How To Change Your IP Address in 2022 » 3 Simple Ways
Your IP address is like your Internet passport. It identifies your device when surfing the Web, and is a prerequisite for being able to access the Internet provided by your ISP. However, in contrast to a passport, which only needs to be renewed every ten years, your IP address has a much shorter lifespan. Luckily, changing it is relatively easy, and, in this article, we'll show you how.
But first, why should you change your IP address at all?
- To circumvent limits or restrictions
The first reason is fairly practical. Certain websites restrict the download bandwidth of users based on their IP addresses. As soon as your IP address is changed, you'll start from 0 and be able to download again.
- To bypass geo-blocking
Other limits relate to your location. Since geographic data is included in your IP address, it is also the culprit when you encounter difficulties in accessing content restricted to certain areas or jurisdictions. One of the most common examples pertains to streaming content, such as on Netflix or Amazon Prime, but also sites such as Facebook or Google in countries with restrictive Internet controls like China. Changing your IP address allows you to go on a digital world tour, easily waltzing past these blockages.
Last, but not least, changing your IP address enhances your privacy. Although your IP address does not identify you as a person, it can be coupled with other online data or information to make a good (or even great) guess at who you are. Changing your IP address helps immensely in preserving your anonymity online.
Change Your IP Address: 3 Methods
We've explained why it's important to change your IP address, so now, we can show you how to do it. Below, we've listed 3 methods you can use to change your IP address and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Restart Your Router
"Have you tried turning it on and off again?" The standard question made popular on shows like "The IT Crowd" actually helps. The easiest method to change your IP address is a simple restart, albeit, of your router. By disconnecting your router, or manually turning it off and on again, you will usually receive a new IP address from your ISP.
Using this method, you can re-up your download or other IP-based limits, but for geo-blocking, you'll still be at square one. You don't really gain much in terms of anonymity either, since your new IP address will continue to transmit data about you, your physical location, your browser version, and your surfing behavior, which after a bit of time, any digital snoop will be able to link to your earlier IP address.
For a more elegant solution to the IP address problem, we recommend using a VPN.
Use a VPN
A virtual private network (VPN) is a sort of tunnel created between your device and the Internet entry point made available by your ISP. Its purpose is to conceal your data, mask your IP address, and hide your physical location. In contrast to resetting your router, a VPN grants its users a multitude of advantages, not least is far greater control over their IP address.
Since you can choose the physical (or virtual) location of the server you'd like to connect to, you're able to not only defeat geo-blocking but even use it to your own benefit, viewing any content that is restricted to specific regions or countries. Because your 'real' IP address is hidden, you're also much more anonymous when surfing online. Adding to this, VPN connections take only a matter of seconds to establish, whereas a router reset needs 2-3 minutes, if not longer. You can also begin a VPN connection at any time, eliminating the risk of interrupting a download while it's underway.
How much security and anonymity a VPN provides depends almost entirely on the service you've selected. Many promise in their advertising and privacy policies not to save logs that could identify users, however, only some allow for this to be confirmed by independent, third-party data security audits.
In contrast to the router-reset method, quality VPNs are not free. There are freemium providers, however, these offer limited features (such as access to only a handful of server locations), and almost as a rule, have either daily or monthly data caps.
Overall, VPNs offer one of the most convenient methods for changing your IP address, requiring little more than a mouse click to do so. They are secure, easy-to-use, and go far in circumventing IP- and geo-blocking.
Since they first came on the market, a host of VPNs offering different features, server networks, and security standards have appeared. You can read detailed reviews of 22 of the most-popular VPN providers in our comprehensive EXPERTE.com assessment.
The following programs receive our stamp of approval:
VPNs are the perfect blend of simplicity and anonymity. For those in search of even-greater anonymity, at the cost of simplicity, we recommend "The Onion Router", aka Tor. This software makes Internet communication anonymous using so-called 'relays'.
While most VPNs only use a single proxy server (whereby multi-hop is growing in popularity), Tor routes data traffic through a network of nodes, encrypting data, including your IP address, every step of the way. This principle is known as "onion routing" since each security layer envelops the one which preceded it, like an onion.
When people talk about Tor, they often mean the pre-configured browser, which uses the Tor network.
As such, Tor offers somewhat more security than a VPN (for those who want to be even safer, they can use a VPN in conjunction with Tor), albeit at the cost of user-friendliness, and owing to its layers, speed.
In this manner, Tor browser is particularly useful for sensitive communication which should not in any way be compromised, such as that between journalists and their sources, or whistle-blowers. Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor, called for Tor to be used for precisely these purposes and reasons. Another plus is that Tor is completely free-of-charge. For those engaged in less spectacular activities, however, VPNs offer more than ample security.
Which method you use to change your IP address depends largely on what it is that you want to accomplish.
Should you simply want to bypass IP-based download limits, a router reset will be more than enough to set you on your way.
If you want to be anonymous online, and circumvent geo-blocking, allowing you to access Netflix content from abroad, or use Facebook in China, VPNs provide an excellent all-around solution.
When security and anonymity are of the utmost importance, then Tor and its integrated browser are your best bet.
For your convenience, we've summarized the differences between Tor and VPN here.
How can I change my IP address?
There are many ways to change an IP address. If you're only interested in doing so to circumvent download and other IP-based limits, restarting your router can be enough. To get around country or region restrictions, for example, if you'd like to stream censored or otherwise unavailable content, you can get a new IP address by using a VPN. Or, if you're most keen to surf anonymously, you can give Tor browser a try.
How can I get an IP address from another country?
Supposing that you'd like to get an IP address from a specific country in order to stream video content from it, VPNs are the most user-friendly way. Such providers operate servers all over the world. Using their apps, you can quickly select a server from the country you'd like an IP address for, and in a few seconds, you'll be browsing as if you were physically there.
Can I change my IP address for free?
Yes, it is possible to change your IP address for free. If cost is a factor, both Tor browser and the free versions of many VPNs won't set you back a nickel. However, at least with the latter, you'll need to make do without certain features, such as the ability to stream video content.