How to Change your IP Address
If you surf the Internet frequently, there are probably times when you want to hide your personal information from websites that you don't trust. Changing your IP address can help with the effort, and I'm going to show you some ways to do that.
But before proceeding, please read this disclaimer.
I want to change my IP address on:
An important note about Internet privacy
Please keep in mind that there are a wide variety of methods used to track your online activities. This website is by no means intended as a full discussion of Internet privacy issues.
Change your IP address on Windows
There are basically 5 options for getting a new IP on all programs under Windows.
- Simply change your physical location. For example, taking your laptop to a library or Internet cafe, and surfing through their WiFi, will obviously give you a different IP. Yes, this is rather obvious, but fullproof!
- Do you still use Dialup Internet? If so, another rather obvious method for obtaining an alternate IP would be to simply re-dial through an alternate access number.
- For those on broadband (cable or DSL) Internet connections, understand that when your ISP (Internet Service Provider) issues you an IP address, it associates that IP to the device connected to your cable modem. Therefore, another option to change your IP address (get a new IP) would be to change that device. For example, if you have a router connected to your cable modem, you could simply swap that for another router, or remove the router and plug your computer directly into the modem (without the router). Then simply turn OFF all the devices (modem, router, and computer) for a few seconds, and when they restart you'll have a new IP!
Alternatively, you may be able to just change the MAC address (machine address) of your router so that your modem "thinks" it's a different device (and therefore issues you a new IP). Try logging into your router control panel and see if there are any settings for "Clone MAC address". If that's an option, try swapping two of the numbers/letters of your router's current MAC address. Then apply the router changes, and restart your modem. If successful, the broadband modem with detect your router as a new device and issue you a new IP. Many routers include the "Clone MAC address" option, regardless of price. My router (a TP-Link from Amazon) only cost $20 and includes that feature.
For those who don't use a router (e.g. your computer is plugged directly into your broadband modem), it's also possible to change the MAC address of your networking card to accomplish the same effect. Unfortunately, the process of changing the MAC address of your computer varies from one operating system to another (even among different versions of the same operating system), and making any mistakes can cause major system problems. Therefore, doing so is only recommended for very savvy computer users, and will not be covered on this website.
The above method of changing IP address is only recommended for infrequent use. If changing your IP address frequently with that technique, your ISP may charge you for extra IP addresses.
- VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, and is a common method of securely connecting a computer to a remote server (for example, an office server). If that remote server is configured to allow web surfing, a VPN becomes a relay for your online activities. This is one of the most popular and efficient methods of changing your IP address anytime you want.
There are three options for changing your IP address with a VPN:
- Use a free VPN service. Unfortunately, there aren't too many free VPN services, and it's difficult to know what the real "cost" of such services is. For example, they might insert advertising into the web pages you view, or they may be "honey pots". A honey pot, in this context, would be a relay that a third party sets up in order to intercept your communications/passwords/etc. Such parties may be criminal in nature, or even worse for those living under oppressive governments and legal systems.
- Use a commercial VPN service. A quick web search will yield many such companies. Here's an example.
- Setup your own VPN. If you're looking for a long term solution and you're a computer savvy person, you can setup your own VPN (click here). It's an awesome solution, but probably not for non-techies.
Change IP address on Mac
The options for getting a new system-wide IP address on Mac are just about the same as for Windows, so please have a look at that section. The only difference will be under the 4th option (VPN), as Mac will involve a different software/process for connecting to the remote server. This is covered on our page about setting up your own VPN (click here).
*Note that changing your IP address system-wide (for all programs on your computer) is often NOT necessary. If you only need to change the IP address of your web browser, you can instead use a proxy relay (see the links at the top of this page for your browser).
About changing your IP address in a web browser
Altering your IP in any web browser involves routing your Internet traffic through a remote server (called a VPN or Proxy). The remote server acts as a relay, so that websites you visit only see the IP address of that server (and not your computer's IP address).
Change your IP address in Internet Explorer
This process will vary slightly depending on your version of Internet Explorer, but these steps are valid as of IE 9.
- On Internet Explorer, click the menu for "Tools" -> "Internet Options".
- Go to "Connections" -> "LAN Settings"
- Check "Use a proxy server for your LAN"
- For "Address", enter: 126.96.36.199
- For "Port", enter: 8231
- Click "OK" out of there.
Now, try refreshing this web page, and at the top you'll see that your displayed IP has changed.
*To undo the changes (and get your regular IP back), repeat the first two steps above, and then UNcheck "Use a proxy server".
*The "Address" and "Port" settings that we used above are limited to demonstration purposes. In order to surf without restriction, you'll need to get your own settings (click here).
Change IP address in Firefox
As with IE, the steps below will vary somewhat depending on your version of Firefox. These instructions are valid as of Firefox 37.
- On Firefox, go to "Tools" -> "Options" (or "Edit" -> "Preferences")
- Select the "Advanced" tab, and then the "Network" tab
- Next to "Connection", click "Settings"
- Tick the selection for "Manual proxy configuration"
- For "HTTP Proxy", enter: 188.8.131.52
- For "Port", enter: 8321
- Click "OK", and then "Close"
Confirm that your IP address has changed by clicking "Reload" on Firefox.
*To get your direct Internet connection back (UN-change your IP), simply repeat the first 3 steps above, but then tick the selection for "No proxy".
*The IP provided above is just for learning purposes. You'll want to customize your changed IP address.
Change IP address in Safari
- Go to Safari menu -> "Preferences"
- Click "Advanced"
- In the "Proxies:" section, click "Change Settings"
- You'll see "System Preferences" open, with the "Network" window displayed.
