What Is My IP Address: Here Is the Answer
There are lots of people who do various online activities without knowing anything about the IP address. However, in this era of increasing cybercrimes, every online user should have a clear idea of it as it’ll help them have a safe online experience.
After reading this far, if you’re wondering what is my IP, this guide is for you. Here, we’ll discuss every important thing related to the IP address. Whether you’re thinking about what is my IP address, how to find my IP address, or what is my IP location, this guide will answer them all and more.
Lets’ get started with the basics!
Understanding an IP Address?
Before we answer your first question, “what is my IP,” it’s important to understand an IP (Internet Protocol) address first.
Basically, an IP address refers to a unique identifier of any device on the web. Your IP address is assigned by your ISP (Internet Service Provider). Your IP address can be used to spot your device among countless others. This is a numeric label (a string of characters) that devices use to communicate with each other when they remain online.
You can think of your IP address as your online home address. This is because it links each of your online activities to your device. Whenever you open a particular website, use an app, or watch a movie online, the website receives your IP address and delivers content to you.
Let’s understand how your device receives content from other websites. First, you enter the name of the website that you want to visit in your browser. Since computers only understand numbers, it first finds out that website’s IP address, then locates it on the Internet, and finally delivers content to your device.
Understanding Different Versions of IP Addresses: IPv4 vs. IPv6
IPv4 and IPv6 are two versions of IP. Let’s see what each of these entails.
IPv4 is the most common version of IP used these days. It uses 32 binary bits, comprising four numbers between 0 and 255. These numbers are separated by dots. An example of IPv4 is 126.96.36.199.
However, IPv4 generates just around 4 billion unique addresses, which is short enough for the present world population. As a result, we’ll soon see the end of the IPv4 address.
IPv6 is the new generation of IP and comprises 8 blocks of numbers. Each block looks like four hexadecimal digits which are separated by colons. An example of IPv6 is 2001:BB40:85a3:0000:8a2e:0000:7334:0001.Number groups that contain only 0 are frequently omitted to save space. In that case, a colon is mentioned to define the gap. Therefore, in this example, the address can be written as 2001:BB40:85a3::8a2e::7334:0001.
Basically, this is longer and can grow further. However, IPv6 isn’t yet as popular as IPv4. There are two key reasons behind this.
First, IPv6 doesn’t have backward compatibility with IPv4. If you use a device that uses an IPv6 protocol, IPv4 websites will be beyond your accessibility.
Second, IPv4 still caters to our needs well. Unless its full potential is reached, we may not see a worldwide shift.
Understanding Different Types of IP Addresses: Private vs. Public Addresses
When you want to know “what is my IP” or “what is my IP address” or “what is my IP location,” you basically try to know your public IP address. To help you get a clear idea, here’re brief overviews of private and public IP addresses.
- Private IP address
A private IP address refers to your device’s IP address that can only be used in local networks such as your home network or your office network. When you’re browsing the Internet, your private IP address remains hidden. Your device cannot send traffic to the Internet using a private IP address.
On a local network, each device is assigned a private IP by the router. This helps devices on the local network find and identify each other. Whenever these devices go online, their private IP addresses become hidden.
- Public IP address
A public IP address refers to your device’s IP address that can be used to identify it on the Internet. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) assigns a public IP address to your router or device. This is used to establish a connection using the Internet and can be visible to anyone.
Other devices across the world use your public IP address to spot your device and deliver content to it. Since everyone can see your public IP address, keeping it private and safe is important. This is the reason countless Internet users prefer to use a VPN when doing online activities.
Comprehending the Differences between Private and Public IP Addresses
As you’ve probably assumed, the basic difference between private and public IP addresses is the location where they’re used. Your private IP address is only used within your local networks. On the contrary, your public IP address is used to access the Internet and can be seen by anyone. It can also be used to track down your device.
Comprehending Different Types of Public IP Addresses: Static vs. Dynamic Addresses
There are two types of public IP addresses are assigned by Internet Service Providers: static and dynamic. Here’s what you need to know about each of these.
- Static public IP address
Internet Service Providers assign static IP addresses permanently. If your device has a static IP address, it can reveal more precise information about it. An example can be its accurate physical location.
The majority of businesses use static IP addresses so that people can easily find them using the Domain Name Service. However, using a static IP address requires having a stable Internet connection, managing remote networking services, running an email or web server, operating computers and other peripherals properly, etc.
One major downside of using a static IP address is that in case of a security violation, it becomes much easier to trace the physical location of the device with the said IP address. You should also note that ISPs charge more to assign static IP addresses because it requires more manual support.
