Keep getting an error saying something about an invalid IP address? It happens pretty often to Windows users. In this quick guide, we’ll show you what you can try to fix the issue.
What Does the Invalid IP Address Error Mean?
Basically, that you can’t connect to the network because there is a conflict between your device and the DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) server (the router or modem).
Here’s the thing - when you connect to a network, it will automatically assign your device an IP address through the DHCP server. If you get an error saying something about an invalid IP address, that means your device couldn’t get a valid address from the server.
Here’s why you might get this error:
You Manually Changed Your IP Address to an Unsupported Format
Here’s an invalid IP address example: 127.0.0.1. That address is reserved for “localhost,” something any computer on a network uses to refer to itself.
If you used that address, it won’t be recognized as valid.
Also, if you manually changed the address to one a different device on your network already uses, you’ll get this error. Two computers on a network can’t have the same address. It needs to be unique for each one of them.
Similarly, if you changed the address to one that's outside your network’s range, it will be considered invalid. For example, if the network range is 192.168.1.30 and 192.168.1.80, and you used 220.127.116.11 as an IP address, it won’t be valid.
DHCP Assignment Errors Get in the Way
DHCP should be first to automatically assign an IP address to a device that connects to its network. Like when you get back home, and your smartphone automatically connects to your WiFi network.
However, on Windows, you might encounter a conflict. Your OS might assign your computer an IP address before the DHCP server manages to do it. If the address conflicts with the network’s address range or existing addresses that are in use, it will be invalid.
Invalid IP Address Error Variations
Sometimes, you might see different variations of that error message:
- Ethernet doesn’t have a valid IP configuration
- WiFi doesn’t have a valid IP configuration
- Unidentified network
- no Internet secured
- no Internet access
It should be possible to fix them all with the tips in our article.
How to Fix Invalid IP Address Errors
Here are 11 things you can try to get rid of this error:
1. Check the Ethernet Cable
If you’re using an ethernet cable to connect directly to the router/modem, make sure it’s in good shape. Take a close look, and see if it looks damaged.
If it does, you’ll need to change it. A broken cable might cause faulty connections that result in the invalid IP address error.
2. Restart or Reset Your Router/Modem
Sometimes, a restart is all you need to fix this error. If that doesn’t work, try resetting the device.
You could also power it off, wait a few seconds or minutes, and power it back on again.
3. Reinstall Your Network Adapter’s Driver
It goes without saying that if your network adapter is out-of-date, you need to update it first. If that doesn’t solve the problem, try reinstalling it.
For both methods, you can use Device Manager. To do that, press Win + X, and pick Device Manager from the menu.
Then, under the Network adapters dropdown menu, right-click your adapter and select Update driver.
Next, pick Search automatically for updated driver software. If you happen to have the software on your computer and know where it is, pick the second option (Browse my computer for driver software) to install it manually.
If that doesn’t fix the problem, it’s time to reinstall the device. Hit Uninstall device, confirm the uninstall, and then reinstall the adapter’s driver. Windows 10 should be able to do that automatically for you.
But if it can’t do it, you have to install the driver manually. If present, use existing software on your computer. Alternatively, use the CD that came with your motherboard to install the driver.
If that’s not an option, you’ll have to somehow download the driver from the manufacturer’s website on a device that has web access. Then, use an USB flash drive to copy the files onto your computer.
4. Reset TCP/IP Settings & Winsock Protocol
Winsock is an API that enables communications between Windows network software and network services. TCP/IP settings are your network adapter’s settings.
It seems that resetting them can solve the invalid IP address error (and many other web, DNS, or IP-related Windows errors).
Doing that might sound tough, but it’s luckily a very simple process on Windows 10 if you use Command Prompt.
To start off, type cmd in the search bar. That should return the Command Prompt app. Right-click it and pick Run as administrator.
First, let’s reset the Winsock protocol. Just type netsh winsock reset and hit enter.
After that, enter these two commands to reset your TCP/IP settings:
- netsh int tcp reset
- netsh int ip reset
When you’re done, restart your computer.
5. Change the Channel Width to Auto
Channel width determines how broad the network’s signal is for transferring data. If you or someone else made changes to it to increase network speeds, that could cause the invalid IP address error.
If you know nobody messed with the settings, it’s still worthwhile to check if the width is set to Auto or not.
To do that, hit Win + X and pick Network Connections. Scroll down on the page and hit Change adapter options.
Next, right-click your WiFi network adapter, and select Properties. Then, hit Configure.
Go to the Advanced tab, and under Property: look for Channel Width for 2.4GHz. Make sure the Value on the right is set to Auto.
