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What Is My IP Address?

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What is an IP address? It’s a term that gets thrown around quite a bit, especially on shows that purport to deal with online security and cybercrime. Some make it sound like it is a highly technical piece of information, but it’s actually one of the most basic pieces of information available online. This simple string of numbers is important to be sure, but it doesn’t take any technical know-how to find out your own address. Understanding the importance of the address has nothing to do with technical skill, and quite a bit to do with processing a bit of basic information.

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What is an IP Address?

An IP address is defined as a unique string of numbers that identifies a computer online – more simply put, it’s a combination of your computer’s address and social security number. Your IP address is the unique identifier that shows where your computer is located, and theoretically who is using the computer. It’s one of the most important identifiers on the internet for a number of reasons, and one that you should absolutely know whenever you are trying to do any kind of online troubleshooting. Indeed, working without an IP address online is like trying to deal with paperwork for a car without know the registration number.

How is It Used?

An IP address has two usable functions – it identifies the “who” and the “where” (again, think of it like your home). On one hand, your IP address is used only to determine who is trying to access a particular site – don’t get paranoid, this generally means “is this particular computer allowed here?” rather than “who is accessing my site?”. This identification protocol is probably the most important part of the IP address, and it’s something that the vast majority of users will never have to worry about.

An IP address is also used to call up information. When you go to Google.com, for example, you’re only seeing that as a nod to human utility. In reality, your computer is connecting to Google’s IP address. Everything that you see on your computer tends to be for sheer user-friendliness – the real work uses long strings of numbers, including the IP address, to make sure that connections are made and that you can retrieve the data that you want. The IP address, then, is a necessity for accessing the things that you want to access online.

What is My IP Address?

 

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Finding your IP address is incredibly easy, and should only take a few minutes. If you Google “Find My IP address“, you’ll actually be presented with a quick answer so long as you are online. If you’re not able to connect, you might have to do a bit more work. Instead of going online, you’ll go to your network connections icon and activate your active connection. Then, you can hit the details tab and you should be presented with your IP address number – if you can retrieve it, you have a valuable bit of information for future online troubleshooting.

Next time you’re talking tech, you can successfully answer the question of “what my IP address means”. You can tell others how to find it, and you actually figure out why you might need to know it. Most of the time, though, the address is one of those great things that exists in the background without requiring you to do much work. This simple automated string of numbers takes care of more issues than you might expect, so treat it with a little respect – after all, it’s the truest marker of your identity online.

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