What's my IP address?
Here's what you need to know in a nutshell.
Why are IP addresses important?
You can't use the internet without one. The internet is a vast network of networks. Every device, from computers and mobile phones to smart devices like Google Home, needs to be identified on the network.
An IP address is like a postal address or phone number. It lets your device contact other devices which have their own IP address. And it allows those devices to identify your device and respond.
An IP address is based on a real-world location. So for example, Google might use your address to provide local results in searches, or weather forecasts.
What does IP mean?
IP stands for Internet Protocol. A protocol is a list of rules, procedures and standards, and the Internet Protocol is one of the most important. It manages how information is directed and delivered across the network.
Who gives me an IP address?
Internet service providers will assign an address since they're the ones connecting you. It could be the service provider for your home internet. Or it could be a shop's service provider if you're using their WiFi.
Is my IP address permanent?
Generally not. As you've seen, your IP address will change depending on where you connect. Even at home, your address won't stay the same. It can change when you switch off your modem, for example.
Why the constant change? Because there aren't enough IP addresses to go around permanently. The solution is to rotate them since all IP addresses aren't always in use.
Most businesses have a permanent or 'static' address to host websites and file servers. But home users generally won’t need one.
Do I need to know my IP address?
Occasionally you might need to find out what it is. For example, when you want to:
Allow other people to connect to your PC, like a tech to fix an issue remotely
To access another device remotely yourself
Troubleshoot network problems
Connect two computers on a network
How do I find my IP address?
An IP address is easy to recognise. It's a series of numbers in a sequence of four separate blocks. An example is 294.546.1.5. It could also be a series of 8 separate blocks. An example of this is 2001:8010:0023:0000:0043:FA93:83BC:0009. Checking your IP address is also easy.
With the internet
Enter “what is my IP” on Google Search. You’ll see the public IP address of the device on which you're searching.
With Windows 10
- Click on Start and select the Settings icon
- Click on Network & Internet
- For a wired connection, select Ethernet on the left menu pane and select your network connection. Your address will appear next to "IPv4 Address".
- For a wireless connection, select WiFi on the left menu pane and click Advanced Options or Hardware Properties. Your address will appear next to "IPv4 Address".
With Apple Mac
- Click on the Apple icon on the upper-left corner of the screen
- Select System Preferences
- Click Network
- Select connection type in the Show dropdown menu
- For a wired connection, choose Built-In Ethernet
- For a wireless connection, choose AirPort.
Good to know
The local IPv4 address will be shown through these menus, not a public IPv4 address, as is the one shown when you search “what is my IP?” in your web browser.
If you are a small business and need a static ip – you can find more information here