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What is an IP address?

Simple explanatory IP address work scheme

Your internet service provider assigns a numeric label, called the Internet Protocol (IP) address, to identify your device among billions of others. In a way, an IP address functions as an online home address because devices use IPs to find and communicate with each other.

Here’s how an IP address directs data to its destination. First, you type in a website name (example.com) into the browser. However, your computer does not understand words — only numbers. So it first finds out the IP address of that website (example.com = 103.86.98.1.), finds it on the web, and finally loads it on your screen.

How to find my IP address

Finding your IP address is pretty easy. Here are a few examples of how you can look it up.

woman public place window wifi

How to find my public IP address

To find your public IP address, you can scroll up to the top of this page. It will show you your IP, the location you’re connecting from, your service provider, and whether or not your traffic is secured.

web phone platforms windows

How to find my IP address on Windows 10

Here’s how to look up your IP on Windows 10 if you’re connected to Wi-Fi:

  1. Click on “Wi-Fi network” in the taskbar.
  2. Select the network you’re connected to.
  3. Click on “Properties.”
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the window — your IP will be shown next to “IPv4 address.”

Here’s how to look up your IP if you’re connected to the Ethernet network:
  1. In the task bar, click on the “Ethernet network” icon.
  2. Select the network you’re connected to.
  3. Click “Properties.”
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the window — your IP will be shown next to “IPv4 address.”

mac os VPN client

How to find my IP address on Mac

Here’s how to find your IP address on Mac if you’re connected to Wi-Fi:

  1. Select “System Preferences” on the Apple menu.
  2. Double-click the “Network” icon.
  3. Select “Wi-Fi” on the left side of the window — your IP address will be displayed in the middle of the window.

Here’s how to find your IP address on Mac if you’re connected to the Ethernet:
  1. Select “System Preferences” on the Apple menu.
  2. Double-click the “Network” icon.
  3. Select “Ethernet” on the left side of the window — your IP address will be displayed in the middle of the window.

what is my IP address phone

How to find my phone's IP address

Here’s how to find the IP address on the Android phone:

  1. Go to your phone’s settings.
  2. Select “About device.”
  3. Tap on “Status.”
  4. Here you can find information about your device, including the IP address.

Here’s how to find the IP address on your iPhone:
  1. Go to “Settings.”
  2. Select “Wi-Fi.”
  3. Tap on the network you’re connected to.
  4. You can find your IP under “IPV4 Address.”

IPv4 vs. IPv6 addresses

How an IP address looks depends on the Internet Protocol version it’s using — IPv4 or IPv6.

unique IP visualisation through IPv4

IPv4

Most internet service providers still use IPv4. It’s based on 32 binary bits, consists of four numbers from 0 to 255, and is separated by dots. For example, 103.86.98.1.



However, IPv4 can generate only 4.3 billion unique IP addresses. That’s nowhere near enough in this digital age — IPv4 addresses will soon run out.

unique IP visualisation through IPv6

IPv6

IPv6 addresses are made up of 8 blocks of numbers. Each block is written as four hexadecimal digits and separated by colons. For example, 2400:BB40:1100:0000:0000:0000:0000:
0001.



Number groups containing only 0 are often omitted to save space. Instead, a colon is added to indicate the gap. For example, 2400:BB40:1100::1.

Why hasn't IPv6 been fully implemented yet?

Unlike the IPv4 protocol, IPv6 won’t ever run out of unique IP addresses — it can provide nearly 3.4×10^38 of them. Furthermore, some argue that IPv6 is a more efficient technology, providing better quality and connectivity.

However, IPv6 has not been fully implemented for two reasons:

IPv6 incompatibility with IPv4 scheme

1. IPv6 isn’t backward compatible with IPv4. You can’t access IPv4 websites if your device runs on an IPv6 protocol.

Woman search her phone IP address

2. It’s hard to adopt the new technology without immediate gain. IPv4 still suits our needs, and until we reach its limit, a worldwide shift is unlikely.

Public vs. private IP addresses

Private IP and Public IP work scheme

When you ask “what is my IP address” or “what is my ipv4 address” you usually mean “what is my public IP.” It’s the IP address provided by your internet service provider. Devices on the same network share this IP address when accessing the internet.

Take your home network as an example. It’s made up of your computer, phone, tablet, and every other device on your router. When these devices connect to the internet, they use the public IP address that’s been assigned to the router.

Routers assign private IPs to each device on their network, so that devices can identify and find each other. When these devices connect to the internet, their private IP addresses remain hidden, and only the public IP addresses of routers are visible. And your public IP address can say a lot about you. A simple IP lookup can reveal your location and ISP or even help track down your identity.

Follow the link to find detailed information about the different types of IP addresses.

Hiding your IP address

If you want to hide your IP and geolocation, use a VPN service.

A reliable VPN provider with millions of users worldwide

A VPN (virtual private network) routes your internet traffic through a remote server, allowing you to hide your current IP address. By encrypting your private data, it also guarantees that third parties won’t be able to spy on you.

Every time you connect to a VPN server, you browse under cover of an IP address assigned to that server. So, when you surf the net, it won’t show your IP or current spot. Instead, it’s going to be a virtual VPN location you connect to and an IP assigned to that VPN server. If you need a static IP address to access various networks and services, you can get a dedicated IP.

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