How to Change My IP Address

In the following article, we want to easily discuss how to change your IP address.  These days, privacy can be hard to come by on the Internet.  It seems that everywhere we go, in some shape or form, we're all tracked by websites, advertisers, or bad actors.  One of the most common methods used to track is through our public IP address.

Using methods to change or hide your public IP address can provide an additional layer of privacy to keep you at least somewhat more anonymous as you use the Internet.

Reasons to Change Your IP Address

The number one reason to change or hide your IP address is to increase privacy as you use the Internet. You may be someone who handles sensitive information.  Furthermore, you may just want some freedom from your Internet Service Provider constantly tracking you.

Here are some other reasons you might want to change your IP address:

Bypass government restrictions

For specific countries and regions, certain websites and content on the Internet require specific access (Netflix, for example).  Your ticket to “enter” is having the correctly located IP address. By changing your IP address to one that is located in the right locale, you can access the content you want to access.

Strengthen security

fingers tapping phone to change ip
Changing or hiding your real IP address is a great way to protect yourself from nefarious actors, especially while connected to unsecured networks such as public Wi-Fi at a coffee shop or airport. Also, when data breaches occur, hiding your IP address is a way that you can add an additional layer of security to protect your private data.

Ways to Change Your IP Address

There are multiple ways you can change your IP address. But the method you choose depends on your ultimate goal. For example, do you simply need a new IP address because of connectivity issues? Or are you looking for anonymity?

The following methods are ways that you can change your public-facing IP address, ranging from easy and cheap with less anonymity to difficult and more expensive with more anonymity.

Manually or Automatically

You can change your IP address by yourself by adjusting your device’s settings or simply unplugging your router.

One way to get a newly assigned IP address automatically is to simply unplug your router. When it is plugged back in, the router assigns a new IP address. Just note that it may take a few minutes to a few hours to get a new IP address depending on your IP lease time. For example, if your lease time is 8 hours, you would have to wait 8 hours to plug your router back in to be assigned a new IP address.

Also, even if you do wait the 8 hours, your ISP could end up assigning the same IP address to you again if it hasn’t been assigned to someone else.

To manually change your IP address, you will need to adjust the settings of your operating system and manually enter a new number.

A Word of Caution: This can be a complicated process and could result in your ISP banning you from connecting to the Internet.

Whether you change your IP address automatically or manually, it will not change the fact that your ISP can still track your Internet traffic. In other words, changing your IP address yourself does little to increase your Internet privacy.

Proxy

Using a proxy is an easy and usually a free way to hide your IP address. With a proxy, your traffic essentially moves through a middle man server so that websites you visit see the proxy server’s IP address instead of your actual IP address, keeping your IP address private. Many people use proxies because of their ease of use and low cost. They also do not require any software changes to your device.

A Word of Caution: Proxy servers usually aren’t encrypted. This means that if someone really wants to view your traffic, they can.

Tor

Tor is a privacy-focused web browser that:

  • Hides your IP address
  • Encrypts your traffic
  • Prevents tracking and targeted ads
  • Automatically clears cookies

A Word of Caution: While Tor encrypts your traffic, they still keep logs of your actual IP address per their terms of service.

VPN

Now we are to the cream of the crop when it comes to hiding your IP address for privacy reasons: the Virtual Private Networks (VPN). When you connect to a VPN, the VPN replaces your IP address with another IP address in a location of your choosing while encrypting all of your traffic. There are some free VPNs, but to get the most privacy and security usually requires a paid subscription.

VPNs are great for privacy, but also for accessing censored content or regionally-blocked streaming services such as Netflix. This is because VPNs hide your actual local network connection.

VPNs, unlike other IP concealing methods, are not required to log Internet traffic in the US. However, some VPNs still do.

A Word of Caution: When choosing a VPN, make sure to check to see if they keep IP address logs or not.

Conclusion

Using private networks such as a proxy or VPN adds more privacy and security as you use the Internet. However, if someone with the means wants to find you via your Internet connection, they will find a way.

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