How do I Change my IP Address (IP Banned)?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Elaine Y. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

How can I change my IP address? I ask because every now and again I try and email my friend (with a yahoo email address), but Thunderbird keeps telling me that my IP address is being blocked and can't send my email. Any ideas why I'm being blocked? Better yet, any idea on how I can change my IP address so I'm not blocked? "

My response:

This is a good question and the situation (at least for me) comes up often enough, so it's worth explaining. Also, I couldn't seem to find a single article on the Internet that explains how this happens (at least, cohesively), so I would be more than happy to explain it.

IP Addresses Are Leased

First and foremost, almost all IP addresses are leased - whether it's internally on your LAN (local area network) or externally on a WAN (wide area network, such as the Internet). A leased IP essentially means that the IP address will 'expire' and then the authoritative service responsible for leasing IPs (such as your router) will either renew and reassign the same IP address to you, or you will get a new IP address altogether. This is done transparently.

In the case of an Internet Service Provider (ISP), you most likely won't get the same IP address if your IP expires. The reason you won't get the same IP is because your Internet Service Provider has a huge customer base and is constantly leasing IPs as customers connect and disconnect from their service. IP addresses from Internet Service Providers (I suspect) are served in a first come, first serve basis.

Why are IP addresses Banned?

IPs are banned usually because a person or a person's computer was doing something inappropriately. This information gets logged and shared with other services online the Internet, and then used to proactively ban IPs from engaging in nefarious activity.

For example, let's say an entire network of computers is compromised with malware and is sending out hundreds of spam emails a minute. Email service providers will log the activity of offending IP addresses, then share that information with other services online the Internet.

What is an IP Address Reputation?

Services such as SpamHaus are responsible for warehousing the banned IPs in what is called a Real-time Blackhole List (RBL). The RBLs are used by various email service providers (such as gmail, hotmail, yahoo, etc) for each and every email that is received. If you send an email and your IP matches a banned IP in the RBL, the email is blocked.

An IP address reputation is an analysis of activity of IP addresses over a period of time. IP reputation and RBLs go hand in hand, and IP reputations are used to ban specific IPs from various online services (not just email), including contact pages, web forums, and many other things.

Why IPs Aren't Always Cleared from RBLs

It's worth noting that various Real-time Blackhole List (RBLs) service provides (such as SpamHaus) will expunge / expire blacklisted IP addresses are varying rates; thus not all 'bad' IP addresses will be 'cleared' when they are supposed to be, and there is no way to know that an offending IP address is no longer offending because they are leased on various intervals.

Oftentimes multiple Real-time Blackhole List (RBL) are used for the same service (such as email); as such, it's possible that your IP address is listed in one RBL but not in another. Therefore, you will be "cleared" of having a poor IP address reputation with one service, but another one might have you as being blacklisted. That would explain why one email service provider will accept an email and another one won't.

The Problem with RBLs and Leased IPs

So now that I've explained all about leased IP addresses, RBLs, and IP reputation, I can finally answer the question "Why is my IP address being banned?":

Hypothetically speaking, it's likely that someone / some machine in the past did something inappropriate (such as spamming), and that IP got logged and recorded and placed into a Real-time Blackhole List database, and is still actively blocked. And out of pure randomness, your Internet Service Provider leased you the same IP address (and with it, the IP reputation) - and now you're essentially being banned for something that you didn't do.

Now that you know, you can change your IP address to skirt around the issue.

How to Change Your IP Address

Most of us use a combination of router with a broadband modem, and therefore we have an external IP address (for the Internet) and an internal IP address (for the local area network). For example, your external IP address might be 24.41.15.62, and your internal address might be 192.168.0.100. It's the external IP address that needs to be renewed -- not the internal one, in order to get unbanned.

To change your IP address, you should first visit a website that will tell you your external IP address, such as whatismyip.com. Then, do one of the following:

  1. If you're not technically inclined and don't access to your router's administration page (via web browser), you can renew your IP by doing the following: unplug the power to the broadband modem and also the router, then wait 10 seconds. Then, turn the modem back on, wait about 10 seconds, then turn the router back on. This will effectively reset and renew your IP address. Optionally, you can try Step #2 below.
     
  2. If your modem and router are in another location and / or you are technically inclined and have access to your router's administration page (via the web browser), you can: login to your router's admin control panel (usually http://192.168.0.1), and look for an option to disconnect and then reconnect to the Internet. I can't say exactly where this option is located because each router is different. Once you choose to 'disconnect' and reconnect, your modem will obtain another IP address automatically.

When that's finished, you can revisit the whatismyip.com website to check your external IP address. Then, go about your business.

Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!

I need more computer questions. If you have a computer question -- or even a computer problem that needs fixing -- please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of Infopackets.com. With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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Comments

edjbaxter_3688's picture

A far simpler suggestion for changing IP addresses is to open a command prompt (as Admin) and enter "ipconfig /release" and follow this with "ipconfig /renew". This works on Win 7 and later.

Dennis Faas's picture

If you have a modem and use a router, then the ipconfig /release and ipconfig /renew will only get you newly leased IP addresses on the internal network. It is the external IP address that the online services block, not the internal IP.

If you have a broadband modem with no router (and no DHCP), then your method of releasing the IP will work. That said, most people use DHCP because they share the Internet amongst more than one computer (and a router is needed for that).

Phil's picture

ISPs often assume that you want the same address as before, so disconnecting and reconnecting might not get you a new IP address. Is there a command to let the server know that you *don't* want the same address?

Dennis Faas's picture

You can't tell the ISP what IP address you want - they only let you lease from a block IPs they have available. All IPs are leased for home / private use unless you're paying specifically for the same IP address, and that is typically only reserved for corporations with WANs (wide area networks) or corporate web hosting. Therefore, the only way to release the IP would be to do as I suggest in the article. If that doesn't work, then you can try the same steps again and wait 10 minutes; if not then try increasing the wait time up to 24 hours.

georgegrimes's picture

If the address given by Dennis (192.168.0.1) does not work, one brand of router that I used in the past had an address of 192.168.0.0 instead.

stephen3588's picture

Thunderbird has settings to block IP addresses that send spam. Chances are her friend's IP address is the one sending spam, so she can't send, or receive email from her friend. Just google THUNDERBIRD BLOCKING IP ADDRESS for tons of tips on configuring T/BIRD.