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Hide Your IP Address with a VPN

Rebecca Duff
Rebecca DuffUpdated

The primary purpose of a VPN is to hide your true IP address in order to prevent your ISP and other third parties from seeing what you’re doing online, therefore allowing you to browse securely. There are so many providers to choose from that it can be difficult to find the right one, but that’s where we come in. We’re always testing VPNs so we can provide you with unbiased, up-to-date reviews and recommendations to make your decision easier.

The best VPNs to hide your IP allow you to do whatever you want online, including streaming and torrenting, in total privacy. You can rely on our top picks to be more than capable of super-fast uploads and downloads thanks to our independent speed tests which measure VPN performance on servers all over the world. We even test out the apps to see which ones offer the best security features and a seamless user experience.

The 5 Best VPN Service to Hide Your IP Address
  1. ExpressVPN
  2. NordVPN
  3. IPVanish
  4. CyberGhost
  5. Private Internet Access
Read on for our detailed analysis of each VPN.
Our pick for Hide IP
ExpressVPN

Incredibly fast and secure with advanced privacy features. HD streaming and 24/7 live support.

Best price
$6.67 per month
Special deal
49% off 15-month plan
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
Customer Support
24/7 live chat support
No. of Server Locations
94 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
3
Pros
  1. Fast speeds - global average of 65Mbps
  2. VPN kill switch for extra security
  3. P2P and torrenting permitted on all servers
  4. Instant setup on all your devices
  5. Connect securely to 94 countries
  6. Reliable access to Netflix & iPlayer
Cons
  1. Fairly pricey on shorter plans
  2. Limited to three simultaneous connections
Bottom Line

ExpressVPN is without doubt the best all-rounder VPN on the current market. Performance is excellent on both local connections and across longer distances, and top-class upload speeds combined with an extensive set of privacy features means it’s a brilliant choice for torrenters. Consistent access to Netflix, BBC iPlayer and other popular streaming sites is another added bonus.

The modern, user-friendly apps are available for a long list of devices, including Amazon Fire TV, but unfortunately you can only protect up to three different devices at once, which is a little stingy compared to other providers.

You can be completely sure your true IP address won’t be exposed thanks to the VPN kill switch feature, which stops all internet traffic should the VPN connection drop for any reason. We also really like the minimal logging policy, only collecting anonymous usage stats to maintain a high level of server performance.

Customer support is best-in-class with 24/7 live chat. As you’d expect from a premium product, ExpressVPN isn’t cheap, but you can bring the monthly price right down to $6.67 on the annual plan. You’ll struggle to find a VPN provider that strikes a better balance between privacy and performance.


Read our full ExpressVPN review

2
NordVPN

Speedy, zero-logs VPN with strong security features including malware protection.

Best price
$2.99 per month
Special deal
75% off with 3-year plan
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
Customer Support
24/7 live chat support
No. of Server Locations
62 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
6
Pros
  1. Fast speeds - average of 71Mbps globally
  2. No restrictions on P2P/torrenting
  3. VPN kill switch for extra security
  4. User-friendly apps for all popular platforms
  5. Connect securely to 62 countries
  6. Strict zero-logs policy
Cons
  1. Slow email support
  2. Extra VPN protocols require manual config
  3. Browser extensions are proxies
Bottom Line

NordVPN is a great choice to hide your IP address if your monthly budget doesn’t quite stretch to the full package offered by ExpressVPN. Downloads peak at a phenomenal 296Mbps on local connections, and with uploads consistently reaching 106Mbps in major cities it’s very popular with P2P users and privacy-conscious streamers. It’s also one of the few providers that still consistently works with both Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

The apps are simple yet effective and available for all popular platforms, and with a generous connection limit you can protect up to six devices at the same time. NordVPN really shines on the privacy front with a strict zero-logs policy, first-party DNS servers and a VPN kill switch feature, ensuring that your real IP address won’t be exposed even if your internet connection drops.

Customer support is good enough but email responses can be slow at times. If you can deal with some manual config to set up extra VPN protocols, NordVPN is a solid choice that will only set you back $2.99 per month on a three-year subscription.


Read our full NordVPN review

3
IPVanish

Fast and secure zero-logs VPN. Ideal for P2P. Loads of extra privacy features.

