If you wonder why you’d want to change your IP address, a big reason is online security. An IP address is the group of numbers that identifies your device. Computers use that address to communicate over networks.
Changing your IP address may help you avoid getting hacked by cybercriminals and other people snooping for your data. When you change your IP address, you’re hiding your location and who you are. Doing this can help protect your online identity.
The easiest ways to change your IP address are to set up a virtual private network or to use a proxy server. If you want to change your IP address on your own, keep reading our guide to learn the simple steps for your device.
Before you attempt to change your IP address, you should know that it will likely disrupt any apps you’re using that require an internet connection. If that happens, don’t panic.
The apps may temporarily freeze up, and any files you were sending may need to be resent. You could also have to log back into the secure sites you’re using. Being aware of these slight interruptions allows you to be prepared ahead of time.
How to change your IP address
What is an IP address?
Reasons why you might want to change your IP address
There are different reasons why you may decide to change your IP address. Many people are concerned about online privacy, especially with the threats of malware and identity theft abounding. If you’ve been on the fence, here are some reasons you might want to change your IP address:
- Protecting your privacy: Changing your IP address will help you hide your geolocation. That means you’ll be hidden from online hackers. Your internet service provider (ISP) and websites that use data tracking won’t be able to trace you. Your IP address won’t be used to spy on your private internet activity.
- Accessing certain content: Geo-blocking restricts access to content on the internet based on your location. Changing your IP address may allow you to work around content blocks by tricking websites into thinking you’re coming from an approved location.
- Troubleshooting internet issues: Setting up new devices, like routers, can be tricky at times. They may give the wrong IP address to devices. When you change your IP address, you may be able to solve that issue.
- Avoiding website bans: Your IP address can be used to restrict access to specific websites. Some governments use this method to block content. By changing your IP address, you may be able to unblock restricted websites and access the open internet.
Is it legal to change your IP address?
It is legal to change your IP address in the U.S. If you live in another country, you should consult an attorney who knows that country's applicable laws. Many people routinely change their IP address when they have online security issues. Some people do so to test a new website before going live. You can change your IP address if you want to protect your privacy and if you have any security concerns.
Changing your IP address to practice IP spoofing could get you into trouble for computer fraud. IP spoofing is changing your IP address to impersonate a business or another individual.
Also, you may not want to change your IP address if you’re doing so to access a website or forum you’ve been banned from. Hackers use IP spoofing as a tool to perform cyber attacks, like identity theft and targeting websites for malware.
How to change your IP address
You have options when you want to change your IP address. You can set up a VPN, change your network, or automatically update your IP address. Any one of these options takes about five minutes from start to finish. They all help protect your privacy, and retrieving a new IP address is simple.
Whatever your reason for changing your IP address, the options will help you improve your overall online security and browsing privacy. It can also give you a way to access websites you might not be able to reach otherwise. You can choose the method that works for your device and situation.
Use a VPN or proxy server
A virtual private network is a tool that helps you create a private and secure internet connection. You can use a VPN or proxy server on your mobile device or your computer at home. You can think of a proxy server as a protected gateway between you and the internet. It keeps your private network safe from hackers.
Using a VPN or proxy server will automatically make you appear to have a different IP address. You can open up your VPN app and connect to another city, and your IP address will appear to be from anywhere you choose.
Keep in mind that you may want to use a paid VPN service to avoid the chances of malware intrusion. Sometimes free VPN services sell your data, too. The subscriptions are inexpensive and can be worth the price to help alleviate issues with hackers. You can even get a discount on most services by paying for an annual subscription instead of paying month-to-month.
Below are some VPN options, but there are numerous plans you can check out if these don’t work for you.
|VPN||Monthly plan||Lowest price|
|NordVPN||$11.99/mo.||$3.99/mo (for 24 mos.)|
|ExpressVPN||$12.95/mo.||$8.32/mo (for 12 mos.)|
|Surfshark||$12.95/mo.||$2.49/mo (for 24 mos.)|
Change your internet network
You can change your internet network as an easy way to modify your IP address. That keeps your devices secure, and the steps are as simple as turning off your Wi-Fi on your phone. When you use your mobile data, it won’t show the same IP address.
