An IP address, short for Internet Protocol address, is the unique identifier of a network devices connected to a network. Having an IP address allows a device to communicate with other devices over an IP-based network like the internet, or private home network.
What Does an IP Address Look Like?
Most public IP addresses look like this:
And most private IP addresses look like this:
Other IP addresses you may come across could look like this:
What Is an IP Address Used For?
An IP address provide an identity for networked devices on the Internet. Similar to a home or company address that provides an identifiable address for a specific physical location, devices on the network are distinguished from each other by IP addresses.
If you send a package to a friend in another city, you must know the exact destination. The same general process is used to send data over the Internet. However, computers don't use physical mail addresses, but IP addresses.
Different Types of IP Addresses
Each type of IP address can be an IPv4 address or an IPv6 address.
- Private IP Address: These are used inside a network, for example, a home network that is used by smart speakers, wireless printers, 3d printers, laser cutters or desktop PCs. These types of IP addresses provide a way for devices to communicate with a router and other devices on the private home network. A private IP address can be set manually or assigned automatically by a router.
A private address assigned automatically by the router may change over time. To avoid the change, you can set the address fixed in the router interface.
- Public IP Address: These are used outside the network and allocated by the ISP. This is the main address used by the home or corporate network to communicate with other networked devices around the world (for example, the Internet). It provides a way for devices in the home, for example, it can reach the ISP, which can then reach the outside world, allowing the device to access websites and directly communicate with other computers and servers around the world.