Best price
$6.49 per month
Special deal
46% off with 12-month plan
Money-back guarantee
7 Days
Customer Support
24/7 live chat support
No. of Server Locations
61 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
10
Pros
  1. Fast download speeds - 51Mbps average globally
  2. First-party DNS servers and VPN kill switch
  3. P2P/torrenting permitted on all servers
  4. Simple setup on popular devices
  5. Connect securely to 61 countries
  6. Strict zero-logs policy
Cons
  1. Inconsistent international performance
  2. Not working with BBC iPlayer
  3. Short refund period (only 7 days)
Bottom Line

IPVanish is an excellent choice if torrenting in private is your top priority. Super-fast speeds on local connections, averaging 166Mbps in several popular locations, are ideal for P2P activity, even if performance across longer distances could do with some improvement. The sheer volume of servers and IP addresses on offer means it’s very easy for you to get ‘lost in the crowd’, and reduces the chance of congestion at busy times.

The custom apps aren’t the most user-friendly we’ve seen, but more than make up for it with the sheer amount of advanced privacy features on offer, and an incredibly generous connection limit means you can protect ten devices simultaneously. IPVanish is easily one of the most secure VPNs on the current market, featuring a VPN kill switch, IPv6 leak protection, first-party DNS servers and a strict zero-logs policy to ensure none of your personal information is compromised.

Customer support is improving with 24/7 live chat now available. It’s not cheap but you can bring the monthly fee down to $6.49 on the annual plan, saving yourself 46%. If you’re a privacy-conscious torrenter, IPVanish is most definitely worth a look.


Read our full IPVanish review

4
CyberGhost

Speedy zero-logs VPN with advanced privacy features. Solid choice for P2P users.

Best price
$2.75 per month
Special deal
77% off with 18-month plan
Money-back guarantee
45 Days
Customer Support
24/7 live chat support
No. of Server Locations
60 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
7
Pros
  1. Fast download speeds - 59Mbps global average
  2. VPN kill switch and DNS leak protection
  3. Optimized servers for torrenting and P2P use
  4. Simple setup on most popular devices
  5. Connect securely to 60 countries
  6. Strict zero-logs policy
Cons
  1. Some restrictions on torrenting
  2. Small server network compared to other providers
Bottom Line

CyberGhost is our top pick for a budget VPN that doesn’t require an incredibly long commitment to make big savings. Performance doesn’t quite match that offered by top-tier providers such as ExpressVPN and IPVanish, however speeds on local connections regularly hit 153Mbps or more, making it a solid choice for streamers and torrenters. Access to Netflix is very consistent thanks to servers optimized for HD video.

The apps aim to customize your experience based on what you want to do online, and while this is pretty useful, there are easier options out there if you’re looking for something more click-and-forget. A strict zero-logs policy and first-party DNS servers mean there’s no way of tracing your online activity back to you, and the VPN kill switch prevents your true IP address from being leaked in the case of a connection issue.

Customer support is really helpful with quick responses to email and live chat. Torrenters beware, P2P activity isn’t permitted on CyberGhost’s US and Australia servers due to ‘legal reasons’, however at the bargain price of just $2.75 on the 18-month plan, this minor downside is easily overlooked.


Read our full CyberGhost review

5
Private Internet Access

Incredibly fast VPN with loads of privacy options. Unrestricted P2P activity.

Best price
$2.91 per month
Special deal
58% off with 2-year plan
Money-back guarantee
7 Days
Customer Support
24/7 Email Support
No. of Server Locations
33 Countries
Simultaneous Connections
5
Pros
  1. Incredible speeds - 89Mbps global average
  2. VPN kill switch and WebRTC leak protection
  3. Unrestricted P2P and torrent use
  4. Simple setup on most popular devices
  5. Connect securely to 33 countries
  6. Zero-logs policy and first-party DNS servers
Cons
  1. Small server network
  2. Based in privacy-unfriendly US
  3. Old-fashioned, clunky desktop apps
  4. Slow responses to email
Bottom Line

Private Internet Access is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a very fast, highly configurable VPN and don’t mind fiddling with some manual settings in order to get the best performance. Speeds on local connections are absolutely fantastic, peaking at 427Mbps in some major cities, with other hotspots averaging 255Mbps, which is excellent news for torrenters.

The desktop apps are very old-fashioned and clunky but pack in enough advanced features to satisfy even the most experienced VPN users. A strict zero-logs policy goes a long way to making up for the fact it’s based in the privacy-unfriendly US, and we really like that you’re protected against DNS, IPv6 and WebRTC leaks. The VPN kill switch is essential, preventing your true IP address from being leaked should your connection drop for any reason.

Customer support is decent on the website but we were disappointed by the lack of live chat. If PIA updated the desktop client, this VPN would be a serious contender for the best overall performer, but right now the interface simply isn’t worthy of the level of tech on offer. At the ridiculous price of just $2.91 on a two-year plan however, we can imagine that most people will be able to overlook this.


