Changing your IP address is vital in terms of privacy and security. But, what is your IP address? How do you find it? And, most importantly, how do you change it? Below, I will reveal everything you need to know about how to change your IP address, including how to change VPN to a quality provider like NordVPN and much more.
What is your IP address?
Before I can get into the options available to you in terms of changing your IP address, it is critical to reveal that this is! An IP address, which is also known as an Internet Protocol address, is a unique series of numbers that contains data about the location of the corresponding device.
When a device, be it a router, phone, or computer, connects to the Internet, an IP address is assigned. This enables the device to communicate with other networks.
Whenever you visit a website, the site will get your IP address from your device. This contains information about the ZIP code, city, state, and country, of the device. This enables the website to send the information you are requesting to the correct location.
Why should you change your IP address?
You may be wondering why you should change your IP address to begin with.
Boost your security and privacy levels
Changing your IP address on a routine basis is important in terms of enhancing your overall browsing privacy and security.
Access streaming services
A lot of websites and streaming services are country-specific. By changing your IP address, you effectively change your location (in the eyes of the websites you visit), and so this gives you the ability to access streaming platforms you otherwise would not be able to. For example, let’s say you’re in the United States, but you want to access BBC iPlayer, you would change your IP address to a UK address.
Solve glitches with your home router
Aside from this, manually changing your IP address can be beneficial in terms of dealing with glitches with your home router. If you have just had a new home router installed, a quick IP change may be required to reconfigure your network. One of the common issues with home routers is that they can give devices the incorrect IP address, and so changing your IP can be helpful in this regard.
Compelling reasons to change your IP address
- Two devices on your network share the same IP address.
- You are using a router that is providing unusable IP addresses.
- To fix an IP address that has not been correctly configured.
- To get past firewalls.
- Encrypt data for enhanced data protection and increased security.
- Avoid throttling from your Internet service provider (ISP)
- To stop tracking and ensure there is no digital footprint.
- Because you are unable to connect to WiFi and you don’t understand why.
- To access content that would otherwise be restricted in your local area.
How do I find out what my current IP address is?
Finding your IP address on a Mac
Follow these steps:
- Head to System Preferences
- Click on Network
- You should now see your IP address on the screen
- You can also select your Connected Devices (to the left), and you will be able to see the private IP address for every device.
Finding your IP address on Windows
Follow these steps:
- Click on the Start button
- Select Run
- Type cmd
- Press Enter
- A pop-up with a command prompt should come up
- Type ipconfig
- Press Enter
- Your private IP address will now be shown
How can you change your IP address?
Now that I have covered all of the basics regarding your IP address, I am going to reveal the various options available to you when changing your IP address so that you can get a better understanding.
Connect to a VPN
The best way to change your IP address is to use a VPN provider, such as NordVPN or ExpressVPN. I created VPNGeeks so that it would be the ultimate resource for all things VPN-related, so you will find out everything you need to know on this page.
VPN, which stands for Virtual Private Network, will encrypt your Internet connection, routing it via a server in a location of your choice. This means that online services, websites, and other devices are going to see the IP address of the VPN server, rather than your real IP address.
VPNs provide a whole host of benefits. They are great for getting passed censorship in countries like China and access content that is blocked in certain regions, such as BBC iPlayer or Netflix. A lot of people also use VPNs for torrenting.
You do need to choose a VPN with care, though. Not all VPNs are secure, with some having vulnerabilities that could put your security at risk. I am mainly referring to free VPNs. While they can be tempting (they are free, after all), they are often very limited and don’t come with the advanced security features that you really need. This is why I recommend that you choose a VPN with a lot of care. The likes of NordVPN is a good choice because the security is incredibly high, so you can have complete peace of mind.
Once you select a VPN and sign-up, you will be able to simply select the country you are interested in from the list of servers. As soon as you are connected, you will have a different IP address.
Unplug your modem
Unplugging your Internet modem can give you a new IP address. Often, when you unplug your modem and then you plug it back in a few minutes later, your IP address is released and you get a new IP address. This doesn’t always work, though. Of course, this won’t hide your IP address like a VPN would.
Another option is to use Tor, which will enable you to change your IP address for free. Tor is an anonymity network that is run by volunteers, and it stands for The Onion Router. All you need to do is install the Tor browser, and this will route all of the website traffic via the Tor network.
