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What Is My IP Address?

Updated on April 24, 2020
Kyler J Falk profile image

I've built so many computers that I've lost count. They can be confusing, but they aren't as daunting as they seem.

Source

If you're like me, then computers can be a bit daunting sometimes. You're looking at what could be described as a magical light box that presents confusing words and numbers, and hitting the wrong button could spell doom! Just kidding, mostly, but it is okay to feel daunted by terms such as "IP address" and that is what this little how-to is for. I want you to be confident with the basic concept and process of defining and finding your own IP address.

Personally, most of my knowledge concerning computers comes from tutorials and books such as this Windows 10 guide, or this MacBook guide. I prefer to have things explained to me by others, in the most simplistic way possible, before I attempt anything of my own volition, and the plethora of knowledge contained within proves to be invaluable. Don't start messing around with your computer and its higher functions without proper knowledge!

Defining IP Address

As defined by Wikipedia: "An Internet Protocol address is a numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. An IP address serves two main functions: host or network interface identification and location addressing."

To put this in layman's terms: Your public IP address is basically just like the address for your home, except for your modem/router. It tells a server/network that you connect to which device/group of devices you are using, and the region of the world in which you are located. Don't worry, however, this isn't a way for everyone who sees it to hack you or steal your info; it would take a lot of know-how and even more skill to deduce anything from a public IP address.

It is just a string of numbers, a very important string of numbers if you want to use the internet, assigned to your computer and by your internet service provider.

Source

Finding Your IP: Windows Users

For your computer's private IP address:

  1. Click start
  2. Type in "cmd"
  3. Click on the "cmd" program
  4. You should see a black command prompt, type in "ipconfig"
  5. Look for your "Local Address" right above the "Subnet Mask"

If you've followed the steps, your local IP address is formatted similar to this: 192.168.1.#

A simple way to find the IP address assigned to your router by your service provider is to go here.

Finding Your IP: Mac Users

If you are connected directly to a modem:

  1. Go to system preferences (cog icon, or in the apple drop-down menu)
  2. Under "Internet & Wireless" click Network
  3. Scroll over the option in the left-hand bar that has a green dot, underneath the information prompt to the right it should say what your IP address is

If you are connected via wireless, this will show you your "internal" IP address rather than the IP address assigned by your internet service provider. You may also use this site to determine your public IP.

Hope This Helped!

As someone who had to struggle with outdated manuals, abusive teachers (parents), and a lack of any real guides on the internet back in the days when the internet was mostly just nerd forums for weird stuff, I really hope this helps you!

I wish I had a simple guide back in the day, one that knew it was probably talking to a layman. Nothing worse than someone coming at you with jargon that not even some of the lead developers in the industry can understand!

Now get out there with all this newfound knowledge, and experiment a little bit with finding your own IP addresses. These few little steps, they can speed up the troubleshooting of some of the most simple problems your computer network can face!

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    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      5 weeks ago from Corona, CA

      Hahahaha! I can almost guarantee you that you get paid more than most of the individuals who have to know this stuff at entry level. IT guys are so undervalued and underappreciated!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      5 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Well, I hope I never need to do that. This is way over my pay grade!

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      5 weeks ago from Corona, CA

      Let's say someone on your device network has a VPN and it magically decides to mess with one, or multiple of the other devices on the network. Usually this occurs with people using a VPN at home, such as businessmen that need secure and untraceable connections for security purposes. So this VPN decides to, putting it in layman's terms, kick everyone else off the internet via an "IP conflict."

      In this situation you'd need to find the affected device(s) and renew your local/private IP address, but in more serious cases you may also need to reconfigure your VPN's addressing system to avoid further IP conflicts.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      5 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Kyler, I guess I'm a tad ignorant on the subject. Why would I need to reconfigure my IP address?

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      5 weeks ago from Corona, CA

      Thank you, Prateek, and I'd agree it can be very difficult! Especially determining public vs internal/personal IP. Some don't understand the difference.

    • PrateekJain24 profile image

      Prateek Jain 

      5 weeks ago from Madhya Pradesh, India

      Really helpful article, you have explained the very difficult concept in an easy way. Thank you for sharing this valuable information.

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      5 weeks ago from Corona, CA

      Ah, but that won't help an IP conflict in such a case as a VPN tripping up multiple devices on the same network.

      Thanks for your input!

    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 

      5 weeks ago from Northern Ireland

      If I need to change my IP address, I restart my router an when it comes back on, my IP address is different. I do that if I have been doing a lot of online searching because I think the line gets throttled if Google or even your ISP think you are using too many resources.

    • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyler J Falk 

      5 weeks ago from Corona, CA

      It is a very helpful link, the thing with only using that site is that you can't familiarize yourself with the inner workings of the software. If you depend on a site to do it for you, what are you going to do when you need to reconfigure your IP address and no one knowledgeable is around to help?

      This is the first step to learning how to troubleshoot an IP conflict!

    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 

      5 weeks ago from Northern Ireland

      I just always use the WhatisMyIPAddress link that you gave when I want to know my IP address.

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