Your Internet Protocol address, AKA your IP address, is not the most inviting series of numbers. A quick glance at it strikes the everyday person with the same sense of gut confusion and general obliviousness often reserved for binary code and other number-related jargon that accompanies computing devices. However, being aware of what your IP address is, what it does, and how to change it is well worth knowing in a digital age heavily reliant on advanced protocols and general Internet security. If it seems unnerving, don’t fret just yet.
An IP address is a specific string of binary numbers often displayed in readable notations that identify your computer on the Internet. The assigned address can be static (meaning your device always carries the same address when connected to the Internet) or dynamic (meaning the address is automatically assigned to a potentially different address every time your connect to a local area or broadband network). Dynamic IP addresses tend to be more popular because they allow multiple devices to share a limited address space and relieve the burden of having to manually assign an address every time you connect to the Internet. Regardless of the address type, your address won’t change for the duration of the internet session once connected.
It’s certainly not always necessary to change your IP address, but it can come in handy in sticky situations. Perhaps you’re trying to connect to a network alongside a device with the same IP address, or maybe you’re trying to ramp up your Internet privacy via a Web proxy. Or, ethical qualms aside, you’re looking for a borderline shiesty method for bypassing a service ban or regional block due to various restrictions. Changing the IP address or using a proxy server can help with all of the above.
Here’s our guide on how to change your private IP address or use a proxy server in Windows or Mac OS X. Keep in mind your Internet service provider dictates your public IP address used for Internet access, which makes it damn near impossible to change without the help of your ISP. However, you can always disconnect your modem for an extended duration in the hopes of an automatic reset. Also, check out our guide on how to find your IP address in a pinch on either of the aforementioned operating systems.
Choose your guide:
- How to change your private IP address
- How to mask your IP address using a proxy server
How to change your private IP address in Windows
Step 1: Navigate to the Network and Sharing Center – Click the the Windows Start Menu, select the Control Panel from the resulting pop-up box, and click the View network status and tasks option housed within the Network and Internet section on the left-hand side of the window.
Step 2: Choose your network and access the advanced settings – Once viewing your available connections, select Local Area Connection or Wireless Network Connection from the View your active networks section, and click the gray Properties button in the bottom-left corner.
Step 3: Change the IP address – From the new connections window, select Internet Protocol Version 4 from the list of connection items and click the gray Properties button near the bottom-right of the window. Click the General tab at the top, followed by the circle to the left of Use the following IP address, and manually enter your desired IP address as well as the subnet mask and default gateway. Whereas a subnet mask helps divvy your IP address into network and host addresses, your default gateway is the device used to direct traffic between networks. To view both address, access the Windows Command Prompt, type “ipconfig /all” in the black window, and view the two numbers located to the right of Subnet Mask and Default Gateway. For a more detailed look, refer to our guide on how to find your IP address.
Click the gray OK button in the bottom-right corner to save the changes after entering all three addresses.
How to change your private IP address in Mac OS X
Step 1: Navigate to the Network Settings – Click the Apple logo in the upper-right corner of your desktop, select System Preferences from the resulting drop-down list, and click the Network icon (the icon depicts a silver-gray globe with white flourishes).
Step 2: Choose your network and access the advanced settings – Select the network you typically use to connect to the Internet, via Wi-Fi or Ethernet, from the panel on the left-hand side of the window. Then, click the gray Advanced button in the right-hand corner and select the TCP/IP tab at the top.
Step 3: Change the IP address – From the TCP/IP tab, select the Using DHCP with manual address option from the drop-down menu to the right of Configure IPv4 and enter your desired IP address in the box below. Alternatively, you can choose Manually from the drop-down menu to the right of Configure IPv4 and manually enter your desired IP address as well as the subnet mask and your router’s IP address. Click the gray OK button in the bottom-right and then Apply to save the changes.