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How to change your IP address

How to change your IP address


Thomas is the editor of and consumer privacy expert. At WSA, he reviews cybersecurity, digital privacy, VPN services, and encryption in great depth and detail.

Latest posts by Thomas Gilham (see all)

Worried about someone being able to track you to your doorstep or stalk you using your IP address?

Although the likelihood of this happening is unlikely for the majority of users, closing the door to this potential security risk is one of the many ways to provide enhanced online security for you and your family. We can show you the steps you can take to change your IP address, but before we do that we need to give you a better understanding of what an IP address is, the difference between the two main types and an explanation of when an IP address is leased.

What is an IP address?

Internet Protocol (IP) Part of the Internet protocol suite that includes a series of layered protocols to allow your computer to communicate with other computers in a local network or the Internet as a whole. The suite of Internet protocols is called TCP/IP and each part does a specific task in helping network connectivity.

• Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). TCP splits outgoing files into packets on the original computer and reassembles those packets when they are received by someone else.

• Internet Protocol is a bit like a mail or parcel carrier. It relays packets generated by TCP from one computer to another until they reach the IP address of the receiving computer.

Digital packet delivery works the same way as physical packet delivery in the physical world. It is necessary for the packet carrier to indicate the address of the packet to be received by the person or computer it is intended to receive. Your computer’s IP address is a numeric identification code that allows the network to find it. When packets reach your computer, TCP reassembles the packets so that they have meaning for the receiver. Without these two protocols, your computer cannot communicate with other computers in the network or over the Internet.

Static IP vs Dynamic IP

Since your IP address is an identifiable numeric code that is directly associated with your computer or device, it is a potential way to locate a device, although the actual identity of the device user is not revealed. Security issues can arise depending on the type of IP address assigned to your device. Thus, knowing what type of IP address you use makes a difference when discussing your risks. Here are two types of IP addresses:

static ip address

The defining characteristic of a static IP address is that it cannot be changed without contacting your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Although it is possible, static IP addresses are usually not assigned to you unless you are provided with a higher level service, such as a professional or business account or if you specifically want to be provided with one. It tends to be a feature of FTP, mail, and web servers as well as hosting and geolocation services. However, a static IP address makes hiding your location much more difficult.

dynamic IP address

Unlike a static address, a dynamic IP address is a temporary address that is automatically assigned to a computer or device by a DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) server. Dynamic IP addresses are implemented by ISPs and by networks that have a large number of end nodes or clients connected. Ideally, a computer is assigned a new dynamic IP address each time it connects to and reconnects to the Internet. The advantage of a dynamic IP address is that it makes it difficult to track a device for any extended period of time. The disadvantage of a dynamic IP address is that the geographical location and hosting services are becoming limited.

What is meant by IP address lease time?

An important factor in changing your IP address, whether it is static or dynamic, is the lease time of the IP address. This is the amount of time your ISP allocates a specific IP address to your device. Some can be used for a few hours, others for a few days, and in the case of static IP addresses, for a year or more. Obviously, the length of the lease term will determine the length of time the entity will have to track your device and the need to change your IP address.

How to change your IP address

Changing your IP address is not difficult. In most cases, those with a static IP address will need to contact their ISP in order to assign a new IP address. For simplicity, how you change your IP address depends on how you access the Internet.

Use a VPN

Here’s what a VPN does:

1. Hide your IP address
2. It encrypts your internet traffic
3. It allows you to torrent safely
4. Stream content on Netflix that is blocked in your region

I’ve reviewed several VPNs over the years such as ExpressVPN, IVacy, and IPVanish.

It only costs a few dollars per month but can provide a lot of peace of mind for such a low cost.

dial modem

If you connect to the Internet via a dial-up modem, your ISP will be dynamic and will be different each time you connect to the Internet. To change your IP address using a dial-up modem, all you have to do is disconnect, wait a few minutes, and reconnect.

wide wave

Changing your IP address if you connect to the Internet using a broadband service is a bit more complicated. Broadband providers tend to assign a static IP address to your computer or home network. What usually happens with a broadband service is people set up a modem or a router, which is the device that has the IP address attached to it and all the devices you connect to will be connected through it. Here are the steps to change an IP address on a wide area network:

1. Unplug the modem and leave it for a few minutes before reconnecting it.
2. If the first step does not change your IP address, it can be saved in your router and you will have to release and renew your IP address in the router. The way to do this will vary from router to router, so you’ll need to read the instructions for your router.
3. The next step is to try if neither of the first two works is to unplug your modem and/or router and leave them unplugged overnight or as long as possible (maybe over the weekend).
4. None of these methods work, you will have to contact your ISP and request that a new IP address be assigned to you.

change LAN

Another way to change your computer’s IP address is to change the local area network (LAN) settings. There are some drawbacks to doing this as it may cause connectivity issues with your broadband network. Additionally, if you have a network router, it is possible that your router is assigning dynamic IP addresses and setting a static IP address on a specific device that can cause connection problems.

Maintain safe browsing practices

Although your IP address is a potential entry point for a security breach, the potential risks of someone tracking you to your doorstep using your IP address alone are minimal. Tracking someone by their IP address along with personal information that is shared on social media profiles and other sites is where the biggest threat arises. Maintaining safe browsing practices will help keep you and your family safe.


Your IP address is a potential entry through which you can be tracked. To ensure greater security for your family when browsing online, it is a good practice to change your IP address periodically, if not already done by your dial-up modem or ISP. Knowing what type of IP address you’re using and how you’re connected to the Internet will help determine how to change your IP address.

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