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What is an IP address, and why does it matter

When a device is linked to a network, it is assigned a numerical address known as an Internet Protocol (IP) address. As an online equivalent of a physical mailing address, this one is for your use alone. IP addresses have been around since the 1970s, but they've since come to define how devices communicate on the internet. In any network, appliances (including servers) may be located by their IP address, similar to GPS coordinates. Every time you do anything online, an IP address is involved, from browsing the web to viewing a video on YouTube to planning your next vacation. In this article, we will discuss what IP address, and much more about it.

What is an IP address?

An IP address, short for Internet Protocol address, is a numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. It serves two main purposes: identifying the host or network interface and providing the location of the device in the network.

Version of IP address

IP addresses have two version

  1. IPv4 

  2. IPv6 

  1. IPv4 

IPv4 was the first IP protocol. In 1983, it entered regular service on the ARPANET. Today it is the most extensively used IP version. A network's devices can be located and identified with its help. 

The IPv4 employs a 32-bit address system enabling storage of 2^32 addresses, which is more than 4 billion. It is the primary Internet Protocol and handles 94% of Internet traffic. 

  1. IPv6 

It's the current iteration of the Internet standard. Internet Engineer Taskforce initiated it in early 1994. The design and development of that package are currently dubbed IPv6. 

The deployment of this new IP address version is in response to the growing demand for IPv4 addresses on the internet. It was meant to overcome difficulties that are linked with IPv4. With 128 bits of addressing space, there's room for 340 different addresses.

Types of IP address 

In general, an IP address can be one of four varieties: 

  • Public

  • Private

  • Static 

  • Dynamic

Among these are public IP addresses, intended for usage outside of a network, and private IP addresses, which should use within a network. 

How does an IP address work?

An ISP is responsible for giving out IP addresses to individual devices (ISP). The assignment of an IP address to your device is the responsibility of your internet service provider (ISP). Internet service providers (ISPs) like AT&T and COX, for example, are the ones that give out IP addresses to their customers' gadgets. Your ISP receives your online activity from your device at the moment of connection and then forwards it to the destination of your choice based on your IP address. In contrast to IPv4, where a finite number of addresses is available, IPv6 does not impose such a restriction. 

How to change my IP address

It is easier than most people assume to change your IP address. Here are easy methods to modify your IP address.

  • Change your network or reset your router 

Changing your IP address is as simple as switching internet service providers. For instance, your IP address will change if you use Wi-Fi for mobile data. Similarly, if you reset your router, your Internet service provider will be required to give your computer a new IP address. 

  • Get a Virtual Private Network (VPN) 

You can make it very difficult for anybody, including your Internet service provider (ISP), to keep tabs on what you do online by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPNs have various uses, like hiding your online identity and unblocking Netflix worldwide.

  • Contact your ISP 

You can also contact your ISP to change your IP address for you. 

  • Use of the Tor browser

The Tor browser generates a new IP address for you every time you launch it. All websites that are open using the Tor browser will see the allocated IP instead of your real IP address. 

Can my IP address identify my exact location? 

It can't, yet the idea that it could is terrifying. Your IP address can give the registered location and other information about your Internet Service Provider, but it's unlikely that it will expose your actual location. You may verify your IP address location on numerous websites like, and chances are that all the IP geolocation databases will provide different location. An IP address can't reveal everything about you, but it may show where you're located and what state you're in. 


Can I hide my IP address? 

Yes, it is possible to hide my IP address. You can prevent your accurate IP address from being seen by everyone who is linked to you online. You may conceal your IP address by connecting to a VPN. Your actual IP address will remain hidden when a VPN connection is established. To function, it redirects your online activity through another machine somewhere in the world. There are many VPN services to choose from, both free and premium. 

Can I change my IP Address? 

Most people on the internet ask that weather, “Can I change my IP address?” However, your internet service provider issues an IP address for you used to access the web. You can't take your IP address since it changes depending on your location. In addition, if you reset your modem, your IP address will also change.

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