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You’d agree that IP addresses are not an everyday topic. In fact, they are about as unconventional as the least talked about computer-related terms that there are.
As a result, your IP address is something you probably hardly look at. However, it is ever highly significant to your online lifestyle.
Significant in what aspect, you’d ask?
Well, for one, you wouldn’t be able to check your emails, see social media updates from your friends, or watch videos online without an IP address.
Every time you browse the internet, you’re actually ‘making requests’ for those pages whose URL you click on or enter.
Now without your IP address, websites like Google, Facebook, YouTube, and SmallSEOTools.com wouldn’t know where to send the information you request. That is why it is called “address” because it is WHERE these sites send requested information to your computer.
But not only are IP addresses significant; it’s equally significant that you KNOW your IP address. And there are several reasons for this (which we will talk about later on down below).
The importance of knowing your IP address explains why we created this amazing tool, What is My IP address location.
“IP” stands for “Internet Protocol.” And “protocol” here refers to the connectivity regulations and guidelines that govern computer networks.
The “address” part of IP address refers to a unique set of numbers linked to all your internet activities.
Putting all this together, an Internet Protocol address is a string of unique numeric identifier separated by periods, and carried by every device in a network. This includes every single computer, router, modem, printer, switch, and any other device that is part of a TCP/IP-based network.
This address makes up the core component upon which the networking architecture is built and no network exists without it.
An IP address is not something you sign up for; once you’re online, you’re automatically assigned an active IP address by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). An active IP address is necessary for you to access the internet.
And note this: IP addresses are not assigned to people, but to computers.
In summary, IP addresses serve two key purposes namely:
Of course, the significance of IP addresses are way more complex than this. But we are trying to keep the “water below the knees” here so that you don’t get overwhelmed but rather focus on the key stuff.
There are typically two versions of IP addresses — Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) and Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6).
Internet Protocol Version 4 consists of a 32-bit number and was the first to be designed. It is classified into different classes ranging from class A to class E.
On the other hand, Internet Protocol Version 6 is a 128-bit IP addresses and was created to take the load off IPv4 which had become proliferative and somewhat jaded as a result of the fast growth of the internet.
Also, there are two types of IP addresses — private and public.
Private IP addresses are static and reusable in nature and are preserved by the Internet Engineering Task Force. They don’t change except as a result of network administration. They serve as a permanent Internet address for your corporate or local area network.
Specifically, these include addresses beginning with “10.”, “172.16.”, and “192.168.”
Unlike the private ones, public IP addresses are dynamic in nature, which means they change often and are thus temporary IP addresses. These IP addresses are assigned to a computer each time they get connected to the World Wide Web.
They are actually borrowed from a pool of IP addresses, shared over various computers. This is the IP address your computer uses to communicate across the Internet in sending and receiving requests.
Each public or dynamic IP address is unique in itself universally, so it cannot be the same as any other one in the world.
Each computer must be assigned a unique IP address by an ISP for it to connect online. Your Internet Service Provider is the one giving you access to the internet; your Internet activity goes through them, and they route it back to you, using your IP address.
As mentioned above, these are public IP addresses. They are universally unique and may change at any time. In fact, an IP address can change if you do something as simple as turning off and on your router or modem.
When you’re at home, an IP address is assigned to your computer. When you’re at a library, the IP address you see will be different from the IP address you see at home, a restaurant, or a train station.
So literally, you can’t take your IP address with you. For instance, if you travel to another country or city and take along your laptop, your home IP address doesn’t go with you. Why? Because on your journey, you’ll be using a different network to connect to the web.
As you move from the airport to your hotel to the local coffee house, your IP address will change each and every time as you keep changing your WiFi.
These IP addresses are temporary and are assigned to your laptop on the fly by the ISPs of the coffee house, hotel, airport, and so on.