Your Internet Protocol address, or IP address, is the number used to identify your system on a network. The IP address consists of two numbers: one that is private to your local network and one that identifies you on the wider Internet. Although your IP address is generated automatically by your router, you don't need to adhere to it. You can change your IP address and there can be many reasons for this.
This guide will show you how to change your IP address so that you have complete control over how your system appears on your network.
Change your private IP address in Windows 10
Your private IP address is used by your local network – be it at home or in the office – to identify your system. It's likely a variation of 192.168.0.XXX, with the last few numbers being the main differentiator between your PC and your phone or other network-connected device. You can find out your current IP address by searching for CMD in the Windows 10 search bar and selecting the appropriate result. Then type IPConfig and hit Enter in the Command Prompt window. The numbers next to the IPv4 address are your IP address. It's a good idea to write this down along with your subnet mask and default gateway, as these are important if you want to change your IP address manually.
You can find more tips on finding your IP address in a dedicated guide.
If you don't care about your IP address – just not this one – you can reset your router. It should reassign IP addresses to all connected devices as soon as it comes back online. If it doesn't, or if you want a specific IP address instead, follow the steps below.
Note: We have illustrated the following steps with screenshots of Windows 10, but they should work similarly to Windows 8.1 and 7.
Step 1: Open your network settings
Search for Control Panel in the Windows search bar and select the appropriate result. Then under Network and Internet, select View network status and tasks, followed by Change adapter settings in the left menu.
Right-click (or tap and hold) your main Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection and choose Properties from the drop-down menu. On the Network tab, find Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP / IPv4) in the list. Select it and then choose Properties.
Step 2: change your IP address
Check the top option that says Use the following IP address. You must then enter your new IP address in the field provided. We recommend using a numbering convention similar to the one that your router automatically supplied. However, change the final number to any value between 0 and 255 (some routers may report a different range, so stick to the lower end of it). Then you have to enter the subnet mask and the standard gateway of your network, which we got to know earlier in this manual. Finally, set your preferred DNS server to the same value as your default gateway unless you have a different DNS server in mind (like Cloudflares 184.108.40.206). Then press OK and OK again to confirm your settings.
Step 4: test and optimize
Run IPConfig again in a Command Prompt window to confirm that your IP address has changed. When you've definitely changed your IP, upload a website to make sure you can still get online. If you can, congratulations, you've changed your IP address. If you can't, make sure you entered the correct information. In the worst case scenario, just set everything back to the way it was and you can get back online.
Change your private IP address to macOS
The process of changing your IP address on macOS is different but no more complicated than it is on Windows. You'll jump through similar frames to find out what your IP address is on macOS. So we're going to get into the steps in a moment.
Step 1: Find your network settings
To access your network settings on macOS, select the Apple logo in the upper left corner and choose System Preferences from the drop-down menu. Select the silver globe icon titled Network, then select your network from the list on the left – 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
Click the Advanced button in the lower right, then click the TCP / IP tab at the top of the new window. Next to Configure IPv4 is a box with a drop-down arrow. Select this and choose either Use DHCP with manually or manually. For the former you can enter an IP address, for the latter you have to enter this and enter a subnet mask and a router (default gateway).
If you don't particularly want to change your other information, select Use DHCP with Manual and enter your new IP address. We recommend that you stick to the numbering convention your router originally assigned you. In our screenshot example this would be 10.101.010.XXX.
Step 3: test and optimize
When you are satisfied with your selection, confirm it and select Apply to complete the settings. Then check if you can connect to the internet. If you can, congratulations – you've changed your IP address. If you can't, go back and double-check if you missed any step along the way. If you get stuck, set everything back to the way it was. When you get back online, please try again to see if you can spot the problem.
Change your public IP address
Whether you're using a Windows or macOS computer, changing your public IP address is a little more involved. You also have no direct control over it. Your ISP usually has this authority. Most offer a static IP service that allows you to choose your publicly available IP address. Often, however, a fee is charged for the privilege. If you want to permanently change your public IP address, the best thing to do is to contact your ISP and inquire about it.
If you want to hide your IP address online for privacy, security, or just want to watch a different country's Netflix version, here is a complete guide, including tips on using a proxy or the Tor network.
A more permanent solution is to use a VPN service. We have a list of favorites that range from free to a few dollars a month. However, they all give you the option to change your public IP address to an address that is in a completely different country of your choice. Numerous server options will help you – make it right. You can't set a specific public IP address, but you can completely change it to another, which for most is the main reason for changing the public IP address.