Introduction to the types of IP address for beginners
Networking is a broad topic, and types of IP address formats is uncharted territory for most netizens. On the basic level, you might be familiar with the public address your router has. However, did you know that static IP addresses are permanent and won’t change? In reverse, dynamic ones are bound to be more flexible. There are more types of IP addresses, categorized according to their permanency and internal procedures. Let’s find out more and see how different types of IP addresses work.
What is an IP address?
Before discussing types of IP addresses out there, let’s run through the basic concepts. An IP address (Internet Protocol Address) is a sequence of numbers given to internet-connected devices: computers, routers, servers, etc. An IP address is similar to the physical address you use when sending packages or letters via the post office. It determines your approximate location. Hence, the IP address helps search engines and other online services to adjust deals, shipping expenses, and other information.
Pinpointing you to a specific spot on the map might not seem like a big deal. However, all types of IP addresses make it possible for online service providers to instill geo-restrictions. What does this mean? In some cases, websites can deny service if you are outside the approved geographical scope. Additionally, internet censorship has become more prevalent in recent years. Governments decide to control the incoming stream of content by blocking services or websites deemed unfit.
However, types of IP addresses determine how the string of numbers operates. Users can manually set some of them, while others come to you from the Internet Service Provider (ISP). So, let’s examine the types of IP addresses and see which purposes they can serve.
Types of IP addresses: which and when?
Usually, netizens operate with two types of IP addresses: the private and public ones. All your gadgets have private IP addresses. They help routers determine which devices attempt to connect. However, these strings are not publicly available. Once a gadget connects to the internet, the router gives it the public address. This strategy is a part of the plan to reduce the number of used IP addresses. However, there are more types of IP addresses that you should know about:
- Private. All devices get these unique strings, also referred to as internal or local addresses. Thanks to this type, routers can recognize gadgets and connect them to the internet.
- Public. Such external IP addresses belong to your router and each internet-connected device. When you enter websites that display your IP address, they show this sequence specifically.
- Dynamic. As implied by the name, dynamic IP addresses are bound to change over time. Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) assigns these addresses. Typically, the IP address of your router is not only external but also dynamic.
- Static. When a device gets a static string, it does not change. Gadgets usually get IP addresses from external sources such as your ISP or DHCP. However, you need to configure static types of IP addresses manually. They are very useful when it is critical to preserve the same IP address. For instance, when you host game servers.
- Shared and dedicated. These types of IP addresses belong to websites. When a site operates with a shared IP address, it means that a network of websites uses the same string. However, sites that own dedicated ones do not share them with other domains.
- Loopback. Such IP addresses are special in that they allow devices to send and receive their own data packets. Differently than other types of IP addresses, they usually contribute to various tests.
Is it possible to hide your IP address?
Mostly all types of IP addresses partake in the infamous online tracking practices. Advanced surveillance allows online services, government agencies, and other sources to follow users online and compile information. While such tracking is the fuel for personalizing the content users receive, it is far from being a well-oiled machine. So, whichever types of IP addresses you use, you should know their role in online tracking.
IP addresses reveal users’ geographical location. The pinpointed physical whereabouts might not be highly accurate. However, they are usually enough to establish the country or city in which users reside. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a beneficial option for concealing original IP addresses in the long-run. It will help you virtually travel to another location. Simply connect to the server that suits your needs. Then, online services attempting to track you won’t be able to implement profiling or other privacy-violating actions.