There are many reasons you may choose to change your IP address, some personal and some technical. Before you begin, however, you’ll need to find your current IP address.
Now that you’ve found your IP address, you probably still have no idea of what it is, what it does, or why you might want a new one. Read on for helpful information about this mysterious “IP address,” why you might need to change your IP address and a guide for changing it on nearly any operating system.
What is an IP?
If you’re not entirely clear on what an IP address is or what it does, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that nearly 98% of all casual internet users don’t know, either. In simple terms, your IP address is your computer’s public network address created so the internet knows where to send your email, data, and other information. It’s also a useful way to keep you logged in to websites so you don’t have to re-enter passwords for each visit (so many passwords!). Suppose, for example, you must re-enter your credentials when visiting familiar websites from new devices, or you need to enter a security code to gain access with your credentials. In that case, it’s because each device you use has its own IP address and unless you’ve used that device to access a website before, the site doesn’t recognize the IP address of the device you’re using.
Most commonly, the IP address is assigned through your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
How is my IP address tracked?
One way your IP address may be tracked is through cookies, which aren’t quite as delicious as they sound. Cookies do more than remember you, they store your personal information, what pages you’ve visited, purchases you’ve made on the site, and your geophysical location among other somewhat invasive pieces of information. Instead of a side of ice-cold milk with your cookies, you’ll get a heaping helping of targeted ads.
If you don’t want your browsing history shared with third-party sites, hackers, and even intrusive government spying, you can mask your IP address with a VPN or change it on your devices.
Why would I want to change my public IP address?
There are a few reasons you may want (or need) to change your IP address. These may include:
- Bans from a website: Bans and blocks are generally based on your IP address
- Technical errors: Sometimes an invalid address is configured, such as one having the wrong numeric range
- Installing a new router or network: You may want your router to use a default IP address range
- Greater access to content: Some countries have a ban on where users are located, limiting access to their content
How to change IP with a VPN
An easy way to change an IP address is by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). The VPN creates a private tunnel for sending and receiving data. It bypasses the normal route for internet traffic, which involves sending data directly to your ISP. By bypassing the ISP servers, your traffic looks as though it’s being sent and received through a server located somewhere else entirely. It masks the IP address from any websites you visit and helps to ensure anonymity in your internet browsing by encrypting your connection.
VPNs are available for a small monthly fee, with some versions offered for free. Using a VPN is a way to mask your IP address rather than having to change it. The easiest way to use a VPN is to simply download the program and install it on your device.
- Choose your preferred VPN and create your account
- Download the software or app to your devices
- Log into the VPN provider and provide the security code or key if required
- Connect to a VPN server
You’re connected, masked, and ready to browse privately. You can run a speed test through the app to make sure the server is running smoothly, and if it’s not, choose another server. It’s important to note that you can choose from multiple servers in multiple locations to appear that you are located nearly anywhere across the globe. This is a great feature for those looking for content from sites in locations that may ban users from certain countries from accessing their sites.
How to change IP with a Proxy
A proxy is similar to a VPN in that it acts as a sort of middleman, connecting you to websites using its address instead of your personal IP address. It will not encrypt your connection like a VPN will, and will not offer as many features as a VPN provider. It also lacks the security of a VPN, so it’s a little riskier. It’s still an easy-to-use way to mask your IP address, however, and can be done right from your internet browser. Start by searching “proxy server list” online and choosing one. Here are a few popular browsers and examples of setting up a proxy in each.
Choose settings from the three dots in the upright-hand corner.
- Choose Advanced
- Find the Open proxy setting and click it
- Uncheck the box “Automatically detect settings” and check “Use a proxy server for your LAN”
- Add the proxy server address and port into the boxes
2. Firefox 3.0
- Find the tools menu and choose options
- Select Advanced
- Select Network
- Find “connection” and choose Settings
- Select Manual Proxy Configuration
- Enter the proxy server address and port
- Click OK
- Select Preferences
- Select Advanced
- Select Proxies: Change Settings
- Check the box next to Web Proxy (HTTP)
- Enter the proxy server’s IP address in the first box and the proxy’s port in the box after the “:”
- Select Apply Now
How to change IP manually
You may choose to change your IP address manually. Some of these methods are more technical but they aren’t difficult to do, even for non-tech-savvy users.
The easiest way to change IP manually is simply to reset your router.
- Jot down your IP address
- Unplug the router for five to ten minutes
- Plug the router in, wait for the reboot, and check the IP address
- After rebooting, the IP address should be different
Note that this method will simply issue a new dynamic IP address (constantly changing) rather than a static one.
You can also choose to refresh your IP address. Here are the ways to do so on the popular operating services.
- Windows 10: Press the Win+R keys together to open the Run box dialog. Type cmd and enter. Next, enter ipconfig /release (make sure to include the space) and hit Enter. Type ipconfig /renew (include the space) and select Enter. Close the prompt to exit.
- iOS: Find Settings, select Network and choose your current wireless network. Find IPv4 address, select Configure IP, then choose Automatic.
- macOS: Tap the Apple icon in the upper left corner of the screen, and select System Preferences. Choose Network, then click Advanced. Find TCP/IP and click it, then click the Renew DHCP Lease button on the right.
Another alternative is to change your IP manually on all your devices as explained below.
How to change IP on Windows
If you use windows, you can change the IP address in just a few steps.
- Go to the admin account and choose start and settings
- Choose Network and Internet
- Find Properties and click it
- Choose Edit under IP assignment
- Select Manual and IPv4 and enter the IP address in the available box
- Save changes and exit
How to change IP on Mac
You can manually change IP on Mac easily from the Systems Preferences menu.
- Find and select Network
- Choose Advanced
- Find and select TCP/IP
- Choose Configure IPv4 and click Manually
- Enter the new IP address in the provided boxes
- Click OK
How to change IP on Android
Changing IP on Android takes just a few easy steps.
- Find settings
- Select Connections, then choose Wi-Fi
- Find your connected network and choose the settings gear to the right of it
- Select IP settings
- Choose Static
- Add the new IP address in the provided box
- Select Save to save your changes
How to change IP on iOS
Apple users, don’t feel left out! It’s easy to change IP address on all iOS devices, too.
- On your device, choose Settings
- Click your Network
- Find the IPv4 area and choose Configure IP
- Select Manual
- Enter the new IP address in the provided box
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