Read our full Private Internet Access review

How we picked the best VPN to hide your IP for 2018

Our top picks to hide your IP address offer the best possible balance between performance and privacy. We only considered providers with minimal logging policies or those who collect no logs at all, meaning it would be near impossible to trace online activity back to an individual user. We also looked for VPN apps with advanced features such as VPN killswitch and DNS leak protection to further protect you from potential IP address leaks.

We’re constantly testing our top choices so we can make sure our recommendations are as fresh as possible. We spend hours trying out the VPN apps to check that they’re user-friendly and easy to install, as well as looking for specific features such as optimized servers for streaming or torrenting. We even check out the customer support on offer, making sure it’s top notch so any issues will be solved quickly and effectively.

How to use a VPN to hide your IP address

Whenever you connect to the internet without a VPN, everything you do online is visible to your ISP and potentially other third parties, depending on where you live. This means that if you connect to a torrent client such as BitTorrent, your IP address is exposed, along with the IP addresses of everyone else taking part in the transfer of the file data. Some ISPs will even reduce your bandwidth if they detect that you’re using P2P software, massively decreasing your download speeds.

If you want to stop this from happening and prevent your ISP from monitoring your activity, all you have to do is switch on your VPN before doing anything on the internet. For the best possible performance you should choose the closest server to your true physical location, as this means quick uploads and downloads and low latency.

Make sure you choose a VPN provider with a built-in killswitch feature, as this will prevent your true IP address from being leaked should the VPN connection drop for any reason. There are a few different types of these, so make sure you know exactly how yours works to avoid being caught out. If you’re having any issues with speed or general performance, be sure to speak to your VPN provider, as they’ll be able to give you the best advice.

How to choose a VPN to Hide Your IP Address: 8 Tips

  • Is it fast enough in your preferred locations?

    Whatever youre doing online, whether it be streaming or torrenting, raw speed is absolutely vital. Look for the fastest possible VPN, making sure you check upload speed as well as download. Don’t forget to also consider latency, as low ping times (measured in ms) combined with high speeds give you the most bandwidth. The more bandwidth, the more you can do online at once without worrying about slowdown.

  • Are there any limitations on P2P traffic?

    Often people want to hide their IP address so their connection to torrent clients remains private and secure. While most major VPN providers permit P2P traffic, some do ban it on certain servers. Check the relevant section of our review and make sure that you can live with any server exclusions. Our top picks tend to have no (or very few) restrictions.

  • Is it a zero logs VPN?

    Using a VPN when you go online may protect your privacy from nosy ISPs but your activity still remains visible to your VPN provider. It’s therefore essential to choose a VPN that is as close to zero logs as possible, so that at least there is no persistent record of that activity. Note that every VPN will claim to be “zero logs”. In reality, delivering high performance across an extensive global network is impossible unless you are monitoring at least some basic connection details. Look for timestamp logging that’s limited to just the date of your connection and logging of server names and users rather than specific IP addresses.

  • Does it have servers in the locations you need?

    For best performance, you will need a VPN that offers server locations near your physical location. Consider any online needs you may have and ensure a good number of servers in relevant locations. The more servers, the better the performance as they will be less congested.

  • Does it work on your preferred devices?

    Almost all VPN software will work on Windows, Mac and Linux machines, along with iOS and Android mobile devices. However, some VPN services are also compatible with other internet-connected items, such as routers, games consoles and streaming devices, such as the Amazon Fire Stick.

  • Are their client apps and software easy to use?

    No-one likes a clunky, confusing app. Look for a VPN with software that’s well-designed, simple and powerful and you will be much more likely to use it all the time. We share the results of our hands-on testing of each VPN app in the the Ease of Use part of its review. We spend all day testing VPN apps, so hopefully we know a thing or two!

  • Check connection, encryption and security features

    In order to make sure theres no risk of your true IP address being leaked at any point, make sure that the VPN has an effective killswitch to protect you should the VPN fail for some reason, leaving you exposed. Also look for protection from DNS and other leaks, such as IPv6 and WebRTC. Port forwarding is another handy feature if you plan to torrent while using a NAT firewall.

  • Finally, check the price and money-back guarantee

    Even the most expensive VPN plans are very affordable but you will likely have a budget in mind. 12-month plans typically offer the best value and you can reduce the risk of buyer’s remorse by choosing a VPN with a long refund period, preferably 30 days and with no questions asked. These guarantees are much more common than traditional free trials but are essentially the same thing.

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