Privacy Canada is community-supported. We may earn a commission when make a purchase through one of our links. Learn more.
How To Change IP Address
If you’ve visited any part of the internet, you’re using a technology called Internet Protocol, or IP. This IP acts as a sort of global phone book that allows you to access any website or server without needing to memorize a series of random numbers interspaced with dots.
For example, let’s say you wanted to Google something, well the Google web page has a series of IP addresses it uses, one of which being 220.127.116.11.
If you didn’t have IP then you’d have to memorize that number and use that every time you wanted to visit google, rather than the much simpler ‘Google.com’. So think of IP as a sort of yellow pages, and the IP addresses as specific numbers on those pages.
Of course, IP addresses have become ubiquitous nowadays, with pretty much everything that connects to a network having some form of IP address. There is even some argument to be made that every human will have their own IP at some point.
As such, there are a variety of valid reasons one might want to change their IP address. Maybe they want a bit more anonymity.
#1 Is it Legal to Change IP?
While this is by no means legal advice, for the mast part, yes, changing your IP is legal depending on country and state. The only exception is if you’re changing your IP to conduct a criminal act, such as trying to impersonate somebody else or a company that you don’t represent or have the right to.
This practice is called IP spoofing, and can also be trying to change your IP to access a site you aren’t supposed to. Again, the legality varies by country, but you should be fine in changing your IP in general especially if the purpose is to protect your privacy, rather than doing something illegal.
#2 Using A VPN
The easiest and most straightforward way to change your IP address is through a competitive VPN, and that’s due to the way that it works.
What a VPN does is that it creates a secure tunnel, called a Secure Shell or SSH, between your computer and the servers of the VPN provider’s servers. You then access the wider internet through those servers and use their IP, rather than your own.
So while it’s not technically changing your specific connection IP, which is nearly impossible without spending a lot of money, you are still getting the same effect.
Now, what’s interesting is that how you access those VPN servers has changed a lot over the past few years. While the most easily accessible way to do it was through software, there are now things like VPN routers that not only create the SSH between your computer and the VPN’s servers but any device that is connected to the router.
That means you don’t have to be getting an individual VPN for every single device, such as a smartphone, you connect to the router.
Alternatively, if you feel like getting a new piece of hardware is a bit too much, there are both VPNs for Android and VPNs for iOS. They function exactly the same way as a desktop VPN does, and allow you to change your IP wherever you are. VPNs also allow you to get around things like geo-locking of content, so it’s a great thing to have besides just being able to change IP addresses.
#3 Change IP Manually
This method is slightly more involved and has different methods depending on the platform.
Change IP on Windows 🏠
First of all, make sure that you are using an administrator account, otherwise, this process won’t work.
Go to the Windows search and type in “Network connection” and click on it. In the new window, right-click on “Local Area Network” and chose “Properties”. Then click on “TCP/IPv4”, click on “Properties” and that should bring you up to a new window where you can set your IP address.
Keep in mind, unless you have an address that will work, putting in a random address will just cause you issues.
Change IP on MacOS 💻
Go to “System Preferences”, then “Network”, and click on “Network Connection”. From there, click on “Configure IPv4” and choose “Configure Manually”.
That should allow you to set your own IP.
Change IP on Android 📱
Go to your Settings page and tap on Wi-fi, or if you have the option in the top taskbar, just press and hold the WiFI Icon. On the new page, choose the WiFi connection you’re currently using, and click on the little cog next to it.
Scroll to the bottom and press on “Advanced Settings” then tap on “IP Settings” and set it to “Static”. From there, a new page will open that will allow you to put your IP in manually.
Change IP on iOS 🤳
The process for changing your IP on iOS is pretty similar to Android: go to “Settings” then “WiFi” and“Network”.
Where it says IPV4 tap “Configure IP” which allows you to manually change your IP.
#4 Change IP Through Your Router
For starters, it’s important to point out that this method is not the same as using a VPN router as mentioned above.
Instead, the quickest and easiest way to get a new IP is to unplug your router for at least five minutes.
This may sound a bit counter-intuitive or crazy at first, but the reason it works is that most people have a dynamic IP that is assigned by their ISP once their router goes online. By turning off or unplugging the router, the connection is essentially forgotten, so when you plug it back in after a while, you are assigned a new IP address.
Of course, if your ISP has assigned you a static IP address then no matter how many times you try, it will never work. Similarly, it’s not a fool-proof plan, since it can take a couple of tries for it to take. The quickest and easiest way to change your IP address is through a quality VPN.
Thankfully, changing an IP is relatively easy and straightforward, whether you go through a VPN or manually rebooting your router. The important thing to remember when changing an IP is that if you go through it manually, be sure it’s ok to use the IP you are using and that it’s an actual working IP, and don’t spoof an IP to access things that are illegal to access.
Ultimately, the easiest way is to just use a VPN so you don’t have to worry about any of that hassle.