In today’s interconnected world, understanding how to change IP address can be valuable. Whether you want to protect your online privacy, bypass geographic restrictions, or troubleshoot network issues, modifying your IP address gives you greater control over your internet experience.
Many people find the process of changing their IP address intimidating or confusing, asking questions like “What is an IP address?”, “Why would I want to change it?”, and most importantly, “How can I change it without breaking anything?”.
With our years of experience in the field, we can help demystify the concept of an IP address and provide you with clear, concise instructions on how to change them.
How to change IP address with a VPN
Changing your IP address with a VPN is simple. Just follow these instructions:
- Subscribe to a secure VPN that is capable of changing IP addresses. We recommend NordVPN.
- Download the VPN onto your device and install it.
- Connect to a server in the location of your choice. This will be when your IP changes.
- Begin browsing as normal. Changing IP will allow you to access geo-restricted content on streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu.
All you need to do is install a secure VPN, connect to a server and your IP address will change. It’s that easy! But, we do offer more information on the process below.
What are the best VPNs to change your IP address?
- NordVPN: The best VPN to change your IP address. Fast servers in 59 countries. Apps for all popular devices. Many advanced features. No-logging policy. Works with Netflix US, iPlayer, and many more. TIP In our testing we found that the cheapest NordVPN plan (Standard) works perfectly for changing your IP.
- Surfshark: Best budget VPN to change your IP. Allows an unlimited number of connections. Great for families. Apps for all popular devices. Built-in adblocking and malware filtering. 30-day money-back guarantee.
- ExpressVPN: A superb all-rounder. Fast speeds thanks to its Lightway protocol. Servers in 94 countries. Works with around two-dozen Netflix regions.
- CyberGhost: Best way to change your IP for beginners. Over 7000 fast servers in 89+ countries. Fast Wireguard connections. Apps for all devices. Easy to use apps with fewer advanced settings.
- IPVanish: A fast US VPN with a proprietary network. Lots of advanced security features. No logs policy. Works with Netflix US. Apps for all platforms.
- PrivateVPN: Perfect for IP changing while torrenting. Kill-switch and obfuscation features. Robust AES encryption. Great speeds. Servers in 63+ countries.
- AtlasVPN: Excellent option for changing your IP. Works with most streaming services, like iPlayer, Hulu, Netflix, and more. Servers in 30+ countries. Includes malware filtering.
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Why would I need to change my IP address?
Many online services are geo-restricted, which means they are not available outside of their country of origin. The only way to access those services from abroad is to connect to a VPN server in that location. This gives you a valid IP address and causes the website or online service to become available again.
If you travel abroad on vacation, services from back home, such as internet banking or streaming services, will be geo-restricted. As a result, you will need to use a VPN to get an IP address in your home country.
Finally, a VPN can help you get around government, ISP, or local network restrictions. By connecting to a VPN, you can get an IP address in a country where locally censored content is still available. Thanks to the privacy provided by the VPN, you can access those usually censored services without being tracked.
Best VPNs for changing your IP address – Our hands-on review
We’ve compared the most important features for the top VPNs here. Prefer to read the in-depth reviews? Start with NordVPN – our #1 choice for changing your IP address.
|Website||NordVPN.com||Surfshark.com||ExpressVPN.com||Cyberghost.com||IPVanish.com||PrivateVPN.com||atlasvpn.com||Ranking for changing your IP address||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||Total number of servers||5,700+||3,200||Undisclosed||7000+||2,200+||200+||1000+||Avg Speed (Mbps)||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||39 Mbps||100+ Mbps||Popular Sites Unblocked||95%||88%||86%||85%||70%||85%||93%||Devices Supported||Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux||Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Amazon Fire TV||Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Smart TVs, Routers||Windows, MacOS, Linux (command line), iOS, Android, Smart TVs Routers||Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android||Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV||Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV|
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How to find your current IP address
When you use a VPN it changes your IP address, and you can easily use a tool like ipleak.net to check that the VPN has correctly altered your IP address. The nice thing about IP checking tools is that they not only show your IP address but also the geographical location of that IP address.
This means that if you live in France and connect to a VPN server in New York, the IP address tool will clearly show your location as New York, making it pretty obvious that the VPN is working properly to alter your IP address location.
Of course, if a VPN is working properly, you should also see no DNS leaks or WebRTC leaks in the test results. You can find out more about these types of leaks, and how to check for them, in our detailed guide. So follow the link to find out more.
