IP address definition
A device on the internet or a local network is identified by its IP address, which is a unique address. The Internet Protocol (IP) is a collection of rules that regulate the format of data transferred over the internet or a local network.
IP addresses, in essence, are the identifiers that allow data to be transmitted between devices on a network: they contain location information and make devices reachable for communication. The internet requires a method of distinguishing between various computers, routers, and webpages. IP addresses are a crucial aspect of how the internet operates and provide a means of doing so.
What is an IP?
A string of integers separated by periods makes up an IP address. IP addresses are made up of four numbers; for example, 188.8.131.52 is an example address. The set’s numbers can vary from 0 to 255. As a result, the entire IP addressing range is 0.0.0.0 to 255.255.255.255.
IP addresses are not generated at random. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), a part of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, creates and assigns them mathematically (ICANN). ICANN is a non-profit organisation based in the United States that was founded in 1998 to assist keep the internet secure and accessible to everyone. A domain name registrar is used every time someone registers a domain on the internet.
How does IP address work
It helps to understand how IP addresses function if you want to figure out why a device isn’t connecting the way you want it to or if you want to troubleshoot why your network isn’t working.
Internet Protocol communicates in the same manner that any other language does, by following a set of rules to convey information. This protocol is used by all devices to find, send, and share information with other connected devices. Any computer in any area can communicate with one another if they speak the same language.
IP addresses are most commonly used behind the scenes. The procedure is as follows:
- Your device connects to the internet indirectly by first connecting to a network linked to the internet, which then allows your device internet access.
- That network will most likely be your Internet Service Provider when you are at home (ISP). It will be your workplace network at work.
- Your Internet service provider (ISP) assigns an IP address to your device.
- Your internet activity passes through your ISP, which uses your IP address to deliver it back to you. It is their responsibility to issue an IP address to your device because they are providing you with internet connection.
- Your IP address, on the other hand, may change. Turning your modem or router on or off, for example, can make a difference. You can also contact your ISP and get it changed for you.
- Your home IP address does not go with you while you are out and about – for example, when you travel – and you take your device with you. This is because you will be accessing the internet through a different network (Wi-Fi at a hotel, airport, or coffee shop, for example) and will be allocated a different (temporary) IP address by the hotel, airport, or coffee shop’s ISP. As the name says, there are various types of IP addresses, which we will discuss further below.
Types of IP addresses
There are various sorts of IP addresses, as well as distinct categories of IP addresses.
IP addresses for consumers
Every person or company with an internet service plan will have two sorts of IP addresses: private IP addresses and public IP addresses. The phrases public and private refer to the location of a network; a private IP address is used within a network, while a public IP address is used outside of one.
Private IP addresses
A private IP address is assigned to any device that connects to your internet network. Computers, smartphones, and tablets are included, as well as any Bluetooth-enabled devices such as speakers, printers, and smart TVs. The number of private IP addresses you have at home is likely to increase as the internet of things grows. Your router must be able to detect each of these items separately, and many of them must be able to recognise one another. As a result, your router generates private IP addresses for each device, which serve as unique identifiers on the network.
Public IP addresses
The primary address associated with your whole network is a public IP address. While each connected device has its own IP address, they are all part of your network’s primary IP address. Your ISP provides your router with your public IP address, as explained above. ISPs typically have a big pool of IP addresses from which to assign addresses to their clients. Your public IP address is the address that will be used by all devices outside of your internet network to identify your network.
There are two types of public IP addresses: dynamic and static.
Dynamic IP addresses
IP addresses that are dynamic change on a regular basis. ISPs purchase a big pool of IP addresses and assign them to their clients automatically. They re-assign them on a regular basis, and the older IP numbers are returned to the pool to be utilised for other clients. The rationale behind this strategy is to save money for the ISP. They don’t have to perform specific procedures to re-establish a customer’s IP address if they move house, for example, because the routine transfer of IP addresses is automated. There are also security advantages, as a shifting IP address makes it more difficult for hackers to gain access to your network interface.
Static IP addresses
Static IP addresses, unlike dynamic IP addresses, do not change. Once an IP address is assigned by the network, it does not change. A static IP address is not required for most individuals and businesses, but it is required for businesses that plan to host their own server. This is because a static IP address ensures that the websites and email addresses associated with it have a stable IP address, which is essential if you want other devices to be able to find them on the internet consistently.
There are two types of website IP addresses
There are two types of website IP addresses for website owners that don’t run their own server and instead rely on a web hosting package – which is the situation for most websites. These are dedicated and shared.
Shared IP addresses
Websites that use shared hosting plans from web hosting providers are usually only one of several that share the same server. Individual or small-business websites, where traffic volumes are controllable and the sites themselves are constrained in terms of page count, etc., tend to be like this. The IP addresses of the websites hosted in this manner will be shared.
Dedicated IP addresses
A dedicated IP address is available with some web hosting services (or addresses). This allows you to host your own File Transfer Protocol (FTP) server and make obtaining an SSL certificate easier. This allows anonymous FTP sharing and makes it easier to share and move data with various persons within an organisation. A dedicated IP address also allows you to browse your website without requiring the domain name, which is essential if you want to construct and test your website before registering it.
How to look up IP addresses
The most straightforward way to determine your router’s public IP address is to Google “What is my IP address?” The solution will be displayed at the top of the page by Google.
Other websites will display the same information: they will be able to see your public IP address because your router has made a request and so released the information by visiting the site. IPLocation takes a step further by displaying your ISP’s name as well as your city.
In most cases, this technique will only provide an approximation of position – where the provider is, but not the exact location of the device. Remember to log out of your VPN as well if you’re doing this.