Why You Would Want to Change Your IP Address and How to Do It

You may not think about your computer’s IP address too often, but that doesn’t mean it is not an important part of your system. A computer or mobile device’s IP address is its primary identifier. Without an IP address, you cannot get on the Internet.

Whenever you connect to another device or website by going online, your IP address is used to identify your computer. It can be used to locate your machine and trace your online activities. As a matter of fact, your IP address is currently displayed at the top of this screen along with any other identifying information that can be derived from the address.

Anytime you go online, a record of where you have been is kept due to your IP address being logged at the site being accessed. There is no getting around this fact, though we will talk about some ways that you might get around this issue if you need or want to. Your IP address is a little like fingerprints except for one important aspect. Though with extreme techniques you may be able to modify your fingerprints, it’s a lot easier to change your IP address.

Why Would You Want to Change IP addresses on Your Computer?

There are a variety of reasons that you may want to change your IP address. Here are some common and more esoteric motivations for changing your computer’s IP address. Learning how to change IP address can be beneficial in all of these scenarios.

You may need to change IP address if you have misconfigured a static IP address. For example, you may have used the wrong numeric range, making it unusable.
After installing a new router you may have to reconfigure your home network in order to use its IP range. You will have to change IP address to use the new router.
A router that is not operating correctly might be providing addresses that are being used by another computer on the network. You will need to change the IP to a valid address in order to connect your machine to the network. This type of issue may affect you on a corporate network.

In certain geographic locations, sites that you may want to visit may be blocked by your ISP. This may be due to governmental regulations or ISP terms of service. You may find that the only way to access the sites you want is to change your IP address to subvert these restrictions.

Using these prohibited sites and downloading content such as copyrighted material through torrents can lead to problems with local law enforcement. You might want to investigate how to change your IP address if you plan on using these sites.

Some individuals just don’t want their online activities tracked simply for the reason of preserving their personal privacy. Your ISP can track every move you make on the Internet.

Most of us would not tolerate this kind of intrusion into the personal activity occurring in any other area of our lives. Changing your IP address can help cloak where you go as you surf the web.

A more extreme reason that may cause you to be concerned about your IP address and need to change it frequently is if you are involved with anti-government activities.

Members of opposition groups in countries governed by authoritarian rule may need to find ways to change their IP address to avoid prosecution and maintain their anonymity and political viability.

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How to Change Your IP Address

We are going to talk about how to change your IP address using a few different methods. Basically, there are three main ways to change an IP address. They are:

Let’s take a closer look at each method and discuss their pros and cons. There are also some differences in how you handle static versus dynamically assigned IP addresses. Obviously, the operating system that you are using will impact the way you go about this procedure.

Static addresses that are assigned by your ISP can only be changed by contacting your provider. This type of address is not usually given out without purchasing an increased level of service and is normally seen in a corporate or business setting. You will rarely have to deal with a static IP address on your home machine.

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Manually Change IP Address

You may need to change the IP address of a computer in an office or corporate setting in order to gain access to a private network. Depending on your platform, here are the steps you need to perform.

How to Change IP address on a Mac

Changing the IP address on a macOS computer can be done through the System Preferences. Here’s a step-by-step guide to manually configuring your IP address on a Mac:

Step 1 In the top-left corner of your screen click on the Apple menu.
Step 2 Select “System Preferences” from the dropdown menu.
Step 3 To open network settings click on “Network” in the System Preferences window.
Step 4 Select the network you are connected to or wish to configure (e.g., Ethernet for a wired connection or Wi-Fi for a wireless connection).
Step 5 With your network selected, click on the “Details…” button.
Step 6 In the Details window, click on the “TCP/IP” tab to access IP address settings.
Step 7 Next to “Configure IPv4”, click on the dropdown menu and select “Manually” to manually set your IP address. You can enter a specific IP address. For automatic IP address assignment via DHCP with manual DNS configuration, select “Using DHCP with manual address”.
Step 8 Once “Manually” is selected, additional fields will become editable. Fill in the “IPv4 Address” field with the new IP address you wish to use. Enter the “Subnet Mask” and “Router” (gateway) address as provided by your network administrator or based on your network’s configuration.
Step 9 If you need to specify DNS servers, go to the “DNS” tab in the same Details window. Click the “+” button under “DNS Servers” to add new DNS addresses. You can enter primary and secondary DNS server addresses as required.
Step 10 After entering all necessary information, click “OK” to close the Details window.
Step 11

To confirm your new IP address, you can open the Terminal app (found in Applications > Utilities). Type ifconfig (or ipconfig if you’re using a version of macOS that supports it) and press Enter. Look through the output for your network interface to see your new IP address.

