How to hide your IP address: a complete guide
JANUARY 15, 2017 | ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT
For any business managing multiple accounts, protecting your identity is crucial, and that starts from 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 you want to hide your IP address
To protect your multiple identities, it is essential to use different and unique IP addresses. Technically, your computer cannot have more than one IP address at once. This is why different solutions exist to channel your traffic through a remote machine, which has a different IP address than yours.
To protect your multiple identities, it is essential to use different and unique IP addresses
Before we proceed with explaining how to implement those solutions, you need to understand the difference between datacenter and residential IP proxies. If you haven’t read “Datacenter vs. Residential IP Proxies. Your Complete Guide” article, please do so before you continue reading further.
IP information consistency
Now, when you are aware of the differences between datacenter and residential IP addresses and understand the importance of hiding your real IP address, let’s introduce the concept of IP information consistency. Modern popular web platforms are aware that users tend to choose easily memorable passwords or use the same password all over the internet. This naturally makes hacking into accounts easy. To protect users from the hacking threat, web platforms record connection information and browser fingerprints they receive 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. Although designed for protection, this can make managing multiple profiles more difficult.
Usually, the easiest way to trigger the security checks is to access an account with an IP address, which belongs to the area it was never previously accessed from. Thus, the rule of thumb when accessing your multiple accounts will be to keep the same IP address for any particular account as long as possible.
Of course, keeping the same IP address for an account is not possible if you are using a dynamic IP address, which usually belongs to the ranges of residential IPs. In this case, make sure you access the account with IP addresses, which all correspond to the same city or state.
This sums up the theoretical part. Please continue on to learn how to set up different solutions to hide your IP address.
Datacenter IP solutions
VPN (Virtual Private Network)
VPN stands for a virtual private network, a connection type, which is oftentimes used by companies to protect their sensitive data while transferring it over the internet. However, VPN can be also 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 setup your own VPN server. In case, 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.
Pros and cons of VPN for multiple account management
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
You will not be able to open multiple profiles with unique IP addresses at the same time. You will have to work 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 grey- or blacklisted
Conclusion: using VPN service might be beneficial in some cases when you need cheap access to a big pool of IPs located 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 we can recommend. Both have an excellent quality of service and customer support:
Please note that we are not responsible for the quality of any services. Perform your own due diligence before using any of the 3rd party services.
How to use VPN with Multilogin?
Keep in mind, that each time you switch a VPN server; you will have a different IP address. Therefore, in order to keep IP information consistent for a particular profile, make sure to 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 to which you want to be connected to.
When creating a browser profile, make sure to 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 and always use the same server for this browser profile.
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. Same as VPN, you can either 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.
Type of Authentication
When connecting to a proxy, there is a need to authenticate your access to it. 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 the use of Username & Password, as this solves the problem of having a dynamic IP connection and constantly needing to update your computer access IP address.
Type of Access
Usually, proxy providers offer three types of proxies: Public, Shared and Private. Technically they are mostly identical but can be used by different audiences. Public proxies can be accessed by anybody – these proxies usually get blacklisted very quickly. Shared proxies can only be accessed by a certain number of people. 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 the use of 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 own testing to see which proxy servers work best for your purposes.
Type of Connection/Protocol
In terms of connection or protocol, proxies also categorize on SOCKS and HTTP proxies. Both work equally well when using for accessing multiple accounts through browser applications.
Using datacenter IP proxies for multiple account management
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
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 datacenter proxy to connect
Conclusion: Use datacenter proxies, if you want to keep your multiple accounts for longer periods and access them on a daily basis. Datacenter IP proxies are cheaper than residential IP ones, which comes at the price of less naturally looking connection. Both types of proxies are more convenient to use with Multilogin than VPN.
When using proxies offered as a service, you are essentially putting yourself into a risk of two things:
The proxies can be blacklisted on the website you are trying to access
The proxy server goes down either temporarily or permanently
To mitigate both risks, you may create your own 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 your proxies being blacklisted due to abuse by other people.
Things you will need before getting started
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 – just choose the one that has at least 256MB RAM. All of the parameters, like RAM, IP address and OS (Debian 8.0 x64) can be selected, when setting up your VPS. We absolutely 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.
Root access to your VPSYou should have credentials in the following (similar) format:
IP Address: 112.113.114
Downloaded freeware PuTTY client. Can be downloaded here.
Installed freeware WinSCP client. Can be downloaded here.
Setting up your own proxy server
After you have gained accesses to your VPS, you can now set-up your own proxy server using instructions provided here.
Residential IP proxies
In the above sections, we have outlined two main methods on how you can change your IP addresses using datacenter IP 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 on how to set up a connection with a residential IP address.
