Your public IP address is


What is an IP Address? (Internet Protocol Address)

Your computer has an IP address, every device connected to the internet has an IP address. That could be your TV, laptop, tablet, cell phone, Xbox game console, alarm system and even your home lighting, smoke alarm or refrigerator.

Think of the IP address as a street address for your computer on the internet. It's how you find those other computers running websites and retrieve information from them which is sent back to your 'address', the same process when you watch movies or stream music. It's a unique identifying number given to every single computer, phone, tablet and gaming console on the internet. Like the license plate on a car, the IP address is a unique identifier. It's how computers communicate with each other and route information. Without IP addresses, there would be no internet :-(

IP addresses are comprised of four numbers separated by dots. Here are some examples:


Each number is separated by periods and can be no larger than 256, for a worldwide maximum of 4.3 billion different IP addresses! That sounds like a lot but they've actually been all used up!  Well, sort of, at least they've all been 'claimed' but millions of them go unused.


Web addresses or 'domain names' are user friendly labels for IP addresses.

For nearly every web server, the IP address is invisibly translated into a natural English "domain name" for ease of use. Humans are better at remembering friendly words than esoteric numbers. But technically speaking, the IP address is the true identifier of a web server, the domain name is simply a redirector to help people find the web server.

Here are three IP addresses, with their corresponding domain names. Both the IP address and domain name URL can be used to connect to the same web server:


How do you get an IP address ?

Your internet access provider has a large pool of IP addresses to lend out, when you sign-up with an internet access provider, they assign a public IP address to your home cable modem (sometimes coloquial called a router, even though you may or may not have a seperate router sitting behind your cable modem).

Most Internet Access Providers (ISPs) randomly refresh your IP address and assign a new one every 30 to 90 days. They do this to prevent customers from running web servers on their home computers, and having to deal with all that extra traffic on the network that it would create... assuming you created a popular website! If the IP address is randomly changed by your internet access provider, it breaks the connection to the web server's friendly 'domain name' that we spoke about above. However, there are many ways around this!

Want to run a website from your home PC ?

Yes, you can run a webserver on your home PC. Create your own website and host it yourself.  Save money by using the hardware and internet access that you already have.

I'll discuss free webserver software you can utilize to run your own website on using your home computer and some website design tools to help you create it. But first I'll explain how you can defeat your internet access provider's primary mechanism for preventing you from runnnig their own website on a home computer or dorm laptop. The secret sauce is 'Dynamic DNS'.

Dynamic DNS is a service that will automatically update the IP address associated with your website's domain name. So visitors will always be pointed to your home computer's correct address, regardless of how many times your internet access provider may try changing it. One of the most popular services for Dynamic DNS is

Geek note:

The internet governing body has quietly been upgrading this IP addressing scheme to allow for nearly an unlimited number of IP addresses. This new IP scheme is called IP 6 (pronounced Eye Pea Six).


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