Lookup your real public IPv4 and IPv6 address, Check what your IP address is revealing your Location, ISP, ASN…You can use a VPN or Proxy server to mask your IP address to spoof your loctation.
What Is Your Real Public IP address?
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IP address 101: Detailed explanation
An IP address serves as one of the major means of identification online, and as such, you should have a good understanding of it as a privacy concerned individual online. Keep reading this article to have a better understanding of the concept.
The Internet technology is one that, except you dig deeper, you will not really understand what is going on – and your privacy will be at stake and at the mercy of web services you use. This is connected to the fact that browsers have abstracted and simplified the process of accessing content over the Internet.
With a browser, you do not need to worry about HTTP requests, handshakes, content rendering, and presentation. However, knowing about the underlying technologies and processes that power the web. The IP Address is one of the technologies you should be aware of as a privacy concerned individual.
If you have had the idea that your identity is completely hidden on the Internet, then you must be mistaken, especially if you have not taken certain steps to ensure that on your own. IP addresses are unique and can be used for tracking.
IP addresses provide locational data to web services and could be used to track you, block you from accessing certain content online, geo-target content to you, or enforce certain IP based rules. Fortunately, you can always change your IP address and circumvent restrictions.
What is an IP Address?
Let me put it to you in simple words. An IP address is the identity of your computer or Internet-enabled device connected to the Internet. It is unique, and no two devices on the Internet share the same IP address unless, in a few situations, engineered knowingly.
If two devices share the same IP address, this could lead to an IP address conflict issue. Because IP addresses are unique, they have become one of the most important devices unique identifiers used on the Internet. The definition I gave earlier is simplistic and does not really provide much detail.
Technically, an IP address is a numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. The Internet Protocol is the set of rules governing the format of data sent over the Internet, and the IP address is an integral part of it.
IPv4 and IPv6 address formats
IP addresses are presented in human-readable formats and can either be a 32-bit number in the case of IPv4 IP addresses or in128 bits in the case of IPv6 address. While IP addresses are made to be globally unique, some IP addresses are meant to be used in a private network and, as such, are not globally unique.
- IPv4 address: 0.0.0.0–255.255.255.255
- IPv6 address: X***:X***:X***:X***:X***:X***:X***:X***
IP addresses are assigned to devices by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). It might interest you to know that for every web request you send, your IP address is bundled along with it. But do you know your IP address?
Most Internet users do not know their IP address, but the web services they use know. If you want to know your IP address, you can make use of an IP address checker service. I will recommend you visit the WhatIsMyIPAddress website to check your IP address.
What Information Does IP Address Reveal?
IP addresses reveal information about your location. However, the body has thought it well and developed it in such a way that it does not reveal a precise detail of your location – web administrators can be criminally minded, you know.
All you can know about an IP address is a general detail about its location. From an IP address, you can know the country, state, and even city it is being used from. But that’s where it ends – it can’t be used for precisely knowing one’s location.
But there’s a catch, and you need to be attentive here. While it does not reveal your precise location, it can be used for detecting your online activities. If someone that knows what he is doing gets hold of your IP address, he could use it to dig out online activities associated with the IP address, such as the message boards to post to, what you shared online, and more.
With the information gathered and stitched, you will be marveled at how you can be profiled – and done accurately. Online ads network can use that to serve you better ads, your ISPs can detect your online activities, and security agencies can use that to actually track you.
Read more, What Does an IP Address Tell You?
Use of IP Addresses
As stated earlier, all devices connected to the Internet have an IP address. From your device to the web server you are requesting a resource from to the CDN network it has to pull the resource from. What then is the importance of IP addresses?
What are they useful for? There are two basic uses of IP addresses, and this includes the identification of network interfaces (sending and destination host) as well as the path to the hosts.
So basically, an IP address does not only help in identifying a device in a network but also the path leading to the device. IP addresses are backed into the Internet Protocol and must be used for communication to take place.
While the above sums up the basic use of IP addresses, websites and web services on the Internet have device a number of other uses because of their unique nature and the locational information they provide, websites can use IP addresses to block someone from accessing their service.
It can also be used because of the locational data to geofence web content and prevent users outside of a certain region from accessing the content. Take, for instance, Netflix US is available to online users accessing it from the US only. Google uses one's IP address to geo-target search results.
Types of IP Address
Not all IP addresses are created equally. IP addresses are divided into types and classes. This section of the article will be used to discuss the types of IP addresses available.
Private vs. Public IP Addresses
In terms of privacy and exposure to the Internet, there are two types of IP addresses – private and public. For private IP addresses, they are not exposed to the Internet. They are the IP addresses used in home or office network.
Take, for instance, you have a smart TV, PC, smart microwave, and other IoT devices connected to your home router, the router needs a means of identifying each device in order to communicate with them, and as such, it assigns private IP addresses to each.
These addresses are unique in your home network but not unique globally as other homes or office networks can use the same. However, while the IP addresses assigned to these devices are private, the IP address of the router is exposed to the Internet and has to be unique.
The router’s IP address is a public IP address. Public IP addresses are the IP addresses exposed to the Internet. Public IP addresses are assigned by ISPs.
How to Find Your Local Network IP Address
Win + R > Type in “ipconfig”
Static Vs. Dynamic IP Addresses
Static IP addresses are those IP addresses that do not change. They are static IPs, and when assigned to you, they are assigned permanently until you request a change of it from your network administrator. These are the IPs used by websites.
Forget the domain name of websites, the actual addresses to websites are IP addresses, and each website has its own – domain name has been introduced to make it memorable. Unlike static IP addresses, dynamic IP addresses are temporarily assigned to devices.
