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Have any of your devices ever displayed an error message pertaining to an IP address conflict? If so, you probably found yourself unable to connect to the Internet, either because you simply don’t have access or the connection has just been rendered unusable.

Although it’s not something that commonly occurs, IP address conflicts are a very real issue and can very much inconvenience the user. When two or more IP addresses conflict, the result can be one or more computers or devices that have been rendered completely useless in terms of network connectivity. Fortunately, there are ways to resolve the issue when conflicts occur.

What is an IP conflict?

ip conflict error message windows

IP conflicts occur when two or more computers or devices (like a tablet) in the same network end up being assigned the same IP address. An IP (Internet Protocol) address is your computer’s unique identifier, comprised of a string of numbers, such as 192.168.8.4. Without one, you can’t connect to the network. Usually a sort of warning or error message will pop up, alerting you of the problem. Sometimes these issues resolve themselves, but that’s not always the case.

Usually, IP address conflicts occur on a LAN (local area network), although they may also be seen between multiple devices connected to the Internet. Any device that has an IP address could potentially have a conflict with another device.

An IP address can be either static What Is A Static IP Address, How Do I Get One & Its Advantages / Disadvantages What Is A Static IP Address, How Do I Get One & Its Advantages / Disadvantages Read More or dynamic What Is A Dynamic IP Address & How Do I Get One? [Technology Explained] What Is A Dynamic IP Address & How Do I Get One? [Technology Explained] Read More . A static IP address never changes and is manually assigned. Dynamic IP addresses, on the other hand, are only temporary and a new one is assigned every time your computer or device connects to the Internet or your router.

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Conflicts can happen with both static and dynamic IP addresses, although they are less likely to occur with static addresses today, because typically a DHCP (dynamic host configuration protocol) server DHCP Explained: Installing & Configuring A Free DHCP Server [Linux] DHCP Explained: Installing & Configuring A Free DHCP Server [Linux] Read More , which is built into most routers, is used to manage and assign IP addresses. DHCP servers have a pool of IP addresses, called a scope, and from that pool addresses are assigned to devices in response to a system request for an IP address.

Why Does It Happen?

Dhcp

An IP conflict can happen for various reasons, but a classic example is when two or more systems are assigned the same static IP address. This doesn’t happen as much now thanks to DHCP servers. However, if you have more than one DHCP server running (which you shouldn’t), similarly configured servers may hand out identical address to multiple devices.

If you have another device that facilitates a network connection, it may have an embedded DHCP server that is turned on by default. In this case, going in and switching off the server will resolve the issue.

An ISP may also assign multiple customers the same address. If a device is set up with multiple network adapters, then it could potentially experience an IP address conflict with itself.

A conflict may also occur if a device originally connected to one network enters standby mode and later comes back on, but connected to a different network with a device that has the same IP address. This could happen with a work laptop being brought home, or even when traveling with a laptop or another device.

How Do You Resolve It?

firmware dls

IP conflicts sometimes just work themselves out, but that could take a while, if it even happens at all. Resolving the issue could be as simple as just restarting the router. If every device in the network was assigned dynamic IP addresses, the issue should be fixed as the router reboots and re-assigns IP addresses to every device in the network.

Another way to fix this issue (at least on Windows systems) is to release the IP address via the command prompt The Windows Command Prompt: Simpler And More Useful Than You Think The Windows Command Prompt: Simpler And More Useful Than You Think The commands haven't always stayed the same, in fact some have been trashed while other newer commands came along, even with Windows 7 in fact. So, why would anyone want to bother clicking the start... Read More . Open up the command prompt (you can do this by going to your start menu and searching for ‘command prompt’) and type “ipconfig /release” in the window, then press enter. The DHCP server will then assign a new IP address to your computer.

If that doesn’t work, you will need to identify the conflicting addresses in the router’s administrative dashboard and either manually assign new IP addresses, or configure the devices to automatically obtain IP addresses.

Finally, if none of this works or you encounter this frequently, your router may have a faulty DHCP server. In that case, you would have to upgrade the firmware The Top 6 Alternative Firmwares for Your Router The Top 6 Alternative Firmwares for Your Router Alternative firmwares offer more features and better functionality than stock firmwares. Here are some of the best ones to use. Read More . You can usually get a firmware update from the manufacturer’s website, which can be installed manually.

Conclusion

As we connect more and more devices to our networks and the Internet, the likelihood of experiencing some sort of IP conflict goes up. While it isn’t something that one can expect to encounter every day (and if you do deal with this frequently, you should upgrade your firmware), it is good to understand the issue and know what steps to take to resolve it.

Have you ever encountered an IP conflict? Do you know what caused it? How did you deal with it? Leave a comment below and tell me about it!

Image credits: DHCP by Rodrigozanatta via Wikimedia Commons

  1. Michael Antoniou
    November 22, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    Your article is very useful and precise.
    Yesterday, I experienced a similar problem when a message, warning me that two computers used the same IP address, appeared the moment I entered the password on my lap top, which had been on standby.
    I used the computer on programmes other than the internet.
    At a later stage, I checked the IP addresses of all the devices sharing my router at home. No two IP addresses were the same which means that the problem had resolved itself.
    Pretty much as you describe in your article.

  2. Sen
    October 6, 2016 at 12:08 am

    I had been connecting to works Wi-Fi without issues for a few weeks when one day I could no longer connect on my phone. The phone would stick on obtaining IP address.
    It took me 4 days to figure out but I looked at the IP address of a colleagues phone who was connected to works Wi-Fi and copied it into my phone used the static IP address but changed the last 2 digits. Eg 10.169.216.254 became 10.169.216.252 this sorted the problem out.

