A VPN is the quickest and most reliable way of changing your IP address without any security concerns. Still, some of you may want to know how to change your IP address without using a VPN - whether it's because you only need a temporary solution or a VPN subscription just isn't in the budget.
Now, there are a few different ways you can go about changing your IP without a VPN. Here they are, in no particular order.
1. Use a Proxy Server to Change Your IP Address
Much like a VPN, a proxy masks your true IP address and assigns you a new one based on the particular server you connect to. They differ from VPNs in that proxies don't encrypt your data, leaving you exposed to data collection, hackers, and other online dangers.
On top of that, proxies typically have no control over DNS traffic. This means your DNS requests still broadcast your real IP address to the DNS provider. A good VPN provider typically uses their own DNS servers and integrates leak protection to prevent that from happening.
Anyway, back to proxies. The one advantage of a proxy is that you don't need to set anything up on your device. This makes them useful if you only want to access a few websites in particular. Here's an example using the Hide.me proxy service.
Follow the instructions on the website. Enter the website you want to access anonymously, choose a location from the drop-down list, and voilà.
Now, free proxies typically have a limited number of locations. Paid ones net you more options, but if you're looking for a wide server network, we really recommend checking out the top 10 VPNs with the most servers instead.
2. Try the Tor Browser
Using the Tor browser allows you to access a worldwide network of volunteer-run "nodes" (or "relays"). Think of it as using a series of interlinked proxies to connect to the Internet. Now, any online service you access can only see the IP address of the last node in the chain, keeping yours hidden.
Unfortunately, you have no control over which relays Tor decides to use at any given time. Moreover, the chain of nodes changes every time you visit a website. That being said, this process offers a great degree of online anonymity. If that's why you want to change your IP address without a VPN, then it's a decent (and free!) solution.
Keep in mind that routing your traffic through so many relays will negatively impact your browsing speeds. This makes Tor a poor option for streaming and other network-intensive activities. Light browsing is perfectly fine, however.
3. Change Networks
Simply hopping onto a different network than the one you're currently using will provide you with a new IP address. For example, switching to mobile data on your smartphone or using public Wi-Fi instead of your home network.
Obviously, this isn't an ideal solution, and using public Wi-Fi can be dangerous in itself. You can use it to get around an unfair IP block in a pinch, though.
4. Disconnect Your Modem Temporarily
If your ISP uses dynamic IP addresses (DHCP), unplugging your modem for a few hours will assign your IP to another user on their network. When you plug the modem back in, there's a chance you will gain a new IP address.
We say "a chance" because there's no guarantee of success. If you really need to change your IP address without a VPN and the methods above aren't effective, you might as well ask your ISP to do it themselves.
5. Ask Your Internet Provider to Change It for You
A majority of ISPs nowadays dynamically assign IP addresses to home users, so the modem method should work in most cases. If not, then give your ISP a call and explain why you want to change your IP address. You'll need a decent reason for it, though (getting banned on 4chan probably isn't going to cut it).
In the end, using a decent VPN (such as ExpressVPN) to change your IP address is still your best bet.