What is an IP Address? IP (Internet Protocol) addresses are one of the most important and foundational building blocks of the internet and internal networks. These may pose as a potential security liability if an attacker were to get a hold of your IP address.
What is an IP Address
An IP address is basically a long number that is used to identify computers and devices on a network.
The addresses allow these devices to connect to one another and transfer data on a local network or over the internet.
So, exactly what is an IP address? Each address is a string of numbers separated by full stops. For IPv4 there are 4 numbers in total and each number can range between 0 and 255. An example of an IP address would be: 192.168.0.1
We need many billions of these IP addresses to identify every computer, device, server or router and website on the internet. As more and more people enter the digital world, we will one day run out of these unique addresses. In order to alleviate this issue , new IPv6 protocol has been designed to ensure the internet keeps going strong.
What is my IP Address?
If a computer is connected to both your local office or home network and the internet (Wide Area Network or WAN); then it will actually have 2 IP addresses. You will have an internal private IP address locally, and an external public IP address out on the internet.
A private IP address is used to connect your computer or device to your home or office network. This address is normally assigned by your modem or network router.
Private IP addresses are in the range 10.xxx.xxx.xxx or 192.168.xxx.xxx. An example of a private IP address is 10.0.0.1.
There are a few ways to discover and find out what your private IP address. For example, on Windows you can type ipconfig on the command prompt. Similarly, Mac users can type the command ifconfig in the terminal app.
Your public IP address is used to connect your home or business network (router) to the internet. This address is assigned by your internet service provider (ISP).
To find your public IP address, simply go to WhatIsMyIP.com in your web browser. This site will display your public IP address and other information.
Alternatively, you can use WhatIsMyIP’s DNS Lookup tool to find out these details. Once you type in the URL of your website, the DNS Lookup tool will display its IP address for you.
Difference Between Dynamic and Static IP Addresses
Almost all internet users will have a dynamic IP address that automatically gets assigned and changes when you restart your modem or during an update. This is best for internet service providers (ISPs) that have customers coming and going all the time, and changing address.
Most websites have a static IP address that don’t change. This is important because the DNS system uses your website’s IP address when someone navigates to your site or sends you an email. This means that your website is always at the same address so it can be easily found.
If you plan on hosting your own website, then you may need to purchase a static IP address from your hosting or internet service provider, which will cost you extra. The cost is usually minimal and around US$1.00. Some providers will be kind enough to provide this to you as part of their package.
Static IP addresses can also be used to connect your home network to your office network and utilise technology such as a virtual private network (VPN). This allows you to access your files safely and securely from a remote location.
I hope you have come to a better understanding of what is an IP Address.