How To Change Your IP Address

Typing in the Shadows
Typing in the Shadows. Getty Images

With some know-how, it's possible to change the IP address of a connected device. A person may want to change their IP address when their network connection isn't working properly, to improve their online privacy, or for other reasons as described below. The procedure to follow depends on whether the IP address is static or dynamic and whether it's public or private.

Changing Public IP Addresses

IP addresses used for Internet access are controlled by Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

It is not easy to change these, especially if you want to do so quickly.

Some Internet services assign you a static IP address. To change a static IP address, you will need to contact the ISP and work with their technical support to have them assign a new one.

Most Internet services, however, use dynamic IP addresses assigned via DHCP. The policies of service providers dictate how to change these. If your computer is directly connected to the Internet, you can attempt to release and renew the address using ipconfig or a similar utility. Consult your ISP technical support for details. Often, you will need to disconnect your modem from the Internet for a long period of time (many hours or a few days) before the provider will assign a different dynamic IP address.

Subscribing to an anonymous VPN service gives you access to alternative pubic IP addresses beside the one your primary Internet provider offers.

Although this does not actually modify the primary address, it effectively changes the public IP address that others see online to the one issued by the VPN provider.

Changing Private IP Addresses

It is easier to change the private IP addresses used internally on your local network. If using static addressing, you can directly set a new IP address on the device.

If using dynamic addresses supplied via a network router, you have a few options:

  • release and renew the DHCP address on the client
  • set up the router (or other DHCP server) to use a different IP address range (and update addressing on the other network devices accordingly)
  • change one or more devices on the network from dynamic to static addressing. You can mix static and dynamic clients on the same network as long as you avoid using static IP addresses within the numeric range where the DHCP server is likely to issue its addresses.

Why Change Your IP Address?

Some people change a public IP address to avoid online bans or bypass country location restrictions some sites place on their video content. Web sites may block individuals either by their IP address or by their user account name.  (Note that changing the IP address will have no effect in the latter case.)

Additionally, an ISP may assign you an invalid address due to some technical glitch in their equipment. This is another (more legitimate) reason to change your public IP address.

Changing a private IP address does not at all help with Internet address issues. However, changing these makes sense in a few situations:

  • if you have accidentally configured an invalid address, such as a static IP address in the wrong numeric range
  • if using a malfunctioning router that is providing bad addresses, such as one already being used by another computer on your network
  • if installing a new router and re-configuring your home network to use its default IP address range

The choice of IP address does not affect your network performance in any meaningful way.