Every device, as long as it is connected to the internet, has an IP address. It might seem tricky to accept, but an IP address is more than a bunch of random numbers and dots. Several questions have been raised over time, and in this article, you will find satisfactory answers to some of those questions.
What Is My IP Address?
When playing a game online, you are expected to have an avatar or a form of identification that sets you apart from other gamers. So, what is my ip address? The same principle is what IP (also known as Internet Protocol) addresses work with. When you connect a device to the internet, that device is assigned a unique number, which differentiates it from every other device, website, and router.
Apart from differentiating your device from others, an IP address serves as a way for you to get the information you require, helps you establish a connection with other devices around you, and helps the governing bodies ensure the security of your device on the internet.
How Is My IP Address Formed?
Contrary to what some people think, IP addresses are not just random numbers separated by dots; instead, they are generated by mathematical processes containing four sets of numbers. Each set of numbers can have any number from 0 to 255, meaning an IP address can be 0.0.0.0, 255.255.255.255, or any number between them.
Different Categories of IP Addresses
With the vast number of devices, routers, and websites simultaneously connecting to the internet, there is bound to be a mix-up somewhere, and security is all it assured to be nonexistent. For this reason, IP addresses are further classified to make them easier to identify and for improved security. The categories are divided into four, namely private, public, static, and dynamic IP addresses.
Private IP addresses are assigned to a group of devices that are in the same area. For example, in a household with Wi-Fi, every device that connects with the router is assigned a private IP address. This will ensure that the network is secure against external threats and that each device connected to the router is distinguished from the others.
On the other hand, a public IP address is the IP address assigned to your router or an entire network. Just as each device in a local network needs to be differentiated, each network must also be differentiated from other networks and connect with other networks and devices. This unique number is assigned to your network by your Internet Service Provider, as they have to be accountable for every network they provide internet service for.
As its name implies, the static IP address does not change and is usually assigned to companies or individuals who want to host or own their servers. The primary advantage of having a static IP address is that no matter what happens, every device connected to the server has a similar or uniform IP address. The static IP address will also make it easier for anyone to locate the server.
A dynamic IP address is used to refer to an IP that is subject to periodic change. This kind of IP is very beneficial to both the Internet Service Providers and those connected to the network. The service providers buy a large amount of IP addresses and periodically rotate them amongst customers.
New IP addresses are assigned to customers during the rotation, and the previous ones are assigned to different or even newer customers. Reassigning IP addresses saves Internet Service Providers the cost of reestablishing IP addresses and makes it harder for hackers to access your network.
The Dangers of IP Addresses
Having an IP address gives you access to a host of benefits. However, it is fraught with dangers. The downside of IP addresses that is the cause for most significant concern is that it gives criminals and hackers a way to access your device and network.
Hackers can obtain your IP address by monitoring what you do online. Since your IP address is visible to any site or network you access or visit, then anyone can see it as well.
By obtaining your IP address, these criminals can quickly get your location, take over the device or devices connected to the network, and they can even use your IP address to engage in illegal activities.
To avoid being hacked, you can learn to protect your device against criminals and IP address thieves. In addition, you can also hide your IP address if you :
- Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network)
- Use a proxy or fake server
- Use strong passwords
Your IP address is your identity online, so any knowledge you can get on it is a valuable asset to ensuring your online (and offline) security.