Of all the many things a good VPN can help you do, effectively hiding your IP is the most fundamentally important.
The more servers available and the more varied their locations, the more effectively hidden you’ll be to prying eyes.
Our top choices hide your IP effectively, while promising blazing fast speeds, secure logging policies and user-friendly apps.
The Most Important Factors When We Review a VPN
- Transparent, fair and privacy-focused logging policies
- Advanced security features to prevent lP address leaks
- Reliable and fast speeds
- Good for streaming and torrenting
- Well-designed and easy to use apps
- High-quality customer support
Wondering why you should trust our reviews? Take a look at How We Test VPNs
Read More Information on Our Top 5 Best VPNs for Hiding Your IP Address
How We Picked the Best VPN to Hide Your IP for 2019
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
Whatever you’re 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In order to make sure there’s 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.
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.