IP addresses enable web servers to communicate with internet-connected devices. Nevertheless, there exist various categories of IP addresses. Are you familiar with the primary distinctions between private versus public, as well as static versus dynamic IP addresses? Additionally, have you heard of a dedicated IP, and is it necessary for you to have one? Keep reading to discover more about the diverse types of IP addresses and their purposes.
What is an IP address?
In essence, an IP address is a unique set of numbers that identifies a device connected to the internet. This identification system is crucial for devices and servers to communicate and exchange information. For instance, when you search for something on Google, your device’s IP address sends a request to Google’s servers, which then send back the desired information to your device using the same IP address.
IP addresses consist of four sets of numbers separated by dots, and each number must be between 0 and 255, including your own IP address. To gain a deeper understanding of this technology, you may want to explore our subnet mask article, as subnet masks are an integral part of the IP system.
Types of IP address
There are numerous categories of IP addresses, ranging from private to Ethernet broadcast addresses, all of which share the common goal of ensuring that data packets reach their intended destinations. In this article, we will cover the most prevalent types of IP addresses that you should be aware of.
Most consumers typically have one of two types of IP addresses, namely private, which is utilized within an internal network, and public, which is used to access the internet. Additionally, there are several other kinds of IP addresses that we will also delve into.
Private IP Address
Your router assigns private IP addresses to all the devices connected to your home network, like laptops, smartphones, and smart TVs. These addresses are only valid within your local network and cannot be accessed from outside. While it is possible for you and your neighbor to have the same private IP address, as long as they are on different networks, two devices on the same LAN cannot share the same private IP address. It’s important to keep this in mind to avoid any conflicts that could disrupt your network.
Public IP Address
Your internet service provider (ISP) provides you with a public IP address that is used by your router to connect to the wider internet. All devices on your network share the same public IP address if they are connected to the same internet connection. It is called a public IP address because it encompasses your entire network.
Your ISP can link your public IP address to your identity, and as a result, your online activities can be monitored and tracked. A simple IP lookup can provide information about you to anyone, including snoopers and ISPs.
Private VPN vs Public IP Address
The increasing number of internet-connected devices has led to the introduction of private and public IP addresses due to the limited availability of IP addresses. The IPv4 protocol, which was developed in the 1980s, provided about 4.3 billion unique IP addresses using a 32-bit numerical system, which was insufficient to meet the demand.
To address this issue, private IP addresses and Network Address Translation (NAT) were introduced. NAT directs traffic from the internet to all devices connected to the same network and assigns them unique private IP addresses. Private IP addresses are not accessible over the internet, allowing multiple devices to share the same private IP address without any issues. This system is managed by your router.
Two types of public IP addresses
Public IP addresses are divided into two types: static and dynamic. While dynamic IP addresses change over time, static IP addresses remain constant. Each type has its own unique advantages and disadvantages.
Static and Dynamic IP address
Dynamic IP addresses are provided by ISPs and are subject to change each time you restart your device, add new devices to your network, or modify your network settings. However, these changes do not typically impact your internet connection. Dynamic IP addresses are the preferred choice for most households.
Conversely, static IP addresses remain the same and are generally assigned to servers that provide email, FTP, or host websites. Public organizations requiring stable connections and consistent web addresses may also use static IP addresses. Some individuals may use static IP addresses for gaming or VoIP connections that need a stable connection.
Despite their benefits, households rarely use static IP addresses due to their drawbacks. For instance, ISPs often charge extra for assigning a static IP address, and they require additional security measures since they are more vulnerable to brute force attacks. Moreover, data mining companies can easily track static IP addresses.
Understanding the differences: Static vs Dynamic
IP addresses are not set in stone and can change based on several factors. The type of device you’re using, your network connection, and whether you have a static or dynamic IP address can all affect your IP address.
For instance, when you’re connected to Wi-Fi on your tablet or smartphone, your ISP will assign a public IP address to your device. However, this IP address can change if you switch to your mobile network.
If you’re using a router to connect to the internet, you’ll likely have a dynamic public IP address that changes periodically because you’re leasing the address. This means that the IP address can be assigned to other users.
On the other hand, a static IP address always remains the same and can be assigned to a single device on your local network. However, if you choose to use a static IP, all the devices on your network will have the same public IP address.
Can IP addresses change?
In summary, IP addresses can vary depending on several factors, such as the device you use, your network connection, and whether the address is static or dynamic. For example, your ISP assigns a public IP address to your device when connected to Wi-Fi on your smartphone or tablet, which may change if you switch to your mobile network.
If connected through a router, a dynamic public IP address is leased and periodically changed, while a static IP address remains constant and can be assigned to a single device on the local network. However, configuring the network to use a static IP address means that all devices will have the same public IP.
What IP do I get when I connect to a VPN?
Using a VPN can result in your IP address being altered and can either be a shared or dedicated IP address. Shared IP addresses are the most common assignment by VPN providers and are shared by multiple users. These types of IP addresses are optimal for privacy, as it makes it difficult for websites to track your internet activity.
Shared IP addresses are also useful for accessing censored content and P2P file sharing. However, a potential drawback of using a shared IP address is that if someone sharing the same IP is banned from a website, this may affect your ability to access it. This type of occurrence is rare, but you may receive more captcha requests than usual.
Each IP address consists of two components: the network ID and the host ID. The first three numbers of the address make up the network ID, while the fourth number is the host ID. For instance, the IP address of a device on a home network could be 192.168.1.1, where 192.168.1 represents the network ID, and the final number represents the host ID.
IPv4 is a version of the Internet Protocol that uses a 32-bit address length, while IPv6 is the most current version of the Internet Protocol that uses a 128-bit address length.
The Domain Name System (DNS) translates domain names into IP addresses, allowing web browsers to access internet pages. Each device that is connected to the internet has a unique IP address that enables other devices to locate it.
In conclusion, understanding the different types of IP addresses is crucial in navigating the internet and managing network connections. Private and public IP addresses play different roles in identifying devices and allowing them to communicate with each other and the internet. Within public IP addresses, static and dynamic IPs have their unique characteristics and benefits depending on the intended use.
Moreover, dedicated IP addresses are becoming increasingly popular for individuals and businesses that require more control over their online activities and reputation. With this knowledge, users can make informed decisions and take the necessary steps to ensure their online security and privacy.