Whether you’re an avid gamer or any other online computer user, you’ve repeatedly utilized what’s known as an IP address. Short for “internet protocol,” IP addresses are those within a simple system that recognizes local networks or online devices, allowing simple communication between devices within the day-to-day use of the internet.
At Xidax, we’re happy to help all our clients with simple areas like IP address understanding and all the basic concepts that might come along with it as we provide them with limited edition gaming computers, workstations and numerous other products. We know our users, particularly gamers, will be online a ton — and may need to know a few things about their IP address moving forward. Here are some simple explainers on the types of IP address out there and how they relate to your internet usage.
User IP Address
For any person, company or other entity utilizing a given internet service plan, there will be two types of user IP address: The private IP and the public IP. Here’s how each of these work:
- Private IP Address: This is a recognized IP address exclusively within one’s own network, typically allowing for the strongest level of security and anonymity. Items included on private IP addresses tend to include the computer itself, plus accessories like microphones, webcams and printers. Routers need to be able to individually recognize these objects, so there will be unique private IP addresses for each of them.
- Public IP Address: This is any user-recognized IP address that isn’t within one’s own network, allowing the connection to be made. Public addresses are shared among all users connected to a given internet service provider, typically offering little in the way of security or privacy options. Your IP address is supplied by a public router to your internet service provider, and this is the address that all users outside your individual network will use to communicate with you.
Dynamic Vs Static IP
Now, there are even further distinctions between these categories you should be aware of. Specifically, public IP addresses can be broken down into two types: dynamic and static.
Dynamic IP addresses are constantly reassigned to a new user whenever they connect to the internet on their device, and this is due to the way in which IP traffic is routed throughout the network. This process is completely automated, saving ISP costs and freeing up a fresh IP address whenever anyone logs on. The more often these dynamically assigned IP addresses are reassigned, the less likely it is that any of them will be able to uniquely identify an individual device or computer based solely on its appearance and prior tracking history, making it difficult for hackers to break into the network when addresses are constantly changing.
Static IP addresses only change when you manually change them, with each one being unique across your wireless network. Static IP addresses require you to manually notify your ISP anytime you wish to change the address, while it will be automatically detected and routed for you when using a dynamic one. However, most static IPs are more stable than their counterparts, allowing them to better secure and maintain your computer’s security at all times — as long as they’re not shared.
Most basic internet users don’t need a static IP address. However, for companies running their own servers, it’s important to use one so that users can always access the desired information, files or other data stored on them. When you want a way to keep your entire network secure from hackers and increase the overall stability of your systems, it’s important to take advantage of what a static IP has to offer.
Web Hosting IP Address
Finally, there are even further distinctions here within the realm of IP addresses for site owners who are not hosting their own servers. This is a common practice, one where a web hosting kit is utilized so that the user’s website will be hosted elsewhere. Each time your site is launched or advertised, you’re using a unique IP address to pinpoint its location on the web and provide users with the access they need to utilize it as desired.
There are two specific forms of IP address for this use:
- Shared IP address: This is a public IP address that’s used for multiple websites, offering greater flexibility and reducing the costs of hosting compared to using an individual address for each one. Sites with shared IPs may be combined into larger groups on a single server to reduce the overall number of devices needed to run and secure it at all times. Shared IPs are often used for sites with relatively limited traffic and not too many pages.
- Dedicated IP address: This type is used for sites that require a higher level of performance and will only be hosted on one server. They’re typically used for more advanced sites, including those with more pages to host in the long-term. Some web hosting companies may not offer dedicated IPs to customers who don’t meet certain qualifications or provide enough traffic to their site. Dedicated IPs make it easy to get an SSL certificate, which in turn makes it simpler to run FTP servers and allows for easier file sharing and transmission among those who do so regularly.