Business What is an IP address: everything you need to...

What is an IP address: everything you need to know


The modern world mainly runs on technology. Everything is connected to the internet, from computers and modems to smartphones and the navigation systems in vehicles.

But what exactly is an IP address and what is it used for?

Read on for everything you need to know about IP addresses, including what they are and how they work.

What is an IP address?

An IP address, which stands for Internet Protocol Address, is a unique identifier for each Internet-connected device on a computer network that is required to access the Internet.

Essentially, it’s a list of numbers assigned by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) to every Internet-connected device.

A good way to think about how your IP address works is as your mailing address.

Your computer then uses this IP address to communicate with other computers and websites.

Related: A brief introduction to how the web works |

How do I get an IP address?

Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) assigns an IP address to your network devices connected to your home network.

Every IP address is unique for every device and every device with an Internet connection is a member of the World Wide Web.

Some of these internet-connected devices include:

  • computers.
  • Laptops.
  • Tablets.
  • Mobile phones.
  • Routers.

Related: Why Your IP Address Could Soon Be An Antique |

What types of IP addresses are available?

Two types of IP addresses are available. Read on for what you need to know about how the Internet works in terms of dynamic and static IP addresses.

What is a dynamic IP address?

The most common type of IP address is one Dynamic IP address.

A dynamic IP address is a temporary address that constantly changes over time and is the standard address type provided by Internet Service Providers.

This type of IP address is the perfect choice for the average homeowner as they are easy to manage and do not require the user to go through any additional setup or network configurations.

Dynamic IP addresses are free and easy to use. They can also provide more security because they change frequently.

Related: 6 Easy Tips To Speed ​​Up Your Internet Connection |

What are the benefits of dynamic IP addresses?

There are a few reasons why choosing a dynamic IP address may be the right choice for you.

Some of these benefits are:

  • There are no additional costs associated with a dynamic IP address.
  • They are easy to use and reliable.
  • It is the most efficient use of an IP address by your ISP.

What are the disadvantages of dynamic IP addresses?

While they have advantages, dynamic IP addresses also have disadvantages.

These disadvantages can be:

  • Lower upload and download speeds than with a static IP address.
  • You cannot set up a reliable server with a variable IP address.

Related: Slow Wi-Fi? 5 easy ways to boost your signal now. |

What are static IP addresses?

Another type of IP address is a static IP address. This type of address does not change, but requires additional steps to set it up.

Unlike dynamic IP addresses, there is also an additional fee for static IP addresses, which can make them less appealing to the general public.

Want to know what type of IP address you have, but having trouble finding it on your Windows or Mac device?

Just go to www.whatismyipaddress.comclick “Show full IP details” and find not only your own IP address, but also whether or not it is dynamic or static.

What are the benefits of static IP addresses?

Some of the main benefits of a static IP address are:

  • They provide extra reliability and fixed geolocation.
  • They are a great option when you connect via a VPN (Virtual Private Network)
  • They are ideal for creating or hosting computer servers.

Related: ‘downright creepy’: internet entrepreneurs weigh in on repeal of internet privacy rules

What are the disadvantages of static IP addresses?

There are also some drawbacks to a static IP address.

The main disadvantages of this type of IP address are:

  • There are additional costs associated with this type of IP address.
  • They are harder to get because they are only available on request.
  • There is more to it than a dynamic address, which is not ideal for the average homeowner.

Can I hide my IP address?

Your ISP provides your IP address, but you can control who sees it.

The best way to hide your IP address and your online activities is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

Especially if you log in to a public Wi-Fi network, such as in a coffee shop, and you want to protect yourself against cybercriminals and hackers.

A VPN can hide your IP address as you have a variety of servers to choose from, including outside the US

There are tons of different VPNs to choose from, but they all encrypt your data, giving you extra security.

Another way you can hide your IP address is with a proxy server.

This will redirect your search so that it doesn’t go directly from your computer to your ISP and then to the website. This means that the website cannot see which IP address you are on.

Related: Concerned about privacy on the internet? Here’s how to avoid a digital trail |

What are IPv4 and IPv6 addresses?

Now that you know the difference between a dynamic and static IP address and what you can do to hide yours, what are IPv4 and IPv6 addresses?

The standard IP version used a 32-bit number IPv4 format, but they are out of options. That’s where a new format called IPv6 comes into play.

The IPv6 produces unique IP addresses that are significantly longer than its predecessor, including hexadecimal numbering.

This creates many more IP addresses, so there should be an infinite number available.

Since IPV6 addresses can be significantly longer if there is a series of zeros in the code, you can replace them with a colon, but only once per IP address.

Related: Why the internet infrastructure is about to be disrupted |

What is a domain name?

An IP address and a domain name are two different things.

While an IP address is a string of numbers that indicates the exact location of the device, a domain name acts as a link to that IP address.

An excellent way to think of this is that the IP address is the code, and the domain name is simply a nickname for that code.

A domain name uses the Domain Name System (DNS) and works similarly to a physical address in the real world.

Each part of the domain name contains specific information that helps web browsers find the right web page.

Related: Choosing and buying a domain name |

What are the differences between a public IP address and a private IP address?

So we’ve covered the basics of IP addresses. Now let’s look at the differences between public and private IP addresses and how they can be used.

What is a public IP address?

a public IP address is a unique IP address provided by your internet service provider and assigned to the router.

Other devices and websites use public IP addresses to properly communicate with the devices connected to a local network.

A public IP address is a gateway to the Internet and helps websites, emails and other online information reach you properly.

Additional security measures such as the use of a firewall are recommended when using a public IP address.

Related: You are probably now being tracked online | Here’s how to protect yourself |

What is a private IP address?

A private IP address, on the other hand, is not routed across the internet, as they never leave the local network.

There is no way to access the internet directly from a private IP address and users must route their connection through NAT, which then replaces the private address with a public address.

Related: 5 Best Practices to Stay Malware Free |

A gateway to unlimited information

IP addresses are a gateway through which you can access the wonderful world of the worldwide web.

Whether you work from a dynamic or static IP address or on a private or public network, the wealth of information the Internet offers you is astounding.

By knowing your IP address and the security measures available, browsing the Internet can provide you with an infinite source of information.

Checking out Other guides and resources for entrepreneurs for more information about this subject.

Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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