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How to hide your IP address: a complete guide

How to hide your IP address: a complete guide

ip address

For any business managing multiple accounts, protecting your identity is crucial, and that starts with your IP address. In this guide, we cover all you need to know about masking your IP and using a different one, from information consistency to datacenter solutions, proxies, and more.

Why do you want to hide your IP address

Websites track multiple browser fingerprints daily, including browser cookies, Javascript objects, canvas fingerprints, font lists, and more. However, websites usually first track your IP address, which can reveal your physical location and internet service provider.

If you use the same IP address for multiple accounts, the platform can associate them with the same person. However, to protect your anonymity, it's essential to use unique IP addresses for each identity. Different solutions exist to achieve this, such as channeling your traffic through a remote machine with a different IP address.

Using different and unique IP addresses is essential to protect your multiple identities.

Before we explain how to implement those solutions, you need to understand the difference between the datacenter and residential IP proxies. If you haven’t read the article Datacenter vs. residential proxies: your complete guide, please do so before you continue reading further.

IP information consistency

Now that you know the differences between datacenter and residential IP addresses and understand the importance of hiding your IP address let’s introduce the concept of IP information consistency. Modern popular web platforms know that users tend to choose easily memorable passwords or use the same password all over the internet.

This makes hacking into accounts easy. To protect users from the hacking threat, web platforms record connection information and browser fingerprints from users’ computers. When suddenly this information changes to a great extent, web platforms throw in additional security checks like phone verification or a secret question. This can make managing multiple profiles more difficult.

Usually, the easiest way to trigger security checks is to access an account with a different IP address. Thus, the rule of thumb when accessing your multiple accounts will be to keep the same IP address for a particular account for as long as possible.

Of course, it is not feasible if you use a dynamic IP address. In this case, ensure you access the account with IP addresses corresponding to the same city or state.

This sums up the theoretical part. Please continue to learn how to set up different solutions to hide your IP address.

Working with datacenter IPs

VPNs

VPN stands for a virtual private network, a connection type that is oftentimes used by companies to protect their sensitive data while transferring it over the internet. However, a VPN can also be used to change your IP address and make you seem like you are accessing the website from a different location and service provider. In order to get a VPN, you can either subscribe to a service or set up your own VPN server. If you are going for the service option, your provider will give you access to their client software, which you install on your computer. You will then use this client to connect to a selected VPN server, thus obtaining a new IP address.

Benefits

  • Access to hundreds or even thousands of unique IP addresses within the same relatively cheap subscription.

  • The connection is encrypted. Your internet service provider will not be able to track you.

Limitations

  • You will not be able to open multiple profiles with unique IP addresses simultaneously. You will have to work on one profile at a time, which can be pretty time consuming.

  • In most cases, a VPN server is used by hundreds or thousands of users simultaneously. Chances are some of them are abusing web platforms, which leads to the server IP being gray- or blacklisted.

Using a VPN service might be beneficial in some cases when you need cheap access to a big pool of IPs in different countries. However, VPN exit nodes are mostly known to web platforms and oftentimes blacklisted due to other users abusing the service.

Recommended VPN services

Generally, we don’t recommend VPN over proxies to Multilogin users. However, if you believe a VPN suits your needs better, here are two service providers you can consider. Both have excellent quality of service and customer support:

Please be aware that we do not assume any responsibility for the quality of services provided by third parties. It is important to conduct thorough research and exercise caution before utilizing them.

Using VPN with Multilogin

Remember that each time you switch to a VPN server, you will have a different IP address. Therefore, to keep IP information consistent for a particular profile, use the same VPN server when opening this profile.

  • Install the software from your VPN provider and launch it.

  • Use the VPN client to choose the server you want to connect to.

  • When creating a browser profile, leave the “Proxy type” field blank.

  • Access the browser profile and verify that the IP shown on the green welcome screen belongs to the chosen VPN server.

  • Remember the profile/VPN server pair; always use the same server for this browser profile.