How to Change IP address on a Windows 10 Computer

To adjust your Windows 10 computer’s local (internal) IP address, which is the address assigned by your router or networking device within your home or office network, you can follow a structured approach. This adjustment can be particularly useful for resolving network conflicts, setting up port forwarding, or ensuring consistent network permissions for your device. Here’s a step-by-step guide to modifying your local IP address on a Windows 10 system:

Step 1

Open Network and Sharing Center in Control Panel.

Step 2

Click on the Connections link.

Step 3

Click on the properties tab of the window that opens.

Step 4

Select Internet Protocol version 4 (TCP/IP v4).

Step 5

Choose Use the following IP address and fill in the IP address.

Step 6

Select Use the following DNS server and enter the appropriate address.

Step 7

Check the Validate settings upon exit box and click OK.

Step 8

Your PC automatically runs network diagnostics and verifies your connection.

How to Change IP address on a Windows 11 Computer

Changing the IP address on a Windows 11 computer can be accomplished through various methods, including using the Settings app, Control Panel, or Command Prompt. Below is a step-by-step guide using the Settings app, which is one of the most straightforward methods:

Step 1 Click on the Start menu or, alternatively, press the Windows key.
Step 2 Select “Settings” from the list or type “Settings” in the search bar and press Enter.
Step 3 Click on “Network & Internet” from the sidebar.
Step 4 If you’re using Wi-Fi, click on “Wi-Fi” and then click on your connected Wi-Fi network. If you’re using a wired connection, click on “Ethernet” and then click on your network connection.
Step 5 Scroll down to find “IP settings” and click on “Edit” under IP Assignment.
Step 6 In the “Edit IP settings” window, you’ll see a drop-down menu. Change the setting from “Automatic (DHCP)” to “Manual” to manually set your IP address.
Step 7 After selecting “Manual”, additional options will appear, allowing you to enter a static IP address, Subnet prefix length (usually based on your network configuration, often 24 for a subnet mask), and the Gateway IP address. You can also enter the preferred DNS and alternate DNS server addresses.
Step 8 Fill in the “IPv4” fields with your desired IP address, subnet prefix length, gateway, and DNS information. Your network administrator or ISP should provide these details, or if you’re configuring a home network, you might determine these settings based on your router’s configuration.
Step 9 To apply your new IP settings, click the “Save” button.
Step 10

To ensure your IP address has been updated, open Command Prompt, type “cmd” in the Windows search bar, and press Enter. Then, type “ipconfig” and press Enter to view your network configuration. You should see the new IP address listed.

How to Change IP address on Android devices

Changing the IP address on an Android device typically involves adjusting the Wi-Fi network settings. Here’s a step-by-step guide to manually set or change the IP address for a Wi-Fi connection on an Android device. The steps might be different depending on your device’s manufacturer and the version of Android it is running.

Step 1 Locate and tap the “Settings” app icon on your home screen or app drawer.
Step 2 Scroll down, and depending on your device, tap on “Wi-Fi” or “Network & Internet”, then ensure Wi-Fi is turned on.
Step 3 Long-Press the Network: Find the Wi-Fi network you are connected to or wish to connect to. Long-press on the network’s name.
Step 4 Tap on “Modify network” or “Manage network settings” from the popup menu that appears. If you see a settings icon next to the network name, you can also tap on that.
Step 5 Look for an option to show advanced options and tap it. If you’re already seeing options for IP settings, skip this step.
Step 6 Find the “IP settings” or similar option and change it from “DHCP” (which obtains an IP address automatically) to “Static”. This will allow you to manually set your IP address.
Step 7

Once you select “Static”, fields for entering your IP address, Gateway, Subnet mask, DNS 1, and DNS 2 will appear. Enter the details as necessary:

  • IP Address: Enter the new IP address you want to use.
  • Gateway: This is usually the router’s IP address.
  • Network prefix length: Enter the subnet mask length (e.g., 24 for a subnet mask).
  • DNS 1 and DNS 2: Enter the DNS server addresses. DNS 1 is the primary DNS server, and DNS 2 is the secondary one.
Step 8 Scroll down and tap “Save” to apply your new network settings.
Step 9

To verify your new IP address, you can usually go back to the Wi-Fi settings, tap on the network you are connected to, and view the details. Alternatively, you can use a network information app or website to see your public IP address.

How to Change IP address on iOS devices (iPhone and iPad)

To adjust the local (internal) IP address that your Wi-Fi network assigns to your iPhone or iPad, you can follow a series of straightforward steps. This process is helpful for resolving network issues, setting up a device with a static IP for easier network management, or ensuring compatibility with certain network configurations. Here’s a detailed guide on how to do this:

Step 1

Open the “Settings” application.

