IP Ban vs Account Ban vs Device Ban (Complete Comparison)

There’s some confusion online about different types of “bans” that gamers especially, but also other platform/network users, can get. There’s also not a lot of detailed content about this online when I checked.

Therefore in this guide we’ll offer a complete comparison guide distinguishing between the different types of ban, explaining how each one typically works, plus workaround steps.

Here’s a very quick summary of the differences between IP/account/device level bans:

  1. IP Ban – public IP issued to the router is banned. Get around by resetting router or using a VPN.
  2. Account ban – email/username/ID/credentials are banned. Set up new account with new details and use a VPN to get around.
  3. Device ban – entire device is banned, usually identified via the phyiscal MAC address. Much harder to get around and may need to replace device.

But we’ll cover every one in more detail, as well as recommended steps to get around each type of ban as well.

Let’s get started!

What Is An IP Ban?

An IP ban is the simplest form of ban, and is when it’s simply the public IP address – the unique identifier that devices need to get online –  that a device is accessing from that is blocked by a game/platform/network.

These are the IP addresses you see when you load up one of those “what is my IP” lookup tools, in the x.x.x.x format, with each number being between 1-254 (eg. It’s the outer facing IP address that all websites/platforms/games will detect and log when you visit them.

These public IP’s are issued to routers, not devices, under IPv4, and it’s therefore the network from which you’re accessing that’s being blocked, although this can also be combined with account level bans to be more precise.

However, it is also true that there’s a newer IPv6 addressing protocol that’s more spacious, and therefore doesn’t need this splitting of public to private IP addresses. If the platform is also detecting and blocking this address, then it may be harder to get around and need the more specialized VPN solution covered below.

What Is An Account Ban?

By contrast, an account level ban a bit deeper than just an IP ban, and is where an account linked to an entire set of credentials (email/username/Account ID/Gamertag/Address etc) is banned from a network/platform/game.

This is more comprehensive, since it’s basically an entire user profile/account that’s been blocked, and not just the public IP that the user is accessing from. They can usually be got around with a little work, but it will take some time and care to avoid being detected and banned again.

Account level bans may also be combined with IP bans, so you may need to be a little more clever and thorough in changes you make to get around these bans. We’ll offer some options in a section below, accounting for the different bans when separate and also combined.

What Is A Device Ban? (Hardware Ban)

These are the deepest level bans and mostly cannot be got around with any networking trickery. This is when your actual physical device gets banned by some level of unique hardware identifier, most often the MAC address.

Because physical MAC addresses are genuinely unique to every single device on earth, this is a pretty reliable way of identifying and blocking a unique device. MAC addresses are not always straightforward to find over the internet from external networks, but it can sometimes be done, and is sometimes used to ban specific devices from games/networks/platforms.

If you have this type of ban, you’re going to have to hardest time getting around it, since it goes beyond mere IP or account identifiers which can be masked or changed relatively easily. Device level bans are much harder to beat, but we’ll offer some options in a section further below.

How To Get Around An IP Ban

If the ban is purely at the level of the public IPv4 address issued to the router by your ISP, all you need to do is change this, and you should be able to circumvent the ban, as long as it’s not also an account or device level ban.

We’ll cover the simple and a harder way of doing this:

Solution #1 – Factory Reset router – A solution not often covered in this topic, but should theoretically work if the ban is purely at the level of the public IPv4 address issued to the router by your ISP. You just need to push a pin into the reset hole on the router and hold for 10-20 seconds until the lights blink or go out, and then wait 10 minutes for everything to reset.


Factory resetting your router should always cause it to be issued with a new public IP by your ISP, thereby allowing you to get around any IP bans issued to your router’s old IP address.

There are also other similar solutions you can try, probably not specifically to get around an IP ban, but if you were going to do them anyway. Such as changing your router, your ISP, or moving home, or connecting to a different router/network, that will also change your public IP address. Your ISP may also periodically do maintenance work which causes the router to reset itself, which can issue it with a new public IP address. If it’s purely a public IPv4 ban, these can all work in getting around it.

