How to Change My IP Address

These days, Internet privacy is hard to come by. Everything, from your posts to your searches, is tracked online. This includes your IP address, which is essential for connecting to the Internet. However, using methods to switch or hide your public IP address can provide an additional measure of privacy online. In this article, we’ll go over how to change your IP address on any device.

Finding your current IP address

A man changing his IP address on a laptop

Before you change your IP (Internet Protocol) address, you can check your current IP address by visiting the What Is My IP homepage. You’ll be able to see your current IPv4 address and IPv6 address, if applicable, as well as your Internet service provider and IP geolocation. This won't show your private IP address, or local IP address; that address identifies your device only within its network and can be found in your device's settings.

Reasons to change your IP address

The number one reason to change or hide your IP address is to increase your privacy as you use the Internet. Whether you work at a job that handles sensitive information online or just want some freedom from your Internet service provider’s tracking, getting a different IP address helps keep your activity private. It also offers the following benefits:

  • Strengthened security. Changing or hiding your IP address is a great way to protect yourself from cybercriminals, especially when connecting to unsecured networks such as public WiFi. It also helps protect your information in potential data breach situations.
  • Ability to bypass content restrictions. Whether it be government restrictions or local restrictions on a network, getting a different IP allows you to bypass content blockers set in place when you’re online. Netflix, for example, provides different content for different countries. Changing your IP address, and subsequently your IP location, to a different Netflix region allows you to access content you couldn’t normally see from your home country.
  • Ability to avoid website bans. Most websites compile their banned or blocked users by their IP addresses. If you’ve been banned from a site, or if your IP address ends up on a blacklist, getting a new IP helps you move around the bans to access the sites you’re trying to get to.

All of the above help improve your online experience and offer privacy benefits. If you're wondering if you should change your IP address, the answer is yes; though it's unnecessary, it will make your browsing experience much more secure.

How to change your IP address

Though there are several ways to change or hide your IP address - including a few ways to do it for free, like through the Tor browser or with public WiFi - these three ways are the best options. Learn how to change your IP using a VPN, a proxy, or your router to decide which method is best for you.

Use a VPN

Securely change your IP address with a VPN.

The best and most secure way to change your IP address is with a virtual private network, or VPN. When you connect to a VPN, the VPN uses secure tunneling techniques to transfer data to other servers before it arrives at your intended destination, meaning that your IP address essentially gets replaced with another IP address in the process. The entire process is encrypted, meaning your data isn’t at risk when you use a VPN to switch your IP.

For your protection, invest in a paid VPN subscription service rather than a free VPN service, as free services often collect data and run the risk of leaks. Regardless of what VPN service you choose, make sure to check to see if they keep IP address logs. If you’re trying to change or hide your IP, it’s preferable that the VPN service not keep logs of your IP.

Setting up a VPN on your device is simple; once it’s done, you’ll be able to browse privately under a different IP address.

Use a proxy

If you want to know how to switch your IP address without VPNs, a proxy is a good alternative. With a proxy, your traffic moves through a server before reaching its destination. Websites you visit see the proxy server’s IP address rather than your actual IP address, keeping your real IP address private. Proxies are easy to use and cost little, which makes them a popular choice. They also require no software changes to your device upon installation.

Once you set up your proxy in your browser, you can use a proxy check tool to make sure your proxy is fully functioning.

Do it manually

You can also switch your IP manually by adjusting your device’s settings. The easiest method to get a newly assigned IP address automatically, however, is unplugging your router on your home network. Unplug your router; once it’s plugged back in, the DHCP Server from your ISP may assigns a new IP address to your router.

However, note that the time you have to keep your router unplugged varies depending on your IP lease time. The necessary time ranges from minutes to hours depending on the lease. Though it’s possible your ISP could end up assigning you the same IP address if they use a dynamic IP address system, this is the easiest method to manually change your IP. This method also doesn’t include the same level of privacy that a VPN or proxy does.

How to change IP address on Mac computers

To learn how to change IP addresses on a Mac, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Apple menu in the top left corner of the screen.
  2. Go to System Preferences.
  3. Click Network.
  4. In the left column, click your network. Click Advanced.
  5. Select the TCP/IP tab.
  6. Under Configure IPv4, select Manually.
  7. Enter your new IP and hit OK.
You can change IP address on a Windows computer.

How to change IP address on Windows computers

To change your IP address on a Windows device, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Start menu and go to Settings.
  2. Choose Network & Internet.
  3. Under your local area connection, click Properties.
  4. Under IP assignment, click Edit.
  5. Choose Manual. Toggle on IPv4 and enter the IP address, then click Save.

How to change IP address on iPhones or iOS devices

To change your IP address on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Settings on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod.
  2. Tap WiFi.
  3. Choose your network.
  4. In the IPv4 section, tap Configure IP.
  5. Choose Manual and enter your new IP address.

How to change IP address on Android phones

To change your IP address on an Android device, follow these steps:

  1. Go to your Android settings.
  2. Tap Wireless & Networks.
  3. Go to the WiFi
  4. Tap and hold the WiFi network that you’re connected to.
  5. Tap Modify Network.
  6. Expand or go to the Advanced options.
  7. Change your Android’s IP address in the IP settings from DHCP to Static.

Frequently asked questions

Can I change my IP for free?

Yes, you can change your IP address for free. Though VPNs and reliable proxies cost money, altering your IP address by manually by unplugging your router costs nothing. Furthermore, the instructions above for changing IP addresses on phones, PCs, and other iOS devices are free. To learn how to switch IP addresses free of charge, read over those instructions for your device.

Can I change my IP address myself?

Yes, you can change your IP address yourself. Use a VPN, proxy, or your router to as methods for how to generate new IP addresses, or log into your device’s settings through the steps above to get a different IP address on your own. Whether you want to switch your IP on your tablet or know how to change a computer's IP address, it's possible to do it yourself.

Does my IP address change automatically?

If you have a dynamic IP address assigned to you through your Internet service provider, yes, your IP address will periodically change on its own. However, if you have a static IP address, it won't change automatically.

Can you legally change your IP address?

Yes, it is completely legal to switch your IP address. Many Internet users switch their IP address for several reasons: safety concerns, to test websites or apps, or to protect their own privacy. Getting a new IP address, whether on your own or through a VPN or proxy, is not illegal.