Change IP address

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IP address - what is it

In short- IP address is the address of your computer (smartphone, iPad, etc.) on the Internet.

IP address takes form of 4 decimal numbers, each between 0 and 255, separated by 3 periods (.), like this: 90.56.77.240

There is also a more complex form of IP addressing (called IPv6) which will gradually replace the usual "4 digits-3 dots" format, but it may take years for that to happen. For now, everyone uses the above format. Whatever device you connect to the Internet, is assigned a unique IP address (well, almost unique. Sometimes many devices can share the same IP, but we will have to get very technical to explain why). IP address can be mapped to the physical location of the device (country/state/city, sometimes apartment/floor/bathroom :-) If you want to learn more about IP addresses, check this Wikipedia article

Why change IP address

Changing IP address is one of the ways to impersonate yourself. In this article you will find detailed explanation of impersonation and why we need it.

In short, we need to change IP address for 3 major reasons:

  • to maintain anonymity (because we have learned from the above paragraph that our location can be easily identified from our real IP address);
  • to circumvent software filters that websites may be using to discriminate us based on our location;
  • to prevent websites from collecting, analyzing and monitoring our location for whatever purposes (including the purposes of limiting our freedom to use certain functions as many times as we want/need). For example, a website may be limiting the number of E-mails we can create per day from a single IP address, which is extremely annoying and inconvenient if a single IP address is shared by 100's of users in a big office, and the network administrator needs to create an E-mail address for each user. They may need months to do that from a single IP.

All of the above is mitigated by changing IP address. Sometimes IP changing is also referred to as IP rotation. Just so you know that these terms are equivalent.

A bit of theory on IP changing

They are quite a few methods and tricks that are used to change IP address. They all fall into three large categories:

  1. Hardware IP changing
  2. Disguising real IP address behind proxy servers
  3. Disguising real IP address behind virtual networks.

Hardware IP changing

As you may have noticed, IP address contains only 4 relatively small numbers (each ranging from 0 to 255). Altogether, they make a little more than 4 billion of unique IP addresses. Back in 1969, when IP addresses were invented for a military DARPANET project in the USA, no one thought that the whole world will start using them. 4 billion was thought to be much more than enough. Today, the Internet has grown so large, that the whole 4 billion address pool is almost exhausted, and it becomes harder and harder to find free IP addresses. To keep the Web functional, Internet providers had to invent various tricks to circumvent the problem of limited address pool. One of the tricks is called dynamic IP addressing. It is based on the assumption that human beings generally do not need to be connected to the Internet 24х7, 365 days a year. Most of us connect to the Internet at certain times, do whatever they need to do, and then disconnect. Naturally, we need an IP address only when we are connected to the Internet. When we are not connected - we can make that IP address available to someone else. This is exactly how dynamic IP addressing works. When you connect to your Internet provider, you get a random IP address from the pool of the "temporary free" IP addresses. When you disconnect, you return that IP address to the pool and make it available to the other person. A very elegant solution, and extremely useful for our purposes. To take advantage of it, all we need to do is disconnect from our Internet provider, wait a few seconds, connect back - and we have a new, fresh, unique IP address!
In order to use this method of IP changing, first of all you need to contact your Internet provider company and find out whether your IP address is dynamic or static. If your IP address is static, you will not be able to take advantage of this method. Dynamic IP addressing is usually used with the following hardware (the keyword is "usually" - not "always", meaning that the listed hardware will not necessarily support dynamic IP addressing, and there may be other types of hardware - not listed here - that support dynamic IP):