- Check the boxes for "Web Proxy (HTTP)" and "Secure Web Proxy (HTTPS)"
- Under "Web Proxy Server", enter: 184.108.40.206 : 8321
- Click "OK", and then "Apply"
Confirm your changed IP address by hitting the Reload/Refresh button on Safari. Scroll to the top of this page to see your new IP.
*To return to your regular IP, just repeat steps 1-4 above, and then UNcheck the boxes and/or remove the "Web Proxy Server" settings.
*If you're satisfied with that process, you'll want to enter your own IP settings.
Change your IP address on Chrome
Chrome is a bit unusual among web browsers in that it has no interface for directly configuring a relay/proxy server (which is the method we use to change IP address on other browsers). Instead, Chrome uses the settings from Internet Explorer (for Windows users) or from Safari/System (for Mac users).
Therefore, in order to change your IP address on Chrome, just follow the instructions on this page for IE or Safari. Actually, because of this issue, my personal opinion is that it's just easier to just use another browser for surfing with an alternate IP, and reserve Chrome for surfing normally.
iPad / iPod
There are basically 4 ways to change your IP address on an iPad or iPod.
- Take your iPod/iPad to an Internet cafe, public library, or anywhere you can connect to someone else's Wi-Fi network. This will let you temporarily surf through that location's IP.
- Get your ISP to issue you a new IP address. See the Windows instructions for information on how to do this (yes, even if you're using Mac/iPad/iPod). The process is exactly the same regardless of what type of device you're using.
- Use a proxy server to relay your Internet traffic. This will allow you to browse the Internet with the IP of that remote server. Try this setup for testing:
- With your iPad started, tap the "Settings" app.
- Under "Settings", go to the "Wi-Fi" tab.
- Tap the arrow (">") next to the network you're connected to.
- Under "HTTP Proxy", tap "Manual".
- For "Server", enter: 220.127.116.11
- For "Port", enter: 8231
- To exit, tap "Wi-Fi Networks" and return to your Home screen
Now, try refreshing this page to confirm that your IP has changed. You can find your IP at the top of the page.
*The settings above are intended for testing only. For unrestricted surfing, see these instructions.
- Use a VPN server to relay your Internet traffic. This is similar to the previous option in that it relays your Internet surfing through a remote server to change your IP address. However, unlike a proxy that only changes the IP of your browser, a VPN covers all your apps. In most cases, getting a VPN will involve either purchasing access to a 3rd party service (Here's an example) or setting up your own.
As with iPad, there are four options for getting another IP address on Android:
- Connect to a different Wi-Fi network. For example, take your Android device to a school or business that offers free wireless. This may seem obvious, but it's easy!
- The second option would be to have your ISP to issue you a new IP address. This process is discussed in item #3 under the Windows instructions (the same instructions apply to Android, as the type of operating system is irrelevant for that particular technique).
- Surf through a proxy server. Give it a try here:
- Tap on the "Settings" app, then "Wireless and networks".
- Tap "Wi-Fi Settings"
- Tap/hold the name of the wireless network you're connected to.
- If given the option to "Modify network", tap it.
- Check or tap to show the "Advanced" settings/options.
- Under "Proxy settings", choose "Manual".
- For "Proxy", enter: 18.104.22.168
- For "Port", enter: 8231
- Click OK, and return to your web browser.
Then, try reloading this web page to confirm that your real IP address is not showing
*To undo the above changes, repeat the above steps until you get to "Proxy settings", and then choose "none".
*To get your own IP, see this section.
- Surf through a VPN. This is another type of Internet relay that allows you to "use" the IP of the relay rather than your own. Many people prefer VPN over proxy because it protects all of your apps, not just web browsing. But you'll most likely need to subscribe to fee-based service (here's an example), or setup your own (instructions here).
Customize the IP address of your web browser
The instructions for changing your IP address on IE, Firefox, and Safari require entering "proxy server" settings. A proxy server is basically a relay server that sits between you (your ISP) and the websites you visit. When configured as an anonymous proxy server, the visited sites only see the IP address of that remote server (and not your own IP).
The settings listed in the instructions on this page are purely for demonstration purposes, and limit your web surfing to a few websites. For obtaining unrestricted settings, you have a few options:
- Use free proxy settings. By doing a search for terms like "free anonymous proxy servers" you can find a variety of websites that list "public proxy" servers. Here's one example. They usually list settings in the format of "IP:Port". For example, "22.214.171.124:8321". You can input those settings exactly as described above.
However, there are some major drawbacks to "free" settings that you should be aware of:
- Sometimes these free servers are ones that were hacked, and accessing their bandwidth without permission may involve legal issues.
- Some such servers may be setup by criminals for trying to intercept your passwords or financial information when it passes through their system. The risk is extreme if the "free" server is not configured to work with SSL connections, as many aren't. Therefore, they're not recommended for logging into webmail, banking sites, or anywhere else a password is required.
- Other parties, such as government or law enforcement, may provide such servers as "honey pots" to monitor for illegal use. So by using them, you may actually be reducing your level of online privacy. In most cases, that wouldn't be a problem for legal usage. But if you're living under an oppressive regime, attempting to use such a server to protect your free speech may actually put you at greater risk.
- Use a third party service. A quick search for "private proxy server" and similar terms will yield numerous services that provide SSL-enabled relays for private web surfing. One example is this service to change IP address with software (it automates the use of private relays, but also provides access to the raw settings).
- Setup your own private relay server. This is only recommended for the tech savvy, but often doesn't cost much more than using third party services. And while the setup process will take longer, the advantage of unshared bandwidth may be worthwhile for those with long term intentions. Click here for instructions.