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Everything You Need to Know About an IP Address

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What's an IP Address, and Why Is It Important?

An IP (Internet Protocol) address identifies a computer/server on the internet. It allows different devices, such as smartphones, computers, and IoT devices, to communicate with each other across the internet and on local networks.

The IP address takes the form of a dotted-quad number, such as 128.175.13.92. No other computer/server on the same network or the internet can have the same IP address at the same time.

When we use domain names to access a website or online service, we use a human-readable shortcut corresponding to the server's IP address. DNS servers automatically translate domain names into IP addresses each time we use a domain name.



What Are the Different Types of IP Addresses?

Let's take a look at different types of IP addresses:

  • Public IP address - Assigned to devices so they can be directly accessed over the internet. Public IP addresses are unique across the entire web to ensure each device has a distinct address.
  • Private IP address - Used within private networks and is not routable on the internet. Private IP addresses allow for devices within the same network to communicate with each other without using public IP addresses. They are defined in specific ranges, with common ones being 192.168.x.x for IPv4 and fd00::/8 for IPv6.
  • Dynamic IP address - Usually temporarily assigned to devices (smartphones, computers, or routers) to provide security and anonymity. Every time a device tries to connect to the ISP's (Internet Service Provider) network, it will be assigned an available IP from the pool, which will then be returned after connection and assigned to another device.
  • A Static IP address - A fixed IP address usually used for running servers or hosting websites. Bluehost supports this. Users can connect domains to servers with a static IP address, making their websites accessible. The network administrator or ISP provides a fixed IP address.
  • shared IP address - An IP address used by multiple websites or hosting accounts on a single server. This is a common configuration in web hosting environments, especially in shared hosting plans where the service cost is reduced because several users share resources of a single server (including its IP address). Shared IPs are affordable and enough for most small to medium websites without specific IP configuration needs.
  • dedicated IP address - An IP address exclusively assigned to a single hosting account or website. It provides unique benefits, like access to your website directly via its IP address, improved email deliverability, and the need for certain applications and services, like SSL certificates, for securing a website. Dedicated IPs are particularly helpful for larger websites or those with specific technical requirements that shared IPs can't meet.

IP Address Allocation

IP Address Allocation simplifies how the internet knows where to send data. Organizations called Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) are in charge of giving out IP addresses to make sure everyone on the internet can have their own unique address, regardless of their specific region.

There are five main RIRs around the world, each taking care of a different part of the globe:

  • African Network Information Centre (AFRINIC) covers Africa.
  • American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) looks after the US, Antarctica, Canada, and parts of the Caribbean.
  • Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) manages East Asia, Oceania, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.
  • Latin America and Caribbean Network Information Centre (LACNIC) is responsible for Latin America and most of the Caribbean.
  • Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC) takes care of Europe, Central Asia, Russia, and West Asia.

This is the allocation for the IP addresses:

  • Private IP addresses - Assigned to devices within a local network by a router. This enables devices within the same network to communicate with each other.
  • Public IP addresses - Assigned to devices by an Internet Service Provider (ISP). This type of IP address is used for communication over the internet. It allows devices to be identified on the global network.
  • Dynamic IP addresses - Assigned to devices either by a router (for local networks) or by an ISP (for internet connections) and can change over time. These are typically used for consumer internet connections.
  • Static IP addresses - Manually assigned to a device and don't change. They are used for specific needs such as hosting a website or a gaming server, where a constant address is necessary for reliable access.

How to Find Your IP Address on Different Devices

The instructions on finding your IP Address will differ depending on your device. The links below will lead you to the support or community sites for the device you may be using:

If you're looking for instructions on finding your public IP address, please see our article on how to find your public IP address.

Whitelisting or Blacklisting of IP Addresses

  • IP whitelisting is a security technique that limits access to a system or network by only allowing specific IP addresses considered safe and trustworthy. This approach protects your business from unauthorized access and helps you control who can access your tools and software. For instructions on how to whitelist an IP address, see Whitelist IP Address.
  • If your local IP has been blacklisted due to suspicious activity, review the article If Your Local IP is Blacklisted for instructions on what to do.

Common Security Threats of IP Addresses

IP addresses are crucial for online interactions but also pose security risks. These are common security threats associated with IP addresses:

  • DDoS attacks (Distributed Denial of Service). Attackers can target the IP address of a service, website, or network by flooding it with excessive traffic to overload systems and disrupt services.
  • IP spoofing. Malicious parties can disguise their internet communication by changing packet headers to make it appear as though the packet is coming from a trusted, legitimate source. They'll get unauthorized access which causes a service to misbehave.
  • Man-in-the-middle attacks. By intercepting the communication between two systems, attackers can use IP addresses to eavesdrop or alter the communication without either party knowing.
  • IP scanning and sniffing. Hackers use automated tools to scan ranges of IP addresses for open ports and vulnerabilities. Once a vulnerable service is identified, it can be exploited to gain unauthorized access.
  • Brute force attacks. By attempting to access a range of IP addresses with numerous password combinations, attackers will aim to break into networks or systems.
  • Phishing and pharming. Phishing involves tricking individuals into providing sensitive data by mimicking legitimate requests, which directs users to enter their personal information at a fake website whose IP address is controlled by the attacker. Pharming takes this further by redirecting users from legitimate websites to fraudulent ones via IP address manipulation.
  • Zero-day vulnerabilities. Newly discovered vulnerabilities in software or hardware that are unknown to the vendor can be exploited before a fix is available. Attackers may target specific IP addresses known to use the vulnerable software.

How to Protect Your IP Address Online

There are different methods to protect your IP address online, such as using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) or a proxy server. To learn more, check out the following articles: What Are the Benefits of VPN? How VPNs Protect You and Cloudflare Guide.

Summary

This guide covers everything you need to know about IP addresses, including their importance in identifying computers and servers on the internet. Learn more about the different types of IP addresses and how to find and protect your IP address. It also touches on the benefits of using a VPN or a proxy server to safeguard your IP address, as well as IP whitelisting and blacklisting. Moreover, the article provides various resources that allow you to find your IP address on different devices, as well as how to find your public IP address.

If you need further assistance, feel free to contact us via Chat or Phone:

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You may also refer to our Knowledge Base articles to help answer common questions and guide you through various setup, configuration, and troubleshooting steps.

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