Technology Explained

What’s an IP Conflict and How Do You Resolve It?

Ben Stegner Updated 27-02-2020

If you’ve ever seen the “Windows has detected an IP address conflict” message, you might wonder what this message means. While IP conflict issues aren’t usually difficult to fix, they are confusing, especially for those new to networking.

Advertisement

Let’s look at what an IP address conflict is, how they happen, and the steps to fix this error when it pops up.

What Is an IP Address Conflict?

ip conflict error message windows

An IP address conflict occurs when two or more devices on the same network are assigned the same IP address. To explain why this is a problem, we must take a step back and look at what IP addresses are for.

Like a physical home address for receiving mail, IP addresses act as a way to identify your computer on a network. Your router uses those IP addresses to direct network traffic to the right devices. Check out our full guide to home networking Everything You Need to Know About Home Networking Setting up a home network is not as hard as you think it is. Read More for more details on this.

Because of this system, each IP address cannot be assigned to more than one device. If this happens, the network becomes confused by the duplicate IP addresses and can’t use them correctly. But since two computers cannot have the same IP address, how does the IP error occur?

Advertisement

How Does an IP Address Conflict Happen?

Under most circumstances in modern networks, IP conflicts are rare. This is because of DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol), a system that routers use to hand out IP addresses.

With DHCP, when you connect a new device to your network, your router chooses an available IP address from the pool of options. The device uses this IP for some time, until the lease expires and it has to get a new one. Unless your router malfunctions, two devices should never get the same IP address from this system.

More commonly, an IP conflict can occur when you assign static IP addresses What Is a Static IP Address? Here's Why You Don't Need One A static IP address is one that never changes. Dynamic IP addresses do change. We explain why you don't need a static IP address. Read More on your network. Instead of DHCP automatically choosing an address, you can set up a network device to always use the same IP address that you specify. If you mistakenly assign the same static address to two devices, you’ll run into a duplicate IP error.

Another IP conflict scenario can occur if you have two DHCP servers on your network (which you should avoid). For example, you might have your own wireless router connected to your ISP’s modem/router combo. If both devices are trying to act as a router, they might hand out duplicate IP addresses.

Advertisement

Finally, you can introduce duplicate IPs onto your network when a machine comes back online after being in standby mode. For instance, say you leave your laptop in a hibernated state for two weeks. During that time, your router may recall the laptop’s IP address and assign it to another device, like your phone.

When you turn the laptop back on, it may think it still owns that IP address, which results in an IP conflict. This may also occur if you put your computer in standby on another network that uses the same IP pool as yours.

How to Fix IP Address Conflicts

Like all network troubleshooting Network Problems? 7 Diagnostic Tricks and Simple Fixes Network problems must be diagnosed before they can be resolved. This article covers seven simple tricks for fixing your network. Read More , the first step you should take is restarting the affected computer and your networking equipment.

The IP address error could have been a small glitch, which a reboot will resolve. Restarting your router and/or modem will re-assign all IP addresses via DHCP.

Advertisement

Troubleshooting Static IP Addresses on Windows

If restarting everything doesn’t work, the problem is a little deeper. You should next check to see if your computer is using a static IP address. On Windows, open Settings and go to Network & Internet > Status. Click Change adapter options on this menu, then double-click the name of your network connection.

Windows 10 Open Network Settings

On the resulting screen, click Properties, followed by double-clicking Internet Protocol Version 4. This menu should have Obtain an IP address automatically selected. If it isn’t, select the automatic option instead and hit OK. Repeat these steps for Internet Protocol Version 6 and see if the conflict goes away.

IP version 4 Windows

Advertisement

You should also try releasing your computer’s current IP address and obtaining a new one. Restarting also accomplishes this, but it’s still worth a try at this time. To do so, right-click on the Start button and select Command Prompt or Windows PowerShell. Type the following command to give up your current IP, followed by Enter:

ipconfig /release

After this, use the following command to obtain a new IP address from the router:

ipconfig /renew

Troubleshooting Static IP Addresses on macOS

On a Mac, you’ll find IP address options under Apple menu > System Preferences > Network. Select the connection type you’re using from the left side, then click Advanced.

