Your public IP address
We're sure you've heard the term IP address often in your life and might've asked yourself as well "what is my IP address", "how to know my IP address", "what my IP address means to me" or "whats my IP address reveals about me".
Basically, an internet protocol (IP) address is nothing but a unique numerical representation of the devices we use to connect to the worldwide Internet. No devices can "talk" to others without an IP address. To some extent, an IP address indicates the location of a device on the Internet and defines it.
When you enter a website name in a browser, your device starts to search the IP address of the site instead as the website name cannot be recognized. Once the Internet finds out the IP address of the website, the content of that site will be returned to you and finally displayed in your search results. In this way, we’ll be able to communicate with the website. In one word, IP address is the language that we use to talk to the website on the Internet.
IP addresses generally fall under two categories - IPv4 and IPv6. Both IPv4 and IPv6 consist of binary numbers while they perform in different numeric lengths and forms.
IPv4 address consists of 4 different numbers separated by three dots. For example 127.0.0.1. IPv4 only allows for about 4 billion possible addresses, because it uses just 32 bits. Up to now, IPv4 is more used than IPv6.
IPv6 address consists of 8 blocks of numbers separated by colons. For example 2001:0db8:0000:0000:0000:ff00:0042:8329.
To conserve space, number groups with simply 0 are frequently eliminated. To denote the gap, a colon is used instead. For example, 2001:db8::ff00:42:8329.
IPv6 uses 128 bits, resulting in 3.4×1038 possible addresses. Thus, IPv6 allows more people to connect over a network, but it hasn't been fully implemented yet.
Both public IP address and private IP address are able to uniquely indicate devices on the Internet. Provided by Internet Service Provider (ISP), a public IP address is an IP address that is used to access the Internet.
Internal addresses are not routed on the Internet and no traffic cannot be sent to them from the Internet, they're only supposed to work within the local network or private network.
For example, a private IP address usually looks like 192.168.11.50 while a public IP address like 220.127.116.11.
The leading differences between public IP address and private IP address are summarized into the following table.
The information that is easiest to be exposed by your IP address is your geological location, including country, city, state and zip code. Whenever your geological location changes, so will your IP address. Whenever your IP address is known, so will your geological location be. No matter where you go, as you browse the Internet, all your sensitive information will be exposed as the IP address is always with you.
It's equivalently easy to check your ISP based on your IP address because your IP address is assigned by your ISP. Therefore, your IP address can be used to track your ISP account so that the following personal information can be known:
Even if your ISP account fails to be hacked with the above information untracked, your privacy is still in great danger because your ISP isn't reliable as well. Since your IP address is in the hand of your ISP, they are able to sell your personal information to advertisers for profits without any of your knowledge.
Sometimes, ISP are forced to expose your personal information. For example, in Australia and Great Britain, ISP is required to provide users' online data to government without authorization.
Although you can use secure browsing or HTTPS when surfing the web, your ISP are still able to monitor and track all your activities on the Internet just because your IP address is known by them.
More of your personal information will be accessible once your IP address is known linked with Cookies, tracking software, etc. so that which websites you like browsing, who you talk with on the Internet and what online services you've used will be leaked. You're more likely to be tracked based on the information.
In fact, there are a number of ways you can hide your IP address from the public. However, using a VPN service is by far the best option.
If you just want peace of mind knowing your IP address is hidden and not exploitable by malicious individuals, simply connecting to the internet through a VPN server. You will, then, be able to use the virtual IP address of the VPN service, not your real public IP address.
Overall, using a VPN has the following benefits:
-A VPN masks your actual location with a different IP address
-A VPN allows you to choose your IP address location and use online services that are geologically restricted
-A VPN encrypts all the data, what you send and receive, dramatically increasing your privacy and security
-A no-log VPN does not record your browsing history