  3. Janice
    October 1, 2016 at 1:07 am

    I began having ip address conflicts a couple of times after I enabled wifi on my Win 10 laptop to use bluetooth with my Fitbit or it could also be due to our recent purchase of a desktop with Win 10. I am otherwise on ethernet cable for internet. I forced my adapter to obtain a different ip address by restarting my laptop both times successfully.

  4. nik ng
    September 27, 2016 at 6:53 am

    Does it mean that some one has hacked my WiFi how yo know this...

  5. Gopal Arora
    September 13, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    Rebooting the router did the job for me.

  6. Gregg
    August 23, 2016 at 1:10 am

    I've been trying to register with this certain site every time I register it confirms my email when I go back to the site it says please sign in with the same address and it's the same computer how do I get that same IP address that I signed in with that site

  7. ganesh k
    August 6, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    IP Address Conflict issue on all Windows 7 systems as we have checked with Network end & there is no changes done from network end. And we are using Static IP Address for all systems.
    Also we have changed IP address with free one for that systems but still facing same issue.

    Can anyone help me to resolve asap.

    • dtb1987
      August 9, 2016 at 5:19 pm

      It could be that you don't have a separate scope setup for your DHCP connections, if that is the case when new computers connect using DHCP they are trying to use your static IPs and causing conflicts

  8. Rebecca Taylor
    July 27, 2016 at 4:10 am

    We had a thunderstorm tonight and the lights and TV blinked, and my computer was still on. I went in to shut it down and saw the message and thought someone hacked in. Thank you so much for this article. I'm not a tech person, but it was easy to understand.

  9. Lucas
    July 8, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    Hello. I recently had this IP address conflict. I use WiFi via router in my home. Though I haven't added any new device to the network, I could see a new dial up/ vpn access point on the available networks. I was logged on the chrome browser and Facebook as well. But after this IP address conflict, I got logged out of chrome and Facebook. My question is, how did this happen? Does this have anything with hacking? I can't figure out why I got logged out, I have never got logged out like this before. Thank you.

  10. Saleem Ahmed
    April 7, 2016 at 11:56 am

    bhai agar mujhe apne domain me Koie Pc Add karna ho tu me apne normal server ki ip adress

    se na ping ati hae na domain Joind hota hae me ipadress kia do jis ki waja se ping and domain

    joind ho jaye

    kindly Sent Me Solution

    this is My Email address (Saleem.ahmed.it@gmail.com)

  11. Morgan Hintz
    March 12, 2016 at 12:08 am

    i have a ip conflict

  12. Mich
    February 14, 2016 at 3:19 am

    I used to work for the helpdesk at an ISP. This can also happen when your modem starts to have issues that will ultimately require replacement. We had one particular brand/model that did this with regularity a week to ten days before it would become a paperweight. Once we all knew the problem, our AHT dropped because we wouldn't even troubleshoot. The calls (from my end) went something like this: IP address conflict? What modem? Okay, I'll send you a replacement, no charge. Have a nice day.

  13. Elizabeth Victor
    August 7, 2015 at 7:52 am

    This occurs when two or more computers on the same LAN network end up with the same IP address. When this occurs, both computers end up not being able to connect to network.There are a few ways in which this problem can be fixed.If it is Static IP request your ISP for a change of IP.If it is a Dynamic IP you can try resetting your modem by switching ON and OFF the modem or open the command prompt and type "ipconfig /release," which dumps the automatic address it had, and then "ipconfig /renew," which gets a new address.To check for the change in IP you can visit Ip-details.com which gives your public Ip when you visit the site.

  14. Elizabeth Victor
    August 7, 2015 at 7:43 am

    good one

    • Elizabeth Victor
      August 7, 2015 at 7:52 am

      This occurs when two or more computers on the same LAN network end up with the same IP address. When this occurs, both computers end up not being able to connect to network.There are a few ways in which this problem can be fixed.If it is Static IP request your ISP for a change of IP.If it is a Dynamic IP you can try resetting your modem by switching ON and OFF the modem or open the command prompt and type "ipconfig /release," which dumps the automatic address it had, and then "ipconfig /renew," which gets a new address.To check for the change in IP you can visit http://www.ip-details.com which gives your public Ip when you visit the site.

  15. Silverlokk
    May 3, 2015 at 4:01 am

    Conflicts can happen with both static and dynamic IP addresses, although they are less likely to occur with static addresses today, because typically a DHCP (dynamic host configuration protocol) server, which is built into most routers, is used to manage and assign IP addresses.

    I'm a tad confused at the moment, need a bit more sleep, but shouldn't conflicts be more likely with static addresses because they're being assigned manually?

    • AlexN
      May 18, 2015 at 11:43 pm

      Yes then the other comment later on says, "This doesn’t happen as much now thanks to DHCP servers." So I think they corrected themselves.

    • AlexN
      May 18, 2015 at 11:44 pm

      So they meant dynamic addresses to continue with the introduction of DHCP.

  16. Chinmay S
    April 30, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    This used to happen on my PC because of iTunes. Whenever I launched iTunes, this message was displayed. But last year, everything sorted out automatically.

  17. chaitanya kapoor
    April 29, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    This thing happened mostly in windows xp but in new Operating system's with advanced algorithms this problem has been solved. This article reminded me of my college days when we used to connect to the same wi-fi at the campus and usually got this message . BTW nicely explained.

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