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How to change your IP address

An IP address on a screen of code, representing an article about how to change your IP address
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How to change your IP address is a task you should know how to do, especially if you’re concerned about privacy and security. Thankfully, there are several easy ways to make that change.

But why change your IP address in the first place? One reason is that when browsing the internet at home, all of your traffic is tied back to your IP address. This makes it possible for your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to monitor you. Using the IP address your ISP provides also makes it easy for said provider to build a profile of your activity and enable targeted advertising.

Changing your IP address to one that’s based in another country also gives you access to that country’s streaming content, while changing your IP address via a gaming proxy server can also help you improve your performance.

With that said, this is how to change your IP address whether you're using a computer that runs Windows 11 or macOS.

How to change your IP address

How to change your IP address the easy way

A Motorola modem, representing the easy way to change your IP address

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The simplest way to change your IP address is to unplug your modem. Keep in mind that this may not work on the first try. It’s even possible that you’ll need to leave your router unplugged overnight.

1. Check your IP address. Our guide on how to find your IP address details the steps.

2. Unplug your router for five minutes. This may take longer, depending on your ISP.

3. Plug your router back in and check to see if your IP has changed. If not, repeat the steps.

How to change your IP address with a VPN

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN

(Image credit: Future)

Changing your IP address with one of the best VPN services is one of the easiest ways to stop your ISP monitoring your internet activity, and changing to an address that’s based in another country can also give you access to that country’s streaming content. Thankfully, almost all providers make it a relatively straightforward task.

If you’re signed up to one of the many quality consumer VPN providers on the market, it couldn’t be simpler to change your IP address using a VPN. If you’re not, we recommend ExpressVPN — Tom's Guide readers can currently claim three months free on a 12-month plan (opens in new tab).

1. Open up your VPN application. If this is the first time you’ve used it, accept any requirements it asks for on your device.

2. Select which server you want to connect to. If you’re just looking for privacy, choose one in your home country. If you want to access content from another country, pick one in your desired location.

3. Press the connect button — it should be easy to find.

4. Wait a few seconds for the VPN to connect. You'll now be using a new IP address.

How to automatically update your IP address: Windows

1. Press Win + R on your keyboard to open the Run box.

2. Type "cmd" in the search bar then hit Enter to open the command prompt box.

(Image credit: Future)

3. Type "ipconfig /release". Be sure to include the space between "ipconfig" and "/release". Hit Enter. A wall of text will flood the screen.

(Image credit: Future)

4. Type "ipconfig /renew" and hit Enter. Close the command prompt window afterward.

(Image credit: Future)

How to automatically update your IP address: macOS

1. Click the Apple icon in the upper left corner of the screen. Click System Preferences.

(Image credit: Future)

2. Select Network.

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3. Click Advanced.

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4. Click TCP/IP on the following screen then click Renew DHCP Lease.

(Image credit: Future)

How to manually change your IP address: Windows

If you have an IP address you want to use, this is how you can manually set it on Windows.

1. Press the Start icon in the taskbar. Alternatively, click on the search icon.

(Image credit: Future)

2. Type "settings".

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3. Click Network & Internet in the following box.

(Image credit: Future)

4. Select your network (either Wi-Fi or Ethernet).

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5. Find IP assignment and click Edit.

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6. Click on the drop-down menu and select Manual.

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7. Toggle IPv4 on.

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8. On the following screen, set your IP address, along with Subnet mask, Gateway and Preferred DNS. You can also select Alternate DNS. Click save.

(Image credit: Future)

How to manually change your IP address: macOS

If you have an IP address you want to use, this is how you can manually set it on macOS.

1. Click the Apple icon in the upper left corner of the desktop and select System Preferences. On the System Preferences window that appears, click Network.

2. Click your current network and select Advanced.

3. Click the TCP/IP tab. Choose Manually from Configure IPv4.

(Image credit: Future)

4. Type a new IP Address. Click OK and then Apply.

(Image credit: Future)

Now you know how to change IP address, why not check out our other computing guides, including how to open HEIC files on Windows, how to use task scheduler on Windows, how to turn off automatic updates on Windows 10, how to split your screen on Mac and how to recover data from a hard drive.

Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.