When you change your network, your IP address changes with it. You can also connect to a public network if you’re concerned that your private Wi-Fi network is unsecured. Remember that hackers may use some public Wi-Fi to take advantage of unencrypted networks. When possible, look for networks that require a password.
Automatically update your IP address
You can automatically update your IP address to protect your online security. The steps may differ depending on your device, but they shouldn’t take long and are not complicated. After going through the steps once, doing it again is a breeze.
On Microsoft Windows:
1. Open the Run app. You can press Win+R if you have Windows 11. You can also open the Start menu and search for the Run app on other versions.
2. Once you have the Run app open, type cmd into the box and press Enter to open the Command Prompt window.
3. Type ipconfig /release in the window and press Enter. Make sure you leave a space between “ipconfig” and “/release.”
4. At the prompt, type ipconfig /renew. Press Enter and close the window.
1. Click the Apple icon in the left corner of your screen. Go to System Preferences.
2, Click on Network.
3. Select Advanced.
4. Click TCP/IP on the next screen, then Renew DHCP Lease. Click OK.
1. Go to your Settings menu and click on Wi-Fi.
2. Select your network.
3. In the IPv4 Address section, tap Configure IP, then choose Automatic.
1. Go to Settings, then select Connections.
2. Click on Wi-Fi, and then tap the cogwheel to open the settings for the network.
3. Tap View more and look for the IP settings section.
4. Tap IP settings to select either DHCP or Static.
DHCP stands for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. The difference between a static address vs. a dynamic IP address is that the static address does not change. When you use dynamic IP addresses, they can change over time.
If you use the Static option, you’ll need to enter the IP address you want to change to.
What is an IP address?
Your IP address is the unique number assigned to your device’s internet connection. The number is provided by your ISP. When you access the internet, that number is used as the specific ID for your internet connection.
You can think of your IP address like you would a P.O. Box. Your post office box address is where you get mail and packages delivered. It’s unique to you, and no one else has the same address. This is how your internet IP address works to send information from the internet to your device.
Types of IP addresses
There are various types of IP addresses. You may not be aware of some of them because their work happens behind the scenes. Since the internet decides how devices communicate by using IP addresses, it helps you to better understand the types.
- Public: A public IP address is the primary address used by your entire network.
- Private: This is the type of IP address every device within your network contains. Each device has its unique private IP address.
- Local: Your local IP address is what your router sends to the other devices on your network. The local IP address routes the data that travels in and out of the network.
- Static: A static IP address is a consistent address that doesn’t change. It gets assigned once and stays the same.
- Dynamic: Dynamic IP addresses change frequently. You usually get a dynamic IP address from your ISP. It is more secure than a static IP address because it changes often, which makes it harder for hackers to access your network.
- IP version 4 (IPv4): IPv4 is short for internet protocol version 4. This is the most common IP address version.
- IP version 6 (IPv6): IPv6 is an abbreviation for internet protocol version 6. This version is set up for a broader range of addresses than IPv4. It uses 128-bit address construction rather than 32-bit like IPv4.
How easy is it to change your IP address?
It's easy to change your IP address and only takes about five minutes. Once you get the steps for your particular device, changing the IP address is simple, even if it’s your first time.
Does resetting my router change my IP address?
Resetting your router doesn’t always change your IP address. Since routers are designed to remember your device, they may assign you the same IP address you had before resetting it. There is a chance that if you reset it multiple times, you could get a new IP address, but it is not a fail-proof method.
Does a VPN constantly change my IP address?
Yes, a VPN constantly changes your visible IP address every time you connect to a new server. The IP address assigned by your VPN masks, or hides, your real IP address, making it harder for hackers to target you.
When you want to prioritize online privacy, changing your IP address is one of the simplest ways to ensure data security. You can change your internet network, automatically update your IP address, or use a VPN. Any of these options will work and won’t take much of your time.
- Loads of servers for more connection options
- Works with popular streaming services, including Netflix
- Too many confusing plans
The easiest way to change your IP address is by using a VPN. It is a low-cost way to enhance security and is mostly hands-off on your part. You can buy a subscription to a VPN service, and once you download the app, you can connect to a server to change your IP address anytime you want. Learn more about VPNs, including prices, features, and how to install them, in our full VPN guide.