How to Change Your IP Address

Whether you’re using a home Wi-Fi network or one in a coffee shop, your device’s IP address (Internet Protocol) is the key to getting online and staying connected. It’s what lets you talk to other devices and websites, but it also shows the Internet where you are and what you’re doing online—which can be a bit spooky.

Your ISP assigns your laptop or desktop computer its unique IP address, and it’s this that lets other networks connect to your device. Your ISP then routes all your Internet activity to and from your computer, and it does so by attaching an electronic return address to each request and response—your internet footprint.

But don’t get too attached to your IP address. It can change, even while you’re at home, as you switch from your WiFi to your wired connection or vice versa. It can also change if you turn on or off your router or modem, or if you call your ISP to make any changes to your service. It can’t, however, change if you take your laptop with you when you leave the house, because your home IP address doesn’t go with you—it stays at your home.

When you’re at home, your router has a public address on the Internet and a private address facing your local network. You can find the private address on your router by opening up the router’s control panel in a web browser and entering the IP address. Typically, your router will display this information on the back, side, or bottom of its physical device.

Most routers allow you to change your WiFi name and password, along with other networking settings. To do so, you’ll need to know your router’s default IP address, which is usually listed somewhere on the back of the router or its user manual. You’ll also need the router login credentials, which are usually different from those you use to connect to your Wi-Fi.

While IP authentication is convenient, it doesn’t meet many of today’s needs for remote access and patron empowerment activities such as placing a hold in FOLIO or EBSCO Discovery Service. Therefore, many organizations choose to require all users to log in via a proxy tool rather than by IP address.

Changing your router’s IP address can be done in most web browsers by following the prompts on the router configuration page. You can also check your router’s default IP address by right-clicking on the Windows button and selecting Command Prompt. This will open a black and white window in which you can type ipconfig /all. The number displayed next to “Default Gateway” is your router’s IP address.