I have to admit, I was kind of surprised when I saw that my IP had not changed after successfully connecting to a VPN and changing my DNS settings. Especially since I had just performed this whole process in plain sight of my Google Analytics account. So, after doing some research, I figured out how this could happen and how I could prevent it from happening again. In this article, I will tell you about my findings and how you can avoid this issue in the future.
Why Does My IP Keep Changing?
If you had hoped to keep your IP address the same no matter where you go or what device you are using, you have probably come to the wrong place. When you connect to a VPN, you are essentially creating a new IP address for the duration of the connection. The catch is that this new IP is only valid for the specific services you use while connected to the VPN. Once you disconnect from the VPN, the IP you had before connecting is restored.
I had this issue with ExpressVPN because I use their free 1-year plan. I had a specific need to change my IP when I was on a corporate network, so I could access a certain website that I needed for my job. However, once I disconnected from the VPN and returned to being on my home network, the IP had once again changed to the originally assigned IP for my home network. Since ExpressVPN does not allow you to keep an open VPN connection when you are on your device, I had to disconnect and then reconnect to the VPN every time I needed to change my IP.
How Can I Prevent This From Happening Again?
If you follow the instructions below, you will be able to prevent this from happening again. First, you will need to change your VPN provider, or at least consider changing them. The reason for this is that many VPN providers are not tech-savvy enough to handle situations like this properly. If you have ever had a problem like this with another VPN provider, you can be sure that they will not be able to help you out. As a result, you will end up going through a lot of time and effort to restore your original IP address.
Change Your VPN Provider
The first step to fixing this issue is to change your VPN provider. If you have tried to use several VPNs and had issues with any of them, it’s time to find a new VPN. Even though you had a specific need for this one particular VPN, there are tons of other options that could help you.
I recommend ProtonVPN because they are extremely easy to use. You will need to create a new account and upgrade to their premium plan in order to keep your IP address the same, but then you will have unlimited devices and locations to connect to. So definitely worth it!
Install DNS Changes
The next step is to install DNS changes. This will be a much easier way to keep your IP address the same, and it will also prevent you from getting any potential IP lock-downs. When you install this on your device, you will tell the operating system to use a certain DNS provider for all network-related activities. In most cases, you will only need to input the DNS servers for the domains you use while connected to the VPN. For example, if you use Google as your search engine while connected to the VPN and you want to keep using it even when you are not connected to the VPN, you will need to input its IP address (188.8.131.52) in the DNS section of your device. This way, when you are not connected to the VPN, your device will continue to use the same search engine that you had previously set up while connected to the VPN. Also, if you have setup the VPN on your home network and use the same devices (laptops, tablets, and mobile phones) at work as well as at home, you will need to set up the VPN at work as well so that both locations will be able to access the Internet while connected to the same VPN.
Many VPNs do not allow you to customize their DNS settings, and some of them even have limits on how many devices and how often you can use their DNS.
Restore Your Original IP
Now that you have changed your VPN provider and installed DNS changes, it’s time to restore your original IP address. Depending on which method you used to get your new IP address (in my case, I went with Google DNS), you will need to find the appropriate DNS server for your original IP. This is usually not that difficult, but if you are ever wrong, you can also use the Advanced DNS Search located at http://dns.brandonbiggs.com to find the right IP. Once you have found it, simply type it in the DNS field and then click the Verify button to save the setting. Now when you reconnect to the VPN, you will once again have the original IP address.
As I mentioned above, some VPNs do not allow you to restore your original IP address if you have set a static one. In that case, you will have to reconnect to the VPN and use the Dynamic DNS feature, which is built into most operating systems these days, to update your IP address every so often.
Use The Right DNS
The point of this whole process is to avoid getting IP addresses that are not reserved for you. If you are ever unsure of whether or not you are using the right DNS, you can always check myIP.com to see what my IP address is at any given moment. Alternatively, you can use the Advanced DNS Search located at http://dns.brandonbiggs.com to find the right address. If you use Google as your search engine, you will find multiple websites that provide you with your IP address simply through a search. This is also a good place to find help if you are ever having problems with your IP address.
One important thing to note is that if you are connecting to a VPN that is providing you with IPv4, this process will not work for you. Basically, IPv4 is used for determining the IP address of a device, and because your device is using this address to access the Internet, you will have to either use IPv6 or connect to an IPv4-only VPN.
The final step is to simply use IPv6. This is an important step because over 93% of all Internet traffic is now being routed through IPv6. This means that your chances of getting an IP address that is already being used are extremely high, especially if you are using a free VPN.
Unfortunately, not all VPNs support IPv6, and those that do often have limits on how many devices and how often you can use it. In those cases, you will simply need to find another option.