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Finding your IP address is a fairly intuitive process. While that process can vary by device, it’s often just a matter of going into your settings or doing a quick search on your browser. The purpose of an IP address is to ensure the data that you request makes it back to your device. There are both internal and external IP addresses. External IP addresses are public and provided by your internet service provider (ISP), while internal IP addresses are private and localized. There are several ways to look up your IP address, all of which are great to keep in your back pocket for any potential troubleshooting.
Your IP address is a great tool to help you get personalized and localized information. Think of a time when you were in a new city and wanted to check out a local coffee shop, for example. While the convenience your IP address can bring is great, it also gives websites and potential hackers access to your information. The best way to prevent people from seeing your IP address is by using a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs like NordVPN are excellent for encrypting the data that travels to and from your device. In other words, using a VPN is a simple tool that allows you to browse the web anonymously.
Regardless of whether you have a VPN, the processes in which you can access your IP address remain the same.
3 Ways to Access Your IP Address
To access your IP address from your browser, all you have to do is type “What is my IP address?” into your search engine of choice. Search engines like Google will display your unique IP address at the top of the search results page. There will also be other sites on the search results page that will tell you your IP address with additional information, such as guessing where you are roughly located when you are searching.
- Click the Apple icon at the top left of your screen.
- Select “System Preferences”
- Scroll to the “View” menu. When you hover your mouse over the View menu, more options will appear—select “Network” from there.
- Click on “Network Connection” in the left column. You will then select either Ethernet or WiFi, depending on how you’re connected to the internet.
- Your IP address will show up immediately for an Ethernet connection. For a WiFi connection, click the “Advanced” button in the lower right corner. Then, click the TCP/IP tab across the top of the window. Your IP address will show up from there!
- Right-click on the “Start” button
- Select “Windows PowerShell” on the Power User Menu
- Type the command “IPCONFIG” into the Windows PowerShell, press enter, and your IP configuration information will show up.
- Your IP address will be the IPv4 address displayed on the screen.
While you can look up your IP address with just a few clicks, it can also be an equal amount of clicks away from potential online predators. Essentially, whenever you are connected to a given network, your IP address will be accessible to anyone else on that network. That’s why encrypting your IP address with a VPN is extremely important, especially if you’re connecting to public WiFi networks.