  • DSL modems. These are most common to use for hardware IP rotation. DSL technology is widely supported by most phone companies across the world, provides decent connection speed and stability, and allows to obtain new IP address quickly by rebooting the modem.
  • Air cards, wireless modems. Besides using a completely different technology and medium to transfer the data, air cards are equivalent to DSL modems when it comes to IP changing. One just needs to reconnect them to get a fresh IP. Compared to DSL, air cards are not restricted to the land line wires, and may be used wherever cellular coverage is available. However, the quaility of internet connection may not be as good as with DSL, depending on the location with respect to the nearest base station and the interference.
  • Cable modems. These are used by cable TV companies to provide Internet over coaxial TV cable. IP rotation with cable modems is usually a little "trickier", compared to the other hardware. The technology used by cable providers allows them to uniquely identify each cable modem by a so-called "MAC address", sometimes referred to as "Hardware address" or "Ethernet address". MAC address is not to be confused with IP address, they have almost nothing in common (besides being addresses) and serve different purposes. MAC address is usually expressed in the form of 6 hexadecimal numbers, separated by colons or dashes, like this: 00:6D:5C:11:2A:47, or 00-6D-5C-11-2A-47 (both refer to the same MAC address). Each cable modem is assigned a unique MAC address when it is manufactured, and it is hard-coded into the modem's chip. Whenever such modem connects to the cable company, it transmits its MAC address, so the cable company knows instantly which exact modem it is. Contrary to DSL providers (who do not seem to care which exact DSL modem wants to connect, and give random IPs right and left), cable companies usually map IP addresses to the hardware addresses. There isn't any fixed rule for this. Some may keep the mapping for a day or a week, some may not keep it at all, some keep forever. It may depend on how big the IP pool of that particular cable company is, and its internal regulations. For our purpose, it means that once we have connected to the cable provider and obtained an IP address, it is likely that the next time we connect - we will be given the same exact IP address. Right, this is not what we wanted. Fortunately, almost all modern cable modems have an amazing feature, that allows to spoof real hard-coded MAC address of the modem, and replace it with whatever address you like. Different modems have different names for this feature - "MAC cloning", "Set hardware address", "Change MAC address" and so on. Usually the most safe approach is to change the last number of the MAC address. So the whole procedure to change IP looks like this:
    • Change MAC address
    • Disconnect from the provider
    • Connect back
    ... and you should get a new IP. You tried and no go? You're right, it can't be that simple. There's one more thing to learn about cable connections. In most cases, cable modems are used to prepare Internet data to be transmitted over a TV cable wire, but they know nothing about IP addresses. That's why there's usually one more device that comes along with your cable modem - a network router. It works together with the modem. Think of it this way. You need to deliver some cargo from point A to point B. You have a railroad between these points, but you also need a train and someone who knows how to drive the train, to make use of the railroad and actually deliver the thing. In our case, the railroad is your coaxial TV cable, the train is the cable modem and the network router is a train driver, who directs the whole process. The cargo is Internet data. When cable modem is used together with the router, it also uses the router's MAC address instead of its own. With that said, the whole process now looks like this:
    • Change MAC address on the router
    • Reboot cable modem (or disconnect/connect it)
    • Release IP address on the router
    • Renew IP address on the router
    We noticed something new - release and renew operations. These are needed because the router works separately from the cable modem, and has no way of knowing *when* the modem has rebooted, thus invalidating the current IP address. Without release/renew, the router will be trying to communicate with the server using IP address that is no longer valid.
    Yes, cable modems are complicated. And this is still not the end of the story. Your cable modem may be connected *without* the router (directly to your computer), in which case the functions of the router are implemented by the network card in your computer. In this case, the sequence of actions are pretty much the same, but you change MAC and do release/renew not on the router, but on your computer, in Windows Network manager (it has different names in different Windows versions), usually under "Local area connection", like this:
    • Change MAC address of the Local area connection
    • Reboot cable modem (or disconnect/connect it)
    • Release IP address on the Local area connection
    • Renew IP address on the Local area connection
If you tried all of the above and still no luck - oh well, as we said in the very beginning - it's all experimental and there is no guarantee it will work. Cable connection is the most complex and unreliable for IP rotation purposes. Besides, it requires a certain level of IT background, as you may have understood from the above lines :-)
  • Dialup modems. Once upon a time, dialup was the only way to connect to the Internet. Now it's becoming history. The reason - this technology is too slow and unreliable. However, phone companies still offer dialup (for reasons only they and God know :-). The vast majority of dialup connections come with dynamic IP, and IP rotation is as easy as re-dialing the connection. If connection speed and reliability is of minor importance, dialup may be an option. Dialup has an important advantage over DSL/broadband/cable, that deserves a separate paragraph.

We already know that IP address can be easily mapped to the physical location. This is especially true when you use DSL/broadband/cable connections. You may be changing your IP many times, but each new and unique IP will still be referring to the same physical coordinates. Why is it so? Because the computer on the other end of your DSL line or coaxial cable, or the nearest base station - is relatively close to your location. It maybe in the next building, maybe few blocks away, but usually not much farther. And the Internet providers are smart enough to allocate separate blocks of IPs to each of the servers. So the server in Florida will aways give you Florida IPs. And there is no way to connect to, let's say, Texas server from Florida using DSL, broadband or cable. BUT, the only exception to this rule is dialup connection. Dialup works like a normal phone call, and you can easily place a phone call to any location on Earth from your apartment. Similarly, you can dial-up from Florida to the server in Texas, and you will get a Texas IP! Much like a "long-distance phone call", this method is often referred to as a "long-distance dialup". This is great, but in real life is seldom used, due to low speed and reliability issues. Phone signal gets distorted over longer distances, which makes it very difficult to maintain quality of the connection.

