What is an IP Address and Why You Need to Know it Fundamentally?
We are living in a digital era where many innovations and technological advances have changed our lives. In fact, technologies have changed the way we share information and communicate with others. Thanks to the internet, we can visit a bookshop in overseas, places an order, pay for the book, and wait for the book to be delivered to our doorstep, without having to visit the particular shop but the website. Having an IP address enables a device to connect and communicate with other devices over an IP-based network like the internet.
In a nutshell, the IP address is a unique number of your device assigned by your internet service provider. In addition, it allows communication between devices on a network or the Internet.
What is an IP Address for?
An IP address is like the identity of a networked device. People identify and differentiate devices on a network through their respective IP addresses. Similar to the idea of the physical address, the IP address is the identity of a networked device. Simply put, an IP address tells another computer what the computer is trying to communicate to it and which one is requesting information.
Just like the physical address, we have different types of IP Addresses. Though all IP addresses are made up of numbers (or letters), not all IP addresses are used for the same purpose. In general, we have private IP addresses, public IP addresses, static IP addresses, and dynamic IP addresses.
1. Private IP addresses – These types of addresses are used “within” a network. It could be set up either manually or automatically by the user’s router.
2. Public IP – Assigned by ISP, these IP addresses are used on the “outside” of the user’s network (ISP stands for Internet Service Provider).
Please note that both private IP addresses and public IP addresses are either dynamic or static. If an IP address is assigned by a DHCP server, it is a dynamic IP address. A static IP address is assigned manually in the case that a device does not have DHCP enabled or does not support it.
How to Find your IP Address?
Now you know that your IP address shows the address or logical location of your computer [when it is connected to the Internet].
Though you might not need to know your IP address, you might need your PC’s IP address if you want to
- Set up an Internet connection.
- Allow other people to connect to your PC or,
- Troubleshoot network problems.
The easiest way is simply Google search “My IP”, your IP address will appear instantly.
What is a Blocked IP address and Its Causes
Yes, there is a possibility that your IP address is blocked due to the following reasons:
Detection of Malware
One of the most common causes for a blocked IP address is the detection of malware on a device in your network. What you could do is to prevent it with the following steps:
- Update your antivirus software.
- Update your operating system.
- Scan on all of your computers and devices that connect to the internet regularly.
Failed Login Attempts
Yes, multiple failed login attempts [within a short period] cost you more than a blocked account on a certain website. Moreover, the failed attempts might cause your IP address to become blocked.
Another cause for a blocked IP address is the detection of suspicious activity that might indicate a security breach.
What to Do if Your IP address is Blocked?
If your IP address is blocked and you want to investigate, you will need to visit the blocked website and troubleshoot what happened to your IP address. Most blacklist databases will list out some general reasons but not specific email addresses tied to blocked IP addresses. If your IP address is blocked, you may perform the following to unblock it:
- Perform anti-virus scan on all computers on your network
- Update and fix your operating system
- Configure routers more securely
- Change and utilise stronger passwords
Just like the real world, the virtual world, or to be precise, the cyberspace, uses IP address to identify each device in the internet network. Our ISP typically gives us a dynamic (changes periodically) IP address. However, we can sign up for a static (never changes) address if we wanted to run a web server from your house. Moreover, we can protect our computer using the firewall, antivirus, and anti-spyware as well as update our software as regular as possible.