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Unique numbers assigned to any device that connects to the web are called IP addresses. Your computer, phone, tablet, and even your smart TV all have IP addresses. these are used to locate your computer and network as well as your location. There are two IP varieties: IPv4 and IPv6. The distinction is in the pints of possible addresses.
This is similar to what happens on the internet. When you enter a website (https://www.google.com) into your web browser, your device has to look up the corresponding IP for the website. This is because devices can only understand numbers, not the letters you've typed. Once it's found the website s IP, it can then load the correct page on your screen. Your IP address has to be public information so that other devices can communicate with you. Although this is convenient, it doesn’t give you any online privacy.
IPv4 and IPv6 are simply different forms of IP. When IP addresses were first developed, they were all IPv4. It has four main sets of values between 0 and 255, such as 192.168.1.1. IPv6 is the more recent version of the IP and has 8 groups of 4 hexadecimal characters (for example, 2001 cdba 85a3 0370 0000 0000 3257).
IPv6 was necessary because there were only about four billion potential combinations of unique IPv4. Nonetheless, IPv6 offers even more possible combinations of addresses 3.4 billion to be exact.
Even though IPv6 has certain advantages of its own, like quicker data transfer and enhanced security, it won't be entirely phased out for quite some time. It's going to take some time before almost all IPv4 addresses are eliminated. It's because of this that IPv6 and IPv4 will continue to co-exist until they're completely phased out. To support the transition to IPv6, ISPs utilize dual stacking technology to help direct both IPv4 and IPv6 traffic. At this time, your IP will change between the two versions.
When you look up your IP address online, the Internet will respond with your public (or global) IP . Just as every apartment within a city shares the same street address, all devices in the same network use the same public IP. It is assigned to you by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and can be seen by anyone on the internet — including hackers or government surveillance agencies.
However, specific devices need a fixed identifier to talk to each other like when each apartment within a has its own number. In that capacity, your router also assigns private IP addressing to every device. An IP that's a unique number to you cannot be seen by others on the internet.
The IP address assigned to you by your ISP (Internet Service Provider) is known to anyone else on the internet. You can use the free IP lookup tool on this website, or even search Google for it. However, if you wish to look up the IP address of each device on your home network, you should use additional tools found here.
Your IP address reveals the country you are in, city, and zip code. For this reason, ads are often customized to your location. For example, you often see restaurants and local articles based on where your IP address is located. However, this is not the only information it reveals. Everything you do online is linked to your IP.
The best means of hiding your IP address is using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This method uses encryption to conceal your data. It directs the traffic you send and receive through its own servers, obscuring your complete IP address. A VPN isn’t just a privacy safeguard but also ensures that you can access certain geo-restricted content by changing your IP to a country of your choosing.
However, not all VPNs utilize the best available technology, and some may still reveal your IP address. For this reason, it is important to make sure that the VPN you use does not easily disclose your IP.
With a proxy, your internet connection is rerouted via the proxy server so that all your visitors do not see your IP address. This is similar to what a VPN does. However, proxies don't encrypt data, so it's not quite as secure as a VPN.
Tor is a volunteer-operated network that can hide your IP address. You can access it by downloading a free Tor browser on the Tor website. Tor protocols encrypt your IP information to conceal it while applying layers of encryption. Even though your data remain anonymous within the Tor network, your activities outside of the network remain visible to your ISP. It also means that your ISP will be able to see that you used the Tor network, even though it was unable to know what you performed while you were in there. Also, using Tor to browse is very slow because your data passes through many servers.
The easiest way to hide the home network IP address is to utilize your handheld device's mobile hotspot feature. This entails setting up an Internet connection using a handheld device. This method can hide your IP address, but it will not necessarily keep your information private. Your mobile service provider will still be able to see everything you're doing through its network, as your data is not encrypted. However, it's still a quick way to mask your IP address if you feel it's been compromised.