Residential ADSL connection with the dynamic IP address
The cheapest and the easiest method of obtaining a pool of residential IPs is setting 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 are also used by other people. For example, if you reside in a city that has a population of 200,000 people. Half of them access some particular major web platform every day by using a pool of around 1,000-5,000 IP-s released by the ISPs in that city. It’s clear why this particular web platform will never base their 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 IP-s will come from the same city, there is very little chance of triggering any type of 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 this method is heavily used by a lot of Multilogin users, it seemingly remains inconsistent in implementation across multiple users. This is due to the fact whether this method will work or not will heavily depend on the ISP you are using. Because different ISP companies function in different ways 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 will have to do your own 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 each one to avoid being linked.
Controlling IP releases not always depends on your efforts. Sometimes it just boils down to the ISP and the modem/router you are using. Here are a couple of tips, which 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 connection 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 by 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 and which 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 Telnet connection or command prompt
Use scripts that issues 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, which is available
Automatically set up the router to get a new IP every X minutes/hours/days. You will need to look in 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 just 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)
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 across the world but usually, it is the case according to both our own testing and Multilogin user reports. On most Android phones restarting the connection should be enough to get a new IP. If it didn’t work, try turning Airplane mode off and then 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 remotely access the residential IP addresses of your mobile phone. The main benefit of this method is that it completely eliminates a computer in the middle. In this section, we will show you how to set up everything in the right way.
However, first, we need to discuss how to control the 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
To set everything up, just follow the instructions below:
Install Tasker and Notify My Android apps on your mobile phone with a 3G/4G internet connection
Create a Notify My Android Account with an API link
Register an account
Upgrade to premium
Generate a new API key here
Copy the API key, it should be something like this
Insert your new API key in this formatted link
You should have something like this (this your API link):
Go to Notify My Android app and log in to your account
Setup your Tasker profile
Go to the Tasker app
Click add profile (The plus icon on the bottom)
Choose “Event” -> 3rd Party -> Notify My Android
Write the following strings in the fields
Click “New Task” -> add a name for the task “Data Restart” -> Save
Click “Add Task” (The plus icon on the bottom) -> Click “Net” -> Mobile Data -> In “Set” field chose Toggle -> Save
Add the same task one more time: Click “Add Task” (The plus icon on the bottom) -> Click “Net” -> Mobile Data -> In “Set” field chose Toggle -> Save
Let the Tasker App run on 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 on the bottom) -> Click “Net” -> Airplane mode -> In “Set” field chose Toggle -> Save
Add the same task one more time: Click “Add Task” (The plus icon on the bottom) -> Click “Net” -> Airplane mode -> In “Set” field chose Toggle -> Save
Turning your smartphone into a back-connect proxy
Using Multilogin on a separate computer through TeamViewer, which is also connected to the mobile internet, can become tedious and time-consuming. Luckily, we designed a method to eliminate the in-the-middle PC completely. With this method, you will be able to access your residential mobile IPs by simply using a back-connect proxy.
The general idea behind this method is that you 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 VPN term to refer to technology as compared to a VPN service referred previously.
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 – just choose the one that has at least 512MB RAM. All of the 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 as well 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: 188.8.131.52
Downloaded freeware PuTTY client Can be downloaded here.
Installed freeware WinSCP client. Can be downloaded here.
Installing VPN and creating a back-connect proxy
Here are the steps you need to take, in order to turn your mobile internet connection with a residential IP address into a back-connect proxy:
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
Generate OpenVPN profiles for your mobile and access machine.
Connect to your VPN server on your PC via the generated OpenVPN profile. Instructions are available here.
Connect to your VPN server on your Android via the generated OpenVPN profile Instructions available here.
Launch a proxy server on your Android phone. A good proxy server example can found here.
Use the newly generated IP address on your Android phone as a proxy in Multilogin.
Residential IP 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 just sign up for a paid service that provides residential IP connection. The most common downside of all residential IP proxy service currently available on the market is a relatively expensive price.
Currently, 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 the apps with an SDK agree to join Bright Data’s network through to 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, due to the fact of how 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 offers a smaller scale of residential proxy network than the previous provider. Yet, it is quite suitable for a business who can’t afford expensive service and don’t need that kind of scope. Still, GeoSurf’s service offers access to IPs in 130 countries. 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. Service also enables choosing country and city of the IP. GeoSurf limits the timeframe of connectivity to 30 minutes max.
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 and it can reveal a lot of information about you. That is why we need to understand how to properly hide your IP address.
The two post popular datacenter IP solutions to hide your IP address are VPN and proxies
Both VPN 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 on a daily basis.
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 around the world 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 a more practical solution 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 are looking for 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.