If you are interested in knowing what your home IP address is (perhaps because you want to share it with a trusted third party, or simply because you want to know your home IP address for interest’s sake) you can find it by using the same tool you use to check that a VPN is working.
You can follow the steps below to find out your home IP address:
- Make sure you aren’t connected to a VPN or any other location spoofing application (browser extension proxy, Tor, etc).
- Head over to our IP address checking tool in your browser
- Make a note of your IP address (it is the string of numbers that appears next to the words Your IP address:)
Now that you know your IP address, you can easily use it to double-check that a VPN is working properly when you connect to its servers. When connected to a VPN, you should not be able to see your real IP address in any of the results. Instead, you should detect an IP address for the remote location.
How to change your public IP address
Here are a few ways to change your public IP address(es):
1. Connect to a VPN to change your IP address
Short for Virtual Private Network, a VPN encrypts your internet connection and routes it through a server in a location of your choosing. Websites, online services, and other devices on the web will only see the VPN server’s IP address and not your real IP address.
VPNs are useful for torrenting, unblocking region-locked content like that from Netflix and BBC iPlayer, and bypassing censorship at schools, in offices, and in countries like China.
Most VPNs can easily hide your IPv4 address, but many VPNs can leak your IP address through various security vulnerabilities. Furthermore, not all VPNs hide your IPv6 address. Choose a VPN that either disables IPv6 or can prevent IPv6 leaks by default.
If you’re not sure how to set up a VPN just follow the simple steps outlined earlier in this article.
2. Use a proxy to change your IP address
Proxies work similarly to VPNs but with far less versatility and security. Your internet connection goes through a middleman server so that websites and other online resources see the proxy server’s IP address and not your own. Unlike VPNs, proxies often lack encryption, only affect certain apps, and can leak your IP address through other means.
A few different types of proxies can be used to change your IP address:
- HTTP/S proxies – Usually either browser extensions or special websites that work like a browser within your browser. They only change the IP address on data sent to and from your browser, but do not affect other apps or even DNS traffic. If encryption is included, these are sometimes called SSL proxies.
- SOCKS proxies – General purpose proxy servers that can be configured for specific apps including most web browsers. SOCKS5, the latest version, includes support for encryption.
- SSH proxies – SSH proxies forward internet traffic from apps like your web browser through a Secure Shell (SSH) connection to a server, so your IP address is changed to that of the server. Although encryption is included, SSH is not a particularly fast protocol, and many websites and apps might not function properly when connected.
3. Use Tor to change your IP address for free
Tor, short for The Onion Router, is a volunteer-run anonymity network. The easiest way to get started with Tor is to download and install the Tor Browser, a barebones web browser that routes all web traffic through the Tor network. Tor encrypts your connection several times and then sends data through multiple nodes—servers operated by volunteer Tor supporters. Each node strips away one layer of encryption, and the sequence of nodes used changes every time you access a different website. This makes it nearly impossible to trace Tor traffic back to the source.
Websites will see the IP address of the last node in the chain, called the Exit Node.
Tor is free, but has its drawbacks. It’s relatively slow and only really suited for basic web browsing. Tor’s anonymity means it is often associated with illicit activity and the dark web, so even though it’s not illegal, using it might draw unwanted attention from your ISP and possibly even law enforcement. Those entities can’t see what you do while connected to Tor, but they can see that you are connected to Tor nodes.
4. Change IP addresses by unplugging your modem
You might be able to get a new IP address by unplugging your internet modem, waiting a few minutes, and then plugging it back in again. When this happens, you release your existing IP address so that your ISP can recycle it. When you reconnect, your ISP assigns you a new IP address.
This method isn’t guaranteed to work because your ISP might just give you the same IP address again. The longer you leave your modem unplugged, however, the higher the chance your IP address changes. If unplugging for a few minutes doesn’t get the job done, consider leaving it unplugged overnight.
Your ISP must use dynamic IP addresses in order for this to work. Most do.
5. Ask your ISP to change your IP address
Another option is to ask your ISP for a new IP address. Every ISP has different policies about how they handle such requests, so responses may vary. At minimum, you’ll need your account information and current IP address on hand.
Most ISPs use dynamic IP address systems, meaning IP addresses occasionally change and get recycled as devices connect and disconnect from the internet. With that in mind, note that your new IP address might not stay the same forever.
