Changing your IP address — as opposed to simply hiding it — involves making a permanent alteration to your device’s true IP.
Generally speaking, changing your IP address is much more difficult than hiding it.
Changing your IP address is also less effective. You can’t bypass censorship or geographical restrictions with an IP change because your new address will be in roughly the same physical location as before.
IP changing will allow you to overcome some common problems, such as personal IP bans and download quotas on P2P networks. That said, these can also be overcome by hiding your IP address, too.
Here’s a table comparing when to change your IP address and when to hide it:
||Change IP Address
||Hide IP Address
|Avoid Government Censorship
|Bypass IP Bans
|Evade ISP Snooping
|Fix Connection Problems
Before you consider changing your IP address, it’s important to note that there are two different kinds of IP address assigned by ISPs:
- Static IPs. A fixed IP address that is permanently tied to your network or website. Static IPs stay the same for as long as you remain with the service provider.
- Dynamic IPs. An IP address that changes over time. Dynamic IPs change when you disconnect from the internet and then reconnect. They are also set to change periodically at time intervals chosen by the ISP.
Dynamic IP addresses are now much more common than Static IPs, as they allow ISPs to reuse and recycle their inactive IPs.
Why Do I Need to Change My IP Address?
Most users look to change their IP address for purely technical reasons, often to do with connection problems. This can include:
- An invalid IP address. A user may have been assigned a static IP that isn’t in the appropriate numerical range.
- Wanting a specific IP address. Users that have experienced problems with dynamic IPs or need reliable remote access to their router might want to choose their own static IP.
- A faulty router. A broken home router might begin to assign the same private IP address to multiple devices on one network.
- A new router. When installing a new router, the local network may need to be reconfigured to fit with the router’s default range of IP addresses.
How to Change Your Public IP Address
Changing a public IP address is far more difficult than changing a private IP address.
This is because users have very little control over their public IP. ISPs own all public IPs and merely lease them to internet users.
Your public IP is not your property and can therefore be very difficult to change.
There are three main options if you want to change your public IP address:
- Restart your WiFi router.
- Call your ISP.
- Connect to Public WiFi.
Which method to use depends on whether your IP is static or dynamic, and whether you’re after a quick-fix or a long-term solution.
1Restart Your WiFi Router
If your ISP assigns you a dynamic IP, you should be able to change your public IP address by simply restarting your WiFi router.
Fortunately, most home networks are assigned dynamic IPs nowadays.
The main issue with this method is that the DHCP server, which issues dynamic IP addresses, commonly tries to remember the devices under its jurisdiction and assign them the same IP address whenever possible.
To change your public IP, you’ll need to restart your router multiple times. If that doesn’t work, try leaving it switched off overnight (for around 8 hours) and turn it back on in the morning.
2Call Your ISP
If you’ve been assigned a static IP address, you’ll have to contact your ISP in order to change it.
Most ISPs allow you to request a new public IP address over the phone or on their website, but they often charge for the privilege.
This solution isn’t limited to individuals with static IPs, either. If you have a dynamic IP, you can also request a new static one from your ISP.
You may want to do this if you’ve repeatedly experienced issues with your dynamic IP assignment or if you desire a specific, permanent IP address.
It’s worth noting that static IP addresses do come with some security risks. You should consider these before requesting a new one.
3Connect to Public WiFi
The easiest way to change your public IP address is to change your physical location.
Remember, public IP addresses aren’t device specific — your IP at work will be different to your IP at home.
Heading out and connecting to public WiFi, like at a coffee shop, will temporarily change your IP address.
This method is a quick-fix rather than any kind of proper solution, but it will work if you’re only looking to change your IP address temporarily.
That said, using public WiFi can put your personal data at risk. If you have to use an open network, be sure to follow our public WiFi safety tips.
How to Change Your Private IP Address
Users have much greater control over their private IP address than they do with their public IP. However, changing your private IP can be quite a technical procedure.
Luckily, there is one simple way of changing your private IP that you can try first.
If you have no preference over what your private IP address is — you just want a new one — you can try restarting your WiFi router. Once it boots back up, it should randomly reassign all the devices on your network a brand new private IP address.
However, restarting your router won’t help if you want to fix a faulty router or choose a specific IP address.
If restarting your WiFi router doesn’t work, you can use the following simple instructions to change the private IP address on a device of your choice.
Regardless of the system you’re using, we recommend keeping the numbering convention of your new private IP address similar to the one already being used. Just choose your own number between 0 and 255 for the final three digits.
Different routers designate different ranges, so choose a smaller number to be on the safe side.
To Change Your Private IP Address on Windows 10:
- Open the Control Panel. Click the Start button in the bottom-left of the screen. Type in ‘control panel’ and select Control Panel from the results.
- Select Network and Internet and then Network and Sharing Centre.
- From the left-hand menu, choose Change Adaptor Settings.
- Choose your main internet connection (WiFi or Ethernet) and click on the Properties tab.
- Find Internet Protocol Version (TCP/IPv4) on the list. Click it, and then click Properties.
- Make sure the Use the following IP address tab is selected and then input the private IP address that you want.
To Change Your Private IP Address on MacOS:
- Navigate to System Preferences using the Apple Logo in the top-left corner of the screen and double-click the Network tab.
- Select your internet connection (WiFi or Ethernet) from the left-hand menu and then click the advanced tab in the bottom-right corner.
- Switch to the TCP/IP tab.
- From the drop-down menu next to Configure IPv4, select Using DHCP with manual address.
- Enter your preferred private IP address into the input box that appears next to IPv4 Address and click OK.
To Change Your Private IP Address on iPhone:
- Open the Settings app and choose WiFi.
- Select the mini (i) next to your chosen network.
- Tap Configure IP and then the Manual option.
- Input your desired private IP address into the IP address box. You may also need to type in the existing Subnet Mask and Router number (which can be found on the previous screen).
To Change Your Private IP Address on Android:
- Open Settings, tap Connections and then WiFi.
- Press on the network you’re using and select Advanced.
- Using the IP settings drop-down menu, tap Static.
- Enter the private IP address you want into the box under IP address.