What is my IP address and why does my IP change when I am on the Internet? The answer to this question depends on who you ask. Most people are familiar with the concept of using an IP (Internet Protocol) address when they are on a local network, such as their home network or an ISP (Internet Service Provider).
An IP address is a numerical representation of a specific computer that is unique to that machine alone. A public IP address lets computers on the Internet communicate with one another. When you request a web page from a site, your browser sends a request for that page to the servers that identify itself as belonging to that site. A reverse proxy server then forwarding the request on to the actual web server, effectively connecting the browser to the internet protocol.
Private IP addresses on the other hand are used by individuals and companies to create their own private network that can be accessed through the Internet using their own private IP addresses. A typical example would be a residential user that wants to access an online banking account from their home computer. Through a VPN (virtual private network), the user is able to connect to this banking system from any place that has a private network and an IP address that are distinct from anyone else’s.
A VPN will offer protection against unauthorized access from outside sources because the individual’s IP address is not readily accessible to anyone else. There may be instances when there are malicious attacks on a system and someone may assume that it belongs to that person. However, if a connection between two systems is securely established via a private VPN, no one can trace back an IP address or its location.
One of the advantages of private IP services is that they provide users a degree of privacy. Since the IP address is not broadcast through the Internet or other networks, it cannot be found in any directories that would give information about the owner. Also, there are no restrictions placed on the numbers of computers that can connect to a particular IP address or network. This means that there would be no excessive misuse of bandwidth and that there would be no overage charges.
The downside however is the high price that is usually associated with private IP hosting. Most providers charge more than ten dollars per month for a basic service. If the connection is down a lot during the weekend or on holidays, this can quickly add up to a significant expense. Fortunately, there are various free options that provide IP addresses and other security features. Although it is important to ensure that these systems have adequate levels of security to be both effective and reliable, they are much cheaper than most providers and offer excellent value for the price paid.