What is the Role of the IP Address?

IP address means Internet Protocol Address in literal terms. The IP is basically a set of rules that allows communication on the internet. It may include video streaming or website connection. It identifies devices on the internet or a network.

IP addresses dating back to the early 80s when the internet used to be a military private network. It was IPv4 at the time and had a total of 4.3 billion addresses. This may sound like a lot of addresses, but it is not nearly enough. There are a lot of smartphones, computers, and tablets connected to the internet. This does not include the IoT devices that many homes use.

The world has run out of IPv4 addresses since the 90s, and the Internet Engineering Task Force introduced IPv6 around a decade ago. Now, it has around 340 undecillion addresses in its pool. This means that it is not possible to run out of addresses anytime soon. IPv6 is slowly taking over IPv4. Until then, both will continue to coexist.

How IP addresses work

For example, a post office uses physical addresses to show them the real-world location of your address. That is how all mail is routed. It is how other people know where to search for you and where you reside.

These descriptions all apply to IP addresses but in a digital way. The IP address is where the computer resides in a virtual way. They identify your network server, computer, device, or your favourite network. They are also important for receiving and sending information. IP addresses route internet traffic to where it’s supposed to go and direct emails into your inbox.

Every active device that uses an internet connection has an IP address.

What is my IP?

There are two kinds of IP addresses so far. They are public and local IP addresses. The public IP address is often given by an internet service provider. This makes it possible for the internet to recognize your network. Every device on a local network has a unique IP address. It is assigned by your internal network or the router.

Your IP address may be needed to set up printers or solve other technical issues with your network.  If you have problems that cannot be fixed on your network, then knowing your public IP address is necessary.

For example, you may need to provide the information to a tech support person if you have internet connectivity issues. Also, if you want someone to get permission to administer a network remotely, you need your IP address.

So, what is my IP address? There are so many ways to check and some websites provide the information at no cost. Why should you check? If you already know your IP address, you should check nonetheless. In some cases, the address can change. If it is not a static address, then it could change. ISPs have the right to change it for business reasons.

There are so many ways to find your public IP address. You can use an online tool for the faster method or you can try other methods. Online tools can show you your IP address, ISP, and location. You can also find it on your devices such as laptops and smartphones. However, this process may be longer than expected especially if you are not tech-savvy.

While finding your IP address, you may notice two versions. Namely IPv4 and IPv6. There are a lot of differences between both.

IPv4 vs. IPV6

The coming of IPv6 offered more functionality as well as more IP addresses for users. For instance, IPv6 allows users to multicast addresses. It also allows multimedia streams or other bandwidth-intensive packet flows to be sent to several destinations at the same time reducing the network bandwidth.

IPV6 has a feature known as autoconfiguration. It allows devices to generate IPv6 addresses when they power up on the network. The process starts with the device looking for the IPv6 router, and if it finds one, it can generate local and globally routable addresses to allows wider access to the internet. In other IPv4 based networks, you may need to add devices manually.

Also, IPv6 allows some devices to remain connected to several networks at the same time. The configurations and interoperability capabilities make this possible. They allow the hardware to assign multiple IP addresses automatically to the same device.

Is my IP address traceable?

Your IP address is not secure, it is public. As mentioned earlier, there are tools that can help you to find your IP address on the internet. This means that other people can also find your IP address. All you do is tagged with this address from your online shopping activity, your emails, and your browsing history. Anyone who can find your IP address can also find your location. Your IP address is how online ads can track you and feed you adverts based on your likes.

However, it is important to note that it is difficult to link a public IP address with one person in many cases. Since the addresses change, it could be owned by someone else. Still, are there ways to hide your IP address to have a more private browsing experience? Yes, you can do so in many ways but the popular one is using a VPN.

A virtual private network can dissociate your IP address from the location you are in. This tool routes the internet traffic using another network with a completely different IP address. The IP address it uses to mask you can be assigned to another part of the world and this masks you from prying eyes when you use the internet.


Your IP address is important because it is how websites find you to snoop on you when you use the internet. There are two types presently namely IPv4 and IPv6. Both exist even though one has almost run out. It is important to know what it is always because it could change. When you find your IP address, you can then decide to hide it to have a more private browsing session.

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