Your Complete Guide to Understanding IP Addresses

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At some point, you might have noticed a bunch of “randomly selected” numbers associated with your device. These numbers are known as the Internet Protocol (IP) address. Common questions people ask on the subject of IP addresses usually follow the pattern of “what is my IP address, and how do I find my device’s IP address ?” These questions are valid, and the answers to them are in this article.

What Exactly Is My Device’s IP Address?

Your device’s IP address is a series of numbers that act as a “tag” to find that device when it is online. Not only do these numbers serve as the means for identifying the device, but they also make sure that when the said device is online, all your queries will be answered. What this means is that your device can connect with other devices, and get the information that you need from the Internet.

Are There Different Types of IP Addresses ?

Yes, there are different classifications of IP addresses. IP addresses are typically divided into four major groups, namely private addresses, public addresses, static addresses, and dynamic addresses. Below is a list and description of each one.

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Private IP Addresses

This set comprises IP addresses that are connected to devices that are either within a localized area or have the same internet source. In other words, private IP addresses can be assigned to devices connected to a specific server or internet provider. As long as a device or group of devices are connected within a particular network, then private IP addresses are assigned.

Public IP Addresses

IP addresses are not only associated with devices that connect to the internet and other devices, even the network itself has its IP address. When different websites, servers, or networks are connected, then public IP addresses are assigned. Public IP addresses distinguish it from all the different connections across the previously mentioned platforms as part of a whole. As such, the information transmitted tends to follow specific patterns.

Static IP Addresses

These kinds of addresses are created manually, instead of being allocated by internet service providers. So, they are fixed or permanent, and cannot be automatically rerouted or reassigned. The only way these addresses can be changed is if it is done manually or by choice. The users of static IP addresses are organizations, companies, and corporate workers that have a fixed method of identification (such as emails) by both their members and non-members.

Dynamic IP Addresses

Created by the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol server (DHCP), a dynamic IP address is the most popular type of IP address and is a direct opposite of the static IP address since it changes periodically. They are attached to devices or networks connected to the internet and for a specific time. After this time has elapsed, an individual can either choose to keep the previous IP address or have a new one assigned.

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What Are the Uses of an IP Address?

IP addresses are not just a bunch of numbers, they have several essential uses. Some of the uses or advantages of IP addresses are:

Information Transfer or Retrieval

IP addresses make it possible to get the exact information you need when you access the internet. This means that, for every device connected to a server or a network, the IP address makes sure the requested information is not sent to a different device.

To Pinpoint Exact Locations

IP addresses serve as virtual breadcrumbs, which either show the exact physical location of a device or its route on the internet. With an IP address, it is relatively easier to track devices across the internet, and when they are connected to other devices.

For Easy Finding

Static IP addresses identify a body, organization, or group; and this makes it easier for other parties to find the network. IP addresses aid communication across networks and devices connected to a server.

Security

IP addresses play a huge role in ensuring that a device is securely connected to the internet. A private IP address, for example, helps to shield a network from external parties. In the same way, certain IP addresses can be restricted from accessing certain networks or websites if it is blacklisted.

What is the Difference Between IPv4 and IPv6 ?

The IPv4 and IPv6 (Internet Protocol versions 4 and 6 respectively) are IP address variants created with unique features. The IPv4 was created in 1983 and IPv6 in 2012, so the IPv4 is more outdated. However, it is still being used today.

The major difference between both types of IP addresses is their capacity. For IPv4, the limit of IP addresses is about 4 billion, a measly amount when compared to IPv6, which is over 340 undecillion.

Another difference is the methods used to disseminate information. While IPv4 transmits data in all directions, IPv6 transmits data to multiple, specific targets. The complexity of IPv6 makes it even better for securing your devices compared to IPv4.

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How to Find Your IP Address ?

Depending on your device, you can find your IP address in either of the following ways.

For Android phones, since there is no inbuilt way to find your IP, you need to use a desktop or a laptop. Alternatively, you can use apps that display the IP addresses of connected devices.

For iOS devices, go to the device settings, select “Wi-Fi”, then click on the Wi-Fi network your device is connected to. Scroll down until you find the “IPv4 address section”, and you will find your IP address under “Router”.

On Windows, at the bottom of the screen, right-click the Windows icon, click on “Command Prompt”, and enter IPCONFIG. You can find your IP address under the “Default Gateway” section.

For Mac, select “System Preferences” under the Apple icon, and go to “Network”. Select your network, and at the bottom right, select “Advanced”. Select “TCP/IP”, and you can find your IP address next to “Router”.

Conclusion

So, now you understand what an IP address is and hopefully, this helps you out in the future. Visit IPcost today to find your IP address for all your devices and learn more about IP address.

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