Solution #2 – Use a VPN – This is the more specialized solution that will often cost money but will also get around more sophisticated IP bans if factory resetting your router doesn’t work. Perhaps your IPv6 address or other device identifier has also been logged, so simply changing your router’s public IP won’t work. In this case, a VPN will change all outer facing IP addresses and your apparent location, allowing you to fully bypass any pure IP ban.

Virtual Private Networks or VPNs are simply pieces of software which add a strong layer of encryption around your internet traffic and replace/mask your actual IP and location with a new one determined by the server location you select from it’s interface.

A legit, Premium VPN will do this pretty comprehensively, meaning you should be able to get around an IP ban, as long as it’s solely an IP ban and not also an account level ban as well.

There are loads of VPN apps now available for all device types, including laptops, PCs and tablets; see the table below for some good free options to get started with seeing how a VPN works if you’ve not tried one before.

ProviderFree Server LocationsData LimitMore Info
ProtonVPN3 (USA, Amsterdam, Japan)UnlimitedSee here
AtlasVPN3 (USA East, USA West, Amsterdam)5 GB/monthSee here
TurboVPN4 (USA, Germany, Singapore, India).UnlimitedSee here
Hide.me5 (Netherlands, USA*2, Germany, Canada)10 GB/monthSee here
PrivadoVPN10 (USA, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Netherlands, Switzerland, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina)10 GB/monthSee here
Windscribe10 (USA, UK, Canada, Hong Kong, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Romania, Denmark).10 GB/monthSee here
Tunnelbear49500 MB/monthSee here


And then for a few reputable Premium VPN brands with more servers and unlimited use:

Here are the broad level steps you’d take:

  1. Sign up to a VPN provider with server locations you need.
  2. Open up the app and select a server location to form the VPN connection. Pretty easy for most devices, but VPNs are often complicated to set up for games consoles. There aren’t downloadable VPN apps for games consoles; you have to route the connection through another device like a laptop, or install the VPN on your router).
  3. If the ban is also an account level ban, set up new accounts as detailed in the section below. Make sure the connected email is different as well.
  4. With the new public IP and location the VPN provides, you should now be able to access the game/network/platform you were banned from, providing it’s only an IP ban.
  5. Always make sure you connect to the game/network/platform from a masked VPN IP address/location, and never your actual one, to avoid being banned again. Make sure the VPN is always enabled.

See our article on using a VPN to get around an IP ban for more detailed steps.

How To Get Around An Account Ban

Account level bans are more complex, and require you to create a whole new set of account credentials, and preferably also use a VPN to change your IP address, to get around them

Here are the general steps:

  1. Preferred step – Purchase and install a reputable VPN service from a provider. PIA, NordVPN or VyprVPN are good options for changing your public IP (all have money back guarantees as well if there’s any issue). Or try a free one if they’ve got a server location you like plus unlimited data. Not always essential but sometimes needed if it’s both an IP and account ban.
  2. If relevant, completely uninstall the game/app/program, including all related files. Remove it totally from your PC/Mac, so there’s nothing associated with your old account.
  3. If using a VPN, Open your VPN app and connect to a new server. Be sure to pick a location you can keep using over and over again, without needing to change it and trigger these IP verifications/blocks.
  4. Do a completely fresh installation of the game/app/program on your computer. Create a totally new account with a new email and username. Protonmail and Gmail are good email providers to use.
  5. You should now be able to access the platform/game with this newly created account and IP address/location. Try to keep using the same VPN server location whenever you log in though to prevent further bans.

How To Get Around A Device Ban

These are the hardest types of bans to get around, since a device has usually been blocked via it’s MAC address or other unique physical (not network) identifier.

Sometimes, there is no way around a full device ban – as far as accessing that particular game/server/network, it’s toast and you’ll need to get a brand new device with a totally different serial number and MAC address.

This is sometimes the case with games consoles – it’s rare, but I have heard of them being banned at the device level, in which case it’s useless for accessing the server/network it’s been banned from. You’ll need to start fresh with a new console.

In some cases, you might be able to use a VPN, but setup on games consoles is complex and not always guaranteed to work.

However, for other devices, there are sometimes ways to spoof, clone or change the MAC address, but they’re pretty advanced, can’t be done for all devices, and not always guaranteed to work.


Online gamer and general home networking enthusiast. I like to create articles to help people solve common home networking problems.

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