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What Is My IP Address?

An IP Address, which stands for Internet Protocol Address, is the unique identification number that indicates your location on the Internet. Every device that goes online, whether it's a computer, tablet, or mobile phone, gets assigned this unique number.

Whether you have a fibre broadband connectionwireless satellite broadband, or landline internet, your IP address location lets you communicate with other devices by sending or receiving data.

To access a website, you would type in the URL, which is a series of letters. But computers don't understand letters.

Instead, they communicate in numbers. Your computer would search for the numbers corresponding to that URL, which are the website's IP address.

In return, your computer sends the website's web server your IP address to let the server know you want to access that URL.

Types of IP Addresses

There are two main types of IP addresses: public and private.

Here's the difference between them:

Public IP Address

Public IP addresses are assigned by ISPs (internet service providers) to let you access the Internet. All online communication, whether you send or receive internet traffic, requires a public IP address so web servers can identify your devices.

All your connected devices share one public IP address as long as you stay with that ISP, hence the name "public" IP. This allows your ISP to track and monitor your online activity.

Public IPs can also be divided into dynamic and static IP addresses.

Dynamic IP Address

A dynamic IP address is an address that constantly changes. If you've purchased a broadband plan in New Zealand, this is usually the public IP they give you. Depending on the broadband provider, it can change daily, weekly, or even monthly.

Once your IP address changes, your ISP will randomly assign you a new number from their pool of addresses. Similarly, your old address will go back into this pool.

Static Ip Address

A static IP address doesn't change. This means your internet provider won't change your IP address – even if you change your router – as long as you remain connected to the same WiFi network.

This is useful for companies that run an email server, create servers for web pages, and access confidential company files remotely. The best broadband deals offer optional Static IP add-ons for a small charge, typically around NZ $10.

Check out SkySlingshot2Degrees, and Starlink broadband plans if want to add Static IP configurations to your internet plan.

Private IP Address

After your ISP has assigned you a public IP address, your router gives each device on your network a private IP address. These private IP addresses are used by your devices to communicate with each other while on the same local area networks (LANs).

When your devices communicate with the outside world, they share a public IP address. When they communicate internally or on private networks, each device uses its own private IP address.

Private IP addresses are meant to keep your devices safe and secure. For example, it's normal for your computer to know the private IP address of your network printer. However, if your printer's IP location were public, anyone could use it to print.

How To Change Your IP Address

You should change your IP address for security or privacy concerns, to access blocked content, or to troubleshoot home network problems. There are three quick ways to change your IP address:

Reset Your WiFi Router

Unplug your router for about 30 seconds, then plug it back in and turn it on. Your ISP automatically assigns you a new IP location after you reset it.

Switch Your Network

Switching your network gives you a new address since each internet protocol address is assigned to a specific network. For example, switching to your mobile data connection can work if you're using your WiFi broadband connection.

Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network)

You can use VPN tools to hide your current IP address and access the Internet via a temporary, virtual address.

With a VPN, your IP address goes through an encrypted tunnel, so not even your ISP can see your network activity, identity, or location. You might be located in NZ, but a London internet service provider could provide your IP address, for example.