What is my IP address?

IP addresses are essential pieces of the Internet mechanism as they are used to identify the computers that are interconnected through the World Wide Web.

What is an IP address?

Each device on a network must have a unique identifier. As you would use an address to send a letter in the mail or an email, computers use this unique identifier to send data to a specific device on the network. Today, most networks, including all computers connected to the Internet, use the TCP/IP protocol to communicate to other devices or computers on the network. The unique identifier for a computer or device is called its IP (Internet Protocol) address in the TCP/IP protocol.

An IP address has two main functions: location addressing, and network or host interface identification.

IPv4 vs. IPv6

Two different standards for IP addresses are used nowadays - IP Version 4 (IPv4) and IP Version 6 (IPv6). All computers with an IP address have an IPv4 address, while many also use the new IPv6 address system.

  • IPv4 uses 32 binary bits to generate a unique address. An IPv4 address consists of 4 numbers separated by dots. Each number is a decimal (base-10) representation for an eight-digit binary (base-2) number, also called an octet. For example, your public IP: 34.203.225.78.

    YOUR PUBLIC IP ADDRESS IS: 34.203.225.78

    What is my IP address - IPv4 address
  • IPv6 uses 128 binary bits to generate a unique address. An IPv6 address consists of 8 groups of hexadecimal (base-16) numbers separated by colons, for example, 1998:efbc:0000:0000:0000:0000:13ba:8361. Groups of numbers that only contain zeros are often left out to save space, leaving a colon separator to mark the gap (e.g., 1998:efbc:::::13ba:8361).
    What is my IP address - IPv6 address

What is my IP address?

The IP address of your computer is very important for your online presence. Although you won’t often need to know it, there are cases where you need to know your own IP address, e.g., for online gaming. There are online sites like XMyIP.com that allows you to find your own IP address.

What is my local IP or private IP address?

When a computer is connected to a router, the router will assign a local IP address to the computer automatically, unless the default settings of the router have been changed. The local IP address is only used inside a private network. It is normally not necessary to know the local IP address unless a game or web server is being set up.

The local IP address or private IP address can change when other devices are connected to the same network. Most network routers assign IP addresses starting at 192.168.1.2 (they use 192.168.1.1) and then increase the last digit with each new device that is connected.

Instead of letting the router automatically assign IP addresses to devices as they are connected, specific IP addresses can be assigned to devices in the router’s control panel. This is called a static local IP address, and if this is configured, a device will always receive the same local IP address when it connects.

What is my external IP or public IP address?

ISPs (Internet Service Providers) assign external IP addresses when a computer is connected to the Internet. When a webpage is requested, the browser sends this IP address as part of the request. The ISP uses this to determine which computer requests which webpage. Any website that is visited will also have access to this IP address.

Websites also have IP addresses of its own, although you don’t need to know what they are. When the domain name is typed, e.g., "www.microsoft.com," a DNS (Domain Name Server) looks up the IP address for the website. Domain names are user-friendly names that point to computer-friendly IP addresses.

How do I locate my IP address?

An IP address is needed to connect a computer to the Internet. If the computer is connected directly to the switch (or gateway) provided by an ISP, the computer gets the public IP address from your ISP. If the computer is however connected to the Internet with a router within a private network, the computer gets a private IP address from your router, and the router receives the public IP address from the ISP.

To find the public IP address of a private network, there are several utilities available on the internet that will see the IP address.

The simplest method to get your public IP address is to load an IP lookup website in your browser. It will show your external IP address, as well as IP address location like the ISP that assigned the IP, the location (city, state, country), the hostname, etc.

YOUR PUBLIC IP ADDRESS IS: 34.203.225.78

How to get your private IP address on Windows

For machines running Windows, it is possible to find the private IP address of the computer by using one of the following methods.

  • Using the DOS command prompt to get your private IP.

    Open a DOS command prompt by typing cmd in the Start menu’s Search Box. Typing the ipconfig command on the command prompt will show you your IP address.
    What is my IP address - Private IP - Windows IPconfig Command
  • Using the Network and Internet Settings.

    In Windows 10, go to Start > Settings > Network & Internet > Status > Change connection properties. Scroll down, and you will see the private IPv4 address of the current connection.
    What is my IP address - Private IP - Windows Network and Internet Settings

How to get your private IP address on Mac OS

For machines running Mac OS, it is possible to find the private IP address of the computer by using one of the following methods.

  • Using the ifconfig command in the Terminal app.

    Open the Terminal app (Launchpad > type Terminal). Enter the following command: ifconfig | grep "inet."
    What is my IP address - Private IP - MacOS Ifconfig Command
  • Using the MacOC System Preferences Network configuration screen.

    Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Network. Your private IP address will be visible to the top-right (take a look at the screenshot below).
    What is my IP address - Private IP - MacOS Preferences Network

How to hide my IP address?

Hiding your IP address involves use a software or hardware tool that masks your public IP address. Thus, you will be able to unblock restricted websites, browse anonymously, hide your online actities, protect yourself from hackers while using public Wifi networks. Check the hide IP tools that we recommend.

Summary

Every computer or device on a network, including the Internet, need a unique identifier called the IP address. This address is used for location addressing, and network or host interface identification.

Although it is generally not required that you know what your computer’s IP address is, there are cases where you will need it, especially to set up specific types of servers. When this happens, it is easy to find both your private and public IP addresses.