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Navigating Private and Public IP Addresses

In the vast landscape of the internet, devices communicate with each other using unique identifiers known as IP addresses. These IP addresses come in two primary flavors: public and private. Understanding the differences between these addresses and how they function is crucial for anyone navigating the digital realm. 

Public IP Addresses

A public IP address is like a digital passport that identifies a device on the internet. It is unique across the entire internet and is assigned by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Public IP addresses play a pivotal role in enabling devices to communicate over the internet and connect to websites, servers, and other online resources.

How are Public IP Addresses Assigned?

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are the gatekeepers of public IP addresses. When you connect to the internet through your ISP, they assign your device a public IP address. This address is visible to other devices on the internet and is crucial for global internet communication.

Practical Usage of Public IP Addresses

Public IP addresses are essential for devices that require direct access over the internet. Web servers, email servers, and any device that interacts with the global network utilize public IP addresses. These addresses allow them to be reachable and accessible from anywhere in the world.

Private IP Addresses

How are Private IP Addresses Assigned?

Local network routers take charge of assigning private IP addresses. Each device within the same local network is assigned a unique private IP address. These addresses exist within specific ranges reserved by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), such as 10.0.0.0 to 10.255.255.255 and 172.16.0.0 to 172.31.255.255.

Practical Usage of Private IP Addresses

Private IP addresses are the building blocks of secure local networks. Computers, printers, smartphones, and various other devices within a home or office network use private IP addresses to communicate with each other. This segregation ensures that internal communication remains private and is not exposed to the broader internet.

Public vs. Private IP Addresses

Let’s summarize the key differences between public and private IP addresses:

AspectPublic IP AddressPrivate IP Address
AssignmentBy ISPsBy Local Network Routers
UniquenessUnique across the internetUnique within the local network
AccessibilityDirectly accessible over the internetNot directly accessible over the internet
Practical UsageGlobal internet communicationLocal network communication
Example DevicesWeb servers, email servers, global-access devicesComputers, printers, devices within the same network

Finding Your IP Addresses

If you’re curious about discovering the IP addresses of your devices, here are some methods:

For Public IP Addresses:

For Private IP Addresses:

Changing Your IP Address

Changing the IP address of your device should be approached with caution. Here are general steps for changing the IP address based on the type of device you are using:

For Windows:

  1. Open Control Panel and select Network and Sharing Center.
  2. Choose Change adapter settings.
  3. Double-click the connection you want to change.
  4. Select Properties.
  5. Choose Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4).
  6. Either alter the IP address or select “Obtain an IP address automatically” to have the router control.

For Mac:

  1. Go to System Preferences > Network.
  2. Select a network > Advanced.
  3. Go to the TCP/IP tab and select “Manually.”
  4. Enter the new IP address.

For iOS:

  1. Open Settings > Wi-Fi.
  2. Tap the circled “i” next to the network.
  3. Select “Configure IP” > “Manual.”
  4. Set up the new IP.

For Android:

  1. Go to your Android settings.
  2. Tap Wireless & Networks.
  3. Go to the WiFi.
  4. Tap and hold the WiFi network you’re connected to.
  5. Tap Modify Network.
  6. Expand or go to the Advanced options.
  7. Change your Android’s IP address in the IP settings from DHCP to Static.

Changing your IP address should only be done if you have a good understanding of networking concepts or with assistance from a knowledgeable individual.

Evgeny Sevastyanov

Client Support Teamleader

    Ready to get started?



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