In real life, there might be several ways for people to know you, like your name, where you live, your place of work, etc. In the digital realm, your identity is determined by your virtual, or Internet Protocol (IP) address. If you’re thinking “What is my IP address“, it’s the thing that determines your online presence.
What Are IP Addresses For?
IP Addresses are assigned to networks via their device as either 32-bit (IPv4) or 128-bit (IPv6) sequences. Internet service providers buy these addresses before distributing them to clients around the world.
Users are able to communicate with each other thanks primarily due to their ability to maintain contact through these addresses. IP identifiers are also the main detail that websites log into their records as you visit them, like a punch card or a fingerprint scanner.
Types of IP addresses
Based on their usability, there are two ways to classify IP addresses: type system, and accessibility. In terms of the former, IP addresses can be static or dynamic. Regarding the latter, however, IP addresses can be distinguished as private or public.
Static vs. Dynamic IPs
Static IP addresses remain permanently associated with a particular device. Their stability gives them the advantage of allowing users a more uniform browsing experience with no danger of connectivity issues and enables them to access remote networks more efficiently. This makes them better for gaming or business purposes.
However, static IPs are more expensive given the appeal of their fluctuation-free connectivity. And even if you can afford to get them, there is the issue of security. Static IPs remain unchanged, which means that they are more susceptible to attacks from hackers on account of their stagnant nature.
By contrast, dynamic IPs tend to change each time you log in to a device. As a result, they cannot be tracked by geolocation services for long. They can prove difficult when forming remote connections and tend to be less cooperative or reliable when using VPNs.
That being said, despite their downsides, there are some advantages to having a dynamic IP address. On top of being far cheaper than their static counterparts, they are much easier to implement and can be recycled between devices. Plus, being everchanging, dynamic IPs make it harder for trackers and cybercriminals to pinpoint your device, allowing a safer web experience.
Public vs. Private IPs
Public IP addresses are the ones that are usually referred to whenever you’re seeing an ad for a VPN or details about a geolocation website. These are the freely-recognizable addresses given to networks by ISPs for a price. Their purpose is to connect you to the internet at large and enable communication with anyone else that has one.
Therefore, your public IP is how website owners and other online hosts can identify you online as it is visible to them. On that note, of course, these addresses are unsurprisingly prone to be hacked, invaded, restricted, or blocked, which is why you might need to conceal them while online.
Private IP addresses, on the other hand, are given by your routers for free, and can only be accessed by devices that share the same network. The main issue with this type of address is that it limits your connectivity to the outside world you don’t have a public IP.
But this isn’t a serious issue that many people face. Because they help contain your internet activities, private addresses ensure a more secure user experience with little to no risk of third-party interference.
Why Hide Your IP Address?
There is no shortage of reasons for people to want to hide their IP addresses. The threat of online scammers, hackers, and cyberbullies prompts users to be more discrete by hiding or changing their identities. If you’re worried that you’re being spied on unfairly or being targeted for unwanted schemes, you have a good case for wanting to hide your address.
Another issue has to do with censorship. Since public IPs determine regional nature, they are used by federal authorities to restrict access to certain online pages or resources. If you feel like these measures are unwarranted, you can work around them if you please.
Hiding or Changing Your IP Addresses
If your IP address is non-dynamic, it can be difficult to update to deal with hackers or privacy concerns. Therefore, there are a number of ways for you to conceal your online identities, like VPNs, proxies, or anonymity software like Tor.
It should be noted, however, that while free services have their benefits, the best results generally have a price.
Where connectivity and outreach are undeniably the main advantages of having a public IP, security concerns are a serious tradeoff. So keep that in mind when you’re wondering what your IP address is.
Thanks For Reading
More Read On Tech Bable