What is an Internet Protocol Address?
An IP address is a unique address that identifies a device on the internet or a local network. Which is the set of rules governing the format of data sent via the internet or local network. They contain location information and make devices accessible for communication.

IP stands for Internet Protocol
  • It is a numerical labelled assigned to each device (e.g:-Computer, printer, mobile) participating in a computer network that uses the internet protocol for communication. 
  • The Internet needs a way to differentiate between different computers, routers, and websites. IP addresses provide a way of doing so and form an essential part of how the internet works.
An IP Address serves two principal functions
  • Host or Network interface Identification.
  • Location Addressing
An IP address is a string of numbers separated by periods. written in a certain format usually stored in text files and displayed in human-readable notations.

IP addresses are expressed as a set of four numbers such as:-172.16.254.1
  • Each number in the set can range from 0 to 255.
  • So the full IP addressing range goes from 0.0.0.0 to 255.255.255.255
IP addresses are mathematically produced and allocated by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), a division of the Internet Corporation for assigned Names and Numbers(ICANN).

Types of IP addresses
There are different categories of IP addresses and within each category.
Every individual or business with an internet service has two types of IP addresses.
  • Private IP addresses
  • Public IP addresses
The terms public and private addresses are related to the network location. i.e. a private IP address is used inside a network, while a public one is used outside a network.

Private IP addresses:-Every device that connects to your internet network has a private IP address. It includes computers, tablets, and smartphones but also any Bluetooth-enabled devices like printers and smart TVs. With the growing IoT, the number of private IP addresses you have at home is probably growing. your router needs a way to identify these items separately so the router generates private IP addresses that are unique identifiers for each device that differentiate them on the network.
Public IP addresses:-A public IP address is the primary address associated with your whole network. While each connected device has its own IP address, they are also included within the main IP address for your network. Your public IP address is provided to your router by your ISP. Your Public IP address is the address that all the devices outside your internet network will use to recognize your network.

Public IP addresses come in two forms
  • Dynamic IP address:-Dynamic IP addresses change automatically and regularly.
  • Static IP address:-In contrast to dynamic IP addresses, static addresses remain consistent. Once the network assigns an IP address, it remains the same.
IP address comes with two versions that currently coexist in the global Internet
  • IP Version 4 (IPv4):-IPv4 addresses are 32 bits long.
  • IP Version 6(IPv6):-IPv6 addresses are 128 bits long.
Classes of IP addresses
The original designers of the IP stack came up with a hierarchical addressing scheme with five ranges called classes.

The ranges are named:-
  • Class A:-IP address range from 0-127 in the first byte designed for very large companies.
  • Class B:-IP address range from 128-191 in the first byte designed for medium-sized companies.
  • Class C:-IP address range from 192-223 in the first byte designed for small companies.
  • Class D:-IP address range from 224-239 in the first byte reserved for multicast addressing. Not used in the public sector.
  • Class E:-IP address range from 240-255 in the first byte reserved for scientific studies. Not used in the public sector.
How to look up IP addresses?
One of the simplest ways to check your IP address is to search "What is my IP address?" on Google. Google will show you the answer at the top of the page. And other websites will show you the same information.

Why do you need to protect your IP address?
With your location showing, you expose yourself to a variety of security and privacy issues such as:-
  • Packet Sniffing:-Hackers can observe your IP traffic to find out sensitive information about you such as your online banking activity.
  • Surveillance:-Your ISP snoop and even governments can spy on your web traffic.
  • Geo Blocking:-Website can see your location and discriminate against you based on it. They can block content and even raise prices.
How to protect your IP address?
Hiding your IP address is a way to protect your personal information and online identity. The two primary ways to hide your IP address are:-
1.Using a proxy server
2.Using a virtual private network (VPN)


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