First Off, What is an IP Address?
NGL, you’ve probably seen that long number string written like 192.168.1.1 or similar on your PCs, laptops, and mobiles. It’s hard to miss it when you’re in your network settings. Yes, that’s your IP. But what does IP address stand for? Well, it stands for Internet Protocol address. It is the unique identity marking a device on the network whose communication is based on Internet Protocol – pretty obvious now we think about it.
Alright then, so what does it do? And why should we care? Briefly, an IP address is a tag that identifies the host or network interface – that’s pretty much just the thing that is connecting to the internet or home network. An IP address gives a unique name to each device on the network so that all the devices can say “hello” and visit each other.
IPv4 vs IPv6
An IP address is a number string. Two versions of IP addresses are available: IPv4 and IPv6. One of the main differences between IPv4 vs IPv6 lies in bit number. An IPv4 address contains 32 bits while an IPv6 addresses 128 bits. The second difference between IP version 4 and IP version 6 is the addressing method. The former uses a numeric addressing method while the latter an alphanumeric addressing method. Another difference between IPv4 and IPv6 is punctuation. A dot (.) is used in IPv4 and colon (:) in IPv6.
Static IP Address VS Dynamic IP Address
As the name implies, the IP address remains unchanged when a device is assigned a static IP address. It will change over time when a device is assigned a dynamic IP address. A static IP address is provided by your Internet Service Provider and can be used forever until you want to change it. A dynamic IP address is “borrowed” from an IP address pool shared by the computer network and it conforms to the DHCP protocol (that is Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol). But don’t worry too much about that.
How to Find My IP Address on My Device
Check IP Address on Windows
In Windows 10, enter the Control Panel and select Internet and Network. Select Network and Sharing Center and click Change Adapter Settings. Then, double click Ethernet and Details, and you’ll be able to see the IPv4 address.
In Windows 8.1, select the Windows Start button at the lower-left corner of the desktop, start typing View network connections, and then select it in the list.
In Windows 7, open Network Connections by selecting the Start button at the lower-left corner of the desktop and then selecting Control Panel. In the search box, search for ‘adapter’, and then, under Network and Sharing Center, select View network connections.
Check IP Address on Mac
On OS X 10.5 or newer, to check the IP address, first, click on the Apple icon on the left upper corner and select System Preferences on the list. Then, click the Network icon and enter the network box. Next, select your target connection item and the local IP address can be seen on the right.
Check IP Address on iPhone
To check the IP address on an iPhone, first, click Settings and choose the WLAN button. Then, click the connection you are using. Then, the IP address can be clearly seen on your phone.
What Does My IP Tell Others?
Although alarming, it’s a widely acknowledged fact that IP addresses reveal very sensitive information. The thing is, many people just don’t care about them even though they are vehemently opposed to the idea of getting their personal information exposed on the internet. Stupid, huh. After all, given enough effort, someone can easily find your full name, home address, email, phone number, age, browsing habits, and many more sensitive details based on your IP address alone. More serious, still, your sensitive information like credit card number or account password can be known by hackers with the help of your IP address.
Since your internet service provider (that’s ISP) tracks your browsing history, they essentially just know what’s on your screen when you’re on the internet, what you’re searching for on browsers, what is your favorite online content, etc. And in this age of data sensitivity, that’s a big “no” for us (and anyone else who’s sane). On a side note, when you sign up with your ISP, they also took information like your name, address, occupation among others, which they’ll be using to build data profiles of you with the IP address.
The websites you are visiting can also link your IP address to cookies, tracking software, and other information to pinpoint your interests, who you communicate with, and the online services that you use. This information can be used to target you with ads or your data can be sold to anyone who wants your private information. Even if these websites and your ISP do not knowingly release your information, they can still be compromised by hackers.
Can I Hide or Change My IP Address?
Absolutely you can, as long as a VPN is used on your device.
A VPN can spoof your IP address by assigning you a random IP number string. A VPN allows you to connect to any VPN server located around the world. As you browse the internet, it looks like you’re browsing in another place so that your real geological location can be well spoofed. As a result, your IP address can be successfully hidden or masked.
The essential feature of a VPN lies in its flexibility that allows you to spoof your IP address no matter what device you use to browse the Internet, what place you stay, and what time you surf the Internet. A VPN’s premium service allows it to be used on multiple devices with one account. As a result, with one VPN account, you can always protect your online privacy when you use a PC, laptop, Android, iOS, or Mac.
That’s handy for a number of reasons. Apart from spoofing your IP address and letting you anonymously browse online, a VPN can do more for you:
Break Internet Censorship
Geographical restrictions usually stop you from visiting some websites because the content on certain websites is exclusively available to a certain group of people. But a VPN can help you break the blocks so that you can freely browse the internet no matter where you are.
Provide You Unlimited Data
Your ISP usually monitors data changes and if extremely high data is found to be active, they will limit the traffic. As a result, your connection speed will slow down. When a VPN is used, your IP address is spoofed and you will go beyond the ISP’s administration.
Establish a Truly Secure Internet Environment
A VPN establishes a private tunnel for you with encryption to transmit data. The tunnel excludes anyone else, so it’s 100% safe for your transmitted data.