What is External IP Address?
Pre-requisites: What is an IP Address?
An external IP address is a unique identifier assigned to a device by an Internet Service Provider (ISP) when it connects to the internet. This IP address allows the device to communicate with other devices on the internet, enabling it to send and receive data from other devices. The external IP address is used for communication between devices outside of a local network, such as between a device on a local network and a server on the internet.
An external IP address is assigned dynamically or statically. Dynamic IP addresses change each time a device connects to the internet, whereas static IP addresses remain the same. Most residential ISPs assign dynamic IP addresses to their customers, while businesses often opt for static IP addresses.
The external IP address can be used to identify the device, allowing other devices on the internet to locate it and communicate with it. For example, when you visit a website, the website’s server can determine the IP address of your device and use this information to display the appropriate content. In some cases, the external IP address may also be used to enforce restrictions or block access to certain websites or services.
External IP addresses are different from internal IP addresses, which are used to identify devices within a local network. An internal IP address is assigned by a router and is used for communication between devices within the same network. Internal IP addresses are typically assigned using the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and are not visible to the internet.
To find your external IP address, you can perform a quick online search for “what is my IP” or visit a website that displays your IP address, such as whatismyip.com. Additionally, you can also use the Command Prompt or Terminal on Windows or Mac, respectively, and enter the command “ipconfig” or “ifconfig” to view the IP address information.
In conclusion, the external IP address is a critical component of communication on the internet, allowing devices to communicate with each other and access information and services online. Understanding the role of the external IP address and how it works can help you better utilize the internet and ensure that your online communications are secure and efficient.
Here are some examples of how an external IP address can be used:
- Accessing websites: When you visit a website, the website’s server uses your external IP address to identify your device and deliver the appropriate content to your browser.
- Remote desktop access: You can use remote desktop software to access a device on another network, and the external IP address of the device you want to access is used to initiate the connection.
- File sharing: External IP addresses can be used to share files between devices on different networks. For example, you can use a cloud storage service like Dropbox to share files between your computer at work and your home computer.
- Gaming: Online gaming often requires an external IP address so that players can connect to each other and play games over the internet.
- Streaming services: Streaming services like Netflix use external IP addresses to determine your location and determine which content is available in your region.
- VoIP services: Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services like Skype use external IP addresses to establish calls and video chats between devices on different networks.
These are just a few examples of how external IP addresses are used in everyday internet use. Understanding the role of external IP addresses can help you better understand how the internet works and make the most of online services and communication.
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