Before we move on to the next category of IP rotation methods, one more thing is worth mentioning here. You will notice that only the first category - Hardware IP changing - has the phrase IP changing in it. Indeed, all methods in this category DO change your IP address. All other methods that will be covered below, do not actually change your IP address. They use a different trick, sometimes referred to as "IP address disquising". It means that your real IP address stays the same at all times. However, few magic passes make it completely invisible to the outside observers, and you appear to them as if you had a completely different IP address, that has no relation to your real one. Read on to find out more.

Disguising real IP address behind proxy servers

It works like this: computer X (with IP address XX.XX.XX.XX) connects to some other computer Y (with IP address YY.YY.YY.YY), and asks it to connect to the website on behalf of your computer. So the actual connection to the website is made from the computer Y, not from the computer X. And the website has no way of seeing (well, *almost* no way. There are exceptions :-) the real IP address XX.XX.XX.XX, it only sees YY.YY.YY.YY. If computer X is your computer and computer Y is a proxy server, then we say that you hide (disguise) your IP XX.XX.XX.XX behind the YY.YY.YY.YY.
Of course, computer Y is not an arbitrary computer, it must be running special proxy software which allows all this to happen. Depending on the type of the proxy software it runs, there are different types of proxies. The most well know and widely used are:

  • HTTP proxies. These are usually used with the browsers when surfing the Web. The browsers use HTTP protocol to communicate with the Web servers, which is why these proxies are called HTTP proxies.
  • Socks proxies. Socks proxies are more universal, in the sense that they allow to hide your IP not only when surfing the web in the browser, but also when connecting to other types of servers on the Internet. For example, desktop-based instant messenger, Internet banking software, remote access software etc.
  • Web proxies. These also work in a browser, like HTTP proxies, but the technology they use is completely different from those of HTTP or Socks proxies. In most cases, web proxies are not very reliable and can be used only with limited number of websites

Proxies usually come with 2 properties: the IP address of the proxy and the port of the proxy. For example:

95.52.26.11:3128 - means a proxy with IP address 95.52.26.11 and port 3128

Sometimes, proxies may require username and/or password, which is supplied by whoever you obtain the proxy from. In this case, password-protected proxy is usually recorded like this:

95.52.26.11:3128:user:pass - the same as above, but with the username 'user' and the password 'pass'

The proxies may be public and private.

  • Public proxies allow anyone on the Internet to use them. Good? Not really. Unless such public proxy server runs a powerful (and expensive!) hardware, it will quickly become congested by the first 100 or so users wanting to put their connections through. So when you google for "free proxies", don't be too enthusiastic with the huge lists you will find. Some of them may work, but most will be too slow and unreliable.
  • Private proxies offer better quality, but usually you have to pay to use them, so the number of users wanting to connect through these simultaneously is much lower, hence the speed/stability is better.

There is a lot of proxy-based software solutions, which take care of the technical side of things, so that you don't need to worry about IPs, ports, usernames and the passwords. All you need to do is install the software and click some button whenever you want to hide your real IP, and they will find a proxy for you and configure your browser automatically to use the proxy. Below are just a few examples:

and so on...

Disguising real IP address behind virtual networks

Whenever you see the abbreviation VPN, you know that it falls under this category. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. Hiding IP via VPN is somewhat like proxies, but is also similar to hardware IP rotation methods. Just like with the proxies, there is a server you need to connect to, and all further connections are placed through that server, to hide your real IP. But there is a difference. When you connect to a VPN server, your computer creates a virtual network interface, with its own IP address. To all the software on your computer, it appears as if you actually connected your computer directly to that VPN server with a wire. You can say that VPN 'substitutes' your real internet provider, and the software thinks that your Internet provider is not the one you are actually connected to, but the VPN server! That's all just a set of software tricks, and have nothing to do with your hardware.

Once you are connected to a VPN, your computer acquires the second IP address. Now your computer has 2 IP addresses - the first one is your real IP from your Internet provider. The second one comes from the VPN provider. The VPN software configures your computer in such a way, that all further connections from your computer are placed through the second IP address (the VPN one), and not through your real IP. Hence, your real IP is disguised behind a VPN IP.

VPN offers better anonymity compared to proxies, it is much harder (most of the times impossible) to detect your real IP if you are connected through the VPN. The downside of the VPN is the price (you can hardly find a free VPN server), and the number of IPs a VPN server can offer. Most of the VPNs out there are designed to hide your real IP behind one or two shared IPs, which doesn't really help for IP rotation purposes. But there are also VPN servers with large IP pools that offer new IP each time you connect. These should work well for IP changing.

