You might have searched “What is my IP” many times for different purposes. It can be for enhancing your knowledge or feeding your curiosity or for completing some technical task. However, do you know what exactly an IP is? And what do you need to know about your IP? Well, if you don’t, do not worry as we are going to give you all the essential information about IP that you need to know.
The IP is your computer or laptop’s identity required for accessing the internet. It allows you to get and receive information and also communicate using the internet. In this article, you will know everything important about IP and its functioning.
What is IP?
The word IP stands for “Internet Protocol”. It is a unique numeric address assigned to each device connected to a computer network. That means each device that uses the Internet Protocol for communicating and finding information will have its IP address. The IP address is used to identify and differentiate each computer or device on the internet.
The examples of an IP address are 124.16.345.2 and 2002:db8:0:1789:8:324:3:0.
The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority or IANA manages all the IP addresses all over the world. There are five Regional Internet Registries or RIRs which manage five demographic territories all over the world. RIRs are in charge of maintaining the local network registries like the Internet Service Providers or ISPd and other end users.
The original version of the IP was first introduced in September 1981. From 1983, the DoD declared that all computer systems would have to use the IP protocol suite to communicate through the internet.
The IP address is an integral part of the Internet Protocol. The Internet Protocol transmits information in discrete small batches known as packets. A packet is usually made of some data that a sender uses for communicating. The IP address is a part of the data stored in the header or the packet.
What is My IP?
My IP refers to your device’s IP address assigned by your ISP (Internet Service Provider). It is unique to your device in most cases.
The function of the IP address
The primary function of an IP address is to give your device an identity so that you can connect to the internet. It also ensures that ISPs can provide you with the required services.
How Do IP Addresses Work?
So how does the IP address work? Is it only for connecting with the internet or identification for your device?
The IP or Internet Protocol is just like a programming language that uses a defined set of guidelines to share information. All the devices connected to the internet network need to use the Internet Protocol to share information, collect information, and communicate with other devices.
The exciting part of your IP is that it works in the backdrop and behind the scene. Here is a step by step guide on how your IP address works while you are connected to the internet:
- <liFirst, you connect your device to the internet indirectly. It happens when you first connect your device with a network with active internet access, which allows your device access to internet services. If you are surfing from your home, it will be your conventional internet connection provided by your regular Internet Service Provider or ISP.
The IP addresses can be of two types: IPv4 and IPv6. It is because the IP networks are classified into two subcategories.
The IP address is in general a set of numbers and alphabets (in case of IPv6) with symbols like “.” Or “/” or “:” etc. The complete address comprises two parts that are namely the network prefix and the rest field or host identifier or interface identifier(in the case of IPv6). The last part is used to number or identify the host in any ISP.
It is the type of IP address that was issued earlier. But, as time grew and the number of the devices increased, the IPv4 was exhausted.
An IPv4 address is 32-bit in size and limits the address space in 4294967296v addresses. And there are nearly 18 million private IP addresses and 27 million multicast addresses.
The IPv4 addresses come in dot-decimal communication. It is made of four number sets whose values range from 0 to 255. The dots can separate each number set.
For example, 243.12.187.2 is an IPv4 address. Each of the four parts is 8 bits in size and is called an octet.
The IPv6 addresses replace the IPv4 addresses as the latter started to get exhausted. An IPv6 address is 128 bit and can provide 3.043×10</span38</span IP addresses.
The IPv6 addresses were designed so that it was enough to redesign the rooting system of the internet and ensure the subnetwork was aggregated in a better way. In this case, the smallest individual allocation of a subnet in 2</span64</span hosts. The IPv6 addresses can be separated with their unique design even in local administration and the smallest section.
The IPv6 also allows automated change in the routing prefix or an entire network according to global routing policies or any other changes.
An IPv6 address example is,
There are eight numbers instead of 4, and the numbers are divided by a colon symbol. Since the IPv6 addresses are quite long, the zeros are often omitted to make it shorter and more convenient.
Type of IP addresses
IP addresses are of several types that are mentioned as follows:
1. Private IP addresses
Private IP addresses are the IP address assigned to your device when it connects to a home network or business network. If you have different devices connected to the same Internet Service Provider, each of the IP addresses assigned to your devices will be private addresses.
Such IP addresses are untraceable outside the home or business network you are using.
The Private IP addresses are not unique. It is because there are only a few numbers available on any ISP. So, you may have to share the address with another user in some instances.
As a user, you can easily find your private IP address if you want to. Here are the steps that you need to follow:
<liFirst, you have to open the command prompt. Next, you need to enter the command “ipconfig”. This will display your device’s private IP address.
2. Public IP address
The Public IP address refers to the IP address that you get while connected to your regular network. Each device comes with its own public IP address. It is provided by the ISP you use. Any ISP has its massive collection of IP addresses. Among these, you get a random number that works as the identification number for your device. All tech devices which lie outside your network use the public IP address to identify your device and communicate to your device.
The public IP address is of two types:
2.1 Static IP address
The static IP address is the one that remains the same all the time. It means that from the moment a device is issued an IP address, it will remain the same all the time. In general, individuals and businesses do not need a static IP address. If you have a website and want to host the website on your own server, you will need a static IP address. This ensures your business’s website and email has a constant IP address to ensure a consistent presence on the web.
Static IP addresses are hence more common on websites. A website can have two types of static IP addresses:
2.1.1. Shared IP addresses
The websites that opt for shared hosting from the hosting provider get a shared IP address that they share with other websites hosted on the same server.
2.1.2. Dedicated IP addresses
The websites with dedicated domains come with their exclusive IP addresses for dedicated IP addresses. It allows you to access your website by only using the IP address instead of the domain name.
2.1.3. Dynamic IP addresses
The Dynamic IP addresses are opposite to the static IP addresses and change automatically after some time. These are assigned to the devices from an ISP.
The ISPs regularly reassign the older IP addresses and reassign the new IP address to their consumers. This ensures the ISPs can maintain the IP addresses without spending a vast amount of money and can also identify any device registered on their network.
How to Protect My IP
As you can see, the IP address of your device holds special importance. So, you need to ensure your device’s IP address is protected. A protected IP address prevents cyber crimes and cyber attacks. You can use a proxy server or a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to protect your IP address or hide it from cybercriminals.
My IP refers to the Internet Protocol Address assigned to your device by your ISP or Internet Service Provider. It is used to identify the device and for communicating with the devices registered outside your ISP. There can be different types of IP addresses. Since IP addresses are sensitive, you should always protect your IP address to ensure your device is safe from any cyber attack.
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