Proxies

A proxy server is another machine with a distinct IP address, which acts as a hub between your computer and the rest of the internet. When you connect to websites through a proxy server, they will see the proxy server’s IP address as your IP. Like a VPN, you can buy proxies or set up your own. In both cases, you will have a list of IP addresses, ports, and authorization methods, which you will use to connect.

Authentication types

When connecting to a proxy, it is necessary to authenticate your access. You do not want everybody to be able to connect to your proxy. Usually, there are 2 types of authentication to access a proxy: IP authentication or username & password authentication. We recommend using a Username & Password, as this solves the problem of having a dynamic IP connection and constantly needing to update your computer access IP address.

Access types

Usually, proxy providers offer three types of proxies: publicshared, and private. Technically they are mostly identical but can be used by different audiences. Anybody can access public proxies – these proxies usually get blacklisted very quickly. A certain number of people can only access shared proxies. Private proxies can be accessed only by you. Finally, some proxy providers offer the so-called “virgin proxies”. According to their claims, virgin proxies have never been used before with the web platform of your interest. We recommend using private proxies – as it drastically decreases the chance of that IP being blacklisted or blocked on some particular website. Regardless of what anybody says or claims, always perform your testing to see which proxy servers work best for your purposes.

Connection/protocol types

In terms of connection or protocol, proxies also categorize into SOCKS and HTTP proxies. Both work equally well when used for accessing multiple accounts through browser applications.

Benefits

  • Easy to use for multiple accounts.

  • You will be able to open multiple profiles with unique IP addresses simultaneously from one PC.

  • IP information consistency is very good. Your accounts are always accessed from the same IP address.

  • Cheaper compared to other residential solutions.

Limitations

  • No encryption. Your internet service provider can see your traffic.

  • Proxies you buy are not always reliable. They can stop working, and you'll need a replacement. Test multiple providers to learn which one is better.

  • Websites might be able to discover that you use a datacenter proxy to connect.

Use datacenter proxies if you want to keep your multiple accounts for longer periods and access them daily. Datacenter IP proxies are cheaper than residential IP ones, which come at the price of less natural looking connections. Both types of proxies are more convenient to use with Multilogin than VPN.

In-house solutions

When using proxies offered as a service, you are essentially putting yourself at risk of two things:

  • Proxies can be blacklisted on the website you are trying to access.

  • Proxy servers go down either temporarily or permanently.

To mitigate both risks, you may create your fresh proxy server with a clean IP. This method is more expensive than buying from proxy providers. However, it puts you in charge of your proxies and removes the chance of them being blacklisted due to abuse by other people.

Getting started

Below are some things you will need to get started.

  • A VPS with at least 256MB RAM (512MB recommended), Debian 8.0 x64 with a dedicated IP address. There are plenty of VPS services on the internet. You do not need a high-performance one – choose the one with at least 256MB of RAM. All parameters, like RAM, IP address, and OS (Debian 8.0 x64) can be selected when setting up your VPS. We recommend refraining from buying a VPS from low-end providers. More often than not, their IP address pools are heavily abused by previous customers, thus blacklisted by many web platforms.

  • For root access to your VPS, you should have credentials in the following (similar) format:

    • IP Address: 112.113.114.115

    • Username: root

    • Password: a1b2c3d4e5

  • A PuTTY client – download it here.

  • A WinSCP client – download it here.

Setting up your own proxy server

After gaining access to your VPS, you can now set up your own proxy server using the instructions provided here.

Working with residential IPs

In the above sections, we have outlined two main methods to change your IP addresses using datacenter proxies. However, in many cases, you will want to utilize residential IP proxies for connecting to web platforms. In this section, we will outline a few methods to set up a connection with a residential IP address.

ADSL connection with dynamic IPs

The cheapest and easiest way to obtain a pool of residential IPs is to set up your home or office connection with a big internet service provider (ISP) that offers a dynamic IP connection.