Step 2 Within the Settings menu, tap on “Wi-Fi” to view a list of networks. Make sure your Wi-Fi is activated.
Step 3 Look for the Wi-Fi network you’re connected to at the moment and tap on the information icon (the small “i” in a circle) next to its name.
Step 4

Select “Configure IP” or “Configure IPv4” from the options. Here, you’ll encounter two choices:

  • Automatic: This default setting allows your router to assign an IP address to your device automatically.
  • Manual: Choose this option if you prefer to specify a particular IP address. Input the IP address, Subnet Mask, Router (also known as the gateway), and DNS information manually. It’s crucial that these details align with your network’s setup to avoid any address conflicts.

How to Change IP address on Linux

Changing the IP address on a Linux machine can be done via the command line or through the graphical user interface (GUI), depending on your distribution and preferences. The command-line method is universal across most Linux distributions, while the GUI method might slightly differ depending on the desktop environment you’re using. Here’s how to do it using both methods:

Changing Your IP Address Using the Command Line

Step 1 Access your terminal either through your desktop environment’s application menu or by using a shortcut, often Ctrl+Alt+T.
Step 2

Before changing the IP address, you need to know the name of your network interface. Execute the command:

ip addr show

This will list all your network interfaces. Look for names like eth0, enp3s0, wlp2s0, etc., depending on whether you are connected via Ethernet or Wi-Fi.

Step 3

To set a static IP address, use the ip command followed by the interface name, the new IP address, and subnet mask. For example:

sudo ip addr add dev eth0

Replace with your desired IP address and subnet mask, and eth0 with your actual network interface name.

Step 4

Set the default gateway using the route command:

sudo ip route add default via

Replace with your actual gateway address.

Step 5

Edit the /etc/resolv.conf file to add your DNS servers:

echo “nameserver” | sudo tee /etc/resolv.conf > /dev/null

Replace with your preferred DNS server.

Remember, these changes are temporary and will be lost after a reboot. To make permanent changes, edit the network configuration files, which vary depending on your Linux distribution.

Changing Your IP Address Using GUI (GNOME)

Step 1 Click on the system menu at the top right corner and select “Settings”.
Step 2 In the settings menu, find and click on “Network”.
Step 3 Click on the gear icon next to your active connection (Wi-Fi or Wired).
Step 4 Switch to the “IPv4” tab. By default, it is set to “Automatic (DHCP).” Change it to “Manual” and enter your desired IP address, network mask, and gateway. You can also specify DNS servers.
Step 5 After entering your new settings, click “Apply” to save the changes.
Step 6

Finally, turn off the network connection and turn it back on to apply the new IP address settings.

Using the GUI method to change your IP address in Linux is more intuitive but less universal compared to the command line, as the steps might vary slightly between different Linux distributions and desktop environments.

If you encounter any connectivity issues after changing your IP address, double-check the IP address, subnet prefix length, gateway, and DNS settings for accuracy. If problems persist, you might want to switch back to "Automatic (DHCP)" to let your network automatically assign an IP address.

These methods allow for manual configuration of your IP address, giving you control over your network settings. Remember that changing your IP settings can cause network connectivity issues if not done correctly, so it's important to have the correct information before making changes.

Automatically Change IP Address

Here are a few ways to change the IP address on your home computer. This address is provided by your router, which is assigned the address by your ISP. Before trying any of these methods, make note of your current IP address so you can verify that it has indeed changed.

Turning off your router for about five minutes might be all you need to do. In some cases, a longer period of time is required, so you can try leaving the router turned off overnight. Even though your IP address is dynamically assigned by the provider, your ISP may have a long lease time on your address. This means it will appear to be static since you will not be able to change it until the time period enforced by the ISP has elapsed.

Taking your laptop to a location that offers free WiFi and connecting to the network will temporarily change your machine’s IP address as it is dynamically assigned when you log in. When you return home, your address will be assigned based on your home router.

Use a VPN or Proxy Server to Change IP Address

The methods described above may be necessary and sufficient when changing your IP address for configuration purposes. If your goal is to defeat geo-blocking initiatives or simply to maintain your online privacy, then other tactics must be employed. This is where a proxy server or a VPN can be extremely useful.

Essentially, when you use a proxy or VPN you are masking the IP address of your machine. When you are connected to a proxy server, its IP address is what is seen on the Internet, not your machine’s IP address. This eliminates the ability of anyone to track you once you are on the proxy server.

A VPN service works in a similar way but offers more options than directly connecting to a proxy server. VPN services have servers located in multiple locations throughout the world. After you connect to the VPN server, your private IP address is masked and any further online activities will only display the VPN server’s address.

Quality VPN services have servers located in many countries, and by choosing an appropriate one, you can get around just about any restrictions enforced by your local authorities or your ISP.

There are many VPNs available. Some are free, but if you are serious about maintaining online privacy, you should spend the few dollars a month that it will cost for a paid VPN service. The quality paid VPNs that you can choose from include NordVPN , ExpressVPN, and CyberGhost.

There you have it. You should be able to change your IP address if you need to and by using a proxy or VPN you can change it when you want to hide your identity. If you value your online privacy, a VPN is highly recommended.

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