In some cases, you can request a static IP address from your ISP, though this might require paying an extra fee and/or going through an application process. Once provided with a static IP address, you can enter it into your device’s network settings. Static IP addresses never change unless you manually change them.
6. Change networks to get a different IP address
This might seem obvious, but you can get a different IP address by disconnecting from whatever network you’re currently connected to and connecting to a different one. You can switch to a different wifi network, for example, or switch from wifi to a mobile data connection if you’re on a smartphone.
Remember that public and open wifi hotspots are often prime hunting grounds for hackers. Try to stick with a wifi network that requires a password and is encrypted with WPA2.
How to change your private IP address
If you’re connected to a wifi router, then you probably share a public IP address with all the other devices connected to the same network. Each device, however, has its own private, or local IP address.
Changing your local IP address won’t really affect how your device communicates with other devices and servers over the internet, but there might be instances in which you need a different private IP address. These include troubleshooting a malfunctioning router or configuring how local devices, such as printers and IoT devices, function on your home network.
Renew your local IP address
If you’re connected to wifi or some other type of local network, you can change your private IP address from the router admin panel or from the device itself. I’ll show you how to do it on Windows and MacOS.
Here’s how to renew your IP address on Windows:
- Search for the Command Prompt and right click it to Run as administrator
- Enter ipconfig /release
- Enter ipconfig /renew
You should now see a new local IP address.
Here’s how to renew your IP address on Mac:
- Click the Apple menu and open System Preferences
- Select Network
- Highlight the network that you’re connected to in the left pane
- Click Advanced…
- Select the TCP/IP tab
- Click Renew DHCP Lease
You Mac should now be assigned a new local IP address.
The process for changing local IP addresses on the router varies depending on your router manufacturer and firmware. You can usually access your router’s admin dashboard by opening a web browser and entering 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1 in the address bar.
How do I change my IP address on my mobile device?
Changing your IP address is easy on a mobile phone or tablet device. All you need is a VPN. In this guide, we have recommended the best VPNs for changing your IP address. Our recommendations have servers located globally, to let you get an IP address wherever you need it. To change your IP address on a mobile device, follow the steps below:
- Sign up for the VPN by following the link in this guide (we recommend NordVPN)
- Install the VPN app for Android or iOS onto your device. You can find it in your regular app store.
- Launch the VPN app and login using your credentials.
- Choose a VPN server from the list and click connect.
- Your IP address will change as soon as the VPN connection is established.
Static vs Dynamic IPs: What’s the difference?
Dynamic IP addresses
Each time you connect to the internet or reboot your router, a dynamic IP address changes – in other words, they’re temporary IP addresses. Dynamic IPs are common for home users due to their cost-effectiveness. However, if you perform tasks like hosting a website, it’s best to opt for a passive IP address for stability,
Static IP addresses
In contrast, Static IPs never change, regardless of how often you disconnect from the web. These are best suited to activities that require an IP address that doesn’t change, such as online gaming. Static IPs are a popular option for business users, but unlike dynamic IPs, they come at an added cost. One of the drawbacks of static IPs is their security risks, making it easier for cybercriminals to attack networks thanks to the constant IP address.
Choosing between a static IP or dynamic IP address will depend on your needs. If you’re browsing the web, scrolling socials, and streaming Netflix, a dynamic IP will do. A static IP is the way to go if you’re a hardcore gamer or host a web server.
Your ISP always knows your IP address
No matter what methods you use to change or hide an IP address, the internet service provider always knows public IP addresses. This is inevitable because in order to connect to the internet at all, your ISP must assign you an IP address, and it must know what that IP address is in order to transmit communication and data from the internet to your device.
So even if you used one of the above methods to mask your IP address from websites, services, and other devices on the internet, your ISP is an exception that can see behind the mask.
Even if your ISP can identify you by your IP address, however, you can hide your online activity through encryption. A VPN or Tor will encrypt all data before it ever leaves your device, so even though your ISP can see that you are communicating, it cannot see the contents of those communications.
If you need an easy way to change your IP address to that of a different ISP, try switching between wifi and your smartphone’s mobile data connection. Chances are, your phone carrier and home internet use different ISPs.
How to Change IP address: FAQs
Why does changing my IP address catch CAPTCHA requests?
Changing your IP address may result in you catching CAPTCHA requests. The reason for this is because the IP address in question is likely shared with many other users. From the perspective of an online service such as Google, it sees an unusually high number of requests from the same IP address. It then attempts to verify you’re human (as opposed to a bot!) by presenting you with CAPTCHAs.