This way, you will have access to thousands of IP ranges, which other people also use. For example, if you reside in a city with a population of 200,000 people. Half of them access some particular major web platform daily using a pool of around 1,000-5,000 IPs released by the ISPs in that city. It’s clear why this web platform will never base its tracking decisions solely on your IP address. If it does so, it runs the risk of suspecting a lot of real users in the process as well. Also, because different IPs will come from the same city, there is very little chance of triggering any verification, when doing consecutive login attempts. Consequently, IP becomes unrelated in such cases, and the platform’s tracking decisions will be mostly derived from factors such as browser fingerprinting and account activity.

Although many Multilogin users heavily use this method, it seemingly remains inconsistent in implementation across multiple users. This is because whether this method will work will heavily depend on your ISP. Because different ISP companies function differently, you may always encounter different problems. The most common one is that despite having a dynamic IP connection, your IP will stick with you for days, weeks, and even months, no matter what you do to obtain a new one.

This way, we do not go into in-depth details on how to make the process more efficient. If you are practically interested in this method, you must do your due diligence, research, and test different ISPs.

Considering the problems and issues with this method, we will still provide some guidance in making the process more efficient. If you are interested in this method, please read on.

Controlling IP releases

The fact that you have a dynamic IP address means that your IP address will periodically change. Your goal here is to get a new IP address at will. For example, when switching between browser profiles, you usually want to have a new IP address for each one to avoid being linked.

Controlling IP releases does not always depend on your efforts. Sometimes it just boils down to the ISP and the modem/router you use. Here are some tips that may help you choose the right ISP and modem or router.

  • Ultimately, you need an ADSL connection, which gives you a new IP address, whenever you restart the connection. This is something that depends entirely on your ISP. Therefore if you want to use this method, be prepared to test the frequency of IP change with multiple companies to find the most suitable one.

  • This may work with cable connections as well.

  • When choosing a modem/router, we recommend one that supports some or all of the following features:

    • Telnet connection (or open port 23) – this will enable you to write custom batch files, which will renew your IP addresses.

    • Has a feature of releasing and renewing IP addresses with a click of a button.

    • A router has a feature of automatically renewing your IP every X minutes/hours/days.

Once you have a new internet connection with a big enough IP pool which will give you a new IP address whenever you restart a router, you have the following options to control the release of new residential IP addresses:

  • Restart the router.

  • Release and renew your IP in the router settings.

  • Issue commands to release and renew IP through a Telnet connection or command prompt.

  • Use scripts that issue commands to renew your IP. Search for Batch [.bat] files and Telnet Scripting Tool.

  • Change your MAC address every time you need a new IP address. A great freeware tool for this is TMAC.

  • Automatically set up the router to get a new IP every X minutes/hours/days. You will need to look in a router or modem Settings (under LAN/WAN) and find a setting that says: DHCP server lease time or something along those lines. Set the lease time to whatever option you prefer. Please note that times are sometimes pre-determined, and not all routers support this.

Finally, to use it with Multilogin, you leave proxy settings off, like in the case of using a VPN, and connect your computer to your newly acquired internet connection. Furthermore, if you want to do everything remotely, you may want to install Multilogin on a separate machine and access it through TeamViewer.

MRI method

Mobile residential IP method is very similar to the residential ADSL connection method outlined above. It will also give you access to a pool of thousands of residential IPs. However, it is more practical, more consistent with implementation, and usually cheaper.

The first thing you should do is to get an Android phone with a fast mobile internet connection.  Thereafter, you connect it to a PC using tethering or a back-connect proxy installed on your Android phone. Unlike in the case of an ADSL connection, you will get a new IP address every time you restart your mobile connection. It is not guaranteed to work with all mobile internet providers worldwide, but usually, it is the case according to our testing and Multilogin user reports. On most Android phones restarting the connection should be enough to get a new IP. If it doesn’t work, try turning the Airplane mode off and back on.

There are two ways you can access this connection remotely. First, same as with ADSL connection, you need to install Multilogin and the mobile connection on a separate PC and then access it through TeamViewer. Second, you can turn your mobile connection into a back-connect proxy, which you can use to access the residential IP addresses of your mobile phone remotely. The main benefit of this method is that it eliminates a computer in the middle. In this section, we will show you how to set up everything correctly.

