There are many ways to block your IP address from inquisitive eyes. Some are quite simple, some are more complex. And some – like using a VPN – come with lots of extra benefits, such as added encryption, faster internet, more open access to online content, and powerful tools to keep you safe online.
So, in this quick guide, we'll go through the seven most popular methods and the advantages or disadvantages of each. By the time you're finished reading, you'll know which method makes the most sense to you.
Quick guide: Hide your IP address in a few minutes with a VPN
If you're in a rush and already know how VPNs work (and why they're the best way to hide your IP address), here are five simple steps to installing one on your device.
Sign up to a VPN. We recommend NordVPN.
Download the VPN app on your device or install the extension on your browser.
Open the app or browser extension.
Connect with a server anywhere in the world.
Your IP address will now be blocked, your data encrypted, and your overall privacy and security significantly boosted.
What is an IP address?
Before we dig into the various methods for blocking your IP address, it's good to know what an IP address is and how it works.
Your IP address is a unique code used to identify every computer or device on an internet network. An IP address helps every device on a network locate and communicate with one another, send files back and forth, and much more. IP addresses are usually based on an approximate physical location. This is why they can be used to track you, restrict access to the internet based on your location, target you with ads, and so on.
There are also two types of IP addresses: IPv4 and IPv6. While they serve the same basic function, IPv4 is an older and more popular protocol that's being phased out in favor of IPv6 in many places worldwide.
IP address blockers use different methods to mask your IP address, hiding it from websites, advertisers, apps, and basically anyone else who wants to monitor you online – except your internet provider, which we'll explain further down.
For now, let's take a closer look at your best options for blocking your IP address.
1. Install a VPN
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a network of secure servers usually located in various countries. Any traffic between your devices and the VPN's servers is encrypted, and each server has a unique IP address. Thus, your original IP address is hidden from any website or app you use that's connected to the internet – replaced by the VPN server's IP address.
Often, VPNs share IP addresses between numerous users connected to the same server, which further obscures your location and identity. Websites, advertisers, and trackers will be unable to differentiate you from the other users, keeping all of you anonymous.
Hiding your IP address is just one benefit of using a VPN – we've already mentioned data encryption. The best VPNs use military-grade, 256-bit AES encryption to keep your data, location, and identity hidden. They also employ a host of other tools to keep you safe online and help you access online content that's often blocked based on your location.
But not every VPN is created equally. Many – especially the free ones – use shady business practices to profit from users.
We recommend NordVPN. It uses state-of-the-art technology to mask your IP address, keep your data and identity hidden, and enable open internet access. It's also one of the most transparent VPNs available, releasing regular independent audits and reports on its business practices and data retention.
2. SOCKS proxy
SOCKS proxies work similarly to VPNs, but they're much more limited, and many don't offer encryption as standard.
Furthermore, when using a SOCKS proxy, you need to configure every app on your device to work with the proxy individually and ensure they're actually compatible. Meanwhile, with a VPN, you just install the VPN app on your device, and it will work with pretty much any app or piece of software. You could also install the VPN on your router and automatically protect every device in your network.
One benefit you'll hear about with SOCKS proxies is their speed. It's true that they're usually faster than VPNs – but that's because they're not encrypting your data. Also, many VPNs, including NordVPN, offer SOCKS proxy servers as part of their package.
Like VPNs, you can choose between free and paid SOCKS proxies – but I suggest avoiding the free versions.
3. HTTP and HTTPS proxies
HTTP and HTTPS are popular web browser protocols for keeping your data safe while visiting websites. If you use Google Chrome, you'll be familiar with the padlock symbol on your toolbar – this represents that the web page you're on has been protected with HTTPS.
HTTP and HTTPS both keep your IP address hidden from individual websites, but only if the website has installed them. HTTP also doesn't include encryption, which is why it's been phased out in favor of HTTPS.
However, HTTPS still allows significant data to pass through, including your DNS and WebRTC data – which can be used to crack your location. Also, it only affects web traffic – only one of many ways your data is shared every second you're online.