Tor will encrypt your connection a number of times, sending data via numerous nodes. The nodes are servers that volunteer Tor supporters operate. With every node, a layer of encryption is stripped away, and the sequence of nodes utilized will change each time you access a different site. This means that it is virtually impossible for traffic on Tor to be traced back to the source.
All seems good so far, doesn’t it? However, there are some drawbacks that you need to know about. Unfortunately, Tor is only really suitable if you’re going to be doing some basic web browsing, as it is rather slow. Also, it is not uncommon for unwanted attention from your ISP to arise because of the use of Tor. This is because it is often used for the dark web and illicit activity due to the anonymity it provides. So, while you may not be doing anything wrong, you can still attract unwanted attention.
Update your IP address automatically
You can also update your IP address automatically, but again this is not going to mean that it is protected.
How to automatically update your IP address on Windows 10
- Press the R and WiN keys together. This will open up the Run box dialog.
- Type cmd
- Press enter
- This will open the command prompt.
- Typeipconfig /release (including the space) into the command prompt and hit Enter.
- Some text is going to speed by.
- When this stops, type ipconfig /renew and hit Enter again.
- Close your command prompt.
How to automatically update your IP address on iOS
- Head to Settings
- Select Network
- Choose the wireless network you are on at the moment
- Head to the IPv4 address section and choose Configure IP
- Select Automatic
How to automatically update your IP address on macOS
- Select the Apple icon in the left, top corner of the screen
- Choose System Preferences
- Select Network
- Hit Advanced
- Click TCP/IP at the top of the screen
- Choose Renew DHCP Lease button on the right of the window
How to automatically update your IP address on Android
- Head to Settings
- Choose Connections
- Select WiFi
- Choose the network you are currently connected to
- Select the icon shaped as a gear to the right of the network
- Head to the bottom of the screen and choose Forget so that your phone forgets the network
- Reconnect to the network and you will get a new IP address
Use a proxy
The fifth suggestion I recommend is using a proxy to change your IP address and location. A proxy is similar to a VPN, but you don’t get as much security or versatility, which is why I recommend opting for a VPN.
With this solution, your Internet connection will go via a middleman server so that websites and other online resources are able to see the IP address of the proxy, rather than your own. Unlike VPNs, proxies do not tend to have encryption, which is a big security concern. Moreover, your IP address could be leaked through another method.
There are a number of different kinds of proxies that you can use to change your IP address, including the following:
- SSH proxies – SSH proxies will forward web traffic from apps like your web browser through an SSH connection to the server, with SSH standing for Secure Shell. This means your IP address is going to be changed to that of the server. Despite the fact that encryption is incorporated, SSH is not very quick, and so you can find that some apps and websites do not function correctly when they are connected.
- SOCKS proxies – SOCKS proxies are general-purpose proxy servers that you can configure for certain apps, including the majority of web browsers. The latest version is SOCKS5, and it provides encryption support.
- HTTP/S proxies – Typically, HTTP/S proxies are special websites that work like a browser within your browser or they are browser extensions. They will, therefore, only amend your IP address on the data that is sent to and from your browser, but do not impact other apps or even DNS traffic.
Final words on changing your location and IP address in 2021
So there you have it: everything you need to know about changing your IP address and location in 2021. The best thing to do is change VPN to a quality provider who enables you to connect to servers all over the world so that you can conveniently change your location whenever required. VPNs like NordVPN have a huge server selection, which is why I recommend them so highly.
FAQ about how to change VPN, location, and IP address
I often receive a lot of questions about changing IP addresses, so I will answer some of the most common below.
Is it illegal to change my IP address?
A lot of people worry that changing their IP address is against the law, but this is not the case. People amend their IP addresses on a routine basis when they are dealing with online security risks. It is also a useful feature when testing a website prior to it going live. Needless to say, there are different rules and regulations all over the world, so you should not take this as any sort of legal advice. Moreover, you must ensure your use of a VPN is lawful. For instance, if you were to change your IP to impersonate another business or individual, this could be considered fraud. Therefore, so long as you are using your VPN for lawful reasons, you should not run into any sort of trouble.
How often will your IP address change?
In most cases, your IP address will change every fortnight. After 14 days, there will be a DHCP lease renewal that happens, acting like a handshake between the household modem and ISP. If the connection is still valid, the ISP is going to move on and ensure service is not disrupted by provisioning a new IP address.