Setting up the software to change IP

First of all, you need to decide which method (or methods) you want to use for IP rotation. If you set up one method, then the software will always use it for all tasks. If you set up multiple methods, then the software will try each method in sequence until it is able to change IP with any method.

By default, the software is set up to try all possible IP changing methods, one by one. However, each method must be configured before it can be used. When you first install and start the software, no IP changing methods are configured, so IP changing will always fail.

Configuring IP rotation methods

The following sections explain how to set up each particular IP rotation method supported by the software

Proxies

This is the easiest one, provided that you have them (proxies). The software supports all known types of and flavors of proxies that work in regular browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Opera etc.). These include HTTP, Socks4 and Sock5. Proxies with usernames/passwords are also supported. It is also possible to use gateway proxies (if you don't know what these are - don't worry about it).

In most cases, you should have a text file with your proxies, in the format IP:port:username:password (username and password are optional). If you do, then just follow the directions here to import your proxies into the software. Once imported, the software will automatically start validating your proxies to determine whether they are good or bad. If everything is fine, you should see them becoming green in the list shortly (within a couple of minutes at most, usually few seconds). If they stay gray or turn red - then something is wrong. Please use this troubleshooter to fix the problem.

Once you have green proxies in the list, the software will by default use them to change IP.

Proxy feeds

If you google for "proxies", you will most definitely find thousands of web pages offering free proxies. We call them "proxy feeds" because they provide updatable lists of proxies, and every time you load the page - you will get a different list. Usually these proxies are very slow, unstable and generally unusable (well, they are free), so we do not recommend them. However, there may be private Web sites providing good proxies via updatable lists.

The software is able to periodically fetch proxies from such lists. It is very similar to importing, but if you have a list that updates every hour, then manual import isn't really a viable option. That is why we introduced this feature.

Proxy feeds may appear in very different formats, and it is impossible to support all of them. The software comes with the basic support for proxy lists in the IP:port:username:password text format. If you need to import proxies in different formats, please contact our support, we will see what can be done.

Run batch file or program

You can use this method only if you have the batch file or program that is able to change your IP address. If you do not know what that is, then most probably this method is not for you.

Batch file can be configured under the IP rotation->Hardware->Bath files/external programs tab in the software. You just need to click the Plus button on the toolbar and set the path to your batch file.

Now whenever the software needs to change IP address, it will execute your batch file and wait until the IP has changed.

Run custom script

This method is helpful when you can change your IP through your modem's console. In this case, the script can automatically perform the same steps that you do when changing IPs manually.

The downside of this method is that there are hundreds and thousands of different modems out there, and it is hardly possible to create the script for each and every one.

Reconnect network adapter

If you get new IP whenever you disconnect/connect back your network card, this method is for you.

You can find the settings for it under the IP rotation->Hardware->Network interfaces tab in the software. Just click the Plus button on the toolbar and select the network adapter from the drop down list.

With this method, it is also possible to change MAC address of your network card, in some cases it helps with IP rotation (especially if you have a cable modem plugged in directly into your computer)

Sometimes wireless devices appear as network adapters and you can use this method to re-connect them.

Reconnect RAS device

This method may work if you use dial-up connection or wireless adapter.

You can find the settings for it under the IP rotation->Hardware->RAS connections tab in the software. Just click the Plus button on the toolbar and select the connection from the drop down list.

Note that not all wireless devices can be managed using this method. If your device does not appear in the drop down list, then most probably you can't use this method

You can also use this method with VNP connections. However, only native Windows PPTP VPNs are supported. If your VPN uses OpenVPN client, this method is not applicable

TOR

TOR is a free IP sharing network, maintained by [TOR Project]. Usually their IPs are fast and stable, but IP pool is limited, so some IPs may be blacklisted by certain websited, just because they are used by so many people.

In order to use this method, you need to download and install Vidalia bundle from [their website]. Then, go to Vidalia control panel, click Settings and go to Advanced tab. Pick a password and input it into the field "Authentication". After that, go to System->Settings->IP rotation->TOR in the software and enter the same password in the "TOR Authentication Password" box, then click Connect button. You should see current TOR IP. The software is now set up to use TOR for IP rotation.

ProxyRental

ProxyRental is a private IP rotation service that usually offers good IPs, but at a price. You can visit [their website] for details.

To configure ProxyRental in the software, go to System->Settings->IP rotation->ProxyRental and enter your user name and password. You can check the connection by clicking Connect button.