What is a US IP address?
The United States IP address is an internet protocol (IP) that belongs to a physical or online server in the United States. Each device has its unique IP address that signifies the location from which it connects to the internet. Acquiring a US IP means online entities identify your internet traffic as routing from the United States of America.
Why would you want a US IP address?
A US IP address allows you to execute all your online activity as if you’re in the United States — even if you’re traveling and connecting to the internet from the other side of the world. Spoofing your actual location can help you gain more control over what websites know about you. Afterward, they are less likely to provide search results and offers based on your geolocation or prohibit access to online resources if you’re outside the US.
Below are some of the most common cases in which using a US IP address may benefit you:
- Access your content while being abroad. You might be unable to stream the content you subscribe to while you’re out of the USA. That’s because many streaming service providers have put geo-restrictions on their content or stream different content in different countries. Having a US IP always at hand will help you access your regular content regardless of your location.
- Online banking and shopping. Many banking institutions in the US have implemented strict security measures that may prohibit you from accessing your account while you’re abroad. An American IP address can help you evade these restrictions and manage your online banking from wherever you are. A number of American online retailers also use geofilters, which may not let you shop online because you are abroad at that time. Changing your IP location to an American one can help to solve the issue.
- Compare prices. Online shops exert their right to price the same items differently or offer special discounts depending on the location of the buyer. Changing your IP address to a US address may help you get the best deals from various retailers and services, including cheaper flight tickets, rentals, and apparel.
- Privacy and security concerns. Masking your IP can make you less visible online by hiding your actual location from your ISP, websites, and other entities online. It’s especially useful when you use public Wi-Fi, which is often the main entry point for hackers to intercept your network and gain access to your device. In addition, if you’re in a country that censors the internet, you may want to consider switching your actual IP to the US IP, which would enable you to access free and unrestricted internet.
How to get a US IP address
You can obtain the USA IP address using several options, including a VPN, a proxy server, or the Tor browser. Let’s examine the strengths and weaknesses of each option so you can find the one that suits your needs.
Use a VPN
One of the easiest ways to change your IP address to one in the US is to use a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN works by rerouting your internet traffic through a server in the designated country, for instance, the USA. Many reliable VPN service providers also allow users to choose from a number of VPN servers within the US, depending on the exact location they want their traffic to be routed.
Besides hiding your real location and giving you a new IP address, a VPN encrypts all the data and online traffic between your computer and a VPN server. As a result, neither your ISP nor the web pages you visit can monitor your online activity.
Many VPN providers allow for multiple simultaneous connections, which enable you to change the IP addresses and encrypt data on a number of different devices at the same time. In addition, some VPNs, including NordVPN, are also compatible with routers. This means that once the router acquires a US IP address, all the devices connected to that router route their traffic through the same server in the USA.
Setting up a US IP address with a VPN is a pretty straightforward process. For instance, when using NordVPN, you only need to:
- Download the VPN app.
- Create or log in to your account.
- Steer to the USA on the map that opens, click on the location you’d like to route your internet traffic from, and pick a server from the list if there is more than one option.
A VPN is usually provided with a paid subscription, which may seem costly. Though you can see a number of VPN providers online offering their services for free, they typically sell their customer data to third parties for targeted advertising. Free VPNs also offer a very limited number of servers you can connect to as well as limited bandwidth.
Below are the main strengths and weaknesses of using a VPN when changing your IP address:
|A variety of servers to choose from
|Can be costly
|Unreliable providers of a free VPN service
|Multiple simultaneous connections
|Easy to use
Use a proxy server
A proxy server is another option to hide your virtual location and get a US IP address. Similarly to a VPN, a proxy server reroutes your traffic so that it seems you are connecting from a server in another country. Proxy servers are usually free and relatively easy to set up and use. For instance, to get a US IP using a proxy server, you should:
- Get the proxy server’s US IP address and port number from a chosen provider online.
- Input the IP address and port number into your device or browser’s proxy settings to activate.
The main difference between a VPN and a proxy server is that a proxy can only encrypt your IP address, whereas a VPN also encrypts your internet traffic. Roaming the internet without robust encryption makes your online activity more visible and susceptible to monitoring by various entities. Some web pages may also detect and block traffic that comes from a debarred proxy server. As most proxies are free to use, they tend to sell user data to third parties to monetize their services.
Many respectable VPN providers offer their own proxy extensions that typically offer better speeds and more server locations than the free proxy servers you can find online. Proxy extensions offered by VPN providers also tend to come with additional security features.
Take a look at the pros and cons of using a proxy server for changing your IP address:
|Almost always free
|Does not encrypt traffic
|Easy to use
|Can be blocked by websites
|May be tracked
Use the Tor browser
The Tor browser is a free online browser that encrypts your internet traffic and routes it through multiple relays before it reaches the end destination. The Tor network typically hides your location by picking a random IP address. However, it’s possible to request it to use an IP of a country you choose, in this instance, the USA.
Tor was created to provide more anonymity to online users and was made to be accessible to all people worldwide. However, the setup of the Tor browser is a little more complicated than that of a VPN or a proxy server. Here are the steps you should follow to acquire a US IP through Tor:
- Download the Tor browser from the Tor Project’s website.
- Find your Tor browser installation folder and navigate to “Browser” > “TorBrowser” > “Data” > “Tor.”
- Open the file named “torrc” with a text editor.
- Add the following text to make the Tor browser use a US IP address: “ExitNodes (us) StrictNodes 1.”
- Save your modifications and restart the Tor browser.
As in the case of proxy servers, the Tor network can be paired with a VPN. For instance, NordVPN offers the Onion Over VPN feature that combines robust data encryption of a VPN with enhanced privacy provided by the Tor network.
On the other hand, Tor is the most complicated tool for changing IP addresses from the three options provided. Because of its multiple relays, it can slow down your internet connection. Tor is also an open network, which means there’s a possibility of malicious nodes being placed in its network by threat actors. The Tor network may also be banned in countries known to restrict online freedom.
Here are some aspects you should consider when choosing the Tor browser for switching your IP address to one in the US:
|Multiple layer encryption
|Slows down internet speed
|Always free and accessible to all
|Possible malicious nodes
|Can be blocked by some online entities
Get a dedicated US IP address
A dedicated US IP address makes you the sole owner of a particular IP address in the USA. To have your own US IP means skipping recurring identity verification when connecting to the websites and subduing possible denial of access. Many websites block the US servers used by multiple users to route their internet traffic from other countries and have implemented measures to stop these servers from being used.
To help you bypass various restrictions and make your connection to the internet safe and nearly seamless, NordVPN offers the option to get your own dedicated IP address in the country you choose.
The best VPN for getting a US IP address
NordVPN is among the best VPN providers to get a US IP address because of the large number of servers it operates in the USA. With NordVPN, you can choose from more than 1,970 servers in 16 different locations nationwide. You can also decide how to connect to the chosen server – via a VPN, proxy extension, or the Tor network, or even by getting your own designated US IP address.
NordVPN provides a number of additional security features to improve your privacy and security online. For instance, Threat Protection can make your devices more resilient to malicious intrusions while blocking trackers and intrusive ads. Meanwhile, Kill Switch shuts down your internet connection if it accidently disconnects from a VPN server, leaving no space for unauthorized access to your network. NordVPN also employs a strict no-log policy, which means that it doesn’t keep or track any of its users’ online activity.
To get more insight into how using NordVPN can change your online life, you can read NordVPN reviews.