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How to Use a Fake IP Address and Mask Yourself Online
As the notion of privacy gets trampled on with each passing year, online privacy only becomes even more important.
That’s 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 is called IP masking. So how do you spoof your IP address?
1. Use 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 it. Whatever activity you’re doing looks like it’s coming from them, not from you.
When you connect to a VPN, you’re masking your IP address with one of the IP addresses on that network. To trace the traffic back to you, the VPN would have to give you up (or your IP address would have to be revealed via DNS leak).
For best results, use a paid VPN service because free VPNs come with too many risks and downsides. 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. Such VPNs don’t keep activity logs, so they can’t give up your IP address even if requested. Plus, most logless VPNs encrypt all of your traffic to and from the network, preventing any snooping by ISPs or governments.
VPNs are useful in so many circumstances, but there are too many myths about them that might put you off; you should dispense with misinformation and use a VPN for secure searching.
Which Is the Best VPN For You?
ExpressVPN and CyberGhost are both excellent options. If neither suits you, have a look at our overview of best VPN services. Long story short: whichever service you pick, you just download the app, run it, and use it to connect to the VPN on demand. It’s really that simple.
Use this link for up to 49% off ExpressVPN plans!
2. Use 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.
Secondly, 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.
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.
How to Set Up a Web Proxy in Firefox
In the browser, select Preferences from the dropdown menu in the top-left corner.
In the General section, scroll down to Network Settings.
Click on Settings.
Select Manual proxy configuration, then type in the proxy’s address and port in the HTTP Proxy field.
How to Set Up a Web Proxy in Microsoft Edge
On the homepage, click on three dots from the top-left corner.
Search for proxy in search settings, and selectOpen your computer’s proxy settings.
In the Settings window, toggle the Use a proxy server option, and type in the proxy’s address and port in the Address field.
Click on Save to finalize your proxy setup.
How to Set Up a Web Proxy in Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi
In the main menu, select Settings.
Under Network, click Change proxy settings…
In the Connections tab, click LAN settings.
Enable Use a proxy server for your LAN, then type in the proxy’s address and port in the Address field.
Note: 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.
3. Use 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 is 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. Starbucks), your activity will be obscured by dozens of other users at any time.
But remember that public Wi-Fi has its risks.
By default, most public Wi-Fi hotspots are unencrypted. All your activities 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. 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.
4. Use Tor Browser
Tor browser, sometimes also called the Onion router, is a free browser that hides your IP address every time you connect to the internet. It does this by connecting you with the Tor network at the start, which transmits your data through random relay servers hosted by worldwide volunteers.
For most people not living in authoritarian countries like China, Venezuela, etc. (where Tor is banned), it’s a handy tool to have in your arsenal of privacy solutions.
To get started, go to the official Tor website and install the browser from there. When the setup is complete, click on Connect. The Tor browser will then link up to the Tor network. This could take a few minutes, so you’ll have to wait a short time.
When it’s done, you’re free to browse the internet anonymously. If you’re using Tor for the first time, though, make sure that you read up on all the online security tips about using Tor efficiently. They are given on the homepage itself!
And That’s How You Can Hide Your IP Address!
Now you know all the different ways you can mask your IP address. If you’re like us, and just can’t accept that “big brother” is prying on you all the time, these tricks will be enough to get started with securing your online anonymity.
Privacy vs. Anonymity vs. Security: Why They Don’t All Mean the Same ThingWhat’s the difference between security, anonymity, and privacy? And when should you prioritize one over another?
About The Author
(1521 Articles Published)
Joel Lee is the Editor in Chief of MakeUseOf since 2018. He has a B. S. in Computer Science and over nine years of professional writing and editing experience.
From Joel Lee
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Is it possible to spoof an IP address to an exact number? [closed]
You can change your IP to whatever you want; that’s trivial. But that will not work the way you want to.
Let’s say the store’s ISP is Apple Networks, and their IP range is 1. 2. 3. 0 to 1. 255. You note that and get home. Your home network is from Avocado Networks, and their IP range is 2. 4. 5. You change your IP to 1. 123 and wait. Nothing happens. You cannot access any site. You are offline.
Avocado Network tells the entire world they own the network 2. 0, so when people want to reach anyone on that range, they send the packet to Avocado routers. They don’t send any 1. 0 packets to them, they send to Apple Networks routers as they are the ones advertising to the entire world their IP range. So your computer sits there, waiting for anything to come, and nothing happens.
If Avocado Networks employs Egress Filtering, your packets don’t even leave their network. Their routers will say this is a packet coming from my network, but it says it’s from Apple Networks’ address space; it must be an error, so I will drop the package.
If they and nobody along the path uses Egress Filtering, your request for connection will reach, the site will respond as usual, but the response will be sent to Apple Networks routers, not Avocado networks. And either there will be nobody with 1. 123 IP address to answer and the packet gets forgotten, or there will be an 1. 123 there, and they will say sorry, I never heard from this connection before. Forget it. and that’s that.
To achieve what you want, you must connect a system to the store network, make it work as a proxy, and forward packets from your home to that system, and then that system will access site on your behalf and send you the response.
Hide My IP Address: 4 Easy Ways [UPDATED]
Borrow a different IP address to go anywhere online and stay hidden.
The reasons why you might want to mask your IP address may include: Hiding your geographical location, preventing Web tracking, avoiding a digital footprint, or bypassing any content filters, bans, or blacklisting.
There are a few ways to hide your IP address…that unique number assigned to the network connection on the computer.
Four ways to hide your IP address:
OPTION 1 – Use a VPN Service – The Best Way
Sign up with these services and when you go online, you’ll be showing the world a different IP address…one that’s on loan from the service you’re using.
There are many more advantages to using a personal VPN service over a proxy such as high-speed bandwidth, usability, a secure connection, private access to blocked sites, and the ability to choose the country and city where you appear to be.
There are hundreds of VPN companies you could choose from…many of them shady or poor quality.
Don’t know which VPN is right for you? Try our new VPN Simplifier!
OPTION 2 – Use the Tor Browser – The Slowest Choice
People from all over the world use Tor to search and buy products and communicate with others with restricted Internet access, such as what exists in some foreign countries.
The Tor Browser (like Chrome, Firefox, or Safari) is a free software program that you download onto your computer that conceals your IP address every time you go online anonymously. This free process is layered with heavy-duty encryption, which means your data is layered with security and privacy protection.
OPTION 3 – Use a Proxy Server – The Riskiest Method
A proxy server (sometimes called an “open proxy” or just “proxies”) can be used to re-route your browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, or Edge) around a company or school content filters.
There are risks involved in using free proxies to mask your IP address: Many will slow down your internet connection, some are run on compromised machines, and may not be legal in some countries.
A safer solution is to use proxies managed by a company such as Smartproxy.
OPTION 4 – Use Public WiFi – The Long Distance Way
An IP address doesn’t travel with you. So if you simply go to a coffee shop, bookstore, or hotel lobby and tap into their Wi-Fi, you will temporarily hide your usual IP address. How so? You’ll be using their network’s IP address for as long as you’re online.
Try it out. First, click show my ip to see your current IP address, and then visit any place with free Wi-Fi, log in to their Internet and check it again.
However, if you don’t use a VPN, your Internet activity is at risk of being spied on or intercepted by a bad guy without your knowing it.
How likely is that?
Who knows! But don’t make online purchases or check your bank account while drinking your Grande Espresso.
Use a VPN service for high-speed bandwidth, usability, a secure connection, private access to blocked sites, and the ability to choose the country and city where you appear to be.
Don’t know which VPN is right for you? Try our VPN Simplifier or compare VPNs.