However, first, we need to discuss how to control IP releases remotely.

Controlling IP releases remotely

If you plan to access the mobile connection remotely, you should learn how to control the IP releases without having direct access to the phone. Below we explain how you can “tell” your phone to get a new IP address by simply opening a link in a browser.

First of all, to set everything up, you need two Android applications:

  • Tasker – paid app, which costs €2.99 at the time of writing.

  • Notify My Android – you will need the premium version, which costs $4.99 at the time of writing.

This is how you can set up the Notify My Android app:

  1. Register on this website and upgrade to Premium.

  2. Generate a new API key here.

  3. Copy the API key, it should be something like this:

    175670exs4fed1f042347c62df321afss2525f99f5123377e
  4. Insert your new API key in this formatted link:

    1https://www.notifymyandroid.com/publicapi/notify?apikey=[INSERT_API_KEY_HERE]&application=android&event=restart&description=restart
  5. You should have something like this (this is your API link):

    1https://www.notifymyandroid.com/publicapi/notify?apikey=75670exs4fed1f042347c62df321afss2525f99f5123377e&application=android&event=restart&description=restart
  6. Go to Notify My Android app and log in to your account.

This is how you can set up the Tasker app:

  1. Click "Add profile" (the plus icon at the bottom) on your phone app.

  2. Choose “Event” "3rd Party" "Notify My Android".

  3. Write the following strings in the fields and save them:

    • App: Android

    • Event: restart

    • Description: restart

  4. Click “New Task” add a name for the task “Data Restart” "Save".

  5. Click “Add Task” (the plus icon at the bottom) “Net” "Mobile Data" in the “Set” field, choose the toggle "Save".

  6. Add the same task one more time (repeat the previous step).

  7. Let the Tasker app run in the background.

And you are ready! Now, whenever you open your API link in a browser, the app will notify Tasker to restart your mobile internet connection. A new IP address will be assigned to your phone then. You can be a thousand miles away from your phone; however, if you access that link – your mobile internet connection will always restart.

Troubleshooting and tips

  • Use higher-performing Android devices for better execution. Sometimes apps may crash on older phones.

  • With some Android phones, you will not be able to get a new IP address by simply restarting the data settings. However, switching airplane mode on and off also gets you a new IP every time. This method seems to be more consistent across different devices. You can automate this task with Tasker as well. Just follow these instructions when setting up a task for your profile:

    • Click “New Task” add a name for the task “Data Restart” "Save".

    • Click “Add Task” (the plus icon at the bottom) “Net” "Airplane mode" in the “Set” field, choose the toggle "Save".

    • Add the same task one more time (repeat the previous step).

Turning your smartphone into a back-connect proxy

Using Multilogin on a separate computer through TeamViewer, also connected to the mobile internet, can become tedious and time-consuming. Luckily, we designed a method to eliminate the in-the-middle PC. With this method, you can access your residential mobile IPs using a back-connect proxy.

The general idea behind this method is to install a VPN (Virtual Private Network) client on your mobile phone and then connect your computer to that VPN. Please note that hereafter we use the VPN term to refer to technology compared to a VPN service.

Things you will need before getting started

  • VPS with at least 512MB RAM, Debian 8.0 x64, and an assigned IP address.
    There are plenty of VPS services on the internet. You do not need a high-performance one – choose the one with at least 512MB RAM. All parameters, like RAM, IP address, and OS (Debian 8.0 x64) can be selected when setting up your VPS. Debian 8.0 x64 operation system should be available in most VPS service providers. You should be able to set up a VPN server on other Unix-based operating systems, but our instructions are tailored to Debian 8.0 x64.

  • Root access to your VPS. You should have credentials in the following (similar) format:

    • IP Address: 111.112.113.114

    • Username: root

    • Password: 5cddeb4b0eef2708

  • A PuTTY client – download it here.

  • A WinSCP client – download it here.

