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What is My IP? The Basics of IP Addresses and Your Privacy

What is My IP? The Basics of IP Addresses and Your Privacy
Dec 23, 2021
It is easy to learn your IP address. The real tricky part is knowing the basics of IP addresses. When you discover the details of it, you can find ways to improve your privacy.
Berktug Mutlu
Privacy & Security
What is My IP? The Basics of IP Addresses and Your Privacy - FastVPN
Privacy-conscious individuals understand that hiding your IP is one of the most important aspects of protecting yourself online. Over 12 million IP addresses are used as part of DDoS attacks, making their exposure incredibly dangerous.
Below, we will go through essential reasons you need to protect your public address and how you can do it.

What is an IP Address?

An IP (Internet Protocol) Address is a combination of numbers that identifies your device, among others. It is similar to your physical address, which mail carriers need to know to send packaging.
This address works across global and private networks, ensuring that third-party servers and clients identify you. A unique IP address is part of any device, including a smart toaster or network printer.

How These Addresses Work

An IP is assigned randomly based on TCP/IP protocol. It is most familiar as a 32-bit number with four periods between each set. Here’s is an example:
IPs come in multiple versions depending on their source. The most common options are IPV4 and V6:
  • IPV4 is your standard format separated by three sets of numbers. Because it is older, IPv4 is entirely out of addresses.
  • IPV6 is the current Internet Protocol version that provides a larger address space at 128 bits. The extra length gives IPV6 many more variants with the same identification power.
IPV4 has simple dot-decimal notation, while IPV6 uses colon-separated notation. Its hexadecimal properties provide for much more variance in addresses.

What Your IP Address Can Reveal About You

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Your public address can reveal many different unwanted details about you:
  • Your city
  • Zipcode (area code)
  • Internet Service Provider (ISP)
  • Your online activity
  • Aspects of your identity
While a public address won’t reveal credit card details or your physical address, it does show a lot about your location. Finding out you live in a specific North American city and following your spending habits can be enough for fraudsters to steal your identity.
All of this comes from your public address.

Public vs. Private Addresses

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When checking your IP address, you might notice you receive both addresses. The dual-use comes from the distinction of how private and gigantic networks (like your ISP) identify you. An external computer network is public while your home network is private.
Your private address is suited to your local network. Typically, these private IPs are limited to IPV4, as you likely don’t have enough home devices to take all V4 addresses.
Your public address (IPV6) is generated amongst other people on your shared server that contains the essential data. Even web domains take these public addresses.

What is the relationship between a public address and a web domain?

All websites have a public address to identify themselves on the network. The network, in this case, is the worldwide web.
A connection establishes when one public IP sends data packets to another IP. Think of it like you receive a package from UPS. UPS wouldn’t be very good at their job if they didn’t have your physical address.
The sending of data back and forth must be encrypted to remain secure, so stick with websites that use HTTPS. For your security, it’s best to consider dynamic addresses.

Static vs. Dynamic IPs

IP addresses are generated based on what’s available on the network. However, you can make your network settings stick with a single address, otherwise known as a static IP.
This address is different from a dynamic IP, which changes each time you access the global network. It also prevents conflicts with you and other people on the web you access.
These address types are typically limited to IPV4 addresses, as IPV6 addresses are constantly changing. Plus, you have no control over other IPs.

How Can I Find Out What My IP Address is?

You can find out your IPV6 address at the top of our homepage. You can also find out your current ISP and whether you have a virtual private network (VPN) activated. There are also third-party IPLookup tools.
For alternate methods of finding your IP, here are some steps:

Finding Your IP on Windows

  1. Select Network & Internet under settings
  1. Select Wi-Fi or Ethernet (depending on whether you have a wired or wireless selection)
  1. Right-click on your connection and choose “properties.”
Alternatively, you can type “ipconfig” on your Windows command-line interface. Type “cmd” in your windows search bar, and you will find it.

