When it comes to both computers and the internet, we are fortunate enough to live in a time when both of those are easier to use than ever before. Neither are particularly new any longer but the services that both offer the average user are increasingly amazing. From online shopping or connecting with old friends, being online is the best way to live our lives. The rapid technological advancement means that processes and systems might advance faster than users can learn how they really work.
One example of something that’s part of our everyday online lives is the IP address. Not everyone has heard of one but every device that connects to the internet has one. Curious to learn a little more about what IP addresses are and what they mean to us? Here’s a few basics to better understand how we actually connect to the internet.
What Even Is It?
There’s no better place to start at than the beginning right? What the IP in IP Address stands for is internet protocol. We can all understand what those words mean but what do they mean together? An internet protocol is the rules that data packets use and follow to connect to your local network and then make their way to you, the end user.
There’s no database sitting around and connecting one bit of data to another so having the address shows where a data request is coming from and therefore where it needs to be sent. IP addresses also allow different devices to be able to see one another as well, think routers, printers, etc.
You Can’t Take It With You
You might not have realized it, but this will quickly feel like a familiar scene. Think of any of the times you’ve stayed in a hotel or been over someone else’s house and you’ve had to relog into an account on your computer.
That’s because while everything on your end might feel the same, you are using a different IP address and where that login request goes to isn’t quite sure you are who you’re supposed to be. As you know, one simple login and you’ll be back to normal before you know it.
Look It Up Yourself
The average day-to-day user might not have realized anyone can do an ip address lookup from the very device they are on. By doing a simple search you can find the right website that can take care of that for you. Besides simply finding it interesting, not many people might see a need to do so.
On the other hand, power users might be quite familiar with making the most use of IP addresses. This can come in quite handy sharing files from one computer to another, connecting to friends’ computers for game night, as well as remoting into someone else’s computer to help them solve any number of problems.
They Can Be Protected
For those looking for a little more safety in their online lives, one option they might have heard of is the use of a VPN. Those who don’t know what that means might still recognize the term from commercials or heard others talk about it.
It stands for virtual private network and allows users to mask their IP addresses and appear as if they are connecting from a completely different location. Some use this added layer of safety on public networks so there’s much less of a worry of someone gaining information about their digital lives.