Your IP Address Is:
How do you know my IP Address?
Every website, game server, or program that you use which connects to the internet has your IP address. This typically isn't a big deal as most sites, our's included, don't store your IP address in anyway. We just use it to give you the information that you are requesting on our site. In this case, oddly enough, it's actually your IP address, but it also allows us to show you all of the other awesome articles on our site.
The same is true for Google, Facebook, YouTube, and even the apps that you use on your phone. They get your IP address when you access their service in order to send you the data that you are requesting.
What is an IP Address?
Well, IP stands for ‘Internet Protocol', and the Address refers to the number itself. Every device on the internet has an IP Address. Just like putting a letter in the mail and addressing it to someone, computers use the unique identifier to send data to specific computers on a network and know where it is supposed to go.
Most networks today use TCP/IP protocol as the standard for how they communicate with each other on the network. In this protocol, the unique identifier for a device on the network is called an ‘IP Address'. That is where the name we all know and love comes from.
There are two standards for IP addresses: IP Version 4 (IPv4) and IP Version 6 (IPv6). All computers with IP addresses have an IPv4 address, and many are starting to use the new IPv6 address system as well. Here's what these two address types mean:
- IPv4 uses 32 binary bits to create a single unique address on the network. An IPv4 address is expressed by four numbers separated by dots. Each number is the decimal (base-10) representation for an eight-digit binary (base-2) number, also called an octet. For example: 126.96.36.199
- IPv6 uses 128 binary bits to create a single unique address on the network. An IPv6 address is expressed by eight groups of hexadecimal (base-16) numbers separated by colons, as in 2001:cdba:0000:0000:0000:0000:3257:9652. Groups of numbers that contain all zeros are often omitted to save space, leaving a colon separator to mark the gap (as in 2001:cdba::3257:9652).
So that's bascially it. An IP Address is a unique set of numbers, or in the case of an IPv6 address, letters that make your computer identifiable online allowing you to send and recieve data.
How does your computer get its IP Address?
Well, an IP address can be either dynamic or static. A static address is one that you configure yourself by editing your computer's network settings. This type of address is rare, and it can create network issues if you use it without a good understanding of TCP/IP.
Dynamic addresses are the most common. They're assigned by the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), a service running on the network. DHCP typically runs on network hardware such as routers or dedicated DHCP servers.
These dynamic IP addresses are issued using a leasing system, meaning that the IP address is only active for a limited time. If the lease expires, the computer will automatically request a new lease. Sometimes, this means the computer will get a new IP address, too, especially if the computer was unplugged from the network between leases. This will happen without you even knowing it. That is one of the great things about dynamic IP addresses. They just work.
How can I hide my IP address online?
At this point, you have probably figured out that everyone online has your IP address and with that they can figure out your country, city, state, and even latitude and longitude coordinates. Is there anyway to stop peopl from getting this information? Yes, there is. You can use a VPN to protect yourself online stopping everyone from Facebook to video game servers you join from getting your IP. There are TONS of different VPNs out there. You can actually check out our top 5 list of them here, but the one we use and the best overall is Private Internet Access. Below is a video on how to setup a Private Internet Access/PIA to keep yourself safe online!