Find Your IP Address: Public and Private IP Addresses

Why IP Addresses Are Important

Worldwide, there are well over 10 billion devices connected to the internet. All of these devices need to have a way to talk to each other. Whether it’s a laptop, smartphone, website, or ATM, these different devices and services need a way to identify themselves. The primary way computers identify each other across the internet is through Public IP addresses. Additionally, If you have internet in your home or business you have even more devices all trying to connect to the internet through your Internet Service Provider (ISP) through a router or modem on a private network. These devices need to identify themselves and be able to talk to each other too. How does this all work? How do you find your IP address? What’s the difference between Public and Private IP Addresses? Let’s find out in today’s Tech Basics.

What is an IP Address

An IP address stands for Internet Protocol address. IP addresses help identify what kind of network the device or service is connecting from and also its location in the world. There are two types of IP addresses: IPv4 and IPv6. IPv4 is the oldest type and is a series of three-digit numbers separated by periods, such as 192.168.1.1 in this format. Due to the explosive growth of the internet, we’re actually running out of IPv4 addresses and a new protocol was needed. IPv6 is a newer format that allows for a larger number of unique addresses. IPv6 is still being deployed and has been since the mid-2000s. Today, IPv4 is the most commonly used format.

Public vs Private IP

Every device that can access the internet runs on a network of other devices trying to access the internet as well. In your home or business, you have an internet service provider (ISP) that supplies your internet connection mostly via fiber optic, coaxial cable, or satellite. Inside your home, a device called a router connects to your ISP and provides internet to your home. The router then distributes that connection to each laptop, smartphone, or internet-connected device on your home network.

What is a Public IP Address?

A router acts as a bridge between the outside world of the internet and the internal network of your home and all its devices. Your ISP assigns the router an IP address to identify it from other customer connections to the internet. This IP address is known as your Public IP Address. Every device within your home then routes its connection through the router and exits to the world of the internet identified by this Public IP Address.

Find your Public IP Address

Finding your Public IP address is a straightforward process. It’s a matter of going to Google and typing “what is my IP”. Google will present you with a public IP address that looks like 142.250.72.142 (the IP for one of google’s servers).

There is a wealth of information that can be gathered from someone’s public IP address, including country, state, and likely what city you live in. It can also tell what internet service provider you use. To see what kind of identifying information is available for your IP, visit whatismyipaddress.com. The website recognizes the IP from the device you’re using and displays it, as well as any other information available. This site can also be used to look up information from other IP addresses, like the one from google’s server, shown below.

It can be a little nerve-racking knowing that all this information about you is available online and for anyone to see. Can this data be protected or obscured? Yes! Khem Geek suggests using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) Service, to help protect your privacy online. We’ll cover how VPN’s work and which ones are the best in a coming article.

What is a Private IP Address?

While your router sends and receives traffic to the outside world of the internet, it also serves as an organizer for your home or business network. Within your network, every device is assigned an internal private IP address that the router uses to identify that device. With private IP addresses as an identifier, it can then route traffic from the outside internet to the proper device.

Routers first identify themselves and assign their own IP address, usually something like 192.168.1.1, 10.0.0.1, or something similar. Since this private IP address is used to identify the router, you can type this address into your browser’s address bar to get to the router’s management console. A handy trick if you need to make adjustments to your network.

As for other devices, the router then assigns private IP addresses to other devices, usually ranging from 2 to 254 for the last digit ( ex: 192.168.1.108).

Find Your Private IP Address

If you have a Windows device, finding your private IP address will require using the Command Prompt. Command Prompt allows you to enter commands to gather information about your computer or execute programs and scripts. Follow the steps below to find your private IP address on Windows 10.

Opening Command Prompt

On your computer, locate the search box on the taskbar.

In the search box, type “cmd”. In the search results, Command Prompt should appear.

Click “open”, and a new window should appear with the command prompt.

Using The Ipconfig Command

To find your private IP address, we’ll use a command called “ipconfig” that displays information about the network configuration on your computer. In the Command Prompt window, type ipconfig and press Enter.

The command should produce a page with several lines of information about your network. The information we need should be under a section called “Ethernet adapter” if you are running a wired connection or “Wireless LAN adapter” if you are using Wi-Fi.  The line that lists “IPv4 Address” displays your private network IP address.

Now that you have your IP address Public and Private IP addresses, you can use this information to protect your privacy or troubleshoot issues with your router or network. For more tips, tutorials, and Tech Basics, click the link below.

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