What Is a Fake IP Address, and Why Would You Need One?

Posted on Feb 23, 2024 by Kyle Keegan

Your internet protocol address, or IP address for short, is a set of characters unique to your router or network. It’s how you send requests to the sites and services you use, and how they know where to send the information you ask for. However, because your IP address is linked to your real location, it also lets people identify your rough location and track your online activity. 

You can fake your IP address quite easily to evade detection and ditch your digital tail. In this post, we’ll look at what a fake IP address is, how to get one, and when and why you might want to.

What Is a Fake IP Address?

When you fake your IP address, you’re essentially masking your real IP address with another one. It’s not really a fake IP address – you still need a real IP address so you can send and receive information. When we say a “fake IP address,” we mean that you’re connecting to the internet using a different IP address to your original, assigned one. 

Imagine sending packages back and forth to someone overseas, but instead of sending and receiving them from your home address, you get an anonymous mail office box. You use a courier service to take parcels from your home address to the mailbox, and have your incoming mail sent there, too, before being delivered back to your house. You still get to send and receive all the packages you need to, but the address everyone en route sees is that of the pick-up point. 

That’s how faking your IP address works. You connect to the internet via a different server using a VPN or proxy service, and that gives you a different IP address. All your traffic is sent from your device via the new server, so it looks like your requests are coming from somewhere else. You still get to access the sites you need, but your activity isn’t linked back to your original address – the pages you interact with only see your “fake” IP address. 

It’s worth noting that while this is sometimes called “spoofing your IP address,” it’s not the same as IP spoofing, a type of cyber attack that allows bad actors to undermine security systems, steal data, crash servers, or infect devices with malware.

Private Internet Access is the easiest way to safely fake your IP address. It also secures your traffic with military-grade VPN encryption. This means you can keep your connection private and protect your data from spies and trackers.

Why Use a Fake IP Address?

Your IP address is in the public domain. ISPs, advertisers, cyber crooks, and the government can use it to keep tabs on you, serve you ads, or even steal your information. Because it’s connected to your real location, your IP address also determines what websites you can access based on copyright laws or other location restrictions. With all that’s at stake, faking your IP address is a good way to:

Increase Your Privacy 

Faking your IP address keeps prying eyes off your real IP address. ISPs and advertisers won’t be able to link your online activity to your real IP address, so they won’t be able to create an accurate profile of you. Masking your real IP address means you can browse, stream, torrent, send files, or do whatever you want online without being watched. 

Strengthen Your Cybersecurity 

Keeping your real IP address under wraps can keep your network safe from cyber attacks. Malicious competitors or cybercriminals can target your IP address with DDoS attacks, which could crash your internet connection. Cybercriminals, say at a public Wi-Fi hotspot at the airport, can use your IP address to identify and hack into your device. Once in, they can infect it with malware or steal your sensitive information.

Avoid IP Block Lists

If you can’t access certain websites and platforms, your IP address may have ended up on an IP blocklist. As an example, gaming platforms sometimes block the IP addresses of players who’ve violated their terms of use. If this happens to you, it can be frustrating, especially if it isn’t your fault. Faking your IP address can keep your real IP address off blocklists so you can stay in the game. 

Access Content Abroad 

Some websites, platforms, and content are only available in certain countries. When you travel abroad, you’ll lose your home IP address, and this could mean reduced access to your favorite news sites or streaming platforms. If you mask your IP address with one from home, you can regain access to your favorite local content. 

PIA has VPN servers in over 90 countries around the world. Connect to any one of them in just two clicks to change your IP address and appear as if you’re somewhere else.

How to Get a Fake IP Address Safely

You can fake your IP address using various methods, though some are safer than others. Understanding how each works will help you make the best decision.

Use a VPN

A VPN or virtual private network is the easiest and safest way to fake your IP address. A reliable VPN will let you change your IP address safely to a location of your choice in seconds. A VPN also directs your traffic through an encrypted tunnel, so even if someone intercepts it, all they’ll see is scrambled characters. 

When you use a VPN, you share an IP address with many different users, and every time you connect to your VPN, your IP address changes. While you can choose your location, your VPN will issue you an IP address at random. 

