Change your IP Address by setting up your own relay server

The page describes the process I use to setup a VPN server, which is one of the most popular ways to change your IP address while also encrypting your Internet traffic. However, I only recommend this DIY option for people who are computer savvy. I've done my best to explain the process in simple terms, but you should be prepared for some tedious work and troubleshooting if you've never worked with linux commands before.

The audio/video instructions require a computer (Flash is used, which doesn't work on mobile devices). Alternatively, you can click the links to view a transcript.

Important Disclaimer

Getting Started

Introduction Message   [1 minute | Show/Hide Text]

Click to play welcome message

My "Keep it Simple" Approach   [45 seconds | Show/Hide Text]

Click to play audio

Step 1: Choose a type of IP relay (VPN or Proxy)

Audio Instructions   [1 minute | Show/Hide Text]

Click to play audio

KEY RECOMMENDATION: In short, I usually suggest a VPN relay over proxy to change your IP address. If that sounds good to you, continue on with the instructions below.   Still prefer proxy instead?

Step 2: Find and register a "virtual private server"

Audio Instructions   [1 minute | Show/Hide Text]

Click to play audio

KEY RECOMMENDATION: In the video below, I recommend a VPS service called VR.org. However, since making this video, many other high quality providers have come along. Here's a partial list: VR.org, DigitalOcean.com, Vultr.com, Linode.com, Ramnode.com (these are all good companies, and I don't receive any compensation for saying so). You'll want to make sure you find a VPS provider who offers servers in your desired location (that may require some Googling). Ideally, your host's control panel will allow you to start/stop and reinstall the VPS independently (without contacting their customer support).   Prefer a different VPS provider or location?

Click to play video

A note about security

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KEY POINT:   Whether you use the recommended host, or any another, be sure to choose Linux "Debian" as the operating system (even if your home computer is Windows or Mac). If given a choice between "32 bit" and "64 bit", choose Debian 64 bit.

Step 3: This step is for Windows PC users only

Audio Instructions   [1 minute | Show/Hide Text]

Click to play audio

KEY POINT:   Mac users skip this step. Windows/PC users, download PuTTY.exe from this link (feel free to run a virus scan on it). Then doubleclick the downloaded file to run the program.

Step 4: Login to your server

Click here for Windows/PC instructions | Click here for Mac instructions

Step 5: Install the VPN onto your VPS

At this point, you should now be logged into your VPS via "SSH". We're now going to issue some commands that will install the VPN (IP relay functionality) onto your server.

Show Video Instructions | Show Text Instructions | Show Both

Step 6: Configure your computer to connect to the IP relay

IMPORTANT: Copy/paste the following instructions to a file on your computer. If you lose your Internet connection during the process, refer to the instructions to disconnect from the VPN.

Windows 7 | Windows Vista | Windows XP | Mac OSX | iPod/iPad/iPhone | Android

Step 7: Test your IP relay and change your IP address

  1. Before surfing, you should delete your web browser cookies, and restart your web browser. If you don't know how to do that, click here.
  2. Try surfing to a site like MyIPAddress.com to confirm that your IP address has changed.
  3. If you see your server's IP address displayed, congratulations! If not, start by reviewing the instructions above. In the worst case scenario, you can delete your VPS and try again (tech help is also available via sites like Freelancer.com). If you find any errors in these instructions, please let me know. But many people (including myself) have used them successfully.