What is the most efficient way to generate a new external IP address
from my ISP?
I get variations on this question often. I’ll tell you what to try,
but I’ll also point out two things:
1) It might not be possible.
2) It likely won’t solve whatever problem it is you’re trying to
That being said, here’s what you can try…
First, if you have a static IP address – an IP address that is specifically assigned by your ISP that you had to configure manually into your PC or router – then your only solution is actually quite simple: talk to your ISP. They can assign you a different IP address, and you can then once again configure that static IP address manually.
Now, for the 99% of us that doesn’t apply to, things get dicier.
The short and easy answer: reboot whatever device is connected to the internet.
You may, or may not, get a new IP address.
Most machines get an IP address via something called “DHCP”, for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. In short, that means that when your internet connected device starts up, it broadcasts a request that says, in effect: “is there anyone out there that can give me an IP address?”. Your ISP’s equipment typically responds: “sure, I can do that, here’s an IP address and some other information you’ll need”. (The “other information” includes DNS servers to use, and where to send data that’s destined for the internet.)
There’s no requirement that the ISP assign you the same IP address each time. That means that each time you ask for a new IP address, you might get something different.
Note my use of the word “might”.
Because you might not.
And that’s a problem if you’re specifically trying to get something different.
I’d even go so far as to say that most of the time, with most ISPs, you probably will get the same IP address each time. It’s not required, but it can make a couple of obscure things a little more efficient if you do, so … often you will.
You just can’t count on it, one way or the other.
And I know of no reliable way to force it, one way or the other.
(As an aside, I’m well aware that “repairing” a connection in Windows will ask for an IP address, and that from the command line you can do an ipconfig /release followed by ipconfig /renew. If you grok that, great. “Just reboot” is both simple, and universal – especially when we start talking about routers.)
So, now that I’ve told you that you might or might not even be able to do it, why do I say that it’s not going to solve your problem anyway?
The vast majority of people are concerned that they can be found via their IP address. In short:
Either you’re trying to fix something that isn’t a problem, or your not fixing it at all. Either way, changing your IP address, even if possible, won’t help.
The other common cause is that your IP address has been blocked by some service, and you’re trying to work around it. Depending on exactly what was blocked, a new IP still isn’t likely to help.
Quite often the block is for more than just a single IP. People putting blocks in place often understand that DHCP means that the person they’re attempting to block may get a new address. So instead of blocking a single IP address, they block an entire range assigned to that ISP. That means that everyone coming in from that IP address range will be blocked, regardless of what IP address within that range they’ve been assigned. As I write this, an entire school district in Australia has been blocked from Ask Leo! because of the actions of two students, and the lack of response from their administrators.
Like a game of whack-a-mole, whatever you were doing to get you banned in the first place is likely to get you banned again at a new IP address.
So the big take-away is simply this: if you’re looking at changing your IP address to solve some kind of problem you’re experiencing, it’s likely you should be looking at a different approach.
But try the change if you like. It probably won’t hurt.