How To Change Your IP Address

By
&
Aliza Vigderman
Gabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated on Apr 7, 2021
By Aliza Vigderman & Gabe Turner on Apr 7, 2021

Even though you may be in cyberspace, you’re still in a specific, virtual location, and that location is defined by your IP address. But for those of us that want to stay private, get around government restrictions, and the like, changing your IP address is a simple first step. In this article, we’ll tell you how to change your IP address, step-by-step, along with providing you with more information about the types of IP addresses, the pros and cons of changing them, and more. Get your invisibility cloak ready because we’re about to go private, or at least as private as you can be online.

See the exact steps to changing your IP address on an iPhone, Android, Mac and Windows computer. Also, learn why you would want to change your IP address in the first place.

How To Change Your IP Address

There are a few different ways to change your IP address, and the most straightforward ways simply involve adjusting your device’s settings. If you already have a replacement IP address, then you can enter it in the settings section of your device. Here are more detailed instructions for how to change your IP addresses manually on different types of devices.

Changing You IP - Command Prompt on Windows
Changing You IP – Command Prompt on Windows

How to Change Your IP Address on Mac Manually

  1. Go to System Preferences.
  2. Click Network.
  3. Click Network Connection.
  4. Click Configure IPv4.
  5. Select Manually.
  6. Type in your IP address.

How to Change Your IP Address on Windows Manually

  1. Click Administrator Account.
  2. Click Start.
  3. Click Control Panel.
  4. Click Network Connection.
  5. Select Local Area Connection.
  6. Click Properties.
  7. Select TCP/IP.
  8. Type in the IP address.

How to Change Your IP Address on Android Manually

  1. Go to your Android Settings.
  2. Navigate to Wireless & Networks.
  3. Click on your Wi-Fi network.
  4. Click Modify Network.
  5. Select Advanced Options.
  6. Change the IP address.
Changing You IP - On Android, Scroll to IP address to see your IP address.
Changing You IP – On Android, Scroll to IP address to see your IP address.

How to Change Your IP Address on iOS Manually

  1. Go to your iOS device’s Settings.
  2. Click Wi-Fi.
  3. Click Network.
  4. Select IPv4 Address.
  5. Click Configure IP.
  6. Enter your IP address.

How to Change Your IP Address on Router Manually

  1. Turn off your router.
  2. Turn it back on a day later.
  3. Go to your administrative interface and reconnect to your ISP.

If you want your device to pick a new IP address for you automatically, here’s what to do.

How to Change Your IP Address on Mac Automatically

  1. Go to your Mac’s System Preferences app.
  2. Click Network.
  3. Select Network Connection.
  4. Click Configure iPv4.
  5. Select Using DHCP.

How to Change Your IP Address on Windows Automatically

  1. Enter your Administrator Account.
  2. Click Start.
  3. Click Control Panel.
  4. Go to Network Connections.
  5. Click Location Area Connection.
  6. Click Properties.
  7. Select TCP/IP.
  8. Click Properties.
  9. Click Obtain An IP Address Automatically1.

How to Change Your IP Address on Android Automatically

  1. Click Settings.
  2. Select Connections.
  3. Click Wi-Fi.
  4. Select the network you’re on currently.
  5. Click Advanced.
  6. Select either DHCP or Static.

How to Change Your IP Address on iOS Automatically

  1. Go to your iPhone or iPad’s Settings.
  2. Select Network.
  3. Select your network.
  4. Click IPv4 Address.
  5. Click Configure IP.
  6. Choose Automatic.

How to Change Your IP Address with a VPN

If you don’t already have a new IP address or you don’t want one the automatic address from your device, then you can connect to a Virtual Private Network or VPN. VPNs will replace your IP address and encrypt all of your web activity. You may get the same IP address every time you connect (static), or a different one each time (dynamic). Some VPNs also offer dedicated IP addresses, if you want to be the only one with that address. With any VPN:

  1. Download the VPN app.
  2. Create an account.
  3. Click Connect.

To learn more, read about the best VPN for every occasion or our comprehensive VPN guide.

A sister to VPNs is proxy servers, intermediary devices that hide IP addresses.2 Here’s how to connect to a proxy server on your Mac, Windows, Android or iOS device.

Ivacy VPN iPhone Screenshot
Ivacy VPN iPhone Screenshot

How to Connect to Proxy Server on Mac

  1. Open Safari, Macs’ default browser.
  2. Click Preferences.
  3. Click Advanced.
  4. Select Change Settings.
  5. Update the Settings with the information that the network administrator provided in the System Preferences pop-up.