Will a free VPN change my IP address?
Technically yes, you can change your IP address with a free VPN. There are, however, a few things about these services that make them less than ideal. For instance, free providers usually have very low monthly bandwidth limits and more users than their networks can support. This means that you may not be able to use the VPN as much as you like, and you’ll have to put up with slow speeds when you do get connected.
One of the main functions of a VPN is to keep you safe online. Unfortunately, free providers tend to forget this, with plenty falsely claiming to follow no-logs policies or overhyping the effectiveness of their security features. Why take a chance when your privacy is at stake? We’d recommend choosing a reputable no-logs provider instead of just using whatever is free.
Is it illegal to change my IP address?
No, it’s not illegal to change your IP address. Indeed, you can legally use a VPN in almost any country in the world without having to worry about breaking any laws. However, some online activities are still illegal regardless of whether you’ve used a VPN to change your IP. This includes torrenting copyrighted material or, in some countries, accessing betting websites.
Will a VPN ever expose my real IP address?
The short answer is no. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) provides an encrypted tunnel between your device and the internet, shielding your real IP address from anyone trying to track you online. The data passing through this tunnel is highly secured with strong encryption algorithms, making it nearly impossible for someone to determine which server or network you are connected to or even know who you are. However, there are a few situations when your real IP address can still be exposed:
- If a malicious actor takes control of the VPN server and gains access to its logs.
- If the VPN service provider stores information that includes IP addresses (although many reputable VPNs do not store any logs at all).
- If a website or service you connect to uses an IP address checker to detect your true identity.
In all these scenarios, it is important to remember that a VPN does provide additional security and privacy by masking your real location and the IP address from websites and services you visit. However, for the utmost security and anonymity, it is recommended that you also use other privacy tools such as browser extensions, secure browsers, and encrypted messaging apps in addition to a VPN. With this multi-layered approach to online security, you can rest assured knowing that your real identity will remain hidden no matter what situation arises.
Do I need a dedicated IP address?
You can use a shared IP address, but they tend to come with more risk. A dedicated or static IP address is recommended but there are only a handful of VPNs with dedicated IP addresses. Having a unique IP address can help to protect you from specific threats, such as a Brute Force attack, but it’s worth noting that it isn’t foolproof. You will also need to ensure you follow good online security practices, including strong passwords, two-factor authentication, and not accessing suspicious websites.
Can I get a new IP address from my ISP?
It’s possible to get a new IP address with some ISPs. However, it really depends on the ISP in question. If you find that your ISP don’t accept your request, you could try some of the other options as listed in this post (such as unplugging your router). Of course, the best way to change your IP address while enjoying additional security and privacy-related benefits is to use a VPN.
Can I choose which location my new IP address is in?
A VPN allows you to choose the location of the server to which you connect. The best VPNs offer servers in dozens of countries around the world. Once you connect to one of these servers, you’ll be assigned an IP address to match that location. For example, if you connect to a server in Australia, you’ll be given an Australian IP address. It’s that simple! So yes, you can choose the location your new IP address is in.
What should I do if my IP address isn't changing with my VPN?
When you connect to a VPN server, your IP address should change to be in the location you selected. A VPN is designed to encrypt your data and route it to the remote service location, and as long as it is working correctly, your IP address should always update to the corresponding location.
Unfortunately, some VPNs are broken. They do not properly conceal your home IP address from the websites you visit, and/or they fail to conceal your DNS requests from your ISP. These problems are called “leaks” and VPNs that suffer from leaks are completely failing to:
- Provide you with online privacy
- Conceal your IP address from the websites you visit
If you want to know whether your VPN is changing your IP address, we recommend that you use an online IP address-checking tool. The IP address and DNS request results should show as the location of the VPN server (not your real location).
If for any reason you see a local IP anywhere on the IP leak test’s website, then it is likely that your VPN is failing to properly hide your home IP address. That means that the VPN is either no good (you need a new one), or you need to update your VPN software to make sure it is up to date and working correctly.
Remember that it is important to use a reliable VPN like the ones recommended on this page, and to periodically check for IP leaks using an online IP address-checking tool to ensure your VPN is working correctly on your device.
Will resetting my router change my IP address?
When you restart your router your ISP assigns you a new dynamic IP address. However, if your IP address is static, rebooting your router will retain that IP address.