What Is An IP Address? How Do I Find Mine?

The Internet is an increasingly important part of modern life. We use it for everything from finding a job to getting directions to watching cute puppy videos. So it's not a bad idea to be as informed as possible about how it works. An important part of that is understanding what an IP address is and why it's so important. Next time you have a problem with your wifi, you'll be glad you took the time to learn. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

How Important are IP Addresses?

An IP address is crucial for all forms of Internet activity. Without one, you might as well not have an online connection at all. If you sent someone a letter without a return address, you shouldn't expect a reply. Similarly, if you tried to go to a website without an IP address, you wouldn't be very successful. The website's server would have no idea where to send the content, because they wouldn't be able to identify your computer.

Terms Used to Classify IP Addresses

  1. Static: a permanent IP address
  2. Dynamic: a temporary IP address
  3. Private: used between devices on the same network
  4. Public: allows for communication across networks

Public vs Private IP Addresses

Some devices tend to be assigned public IP addresses, while others are typically private.

Public IP Private IP
Home Printer
Email Server
Home Computer
Wireless Router

How Does the Internet Work?

When Do I Need to Know My IP Address?

It probably won't come up on a day-to-day basis. But it's good to have on hand in certain situations.

  • Logging into your router
  • Using remote access software
  • Setting up your home network
  • Getting a 0.0.0.0 error

Conclusion

IP addresses make the Internet as we know it possible. They make it possible for a phone in California so send a funny .gif to a a laptop in Australia. And if you know how to find yours, you'll be prepared for any network connectivity problem that comes your way. In this digital age, you can never know too much about your computer.

In Depth

Many people use the Internet to find information, communicate, watch videos, play games, and much more. But not everyone knows that in order for them to do these things, they need to have an IP address.

An Internet Protocol address is a distinctive identifying number assigned to a particular device, such as a personal computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. When these devices are connected to the Internet, they each have a unique IP address.

To illustrate, imagine your computer is a house. The IP address would act in the same way as a street address. If someone wants to mail you a letter or a package, they'll need to know where to send it. And if they have the wrong number or street name, it might get sent to the wrong person by mistake.

The IP address would act in the same way as a street address.

Similarly, if you are sending an email, or chat, it must be sent to the right destination. While the person sending the message probably doesn't know your IP address, their computer does. These addresses are, in fact, what allows different devices to interact with each other. Without them, no form of Internet communication would be possible.

There are four terms used to classify IP addresses. These are private, public, static, and dynamic. Your home computer probably uses a private IP address to communicate with your router and any other devices in your home, especially those in your private network.

On the other hand, public IP addresses are usually used outside of your network, and are assigned by your Internet service provider. Private and public IP addresses can either be static or dynamic, depending on the server they're assigned to. A static IP address is permanent and will never change. A dynamic IP address is temporary, which means a new one will be assigned to your device every time you access the Internet.

A dynamic IP address is temporary, which means a new one will be assigned to your device every time you access the Internet.

The most common IP system is called version 4. IPv4 consists of 32 bits of binary information. This translates into four numbers, separated by decimal points. Most modern devices access the Internet through an IPv4 address.

There are different ways to find your IP address. First, you need to know what operating system is running on your computer. If you're a Mac User, click on the Apple icon on the upper left-hand corner of your screen. Scroll down and select System Preferences. Click "Network" and select your connection. Your IP address will be listed directly beneath your connection status.

The steps are a little less intuitive for Windows users. First, click the start menu and select "Run." A box will pop up on your screen. Type c m d into that box and click "OK." Then, when a prompt box appears, type i p con fig, and your IP address will appear.

Then, when a prompt box appears, type i p con fig, and your IP address will appear.

If you have trouble following those steps, you can try going online instead. Simply type "How to find my IP address" into Google. At the top of the search results, you should see a box containing your IP address. If this feature isn't working for you, don't worry. Your search will reveal a wide variety of websites that are dedicated to telling you what your IP address is.

You probably don't need to know your IP address on a day to day basis. But there are a few instances where the knowledge can come in handy. Like if you're troubleshooting a problem with your network, logging into your router, or using software that allows you to access your computer remotely.