On the resulting page, select the TCP/IP tab. If the Configure IPv4 box is set to Manually, change it to Using DHCP. Check that Configure IPv6 is also set to Automatically, then hit OK.

Using System Preferences to check the Mac's TCP/IP settings

To refresh your current IP on a Mac, click the Renew DHCP Lease button to the right on this page.

Check Your Router for Conflicting Devices

If the above steps didn’t fix the issue, you should next log into your router’s administration panel and take a look at the connected devices. How you do this will depend on your router model, so we can’t give exact instructions. Have a look our router management intro guide What Is a Router and How to Use One: The Beginner's FAQ After reading this FAQ, you'll have a better idea of what a router is, how to set one up properly, and how to use it to full effect. Read More for help understanding the interface.

Typically, you’ll find a list of connected devices under a section titled Attached Devices, Connected Devices, My Network, or similar. Have a look at each device and keep an eye out for duplicate IP addresses. To help narrow this down, you can check the IP address of your computer by typing ipconfig into a Windows Command Prompt or ifconfig into the Mac terminal.

unifi network showing currently connected devices

If you find two devices with the same address, remove any static IP address settings or refresh their IPs in your router to resolve the conflict.

Update Your Router Firmware

A faulty router can cause IP conflicts to occur frequently and without warning. If you continue to have IP address errors even after performing the above troubleshooting, you should update your router’s firmware.

The exact steps to this also depend on the router you have. Usually, you’ll find a Firmware Update option when you log into your router’s admin panel. This may be under an Advanced or Tools menu.

While some routers let you update the firmware automatically through the panel, others require you to download a file from the manufacturer and upload it to your router. Check your router maker’s website for more help.

Resolve IP Address Conflicts Peacefully

Now you know what an IP address conflict is, how two devices could get the same IP address, and how to fix IP conflicts. Most of the time, a conflict won’t occur on the average home network. And if it does, you can often resolve it with a few quick reboots.

For more help with IP problems, have a look at how to fix the “Wi-Fi doesn’t have a valid IP configuration” error Fix the "Wi-Fi Doesn't Have a Valid IP Configuration" Error Now Here's how to fix the "Wi-Fi doesn't have a valid IP configuration" error on your computer so you can get back online again. Read More .

Related topics: Computer Networks, IP Address, LAN, Network Issues.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Jan
    May 6, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    This assumes that windows knows what it's talking about. I get this error every time I start up my Windows 7 computer, but when I do a scan of the local network, there is no other device with the same IP address, so how do I stop Windows incorrectly issuing this error message?

  2. Alex Lopez
    May 1, 2019 at 1:30 pm

    I have a crush on Seif Issa

  3. NYS
    May 2, 2018 at 6:11 am

    I just experienced this IP conflict and really got worried. Can the other device get access to my device?? Is my device under risk?? Can they steal my data and passwords??
    My device got shut down immediately after the popup message and when I restarted, it is showing 'device just experienced unexpected error' ... is that a risk to my device(windows 7)

  4. Darwin
    March 31, 2018 at 6:07 am

    you can also change your password or if your not able to just have your ISP change it.
    That will resolve the issue.

  5. Rob
    August 31, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    I had a problem today in that some websites would function but others not and the browsers Chrome and Firefox kept defaulting to a webpage saying account failed. After speaking with Plusnet, my ISP, it was eventually discovered that I was sharing the same IP with another customer who was barred. When the IP was changed all the problems ceased.

    ISPs should not be causing these problems and authorities need to act.

  6. Ofosuhene Ernest
    August 14, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    I ve experienced such conflict and tried the command prompt but they say I have not connected to the network and I can't connect because of the ip conflict

  7. Raymond
    January 16, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    Bought a smart TV (Samsung 4k)
    And every time I turned on the TV the WiFi shuts down on all devices.
    Have to reset the router..

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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

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

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

    Rebooting the router did the job for me.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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)

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

    i have a ip conflict

  19. 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.

  20. Anonymous
    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.

  21. Anonymous
    August 7, 2015 at 7:43 am

    good one

    • Anonymous
      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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.