Your internet protocol address, or IP address, is the number used to identify your system on a network. The IP address comprises two numbers: One that is private to your local network and one that identifies you on the wider internet. Although your IP address automatically generates from your router, you don’t have to stick with it. You can change your IP address, and there could be many reasons to do so.
In this guide, we will teach you how to change your IP address, so you can take full control over how your system appears 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 your current IP address 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, along with your Subnet Mask and Default Gateway, as those will be important if you want to change your IP address manually.
For more tips on finding 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 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: We illustrated the following steps with screenshots from Windows 10, but they should work much like 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. From 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 must then put in your network’s Subnet Mask and Default Gateway, which we learned 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 Cloudflare’s 126.96.36.199). 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, make sure you’ve input the right information. In the worst case, set everything back to 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 and 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 initially assigned you. With our screenshot 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 complete the settings. Then see if you can connect to the internet. 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. Internet service providers typically determine the IP addresses they distribute to their users, so it’s not something the customer has the ability to change on their own. Most will offer a Static IP service that 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 address, your best bet is to contact your ISP and inquire about it.
On the plus side, if you were trying to change your IP address for privacy, you can just opt to hide it instead. Hiding your IP address will also let you access websites from different countries, like if you want to see shows from a different version of Netflix. To learn about hiding your IP address, using a Proxy, or going through the Tor network, check out our guide about how to do so.
A more permanent solution 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 myriad server options to help you fine-tune it. While you won’t determine the numbers yourself, you’ll get an entirely new address, which is the whole purpose.