So, while HTTP and HTTPS serve an important function in making the internet safer, you shouldn't rely on these alone to keep your location hidden. A VPN is more secure, gives you more control, and provides various other benefits.
4. The Tor browser
Tor is an anonymous network run by volunteers and is usually accessed via the Tor browser.
Every time you connect to a website or app via the Tor network, your data is encrypted numerous times and passed through at least three secure "nodes" – which are essentially proxy servers managed by volunteers. Each of these nodes also has a unique IP address.
Websites, apps, and trackers only see the IP address of the final node, called the "exit node." Furthermore, each node cannot monitor your traffic as it passes from one to the next. The result: your IP address, data, and browsing activity is essentially hidden from outside parties.
However, Tor is notoriously slow and difficult to use. On its own, it's only really suitable for hardcore privacy nuts. It's also (justifiably) associated with the dark web and online crime. So, if your internet provider sees you using it, you could get flagged for suspicious activity.
If you want to use Tor, we suggest combining it with a Tor-friendly VPN.
5. Use a NAT firewall
A NAT firewall allows numerous devices on a private network to share a single point of connection with the internet, providing a single, public IP address that's shared amongst every device. NAT firewalls are usually set up on a NAT-enabled router.
The NAT firewall hides your private IP address behind the public, shared one. It also blocks "unsolicited" communication and data transfers to your device by only allowing traffic that has your IP address or that you specifically requested to pass through. However, the location of the public IP address will still be visible. So if you're using a NAT-enabled router at home, by default, your location could still be revealed.
Most good VPNs utilize NAT firewalls on their servers, doing the work for you and assigning you an IP address far away from your actual location. So, rather than setting one up yourself, we recommend using a VPN instead – it's much easier and more effective.
6. SSH proxy
SSH proxies route your traffic through what's called an SSH tunnel, using a proxy server built on the SSH protocol with two firewalls at either end.
SSH proxies are pretty complicated, and while they work similarly to VPNs, you're much better off just using a VPN. They're faster, simpler, and work much better with modern websites and apps.
7. Disable IPv4 or IPv6 on your browser
As stated at the beginning, you need at least one IP address protocol enabled to access the internet: IPv4 or IPv6.
But, if you disable one of them on your browser, you're basically hiding your IP address. In some cases, you can revert to the other protocol, with a different IP address. For example, if you disable IPv6, you can use IPv4 with a new IP address.
Or you can try using the internet without either. Some websites will still work – but not many.
For obvious reasons, we only recommend this option if you have a particular goal or use case that requires disabling the protocols. But for everyone else, a VPN lets you quickly change your IP address while still using the internet in its entirety.
Using a VPN to hide your IP address: What to look for
A VPN is the easiest way to hide your IP address. But there are hundreds of VPNs on the market (possibly even thousands), and picking the right one can feel impossible.
We've tested countless VPNs and identified the absolute best, based on the following criteria:
Global server network: The best VPNs have networks of thousands of secure servers around the world. This guarantees you fast, secure connections wherever you are.
No impact on your internet speed: Most (bad) VPNs will slow your internet down significantly. But the best, like NordVPN, invest heavily in delivering lightning-fast connections.
Airtight security: VPNs use state-of-the-art technology to hide your IP address, encrypt your data, and more. This includes military-grade encryption, DNS leak protection, automatic kill-switches, and plenty more sophisticated tools.
Access content from anywhere: Look for a VPN that works with popular streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Only the most powerful VPNs, like NordVPN, will do.
Easy to use: While the underlying technology that powers VPNs is incredibly complex, a VPN's apps should be simple, easy to navigate, and only take a few minutes to set up.
Good value: The best VPNs are also excellent value. A subscription only costs a few dollars a month, so you get peace of mind and better privacy without breaking the bank.
If this all sounds like a lot of work, don't worry. You can read our in-depth VPN reviews and check our testing methodology to learn more and speed up your decision.
FAQs about IP address blockers
Can you block your IP Address from your internet provider?