When you’re done, click OK to save the changes you’ve made.
6. Clean Up Your Network’s Cached Files
Cached files on your network can also cause this error. A very simple way to clear them is to use the Command Prompt. Start it like we mentioned above (in administrator mode), and type these commands:
When you’re done, restart your computer.
7. Do a Clean Boot
Third-party applications can sometimes interfere with your Internet connection and cause the invalid IP address error.
So a clean boot (no third-party services) might help. To do that, start out by pressing Win + X and picking Task Manager. Go to the Startup tab, and disable all applications.
Next, open the Run command bar (Win + R), and type msconfig.
On the General tab, make sure the Load startup items option is unchecked.
Then, head to the Services tab, and check the Hide all Microsoft services option. Right after, hit Disable all.
Hit Apply then OK when you’re done, and restart your computer.
8. Manually Set Your IP Address
If the Command Prompt commands didn’t work, it’s time to take matters into your own hands. Make your way to your adapter’s Properties like we showed you above.
Then, click Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4).
Now, if you manually changed your IP address before, try setting your IP and DNS settings to be automatically obtained. Just tick these two options:
- Obtain an IP address automatically.
- Obtain DNS server address automatically.
It should look like this:
Click OK, and see if that fixed the problem.
However, if you didn’t make any previous changes, you should manually set your IP address. Here’s what you should type in the different fields:
- IP address - It needs to match your default gateway’s format, except for the last digit. So if your default gateway is 192.168.3.1, your IP address has to be 192.168.3.X (where X is any number from 2 to 255).
- Subnet mask - You can set it to 255.255.255.0
- Default gateway - That’s your router/modem’s IP address. You can find it by clicking Details after you right-click your network adapter. Look for IPv4 Default Gateway.
- Preferred DNS server - Just use Google Public DNS, so 18.104.22.168.
- Alternative DNS server - Again, use Google Public DNS. It’s 22.214.171.124. in this case.
When you’re finished, just hit OK.
9. See If DHCP Is Enabled
If it’s not enabled for your adapter, you’ll likely get this error. To check if it is, just right-click your network adapter, and hit Diagnose.
Once the scan finishes, it’ll tell you if there are any problems on this end or not. If there are, just follow the instructions you’re given.
10. Get Rid of Antivirus Software
We normally wouldn’t recommend disabling antivirus protection, but - apparently - some people reported that Avast and AVG Antivirus caused this problem for them. After they got rid of them, the issue was fixed.
There might be a chance that some antivirus software is programmed to interfere with your Internet connection in a way that causes IP configuration problems.
Start by disabling the program’s security features, and see if that solves the issue. If it doesn’t, try uninstalling it.
If that works, you’ll have to switch to a different antivirus service. Apparently, a lot of people are happy with Bitdefender, and say it doesn’t cause invalid IP address errors.
11. Change Your Network’s SSID and Password
To change those settings, you need to log into your router/modem’s web interface.
How do you do that?
Pretty simple - type the router/modem’s IP address into the URL field on your browser. You can find it on the device’s back. While you’re at it, you should also check the login credentials.
If that information isn’t on the router/modem’s back, it’s probably in the installation guide that came with it.
Now how you actually change the SSID and password varies from model to model. But, usually, those settings can be found in the WLAN tab. Just look for SSID Name and WPA PreSharedKey fields.
12. Tweak the Number of DHCP Users
By that, we mean increase it. If your router/modem is configured to only support a certain number of users (let’s say 60), that can cause invalid IP address errors if too many devices end up using the network (very easy to happen in a smart home).
Unfortunately, how you increase the number of DHCP users varies from router/modem model to model. So you need to google the model + DHCP users/addresses to find a tutorial. Or just check the installation manual.
In our case (an HG8247H Huawei router), we could increase the number by going to the LAN tab and clicking DHCP Server Configuration. We just had to edit the End IP Address field to support more IP addresses.
For example, let’s say your Start IP Address field is set to 192.168.5.1, and your End IP Address field is set to 192.168.5.50.
If you want to add support for 50 more DHCP users, you’d have to change the End IP Address from 192.168.5.50 to 192.168.5.100.
How Else Can You Fix the Invalid IP Address Error?
Know other methods that work which we didn’t cover in this guide? Please tell us about them in the comments.
Also, if possible, please try to offer step-by-step explanations when mentioning themt.
Oh, and if you’re dealing with other IP-related errors, feel free to check our other guides:
- How to Fix Failed to Obtain IP Address Errors (8 Tips)
- Windows Has Detected an IP Address Conflict (12 Fixes)