How to Connect to Proxy Server on Windows

  1. Go to your Administrative Templates.
  2. Select Windows Components.
  3. Click Data Collection and Preview Builds.
  4. Click Configure Authenticated Proxy Usage.
  5. Select Disable Authenticated Proxy Usage.
  6. Hit Apply.

How to Connect to Proxy Server on Android

  1. Go to your Android’s Settings.
  2. Select Wi-Fi.
  3. Select your networks’ name.
  4. Hit Modify Network.
  5. Click Advanced.
  6. Select Manual.
  7. Enter in your proxy port and hostname.
  8. Click Save.

How to Connect to Proxy Server on iOS

  1. Enter your phone or tablet’s Settings.
  2. Click Wi-Fi.
  3. Click on the “I” button next to username.
  4. Click HTTP Proxy.
  5. Select Edit Proxy Settings.
  6. Turn on Authentication.
  7. Return to the previous window.

Tor

Tor is a secure browser that, along with hiding your IP address, will also prevent tracking and targeted ads. Once you’re off a website, its cookies will clear as will your browsing history. Both your IP address and your web activity will be encrypted not once, not twice but three times.3 Just download the browser from Tor’s website to hide your IP address when browsing online!

Note: Although the websites you visit won’t be able to see your private IP address, Tor will log it themselves, according to their Privacy Notice. If you don’t want your IP address logged, choose a VPN with a strict privacy policy.

What Is An IP Address?

Of course, some people may not be totally clear on what an IP address actually is; no shame here! An IP address, which standards for an internet protocol address, is a device’s identifying number associated with a specific computer or network of computers. Basically, IP addresses let computers send and receive information, but they can also be used to track the physical locations of users,4 a nightmare for those concerned with privacy. And according to our VPN usage research, that accounts for 40 percent of VPN-users.

Types of IP Addresses

Not all IP addresses are created equal! Rather, they can be divided into a few different categories, some of which have certain advantages over others.

  • Public: Each and every internet-connected device has a public IP address, distributed by the Internet Service Providers vis-à-vis the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. What, you haven’t heard of ICANN? Nevertheless, these public IP addresses are searchable on the web, which is why we can find our printer simply by Googling its IP address.
  • Private/ local: In contrast to public IP addresses, private IP addresses aren’t searchable on the web. Rather, they’re numbers that routers assign the devices on their networks so that they can communicate with each other.
  • Dynamic: Dynamic IP addresses, as we mentioned before, are any type of IP address that change every time you connect, usually through a VPN. This makes users hard to track online, as their literal address keeps changing.
  • Static: Static means that the IP addresses do not change. With VPNs, static IP addresses are usually shared with thousands of users in order to obscure their identities. However, some websites block these shared IP addresses, which necessitates users getting dedicated IP addresses. What a convenient transition!
  • Dedicated: Dedicated IP addresses are assigned to only one user rather than being shared by several. They usually cost a different fee on top of the regular VPN subscription.
Changing You IP - On Windows, Turn on IPv4 and fill out the fields IP address, Subnet prefix length, and Gateway. Hit Save when you're done
Changing You IP – On Windows, Turn on IPv4 and fill out the fields IP address, Subnet prefix length, and Gateway. Hit Save when you’re done
  • IPv4: Internet Protocol version 4 is used by 99 percent of networks, but since it can only store 4.3 billion addresses, it’s being replaced by IPv6, which we’ll get to in a second. Unlike IPv6, IPv4 addresses are four one bite numbers separated by dots like 555.555.1.1.
  • IPv6: While they’re only used by less than 1 percent of networks, IPv6 has its advantages over IPv4, namely that it can provide an infinite number of addresses. It also allows for larger payloads and is compatible with a greater number of mobile networks. Although they’re starting small, eventually, IPv6 will replace IPv4.5

Where To Find Your IP Address

Feeling lost in the sauce? Finding your IP address isn’t that complicated, even if you’re not a tech expert like us.

Where to Find Your IP Address on Mac

  1. Enter your Mac’s System Preferences.
  2. Select Network.
  3. Select your Wi-Fi network.
  4. Click Advanced.
  5. Select TCP/IP.
  6. Look where it says IPv4 Address.
Changing You IP - Advanced Settings on Mac
Changing You IP – Advanced Settings on Mac

Where to Find Your IP Address on Windows

  1. Enter your TaskBar.
  2. Click on Wi-Fi Network.
  3. Select your network.
  4. Click Properties.
  5. Look under IPv4 Address.

