Your internet protocol address, or IP address, is the number used to identify your system on a network. It’s typically generated automatically by your router, and you have one that is private to your local network and a public facing one that identifies you on the wider internet. But you don’t have to stick with what you have. You can learn how to change your IP address, and it is a pretty quick process.
Maybe you’re trying to connect to a network that already has a device with your IP address on it, or you want a specific IP for your PC that wasn’t assigned to you. Whatever your reason, if you follow the short steps below, we will teach you how to change your IP address so you can take full control over how your system is perceived on your network.
Changing your private IP address in Windows 10
Your private IP address is the one that your local network — be it your home or office — uses to identify your system. It’s probably some variation on 192.168.0.XXX, with the latter few numbers being the main differentiator between your PC and your phone, or other device connected to the network. You can find out what your current IP address is by searching for CMD in the Windows 10 search bar and selecting the corresponding result. Then type IPConfig and hit Enter in the Command Prompt window. The numbers next to IPv4 Address are your IP address. It’s a good idea to note this down, as well as your Subnet Mask and Default Gateway, as those will be important if you want to manually change your IP address.
For more tips on how to find out your IP address, we have a guide just for that.
If you don’t care about what your IP address is — just not that one — then you can simply reset your router. It should reassign IP addresses to all connected devices once it comes back online. If it doesn’t, or you want a specific IP address instead, follow these steps.
Note: The following steps are illustrated with screenshots from Windows 10, but they should work much the same in Windows 8.1 and 7.
Step 1: Open your network settings
Search for Control Panel in the Windows search bar and select the corresponding result. Then, under Network and Internet select View network status and tasks, followed by Change adapter settings in the left-hand menu.
Right-click (or tap and hold) on your main Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection and select Properties from the drop-down menu. On the list under the Networking tab look for Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4). Select it, then select Properties.
Step 2: Change your IP Address
Toggle on the top option that reads Use the following IP address. You then need to put in your new IP address in the box provided. We would recommend sticking to a similar numbering convention as the one you have automatically supplied by your router, but change the final number to whatever you want between 0 and 255 (some routers may specify a different range, so consider sticking to the lower end of it). You’ll then need to put in your network’s Subnet Mask and Default gateway, which we learned how to find earlier in this guide. Finally, set your Preferred DNS server to the same as your Default Gateway, unless you have another DNS server in mind (like Cloudfare’s 188.8.131.52). Then press OK and OK again, to confirm your settings.
Step 4: Test and tweak
To confirm your IP address has changed, run IPConfig in a Command Prompt window again. When you’ve definitely changed your IP, try loading up a website to make sure that you’re still able to get online. If you can, congratulations, you’ve changed your IP address. If you can’t, you should double check you’ve input the right information. Worst case, set everything back how it was and you’ll be able to get online again.
Change your private IP Address in MacOS
The process for changing your IP address on MacOS is different but no more complicated than it is on Windows. You jump through similar hoops to find out what your IP address is on MacOS, so we’ll dive right into the steps.
Step 1: Find your network settings
To gain access to your network settings on MacOS, select the Apple logo in the top left-hand corner and choose System Preferences from the drop-down menu. Select the silver globe icon titled Network then in the left-hand list and select your network — Wi-Fi or Ethernet depending on your connection type. You should see your IP address in the top right.
Step 2: Change your IP address
Select the Advanced button in the bottom right then select the TCP/IP tab at the top of the new window. Next to Configure IPv4 is a box with a drop-down arrow. Select that and choose either Using DHCP with manual, or Manually. The former lets you input an IP address, while the latter requires that you put that in as well as a Subnet Mask and Router (default gateway).
Unless you particularly want to change your other information, select Using DHCP with manual and input your new IP address. We recommend sticking to the numbering convention that your router assigned you initially. In the case of our screenshotted example, that would be 10.101.010.XXX.
Step 3: Test and tweak
When you’re happy with your selection, confirm it and select Apply to finalize the settings. Then see if you can connect to the internet OK. If you can, congratulations you’ve changed your IP address. If you can’t, then go back and double check to see if you missed a step along the way. If you’re stuck, set everything back the way it was and once you can get back online, try again to see if you can spot the problem.
Changing your public IP Address
Whether you’re running a Windows or MacOS machine, changing your public IP address is a little more complicated. It’s not something you have direct control over either. Your internet service provider will typically have that power. Most will offer a Static IP service which allows you to choose your public-facing IP address, but often they charge for the privilege. If you want to permanently change your public IP, your best bet is to contact your ISP and inquire about it.
If you want to hide your IP address online for privacy or security reasons — or just because you want to watch a different country’s version of Netflix — we have a full guide about how to do so, including hints on how to use a Proxy or the Tor network.
A more permanent solution though is to use a VPN service. We have a list of favorites that range from free to a few dollars per month, but they all give you the ability to change your public IP address to one found in an entirely different country of your choice, with a myriad of server options to help you fine tune it. You won’t be able to set a specific public IP, but you’ll be able to change it to something else entirely, which for most is the main reason for changing their public IP in the first place.
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