HighSpeedOptions prides itself on providing honest, quality content. While we may be compensated when you make a purchase through links on our site, all opinions are our own. Here's how we make money.
Table of Contents
Finding your IP address is a straightforward process, especially if you’re not taking the time to protect it from other people. Hiding it, on the other hand, takes a few extra steps. Here walk through how to find and hide your IP address so you can maintain your privacy while surfing the web.
What is an IP Address?
An IP address is a unique digital ID that every device on a network has that allows it to connect, be identified, and located. Your IP address is provided by your internet provider, or your network administrator.
Two types of IP addresses
IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) is the older, most frequent form of IP address. It’s a numerical address separated by periods, such as 192.168.1.1. The number of available IPv4 addresses is limited, which is challenging given the growth of the internet and number of connections.
IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) was developed to address this issue. IPv6 addresses are alphanumeric and separated by colons (i.e., 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334). Clearly IPv6 addresses accommodate significant growth.
It’s also important to note that there are static and dynamic IP addresses. A static IP address remains the same over time, whereas a dynamic IP address changes every time a device connects to the internet. Most residential internet users have dynamic IP addresses.
Your internet provider is the first step in keeping your data and devices secure.
Finding Your IP Address
How to Find your IP Address Using a Speed Test
One of the easiest ways to find your IP address is to perform an internet speed test. Your address will appear in the results, commonly adjacent to your provider name or the name of the nearest server.
How to Find Your IP Address Using a Browser
To access your IP address from your browser, all you have to do is type “what is my IP address” or “how to check my IP address?” into your search engine of choice. Search engines like Google will display your unique IP address at the top of the search results page. You can also visit site, such as whatismyip.com, to quickly find your IP address. Sites such as this will also display your IPv6 address, if available.
How to Find Your IP Address on a Mac
- Click the Apple icon at the top left of your screen.
- Select “System Preferences”
- Scroll to the “View” menu. When you hover your mouse over the View menu, more options will appear—select “Network” from there.
- Click on “Network Connection” in the left column. You will then select either Ethernet or WiFi, depending on how you’re connected to the internet.
- Your IP address will show up immediately for an Ethernet connection. For a WiFi connection, click the “Advanced” button in the lower right corner. Then, click the TCP/IP tab across the top of the window. It will show up from there!
How to Find Your IP Address in Windows
- Right-click on the “Start” button
- Select “Windows PowerShell” on the Power User Menu
- Type the command “IPCONFIG” into the Windows PowerShell, press enter, and your IP configuration information will show up.
- Your IP address will be the IPv4 address displayed on the screen.
Why Hide My IP Address?
Leaving your IP address exposed, or unmasked, does present some risks and can limit your online experience. Here are a few reasons why you should hide your IP address:
Boost Online Privacy
Your IP address reveals your rough location and internet provider. This information can be used by advertisers and websites to target you with ads.
Enhance Your Security
Hackers and cybercriminals can exploit IP addresses to gain unauthorized access to your system, install malicious software, or steal personal information.
Many online services, like streaming platforms, restrict content based on geographical location.
Internet censorship is prevalent in some countries, where individuals may be monitored or content may be blocked.
How to Hide Your IP Address
The easiest method to hide your IP address is to use a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs are designed to protect your internet connection and maintain your online privacy. They also encrypt your IP address, which in addition to the above reasons also makes it safer to connect to public networks. Our resource on choosing and using a VPN provider helps you get up and running with the right VPN provider for your needs.
Disadvantages of Hiding Your IP Address
While there are many reasons to hide your IP address and enhance your online security and privacy, there are some drawbacks to doing so. Consider the following before using a VPN to hide your IP address:
Reduced Internet Speeds
Depending on the method you use to hide your IP, such as a VPN or TOR, you may experience slower internet speeds since your data is rerouted through different servers.
Some websites, particularly streaming services and banking sites, block or limit access from known VPN or proxy servers to enforce regional restrictions or prevent fraudulent activity.
Some IP-masking tools may disconnect frequently, revealing your real IP address in the process.
In some countries, tools that hide IP addresses are illegal discouraged by certain institutions or service providers.
Some VPN and proxy services are run by malicious entities that monitor and sometimes steal your personal information. Choose your VPN provider carefully.
Some tools may not with all devices or operating systems
False Sense of Security
Hiding your IP address isn’t bulletproof. Other forms of tracking (i.e. cookies) can still monitor your activity, and malware can still infect your system.
Hiding your IP address with a VPN or some other masking tool is a good online privacy and security measure. Other ways to protect your network and data while online are to use a secure and reliable browser, as well as other privacy and cybersecurity tools.
Find providers in your area
Table of Contents