Take, for instance, because of the limited number of mobile IP addresses available, Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), the ISPs of mobile devices dynamically assign IPs to mobile devices. For this reason, the IP address of a smartphone can change twice in a day – sometimes, just rebooting your device will get the IP address to change.
Problems Associated with IP Addresses
As an Internet user, you need to know that there are certain risks your IP address exposes you to. Generally, there are two basic risks associated with IP addresses. These include security and privacy breach.
Security Risks Associated with IP Address
It might interest you to know that the same way you connect to the Internet, the Internet is also connected to your device directly. With this, cybercriminals can exploit vulnerabilities and access your device. One thing you need to know is that not all devices are exploitable and as such, you need not worry about yourself.
However, it is important you buy only devices that are not hackers friendly and secure. Another thing you need to consider is that using your real IP address, hackers cannot only gain access to your network but can also perform a DDoS attack to overload your device will request and drop down your Internet connection speed.
Fortunately, it is not a must you expose your real IP address when surfing the Internet as you can spoof your IP address – thereby staying protected as your real IP address is not exposed.
Privacy Issues Associated with IP Address
When you hear about Internet users opting to make use of technologies that will spoof their real IP address, there is a high chance that they are doing this for privacy reasons and not even because of their security. This means that privacy invasion is one of the major concerns Internet users have with IP address. this is because an IP address is unique to a device at any given time.
With your real IP address, you cannot shy away from the surveillance radar of your ISP, government/security agencies, as well as marketing agencies online. Since all of your actions online have your IP footprint on it, then anyone will access many websites and web services online either legally or illegally via hacking can detect your online activities, sites you visit, and even sentiments regarding certain actions.
There is a case of a political figure whose IP address was used to discover that he is a regular visitor of a porn site. This is just the tip of an iceberg of what an exposed IP address can cause you.
How to Spoof Your IP Address
Despite the issues your IP address expose you to, there is one aspect of it that you will like – it can be changed. Yes, an IP address is not attached from the device manufacture but by your ISP, and you can decide to keep an IP address or change it. Let take a look at some of the ways you can change your IP address.
Request a Change of IP Address from your ISP
An IP address is not a death sentence, and no one is forcing you to stick to a certain IP address. If you feel your IP address has been blocked on a certain site or you are being trailed, you can request a change of the IP address assigned to your device from your ISP, and they will do just that.
Turn Internet Connectivity off – and Give it some time
The above is important if you have been assigned a static IP address permanently. For many devices, including mobile devices, the IP addresses assigned to them are not permanent but are assigned dynamically due to the shortage of IPv4 IP address. for this reason, you do not have to reach out to your ISP to get the IP address assigned to your device changed. All that you need to do is switch off the Internet connection and give it some time.
When you switch it on again, you will be reassigned a different IP address. In fact, web services do not easily block mobile IP addresses because the know the offender will likely get reassigned a different one and get away with it.
Switch ISP or Network Adapter
Sometimes, your ISP might not be ready to yield to your requests, or contacting them might not come easy, as in the case of ISPs in some developing regions of the world, and as such, you can just change your ISP. Aside from changing ISP, if you are on mobile, you can just change the SIM card. Changing the network adapter ofa computer will also force a change of IP address.
With any of the above methods, what you will achieve is a change in the IP address assigned to your device by your ISP. In some situations, what you require is not a change of IP address.
All you need is your IP address masked – this means that while you maintain your IP address, the one that gets detected by web services you send web requests to is an arbitrary one different from your real IP address.
If you are into Internet marketing or just want your privacy to uphold as a privacy concerned individual, what you should be after is spoofing your IP address and not changing it. Below are some of the methods you can spoof your IP address and get different ones to use for accessing the web.
Use a VPN Service
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a secure private network through which Internet traffic can be routed to its destination. VPN services ensure your safety and privacy by not only replacing the IP address in your web requests with a different one but also encrypt your traffic to make it useless to any eavesdropper.
For you to make use of a VPN service, you will need to have it installed on your device. They are perfect for unblocking websites and accessing websites that enforce IP restrictions and content geofencing, such as Netflix. Some of the best options available to you includes ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and SurfShark.
Use a Proxy Server
Proxies are just like VPN services; they swap your real IP address with a different one, thereby keeping your real IP address hidden from the web services you use.
However, unlike VPN services that you need to install software, all you need to make use of a proxy server is to configure your device proxy setting with the IP and port pair of the proxy server and authenticate using the supported authentication method. Also, why traffic is encrypted in VPN, proxies do not encrypt data.
Another key difference is that proxy setting is at the application level. There is a default proxy setting, but some websites can boycott them to reveal your real IP address while VPN is at the system level, and all web traffic is forced through the VPN server.
Unlike VPN services, proxies are used mostly in Internet marketing when you need to rotate IP addresses frequently. Some of the best proxy service providers in the market include Luminati, Smartproxy, Soax, and MyPrivateProxy.
- The Difference Between Shared IP Proxies and Private IP Proxies
- What’s The Difference Between a Proxy and a VPN?
Aside from proxies and VPN, there are other methods you can use to mask your IP address, including using the Tor browser that utilizes the Tor network. Tor is free but slow and, as such, might not be what you want.
Looking at the above, you can see that IP addresses are an integral part of the modern web, even with the risks associated with them.
The important takeaway is that you can always change your IP address or mask it with an arbitrary one other than your real IP address. By masking your real IP address with a different one from a secure high-quality provider, you are shielded from most of the security and privacy risks.