Finding Your Address on Mac

  1. Open the Apple menu
  1. Select System Preferences
  1. Double click on the network icon
  1. Select Ethernet or Wi-Fi (depending on your connection) and spot the IP in the middle
You can also type “ipconfig getifaddr en1 (or en0)” using the Mac terminal. For your public address, use “Curl”

Finding Your IP on Android and iOS Mobile Devices

Android devices require the following steps:
  1. Open settings
  1. Select “status”
  1. Scroll into you find network details that include the IP address
iPhones and iOS tablets require these steps:
  1. Select Wi-Fi
  1. Choose the blue “i.”
  1. Select DHCP

Finding Your Address on Linux

Typically, ipconfig -a (private) or curl (public) are the go-to for Ubuntu, and Debian-based Linux builds. You can do this using Terminal.
Using GNOME, you can access this from your settings and select the cog next to your connection.
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How to Change Your IP Address

If you want to change your public IP, reset your internet connection by turning it off and on again. If you have a static IP, you will need to enter a new IP manually.
The new IP will conflict with any existing address that matches it. So you might have to go through a few options to see what works.
You might also need to reset your router, as it has its IP address. Having a proxy server (which you can find built into most internet browsers) will also help you mask your IP.
Here’s an image within Firefox’s browser:
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Conclusion – How To Protect Your IP

In the quest for internet privacy, it is up to you to be sure you have complete protection. To ensure you can adequately mask your IP from hackers, your government, and any internet provider, you need a VPN.
FastVPN has military-level encryption, ensuring you get a new IP address that protects your internet location.
As your gateway to the internet, internet browsers are necessary for your daily life. When selecting the best internet options, the options are virtually limitless. But which of these browsers prioritizes your privacy?
We will review the top 15 of these tools for your selection below. But first, an explanation:

What is a Privacy Browser?

A privacy browser is specifically for maintaining your online privacy. A good privacy tool goes beyond selecting incognito mode on your browser, often blocking online trackers automatically.
A privacy browser often will come with methods to quickly delete cookies before they have a chance to track you. These features are integrated out of the box, needing little user interaction to get them done.
With privacy browsing on the rise, you can also expect the field to continue becoming more competitive.

13 of the Best Browsers for Privacy

#1: Mozilla Firefox

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Mozilla Firefox is one of the best browsers for privacy, built off the idea of the Mozilla foundation. Mozilla’s manifesto believes that all people should have access to the internet. However, my interest is in Mozilla’s fourth principle:
Individuals’ security and privacy on the internet are fundamental and must not be treated as optional.
Firefox has browsers across all major platforms: iOS, Android, and Windows. You can also get it on Linux as well.
Firefox also has a specific privacy browser known as Firefox Focus. Mozilla is one of the largest companies maintaining a clear mission emphasizing your privacy.
Mozilla takes this further by offering a VPN, a security monitor, and a relay. You’ve got to pay a good chunk to get these services, but Firefox is an all-in-one deal.
The only drawback is that it requires settings tweaking to ensure it is truly secure.

#2: Tor Browser

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The Tor Project is a unique internet privacy group emphasizing privacy as a human right. It’s been around since the 1990s, becoming a nonprofit organization in 2006. It’s nonprofit focus makes it one of the best browsers for privacy.
The system, accessed by routers and browsers, is part of the onion network. Much like a virtual private server, the onion network bounces your connection from multiple locations, ensuring nobody can track your location.
The Tor Browser is part of this extension to the onion network. As a unique privacy browser, it is also one of the few that has many built-in aspects.
Tor users benefit from having three layers of encryption from multiple nodes. This security measure ensures that your information is incomplete and encrypted even if someone takes your data.
Because the browser is made for privacy, you don’t need to tweak any settings.
As another significant internet project, this tool is available on all major platforms: iOS, Windows, Linux, and Android. It is also open-source, meaning you can quickly get the source code.
Despite how great the organization is, there are a few drawbacks.
The main one comes from internet speed, which can be slower due to the onion routing system. Also, law enforcement and ISPs can still see you access the tor network, meaning you will need to supplement your security with a VPN.

#3: Epic

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