What is My IP Address?
Your IP Address, which is short for Internet Protocol Address, is a unique set of numbers used by a device to identify itself and communicate with other devices on the same network. Examples of such devices include your computer, smartphone, tablet, gaming console and laptop. When any of these devices connects to a local network or to the internet (which is also a network but only much larger), they do so using an IP address.
A real world example for this is your postal address or telephone number. In order for two people to communicate with one another using a telephone, they need each other's telephone numbers. Similarly, for two devices to communicate with each other over a computer or Internet Protocol network, they need each other's IP addresses.
What is IPv4 Address?
IPv4, which is short for Internet Protocol version 4, is a standard that was first defined in 1981. IPv4 uses a 32-bit IP address and consists of four groups of numbers (ranging from 0 to 255) that are separated by three dots. A random example of an IP address would be, 188.8.131.52.
IPv4 can supply 232 = 4,294,967,296 addresses. That is more than four billion IP addresses. But IPv4 has remained unchanged since 1981 and the number of internet users has increased by a large amount since then. This meant that the world was rapidly running out of IP addresses and needed a new version of the Internet Protocol. This led to the development of IPv6, which offered a higher number of IP addresses than IPv4.
What is IPv6 Address?
IPv6 was developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in 1994 to create more IP addresses. IPv6 uses a 128-bit address, which enables it to offer around 340 trillion trillion trillion IP addresses. IPv6 is also vastly different compared to IPv4. IPv6 addresses contain eight sets of four hexadecimal digits each with a comma separating one set from another. A random example of IPv6 address would be, 2892:0475:0000:0000:a41d:5ca8:91f2:5e1d.
IPv6 has a number of advantages when compared to IPv4. Some of these include easier administration, faster routing, better connectivity and tighter security. Although it is a better system than IPv4, IPv6 has not been able to match IPv4's popularity.
What Public Information does My IP Address reveals?
The information carried by your IP address is of public nature. That is to say, no private information about you is stored or displayed to the world. When you search an IP address on an IP look-up website, you are displayed information related to the location of the IP. This includes the city, area code and ZIP code of the IP address. Also included is the name of the ISP (Internet Service Provider) that assigned the IP and the longitude and latitude of the country where the IP is from.
No private information, like the home or street address of the person using that particular IP address, is stored or displayed.
Can I Hide My IP Address
You may want to hide your IP address for any number of reasons. These include hiding your actual geographical location, preventing a digital footprint, avoiding web tracking or as a workaround to bypass bans, blacklisting or content filters. There are four ways to hide your IP address.
- Using a VPN service.
- Using Tor
- Using a Proxy Server
- Using Public/Free Wi-Fi