Installing a VPN and creating a back-connect proxy

  1. Install and launch an OpenVPN server on your VPS. Instructions are available here. Please note that you need to configure your OpenVPN server in the following ways:

    • Allow client-to-client communication

    • Use tun as the connection protocol

    • Disable all routing or traffic forwarding

  2. Generate OpenVPN profiles for your mobile and access machine.

  3. Connect to your VPN server on your PC via the generated OpenVPN profile. Instructions are available here.

  4. Connect to your VPN server on your Android via the generated OpenVPN profile. Instructions are available here.

  5. Launch a proxy server on your Android phone. A good proxy server example can be found here.

  6. Use your Android phone's newly generated IP address as a proxy in Multilogin.

Residential proxy services

As you may have noticed, getting residential IP proxies is much more difficult than getting the datacenter ones and if you don’t want to go into all the hustle of setting everything up, you can sign up for a paid service that provides residential IP connections. The most common downside of all residential IP proxy services currently available on the market is a relatively expensive price.

Bright Data

Bright Data (formerly Luminati) is probably the biggest residential IP provider. The company runs its SDK service available to any app vendor. When users of apps with an SDK agree to join Bright Data’s network through opt-in, they share their IP with customers of Bright Data’s proxy service. When you sign up for a Bright Data paid subscription, you can access the IP of anyone who has agreed to the terms of opt-in. It is how subscription users get access to IP addresses in all major cities worldwide.

Multilogin fully supports connections to Bright Data proxies. The main benefit of using this service is access to millions of residential IPs worldwide. You can choose your IP by country, state, and city. Also, it’s easy to access these residential IPs simultaneously from multiple browser profiles at the same time.

However, because Bright Data is designed, you will not always have access to a certain IP location in particular timeframes. Each proxy session will last a maximum of 2-3 hours of connectivity.

GeoSurf

GeoSurf offers a smaller scale of residential proxy networks than the previous provider. Yet, it is quite suitable for a business that can’t afford expensive service and doesn’t need that kind of scope. Still, GeoSurf’s service offers access to IPs in 130 countries. An easy onboarding process allows starting fast after subscribing to a plan. It is easy to integrate the service with Multilogin by activating a plugin.

There is a high rotation option for IPs. It is suitable for web-scraping or other use cases where your IP switches to a different one frequently. Working with account management on social media, you would prefer to choose sticky IPs. The service also enables choosing the country and city of the IP. GeoSurf limits the timeframe for connectivity to 30 minutes max.

Summary

Too much to digest? Let’s recap what we have learned in this article. In the beginning, we mentioned that your IP address is usually the first thing that websites log and look at because it is easily obtainable. It can reveal a lot of information about you. That is why we need to understand how to hide your IP address properly.

  • The two most popular datacenter IP solutions to hide your IP address are VPN and proxies.

  • Both VPNs and proxies can be bought from external providers or created on your own.

  • You can easily set up your own proxy server by getting a VPS and following the instructions from above or running our custom script.

  • Using proxies is the most popular and convenient way of changing the IP address for Multilogin users. They are great if you want to keep your multiple browser profiles for longer periods and access them daily.

  • VPN exit node IP addresses are mostly known to popular web platforms and can be oftentimes blacklisted due to other users abusing the service. However, VPN can be beneficial in some cases when you need access to a big pool of IPs worldwide for a relatively cheap price.

  • Having an ADSL connection with a dynamic IP address as a residential IP proxy solution remains inconsistent in implementation across multiple users due to problems with IP renewal happening sometimes.

  • Using a mobile 3G or 4G connection is more practical than ADSL because it allows better control over IP renewal. You can control IP releases remotely by using two Android apps. Also, you can easily turn your 3G/4G mobile connection into a back-connect proxy by getting a VPS and following the instructions from above or running our custom script.

  • Our recommended residential IP proxy services are Bright Data and GeoSurf.

If you want a solution to access different accounts using residential or datacenter proxies, check out Multilogin. The software utilizes state-of-the-art counter-fingerprinting technology, which ensures the privacy of your online accounts regardless of what solution you are using to change your IP address.