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What is an IP address?
When using the Internet, an Internet provider is assigned to each of you, receiving a numerical label - Internet Protocol (IP) address. With the help of an IP, experts can identify your device among billions of other users. In simple terms, the IP address is your online home address. IP address defines your real location, and each site owner knows where the visitor came from.
Also, the IP address of the website sends data to the Internet user. How does this happen? Everything is straightforward. First, you enter the site's name in the search engine, for example - sample com. However, the computer only understands the digital language. Therefore, the browser looks for this website's IP address - sample.com = 126.96.36.199. Then, it loads the page on the device's screen.
IPv4 vs. IPv6 Addresses
The IP address's appearance depends on which version of the Internet protocol you are using - IPv4 or IPv6. What's the difference?
Most ISPs around the world use iPv4. The Internet protocol IPv4 benefits are its address, consisting of thirty-two bits and written in four decimal numbers from 0 to 255. The numbers are separated by periods. For example - 188.8.131.52. A pretty simple set of numbers, easy to remember.
However, this is the only advantage of the protocol. IPv4 generates just 4.3 billion unique IP addresses. Therefore, this is not enough, as the Internet of users is becoming more and more. IPv4 will soon cease to exist because there are not many left unique IP addresses.
IPv6 was created due to the depletion of IPv4 addresses. An IPv6 address is eight 16-bit hexadecimal blocks, separated by colons. For example - 2600:CC40:2200:0000:0000:0000:0000:0002. IPv6 contributes to more efficient routing, simplified network administration, and reduced address processing costs.
If the address contains 0, then very often, the protocol skips this number to save space. In place of 0, colons appear to indicate a space. For example - 2600:CC40:2200::02.
Why is IPv6 not fully implemented?
IPv4 protocol issues a limited number of unique addresses, while IPv6 creates an unlimited number of individual Internet users' addresses. IPv6 can provide about 3.4x10^38 of these. Also, many experts claim that IPv6 provides better quality and connectivity.
Although IPv6 is a more efficient technology, it has not been fully implemented. There are two reasons for this:
Public vs. Private IP Addresses
When you want to find out "what is my IP address" or write in a search engine "what is my IPv4 address", it means that you will see public IP. Your ISP automatically provides this IP address. When you visit websites from your device, the network uses the IP address to identify you.
Let's take your home network as an example. It's made up of a computer, phone, tablet, MacBook, or another modern device on your router. When all these devices are connected to the Internet, the provider assigns a public IP address.
ISPs assign private IP addresses to each device on the network to interact and identify with each other. When you connect to the Internet, your private IP address remains hidden, but your public IP address is visible to the website owners. The public IP address can tell a lot of information about you to third parties who track users. They need to enter your public IP address into a search engine, and the Internet will give the provider's location and thus can determine your identity.