What is an IP address?
Before answering ‘what is my IP address?’, we need to understand what an IP address is. Internet Protocol (IP) address is a series of numbers which identifies devices connected to a network. IP addresses are also used by computers, smartphones, tablets and any computing devices to connect with one another on different networks and the internet. Each IP address is unique, in fact it works almost like a street address or a telephone number in the way that it specifically identifies a house from other houses. Doing an IP address lookup will tell you enough information to locate the device, the internet provider, and the type of the device.
A series of numerals are separated by periods to form each IP address. There are four numbers, and each one has a range of 0 to 255. Here’s an example of an IP address: 22.214.171.124
To uniquely identify each computer, router, and website on the internet, we require billions of IP addresses. A new IPv6 protocol has been created to solve the eventual shortage of unique IP addresses.
What is my IP address?
So, to answer your question “what is my IP address?’, you need to know that it is super easy to check your IP address using the internet. Use our tool from this site to check your IP address and IP location. Access the site from any of your devices and it will automatically show your IP address and the data it contains like IP location, internet provider, country, etc.
If you want to get more data from an IP address that isn’t yours, you can use an IP address lookup tool.
How does an IP address work?
Your internet service provider (ISP) assigns your IP address as soon as you are connected to the internet. ISPs are in charge of giving your device an IP address because they give you access to the internet. If AT&T or T-Mobile is your ISP, for example, they are in charge of giving your devices IP addresses. Your online activity first goes to your ISP, and then it is promptly forwarded to your device via your IP address. So, an IP address is required for your device to be able to send and receive information from the internet.
There are two types of IP address: IPv4 and IPv6.
What is an IPv4 address?
Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) address was first introduced in 1984. It is the fourth version of IP which regulates the networks operating on the premise of packet exchange. Due to its addressing system, it may distinguish between different devices connected to the network. Any time a device connects to the Internet, it receives a special IP address in the form of a number like this: 126.96.36.199
IPv4 address uses a 32-bit system which allows for the storage of 4.19 billion addresses. The number of end users connected to the Internet is growing, which causes IPv4 addresses to run out. In order to meet the demand for more Internet addresses, IPv6 - the new Internet addressing system - is currently being implemented.
What is an IPv6 address?
Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) address was first introduced in 1999 due to the growing demand and shortage of IP addresses.
Unlike its version 4 predecessor, IPv6 uses a 128-bit system which can store a staggering amount of addresses, up to 340 undecillion.
Here’s what IPv6 address looks like: 684D:1111:222:3333:4444:5555:6:77
Although IPv6 addresses are less common than IPv4 addresses, you should experience faster, safer, and more reliable internet data transfers if you are using one.
What are the main differences between IPv4 and IPv6 addresses?
- IPv4 addresses feature a numeric format with dots between the binary bits (.). IPv6 addresses, on the other hand, are alphanumeric and separated by columns (:).
- IPv4 addresses are 32 bits in size by design while IPv6 addresses are 128 bits.
- IPv4 includes checksum fields, whereas IPv6 does not.
- IPv4 is less suited for mobile networks because of its usage of the dot-decimal format. Mobile networks benefit greatly from IPv6's use of hexadecimal, colon-separated syntax.
What is my IP location?
A common misconception when people ask ‘what is my IP address?’ is that they think their IP address reveals their exact location. When an IP address is detected, an IP checker tool searches a database to determine the precise region of the world that the IP address is mapped to. Although an IP lookup may show where the device is located to some degree, it does not show the precise location. IP address lookup only shows broad locations like city, country and region. It also shows the ISP that you are using.
It might not be super accurate though, you can do an IP address lookup on different sites, and they will probably show different locations from the same IP address.
What can someone do with my IP address?
Obviously, your IP address will provide information to someone who knows what your IP address is. But, how far can one go with the information?
If someone knows your IP address, here’s what they can do:
- Track your activity: Your ISP, the government, your browser, social media, the websites you visit, and all other online tools and advertisements are always keeping an eye on everything you do online. Many use this information in conjunction with your IP address to locate you. All of this information is kept on servers located all over the world, building a digital history of your online behavior. By simply knowing your IP address, no one can directly learn anything about your online actions, but they can legally monitor you through certain channels. By breaking into the systems of businesses that have previously saved your data, cybercriminals can take your information.
- Determine your location: Like we said before, your IP contains the information of your device approximate whereabouts.
- Hit you with a DDoS attack: During a DDoS attack, a hacker-controlled army of computers floods your device with traffic until it disconnects from the internet and shuts down entirely.
- Impersonate you online: Cybercriminals are known to utilize hijacked IP addresses to do illegal stuff on the internet.