Unfortunately, there are a couple of drawbacks. While using a VPN increases your anonymity and lets you “blend into the crowd,” it’s not always ideal. For example, if you need to connect to remote databases that use an IP allowlist (like for remote work), you won’t be able to use a VPN as your IP address will change every time you connect. Similarly, sensitive platforms like your online bank may not let you access your account with a shared or foreign IP address. 

In very rare cases, shared IP addresses might wind up on blocklists due to overuse, or the misbehavior of other users. You can try reconnecting to change your IP address – or better yet, use a dedicated IP address and avoid this issue altogether.

Use a Dedicated IP Address

Unlike a shared IP address, a dedicated IP address is exclusive to you. It’s also static, meaning it stays the same every time you connect. A dedicated IP address is ideal for accessing remote databases and avoiding IP blocks. It can also significantly reduce the number of CAPTCHAs you see online.

You can get a dedicated IP address from your ISP, but getting one from your VPN service provider will give you added anonymity – you’ll be able to connect via the same IP address, but without your ISP or anyone else knowing who that address belongs to. 

PIA’s Dedicated IP address service takes it even further – we ensure that not even we know who owns each Dedicated IP. We give you an anonymous key that lets you self-assign your dedicated IP address, ensuring your new IP address can never be traced back to you. 

Connect to a Proxy 

A proxy server is similar to a VPN in that it acts as a middleman between your device and the internet. It can fake your IP address, but unlike a VPN,  it can’t encrypt your traffic, so it’s less secure. A proxy also only works at the browser level, while a VPN can fake your IP address across all your apps. 

It’s definitely worth avoiding free proxies, though. They might seem like an easy way to fake your IP address and save a buck, but you could end up paying with your sensitive data. Cybercriminals are known to set up free proxy servers as a way to monitor user traffic or steal passwords and credit card information. Moreover, free proxies may bombard you with advertising or infect your device with malware.

The Last Word

As we’ve seen, a reputable VPN is by far the fastest, safest, and easiest way to fake your IP address. It also encrypts your traffic to give you security on top of privacy. It’s easy to use and best of all, easy on the pocket. For just a few dollars a month, you can get a VPN that can fake your IP address and keep you safely out of reach of snoops and cyber attacks.

PIA VPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can take it for a spin, risk-free. You’ll get access to a massive global network of servers plus powerful features like PIA MACE that automatically blocks ads, trackers, and malware. 


What is a false IP address?

A false IP address is one used to mask your real IP address. Proxy servers and VPNs are tools you can use to get a false IP address and keep your real one safely hidden.

What is a dummy IP address?

A dummy IP address looks like a real IP address but doesn’t connect to anything. These invalid IP addresses are sometimes used by software developers to run unit tests.

How do I know if an IP address is real?

 You can use an IP address lookup tool like Opentracker to get information about the IP address in question. It will tell you the ISP associated with the IP address, as well as its country of origin. If you notice conflicting information, the IP address may be issued by a VPN or proxy. 

What is a disguised IP address?

A disguised IP address is one that’s masked with another, usually VPN or proxy-related IP address. PIA’s VPN service is a fast, easy, and safe way to disguise your IP address and keep your digital identity private. At the click of a button, you’ll mask your IP address and encrypt your traffic so ISPs, network admins, and cybercriminals can’t see what you’re up to online. 

Can I manually create a fake IP address?

No. You can’t manually create a fake IP address. That’s IANA’s job. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority uses complex algorithms to generate IP addresses and issues them to ISPs and registries. That said, you can mask your IP address with a fake IP address using PIA VPN. It’s quick, easy, and safe. You can download the PIA VPN for PC, Mac, Android, or iOS and connect as many devices as you want with one account.

Can you track a fake IP address?

Yes, a fake IP address can still be tracked, but ISPs, advertisers, and network admins will associate the online activity with the fake IP address, not your real one. Whether your fake IP address can be traced back to you depends on how you got it. We’ve gone to great lengths to ensure a shared IP address from PIA VPN can’t be traced back to you, and thanks to our anonymous token system, neither can our Dedicated IP addresses.