP address through Flash and/or JavaScript.

Second, some browsers let you route only browser traffic. To use a web proxy, you go into your web browser’s settings and manually input the proxy server’s IP address. This allows applications and devices outside the web browser, like Skype, to still use your actual IP address.

How to Set Up a Web Proxy

Find a free web proxy using a site like PremProxy or Proxy List. Using a proxy server in your country will keep it fast, but using a proxy server in another country can be useful for bypassing region-blocked content and adding a tiny layer of extra obscurity.

In Firefox

How to Use a Fake IP Address & Mask Yourself Online hide ip address with proxy firefox

  1. In the main menu, select Options.
  2. Navigate to the Advanced tab, then the Network section.
  3. Under Connection, click Settings…
  4. Select Manual proxy configuration, then type in the proxy’s address and port in the HTTP Proxy field.

In Edge

How to Use a Fake IP Address & Mask Yourself Online hide ip address with proxy edge

  1. In the main menu, select Settings.
  2. Scroll down and click View advanced settings.
  3. Scroll down and click Open proxy settings.
  4. Under Manual proxy setup, enable Use a proxy server, then type in the proxy’s address and port in the Address field.

In Chrome, Opera, and Vivaldi

How to Use a Fake IP Address & Mask Yourself Online hide ip address with proxy windows

  1. In the main menu, select Settings.
  2. Under Network, click Change proxy settings…
  3. In the Connections tab, click LAN settings.
  4. Enable Use a proxy server for your LAN, then type in the proxy’s address and port in the Address field.

Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi, and other Chromium-based browsers do not have a built-in browser-specific proxy feature. Instead, they only use system-wide proxy settings.

However, you can use an extension like Proxy Switcher & Manager to use web proxies that only affect browser traffic. Furthermore, Opera has a built-in “VPN” I Switched From Chrome to Opera and I’m Never Going Back I Switched From Chrome to Opera and I’m Never Going Back Any browser works. There's only one reason to pick one over another: it's more in line with how you like to browse the web. And you might prefer Opera, too. Read More that’s essentially a free web proxy.

Method 3: Using Public Wi-Fi

Instead of routing your traffic through another person’s network, you can opt to connect directly to their network — and the easiest way to do this would be to hop onto public Wi-Fi.

The funny thing is that this is really the only way to hide your home IP address. When you’re on public Wi-Fi, there’s no way for someone to trace it back to your home. And if it’s a popular hotspot (e.g. a Starbucks or an airport), your activity will be obscured by dozens of other users at any time.

But do remember that public Wi-Fi has its risks 3 Dangers Of Logging On To Public Wi-Fi 3 Dangers Of Logging On To Public Wi-Fi You've heard that you shouldn't open PayPal, your bank account and possibly even your email while using public WiFi. But what are the actual risks? Read More !

How to Use a Fake IP Address & Mask Yourself Online hide ip address with public wifi
Image Credit: Igor Martis via Shutterstock

By default, most public Wi-Fi hotspots are unencrypted. All your activity while connected can be seen by anyone else on the network (if they’re sniffing it out), which includes login details for websites like banks and e-commerce shopping. Public Wi-Fi hotspots can also spread malware infections to your device.

On top of this, there are several other ways for hackers to steal your identity on public Wi-Fi 5 Ways Hackers Can Use Public Wi-Fi to Steal Your Identity 5 Ways Hackers Can Use Public Wi-Fi to Steal Your Identity You might love using public Wi-Fi -- but so do hackers. Here are five ways cybercriminals can access your private data and steal your identity, while you're enjoying a latte and a bagel. Read More . So while you might be hiding your IP address, you’re still opening yourself up to a whole host of other privacy and security risks.

As such, it’s not really a viable alternative to VPNs and proxies if your only goal is privacy. Not to say that you should avoid public Wi-Fi altogether. Just know what you’re getting into!

Are You Protecting Your Online Privacy?

Did you know that you are the biggest threat to your online privacy? Most of us tend to share way too much info online Online Privacy: Do You Share Too Much Information? Online Privacy: Do You Share Too Much Information? Sharing has always been a prominent part of what the Internet is and how it functions. And with social networks exploding in popularity in the past several years, sharing is probably the one aspect we... Read More . If you’re really worried, your first steps should be to change your bad habits Change Your Bad Habits & Your Data Will Be More Secure Change Your Bad Habits & Your Data Will Be More Secure Read More and heed these expert online security tips 8 Tips for Online Safety Used by Security Experts 8 Tips for Online Safety Used by Security Experts Want to stay safe online? Then forget everything you think you know about passwords, antivirus and online security because it's time to be retrained. Here's what the experts actually do. Read More .

And don’t forget that online anonymity can backfire 5 Ways Online Anonymity Could Backfire & Ruin the Internet 5 Ways Online Anonymity Could Backfire & Ruin the Internet Online anonymity doesn't mean we can't use names and identifiers. It simply means that our connection to the Internet is anonymous. It sounds great in theory, but here's how it could backfire. Read More .

Why do you need to hide your IP address? Are there any other methods that we’ve overlooked? Share with us in the comments below!

Image Credit: The encrypted VPN connection using via Shutterstock

Originally written by Jack Cola on Nov 27, 2009

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. John du toi
    September 22, 2017 at 11:06 am

    I see you have not mentioned the tor network any reason for this?

  2. Stone Forest
    July 1, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    Every time you physically disconnect and reconnect (hot or cold unplug/replug), you have a new IP address, anyway. Look up 'What's my IP (address)' to check this out.

    But I suppose that very few people ever do this, given that many people I know have their systems permanently connected.

    Personally speaking, before I do online banking, I unplug/replug. Then, once I have finished, I disconnect and unplug, and run Bleachbit to clear the cache (I use a customised Linux).

    As a result, the banks' websites ask me for further security details, because they do not recognise my computer.

    • Dan
      July 1, 2017 at 10:03 pm

      I haven't seen an ISP do that in about 10 years. Most have set their lease time to days/weeks. If you're still lucky enough to be able to change your IP so simply, enjoy it while it lasts.

      • Stone Forest
        July 2, 2017 at 11:54 am

        Apologies: I did neglect to mention that I use a mobile broadband dongle, and that I'm in the UK. Is it really that 'hard set' in the USA?

        • Dan
          July 2, 2017 at 12:29 pm

          For better the marketers (and government) to track you...

          I had a friend recently that put in a "disposable" email to get some information from some investment company recently from his home desktop computer. Within half an hour his cell phone rang. It was the investment company. They knew his real name, address, cell number, landline number, even the gross amount of his pension and what government agency he retired from. I wouldn't be at all surprised if they could tell you "boxers or briefs" as well.

          George Orwell was a very astute and intelligent man.