It’s not a coincidence that the Internet Protocol (IP) is known as an “address.” An IP address serves as an identifier for a device connected to the internet or a local network.
Two types of IP address
There are two types of IP address IP version 4 and IP version 6. There are some differences between the two please find here the main points in this small chart:
|4.3 billion addresses
|Addresses can be reused
|Every device has a unique address
While the Internet will eventually use IPv6 exclusively, IPv4 is still in common use. This article is focusing on IPv4.
Every IP consists of four numbers separated by periods. These numbers can range from 0 to 255, so the total range of IP addresses is 0.0.0.0 through 255.255.255.255.
The numbers are mathematically produced and allocated by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). ICANN is a non-profit organization that was established in the United States in 1998 to help maintain the security of the internet and allow it to be usable by all.
There are also private IP addresses that allow the use of private networks. These addresses are commonly used for local area networks (LANs) in residential, office and enterprise environments.
Also, countries have specific IP address ranges. More information on geo-targeting: Geolocation API
Using IP address ranges, you can purchase MaxMind databases (https://www.maxmind.com/) that help you track where your website visitors are located.
How do the browsers use the IP Addresses?
When you browse the Internet using your computer, you rely on a complex network of servers to make it all work.
The most relevant scenario: When you type a website address (google.com) to the address bar, the browser will do a DNS resolution to interpret the website and show it to you with an HTTP request. More information about the DNS resolution: DNS leak
The communication with those sites happens through a complex network of IP addresses
IP Address from a security/privacy perspective
If you change locations or use a different Wi-Fi, your IP address may be different than it was before. However, your IP address serves as a unique identifier that can be used to learn more about your interests and habits, which could be stored and sold without your knowledge.
While it's easy to change your IP address with VPN or proxy, not all methods are secure.
What can be the solution?
Websites can track your IP address and other elements of your browser to identify personal preferences and demographics. If you do not want to be followed on the Internet or you just want more security and privacy, please check our other articles about the proxy or the fingerprint technologies.