What Is An IP Address

What Is An IP Address?

Wondering about what is an IP address? Then this blog is for you. An IP address is crucial for communication; it is fundamental to networking. The random string of letters are an identification for your device on the massive global network we call the internet. As you’ll explore in this blog, IP address is an easy concept to understand, with more underlying details to uncover.

What Is An IP Address?

Take a moment to head to this page here to find out your IP address.

The alphanumeric letters that you see if your unique representation on the internet. But why do we need an IP address in the first place?

The internet is a giant web of networks that is a collection of devices and servers communicating through physical mediums laid across the globe. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is a gateway that connects your network to other interconnected networks to form the World Wide Web.

An IP address gives data the information it needs to reach a destination. It’s just like a phone number. If Bob wants to message Alice over the internet, he will need Alice’s IP address so that the message is delivered to the correct recipient and not someone else.

There’s also a difference between private IP addresses and public IP addresses which we’ll look into in a moment.

What Does My IP Address Reveal?

An IP address is assigned to a network, which handles and delivers the internet traffic back to the correct user on the network.

Your IP address can reveal many things: your city, state, zip code, and ISP. Since it is your unique identifier on the internet, advertisers store your IP address as information for cross-site tracking.

Who Owns IP Addresses?

The allocation and management of IP addresses are managed by an entity called Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). It works with domain registers to allocate IP addresses to those who request it.

IP addresses are finite. Having ICANN at the helm ensures that existing IP addresses are sufficient for new networks and web servers coming online. On that note, let us compare IPv4 and how IPv6 offers much more flexibility in terms of the number of IP addresses that can be uniquely assigned to networks and web servers.

What Is the Difference Between IPv4 and IPv6?

Internet Protocol is a set of standards for communication between networking devices. It defines what rules networking devices have to follow to ensure that data packets arrive at the destination smoothly.

The mainstream version of that is the Internet Protocol 4 (IPv4)  It is a 32-bit address that can generate roughly 4 billion unique IP addresses.

IPv6 is now becoming mainstream as IPv4 has almost exhausted its set of unique addresses. What makes IPv6 so much better for the future is that it allows an unfathomable 340 trillion trillion trillion unique addresses – all thanks to its 128-bit address.

Private IP vs. Public IP

TCP/IP networks are segmented into private and public spaces. A private IP address is the one that’s on your device right and assigned by the router. The router lets you connect multiple devices, which is then handled by NAT (Network Address Translation).

NAT was created to slow down the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses.

The public IP address space exists on the internet. Every network connected to the internet has a unique (public) IP address. But inside those networks, there can be hundreds and thousands of devices connected to a router.

So, your local network at home with all the devices connected can have hundreds of IP addresses. It won’t affect the availability of IPv4 addresses on the internet because the public IP address space is different. So, one public IP address can represent a single network with various devices on the internet.

How Does NAT Work?

NAT is built into every router. Its job is to keep records of every outgoing and incoming request and the clients on the network who have requested them.

It is like a hotel receptionist that knows in which room a parcel is supposed to go. It’s vital for internet communication because private IP addresses don’t talk directly to the internet; they hide behind a public IP address used by the ISP. Hence, the function of NAT is to translate incoming traffic and deliver it to the correct recipient on the network.

Without NAT, incoming data will not know where to go next.

How to Hide IP Address

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) connects to a remote server and uses it as a proxy to access the internet. The VPN server conceals the IP address by using its own IP address to connect to whatever websites you open.

Download the iProVPN app and connect to any VPN server – that’s it! You can now browse privately on the internet.

Why Do You Need to Hide IP Address?

Now that you know what an IP address is and its importance as a fundamental pillar of network communication, you should know how to hide IP address.

  • Bypass Censorship

Countries like North Korea and China have very strict laws for digital censorship. As a user in one of such countries, it means you cannot access any websites freely. The firewall installed actively monitors internet traffic to block the websites that the government deems necessary to block.

Hiding your IP address with a VPN encrypts the internet traffic so that the ISP cannot see the requested website and block it.

  • Access Geo-blocked content

Do you love streaming Netflix? You may be missing out on a lot of content due to geo-restriction. Due to licenses and regional censorship, movies and TV shows on Netflix vary by region.

Disney+ is another geo-blocked service due to availability only in limited countries.

By connecting to a VPN server, you can spoof your IP address to gain geo-restricted content and streaming services. iProVPN currently makes a great Netflix VPN, for Disney+ and other streaming services.

  • Protection Against Data Retention

Data retention means that your ISP secretly records activities. In the USA, it is a mandate by the intelligence agencies for the ISPs to keep logs of everything. The ISP knows about the websites you look up.

Final Words

Privacy on the internet is always at risk. Connect to iProVPN to spoof the IP address to hide your digital footprints. VPN’s encryption helps you achieve a level of privacy and security that no other tool can match.

Start Browsing Privately!

iProVPN encrypts your data for protection against hackers and surveillance. Unblock your favorite streaming platforms instantly with the best VPN for streaming.

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