- Dynamic public IP address
In the case of dynamic public IP addresses, ISPs use a DHCP server that constantly assigns and changes these addresses. A DHCP server is a network server that automatically assigns unutilized IP addresses to devices on the network.
This doesn’t require any manual interference at the user’s end. These addresses are generally easy to manage and ISPs can reuse multiple IP addresses on a network.
There are two key advantages of using a dynamic public IP address. First, they cost lower than static public IP addresses. And second, it’s more difficult to trace a device with a dynamic IP address because it gets changed constantly.
Although businesses and web servers often use static public IP addresses, dynamic ones are more user-friendly. However, it’s important to note that since dynamic public IP addresses change constantly, it becomes more difficult to whitelist several devices and operate them with remote access.
Fundamentally, dynamic IP addresses are more suitable for average consumers than businesses. Whether you use a smartphone, laptop, desktop, tablet, or any other smart device, a dynamic IP address should cater to your needs well.
3G or 4G mobile network providers generally assign dynamic IP addresses. However, you may obtain a static IP address from some of them by paying an additional monthly fee.
What Is My IP?
Now that you know what’s an IP address, it’s time to answer your primary question, “what is my IP.” As mentioned above, your IP address is basically your public IP location. You only need to use an “IP lookup” tool to know your IP address.
What Can Be Revealed By My IP Address?
Your public IP address can be used to trace your identity and location. As noted above, your public IP address is assigned by your Internet Service Provider. And all ISPs have a signed contract with each of their customers where they generally leave their personal information. As a result, ISPs have complete information on which of their IP addresses are being used by which of their customers. Therefore, as long as you’re using a public IP address, it won’t be difficult to spot your identity.
Similarly, your location can be identified using your public IP address. An IP location generally doesn’t reveal a street or building address because an IP address is bounded to a particular location. However, once your location is identified, it won’t take much time for an appropriate agency to find out your accurate physical address.
What Can Happen When Someone Knows My IP Address?
What can be done with my IP address is one of the most common questions we receive these days. If you’re using a static IP address, someone with the right tool and required knowledge can quickly know your personal information like your name and physical address.
Hackers use multiple methods to know your IP address. For example, clicking on a shady online advertisement or link can do the trick quickly. However, it’s important to note that ISPs don’t need to use any of these to track your online activities. Although some unreliable ISPs have a history of selling the personal information of their users to advertisers for monetary gain, this usually doesn’t happen.
But if hackers get to know your IP address, they can hack into your mobile phone or PC, infect your device with virus, or steal your identity.
How Can I Hide My IP Address?
In the last block, we’ve discussed what can happen when your IP address becomes known to hackers. So, let’s see what you can do to hide your IP location. There are four common methods to do it. Here’re brief details of each of them.
- Using a VPN
Using a VPN is generally considered the best method to hide your IP address. When you use a VPN, your real IP address gets masked. And if someone tries to know your IP address, they see the IP address of the VPN server.
Additionally, the VPN encrypts all your traffic making it impossible for others to access it. If your VPN has a no-logs policy, then even the VPN server won’t be able to store or access your information. However, it’s generally advisable to use one of the popular VPNs because they implement multiple layers of security to help their users have a safe and relaxed browsing experience.
- Using a proxy
You can use a proxy to hide your actual IP address but it isn’t the safest option. This is because proxy servers don’t have any encryption process in place, and hence, it’s possible to intercept your traffic. And this may reveal your IP address and browsing history. Moreover, free proxies have a bad track record of selling their users’ information to third parties for the sake of financial gain.
However, if you just want to hide your real IP address and nothing else, you may want to use a proxy server. In that case, you should definitely go with a good, paid proxy server.
- Using the Tor
Tor refers to a freeware browser that can help you bypass geoblocking and hide your online presence. However, Tor is constantly monitored by the authorities because it’s frequently used to access the dark web, where lots of criminal activities happen.
- Using a public Wi-Fi network
Although you can hide your actual IP address by using a public Wi-Fi network, you should always try to avoid it. These networks have several drawbacks that can reveal your personal information to the public.
If you must use a public Wi-Fi network, be sure to use a VPN when doing so. Not only this’ll hide your IP address but encrypt all your traffic as well.
We hope that we’ve successfully answered all your questions, from what is my IP to how to find my IP address and more. The things we’ve discussed above should now enable you to decide how to choose the right IP address and how to protect it from hackers.
Just remember to check your IP address a couple of times a month to ensure it isn’t blacklisted. If it gets blacklisted, immediately contact your ISP as it may hamper your browsing experience.