It's not possible to block your IP address from your internet provider.
Your internet provider is, well, responsible for providing your internet – which includes designating you an IP address. And without an IP address, you can't connect to the internet. So, sadly, there's no way around it.
VPNs and proxies can only hide your IP address from other computers and servers on a network. They achieve this by masking your original IP address – but not actually changing it. Your real IP address is still functioning, but invisible to everyone except you and your internet provider.
While a VPN can't hide your IP address from your internet provider, it does hide your browsing activity, downloads, and much more by encrypting your traffic and data. At the same time, the VPN is hiding your IP address from websites, advertisers, and other parties that might be monitoring you online (your government, perhaps?). However, they can still view your browsing activity – they just don't know who you are (in theory, at least).
Only you and your VPN can see all three: your actual IP address, your browsing activity, and any files or data you send, receive, and download. This is why it's crucial to pick a trustworthy VPN based in a privacy-friendly location like Panama that also follows a strict "no-logs" policy.
Why should you hide your IP address?
Hiding your IP address has numerous significant benefits to your privacy, safety, and overall internet experience.
- Bypass location-based content restrictions
- Reduce annoying, location-based ads and tracking
- Bypass censorship in your country
- Reduce your digital footprint
- Boost your overall privacy
- Prevent hackers or cybercriminals from using it to attack or steal from you
- Protection against DDOS attacks, swatting, and much more.
For some of these benefits, you simply need to hide your IP address. But for others, you'll need an IP address outside your home country (i.e., content restrictions and censorship). In these cases, we recommend a VPN with secure, fast servers all over the globe, such as NordVPN and CyberGhost.
Will hiding my IP address slow down my internet?
Hiding your IP address only slows down your internet if you use certain methods.
In theory, a VPN could slow down your internet due to the added layers of encryption and the fact you're connecting to the internet via a (potentially) far away server. However, the best VPNs, such as NordVPN, use industry-leading technology and lightweight protocols to ensure they have minimal impact on your connection.
In fact, VPNs often speed up your internet connection, by making it more reliable and reducing the risk of bandwidth throttling by your internet provider.
Does incognito mode hide your IP address?
Incognito mode does not hide your IP address. Incognito mode on most browsers simply means that any browsing data is erased after you close the browser window. It only hides your activity from other users on a device.
Your internet provider, websites, advertisers, and browser manufacturer (i.e., Google) can see everything you're doing in incognito mode and harvest this data.
If you want to hide your IP address, we suggest using a VPN. Aside from masking your IP address from everyone but your ISP, it will also encrypt your data and hide your browsing activity while it's turned on.
Can you hide your IP address without a VPN?
Yes, you can change your IP address without a VPN. The four most popular methods are:
- SOCK proxy
- HTTP/S proxy
- SSH proxy
- Tor onion browser
While each method will hide your IP address, they're much more complicated than a VPN and lack many important additional benefits. For example, a SOCK proxy doesn't encrypt your data by default, while the Tor browser is slow and only suitable for basic internet browsing.
If you want to hide your IP address and boost your overall privacy, an easy-to-use VPN like NordVPN is the best option.
How do I hide my IP address on Chrome?
The best way to hide your IP address on Chrome is by using a VPN browser extension. This allows you to instantly change your IP address by connecting to servers around the world – without switching between your browser and another app or program.
All the best VPNs have native Chrome browser extensions you can install after signing up. We recommend NordVPN, as it's the most user-friendly VPN Chrome extension on the market.
Blocking your IP address is the first step in keeping your location hidden and your data secure while you're online. But it's only the first step.
And while there are plenty of ways to hide your IP address, a VPN is not just the easiest – it also offers a wide range of additional security features. The most powerful VPNs even incorporate the other methods listed here, including Tor and NAT firewalls.
So, instead of trying to manually hide your IP address through proxy servers and makeshift firewalls, install a premium VPN like NordVPN, and you can get set up in minutes. It also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so there's zero risk in trying it out for a few weeks.