Where to Find Your IP Address on Android

  1. Enter your phone’s Settings.
  2. Click About.
  3. Click Status.
  4. Look at the IP Address.

Where to Find Your IP Address on iOS

  1. Click Settings.
  2. Click Wi-Fi.
  3. Click on the “I” button next to Network.
  4. ILook under IPv4 Address.
Changing You IP - Proxy Settings on iPhone
Changing You IP – Proxy Settings on iPhone

Pros and Cons of Changing Addresses

Of course, there’s always the debate of whether or not to change your IP address in the first place. While the angel on your shoulder tells you it’s a great way to increase your privacy and access other country’s servers, the devil tells you that it could be costly, that some websites won’t work and that your ISP will still be able to see your address. There’s truth to both of these sides, so we recommend making your decisions on a case-by-case basis. That being said, we broke down the main reasons why you should and shouldn’t change your IP address.

Why You Should Change Your IP Address
  • Avoid tracking: If you’ve ever searched for anything related to consumerism, then you probably already notice how your searches seem to follow you around the internet like you owe them money. This sort of tracking is made possible by cookies, which some antivirus software can disable.
  • Bypass government restrictions: Governments like China greatly restrict internet usage in their country, so if you want to bypass firewalls, changing your IP address is a must.
  • Access international servers: Maybe you simply want to see what’s on Netflix Canada from your apartment in California. By changing your IP address to a Canadian one, you can trick the streaming giant into showing you a whole lot of new content.

FYI: Not all VPNs are compatible with Netflix. To find one that’s right for you, read our review of the best VPNs for Netflix.

  • Gain privacy: Maybe you’re an activist, a journalist, or anyone else handling sensitive information, or maybe you just don’t want your Internet Service Provider to track your every move. If that’s the case, changing your IP address is a step in the right direction in terms of privacy.
  • Increase security: Most people think nothing of joining public Wi-Fi networks (and depending on your settings, this may even happen automatically). However, using public Wi-Fi opens up a slew of security risks, with hacking at the forefront. But by hiding your real IP address, you greatly lower your risk of hackings.
Why You Shouldn’t Change Your IP Address
  • Some websites won’t work: Some websites, like the aforementioned Netflix, won’t work with certain VPNs or proxies. So while they may be able to bypass government restrictions, that doesn’t stop individual websites from blocking certain IP addresses.
  • Not always legal: Depending on where you are, VPNs may not be legal; they’re banned in China, Belarus, Iran and a few other countries, so keep that in mind before you connect.
  • May slow down connection: Any added encryption will slow down your browsing speeds, although the exact slowdowns will differ from service to service. Still, if you’re performing tasks that require a lot of bandwidth like streaming video or video chatting, you might experience some frustrating lag.
  • VPN may log data: Again, depending on the service, your VPN company may be logging the very information you want to hide, like your IP address and web traffic. Our advice? Always read the VPN’s privacy policy, which we cover in our individual VPN reviews.
  • Could cost money: Not all VPNs are free (except of course, the ones that are; check out the best free VPN is to see what we’re talking about). Still, free VPNs typically have limits on time, data, or servers, so if you want full coverage, you might have to pony up some dough.
    ISP will still be able to see IP: Even with a new IP address, your Internet Service Provider will be able to see it, so you’re never truly “private” when you’re online.

Conclusion

Overall, we’re of the faith that changing your IP address is a necessity at times, and we love that there’s more than one way to do it. We hope we answered all of your questions about changing your IP address, but if we didn’t, read on.

FAQs

Being public digital security experts, we’re constantly inundated with a number of questions surrounding changing your IP address. Here are those questions, with, you guessed it, answers.

  • Is there a way to change your IP address?

    You can change your IP address in your device settings or by using the Tor browser, a VPN or a proxy server.

  • Is changing your IP address illegal?

    Changing your IP address may or may not be legal; it depends on how you do it and where you’re located. For example, using a VPN to change your IP address is legal in the U.S but illegal in China.

  • Why does my IP address show a different city?

    Your IP address may show a different city if you’re connected to a VPN or proxy server with servers in that city. That may be the closest server to you, or simply the one that allows for the lowest bandwidth usage.

  • Does resetting my router change my IP address?

    Resetting your router may or may not change your IP address, depending on how long you wait before you turn it back on. We recommend waiting for about a day in order to get a new IP address.

Citations
  1. Microsoft. (2020). How to change the IP address of a network adapter.
    docs.microsoft.com/en-us/troubleshoot/windows-server/networking/change-ip-address-network-adapter

  2. SmartProxy. (2020). How to Change Your IP Address Right Now.
    smartproxy.com/what-is-a-proxy/change-ip

  3. Tor Project. (2020). Browse Privately. Explore Freely.
    torproject.org/

  4. Investopedia. (2020). IP Address.
    investopedia.com/terms/i/ip-address.asp

  5. Linksys. (2020). Differences between IPv4 and IPv6.
    linksys.com/us/support-article?articleNum=139604