Your IP address may not seem important at first glance, but it's actually a useful piece of information your computer uses for a number of different processes.
When you go online your internet service provider assigns you a number. This number serves as your device's unique identifier code on a specific network. The number is your public IP address.
Let's take a look at what your IP address is, how to find it and the different types available.
In This Guide
What is an IP Address?
Simply put, your IP (internet protocol address) is akin to your digital mailing address or in internet terms its domain name. It allows internet service providers to give you a unique code to identify your device from all the other ones connecting to the internet. Similar to how the mail works, you need a computer IP address to communicate with other online devices.
Additionally, if you have multiple internet devices in one household, each will have its own device IP address. The equipment from your internet service provider will also contain its own distinction such as a router IP address because it's a gateway node similar to how a proxy server operates.
An IP address contains a subnet mask. A subnet mask is a 32-bit number used to divide the IP address into the network and host addresses, according to IP Location. Each IP address possesses four different sets of numbers with each section divided by a period. The range for each set of numbers varies from 0 to 255. With this in mind, your IP could look like this: 126.96.36.199.
Your IP address is important because it gives your device the ability to send and receive data. Without a network address, it would be akin to asking for a letter and excluding your mailing information, meaning the data you want to receive wouldn't reach its intended destination because it doesn't have the address of the recipient.
How Do I Find My IP Address?
Knowing how to do an IP lookup is important for several reasons. To start, if you encounter problems and need technical support, knowing your IP address can be helpful when speaking with technicians about your connection issues. Moreover, if you want to restore your connection you need access to your IP address to renew it.
It's simple to find your IP address. Whether you are using an Apple device to find its Mac address, a tablet or your smartphone, you can do the following:
- Visit Google.com
- Type in: what is my IP?
- Hit enter
- The search results show your public IP address
Types of IP Addresses
There are two types of IP addresses available.
Static IP Address
The first is static. A static IP address is one that maintains the same address permanently. When reviewing a static IP address you can find information such as the continent, country, city, and internet service provider behind that address.
There are benefits and drawbacks to using a static IP address. On the beneficial side, static IP addresses tend to be more reliable. Because you are using the same address each time you access the internet it's easier to send and receive data because it's easier to locate you.
With that said, because it is easier to locate you, it's easier for others to collect your data. Often, advertisers will do this to market specific products to you based on your browsing habits.
Dynamic IP Address
Meanwhile, dynamic IP addresses differ in that they change continually. How this works is when computers connect to the internet they receive a temporary IP address pooled from whatever is available at the time from the DHCP server. Some internet service providers use this option because it's less expensive and allows them to cover more subscribers.
Dynamic IP addresses are perfect if you want more privacy. Since your IP address changes each time you connect to the internet it's harder for advertisers to mine your data. After all, if multiple devices from different households use the same IP address over a specified time, it's more difficult to differentiate each user.
Read More: If you want to take an additional step in online privacy, consider using a private internet browser.
At the same time, the stability isn't the same relative to having a static IP address. While you'll be able to send and receive data, the transmission might take longer. To mitigate latency from occurring, you can use a dynamic DNS service, according to WhatIsMyIPAddress.com. This allows other computers to locate you quicker.
Private IP Address
Lastly, if you want a private IP address, consider using a Virtual Private Network. They keep your information private by assigning you one of their addresses. This means if hackers try to identify you, they won't be able to on account the private network disguises your IP.
What is the Difference Between IPv4 & IPv6?
We touched on IPv4 addresses earlier in this guide. An IPv4 address consists of four grouping of numbers with each section separated by a period. Each set in this grouping is an octet. Using these factors, a sample IPv4 address is 188.8.131.52.
Most configurations for the web are for IPv4 addresses. Eventually, though, we will run out of these IP addresses to assign. As this happens, more people might receive IPv6 addresses. The difference between these two is IPv6 addresses are 128 bits when written out in binary form whereas IPv4 addresses are 32 bits.
The reason IPv6 addresses are more flexible is they allow for more combinations. The more combinations allowed the more addresses it can assign users. IPv6 addresses look much different in that they have five groupings of numbers separated by colons.
Ultimately, IP addresses are unique in that they verify your identity online. This designation is necessary to communicate with other devices. Depending on your internet service provider you might be assigned a static or dynamic IP address.
In addition, it's important to know what your IP address is in the event you speak to technical support. Luckily, a simple search on Google can help you find it quickly. Overall, think of your IP address as your digital identity when accessing the internet.
If you found this guide helpful be sure to share it with others who want to know more about IP addresses. In addition, read our helpful guide on the best internet providers in your area to ensure you have a reliable connection at all times.
To check your Internet availability, use the ZIP code checker below or read our guide for more information.