How to change your IP address to troubleshoot your internet connection or protect your privacy

Woman on laptopAlys Tomlinson/Getty ImagesYou can change your IP address to troubleshoot internet access issues.
  • You can change your local IP address from the network settings controls menu on a PC, Mac, or phone.
  • Your public IP address can be changed by resetting your router or connecting to a VPN.
  • You might need to change your IP address for technical or security reasons.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Your computer, like every device that connects to the internet, has an IP (Internet Protocol) address. It’s a series of numbers interspersed with decimal points (for example, “198.169.0.101”), and acts like a home address that identifies where other devices can find your computer.

Related Article Module: ‘What is my IP?’: Here’s what an IP address does, and how to find yoursIt’s rare that you need to know your computer’s IP address, but should you need it, it’s easy to find (for details, see our articles on how to find the IP address for Windows or the IP address on a Mac).

Here’s everything to know about changing both your local and public IP addresses.

How to change your public IP address

No matter what kind of computer you have – Windows or Mac – it’s pretty easy to change your public IP address.

Your public IP address is usually set by your internet service provider (ISP), and you can’t choose it yourself. However, you can “coax” it to change in any of several different ways:

  • Change your network or location: Your public IP address will change based on where and how you connect to the internet. If you have a phone with LTE, for example, turning off Wi-Fi so it uses that LTE signal will compel it to use a different IP address. You can also connect to a different Wi-Fi network.
  • Reboot your internet modem: When you reboot the modem (turn it off, wait two to three minutes, then turn it back on) it’ll refresh all the IP addresses on the network.
  • Connect with a VPN: A VPN (Virtual Private Network) hides your public IP address, and connects you to a server in a different location with a different IP address. When you use a VPN, you don’t get to choose the IP address directly, but you can usually choose what geographic region you want to appear to come from, which will determine what IP addresses the VPN software will use to identify you.

If all else fails, contact your ISP and ask them to change your IP address. They might not be able to do it, but there’s no harm in asking.

How to change your local IP address in Windows

1. Click the Start button and then click “Settings.”

2. Click “Network & Internet.”

IP 1Dave Johnson/InsiderYou can change your local IP address in Settings.

3. In the navigation pane on the left, click “Wi-Fi” and then click the name of your Wi-Fi network. If you’re connected with an Ethernet cable, select “Ethernet.”

IP 2Dave Johnson/InsiderSelect your network to change the IP address.

4. On the details page for your Wi-Fi network, scroll down to the IP settings section and click “Edit.” With Ethernet, click “Properties.”

5. Finally, in the Edit IP settings dialog box, click “Automatic (DHCP)” and choose “Manual.” Then turn on IPv4 by swiping the button to the right and enter the details of the new IP address. Click “Save.”

IP 3Dave Johnson/InsiderChange the IP setting from automatic to manual.

How to change your local IP address on a Mac

1. In the Apple menu, click “System Preferences.”

2. Click “Network.”

IP 4Dave Johnson/InsiderOpen the network settings in System Preferences.

3. In the pane on the left, select the network you’re connected to, and then click “Advanced” at the bottom right of the window.

IP 5Dave Johnson/InsiderAfter selecting your network, go to the Advanced settings.

4. Click the “TCP/IP” tab at the top.

5. In the Configure using IPv4 section, click “Using DHCP” and then choose “Manually.”

IP 6Dave Johnson/InsiderYou need to switch from DHCP (which is the automatic mode) to select the IP address manually.

6. Finally, enter the details of the new IP address. Click “OK.”

How to change the local IP address on a mobile device

Like any internet-connected device, your phone has its own IP address. If you have a compelling reason to, you can change your IP address for your phone as well.

For both iPhone and Android, you can customize the IP address from the Wi-Fi settings page. For step-by-step details on how to do this, see our articles “How to change the IP address on your iPhone” and “How to change the IP address on an Android phone.”

Internet router modem cell phone laptop handsKittichai Boonpong;EyeEm/Getty ImagesYour phone’s internet works just the same as your laptop’s.

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