What is a public IP address?

  • An internet protocol (IP) address is a unique numerical identifier for every device or network that connects to the internet.
  • A public IP address is an IP address that your home or business router receives from your ISP; it’s used when you access the internet.
  • The public IP address is characterised by three features: Internet accessibility, host websites on the internet, DHCP (Dynamic host configuration protocol) and static IP assignments.

The internet is the most important topic that has surrounded us from many angles in this increasingly digital world and the context of computer networks. The internet is connected to a number of our everyday electronic devices, including computers, tablets, smartwatches, and smartphones.

For any of these devices to interact with the wide variety of devices across the world, they each must have a unique network identity. So this identifier, which is assigned to each device, is known as an internet protocol, or what we call an IP Address.

An IP address is divided into two sub-parts known as private IP address and public IP address. A private IP address is a static IP address that cannot be changed. This article covers in detail the second part which is the public IP address.

What is a public IP address?

An internet protocol (IP) address is the unique identifying number assigned to every device connected to the internet. An IP address definition is a numeric label assigned to devices that use the internet to communicate. IP addresses are used by computers that communicate over local networks or the internet to share data to a specific location.

A public IP address in a computer network is a distinct numerical value that is assigned to a specific connected device that uses the internet protocol for transmission and communication.

When you access the internet using your home or business router, your internet service provider will provide you with a public IP address. Any network hardware that is accessible to the public, like home routers and website servers, needs to have a public IP address.

In essence, this provides what are known as internet public IP addresses—a globally recognisable address that lets user devices send and receive data or packets across a variety of networks. Internet public IP addresses are routable on the internet which means that they can be accessed and communicated through any device, from any part or any region of the world.

Also read: How did the internet start?

3 features of public IP address

1. Internet accessibility

The internet is made up of many different networks and we can connect our devices to the internet by using a public IP address. Data from other devices located at different locations can be retrieved and communicated with the aid of an IP address. This public IP address facilitates accessibility and improves communication.

2. Host websites on the internet

We can host our websites or some applications that require a user experience globally with the aid of public IP addresses. We can therefore host our website using these IP addresses. The website’s domain name is converted into public IP addresses when it is entered. The data is retrieved from the server hosting the website by the domain name once it has been converted.

Also read: Interview with Lu Heng: The man who wants to decentralise IP addresses and save the internet

3. DHCP (Dynamic host configuration protocol) and static IP assignments

Network devices can be given public IP addresses either statically or dynamically. The internet Service Provider (ISP) uses DHCP, or dynamic host configuration protocol, to dynamically assign public IP addresses to our devices. This enhances and maximizes the use of our available addresses. Nonetheless, some companies or other establishments do accept static IP addresses, which stay the same for a predetermined amount of time and offer stability for hosting services and websites for the company.

A public IP address is an IP address that can be accessed directly over the internet and is assigned to your network router by your internet service provider (ISP). The public IP address possesses three main features: Internet accessibility, host websites on the internet, DHCP and static IP assignments.


Fiona Huang

Fiona Huang, an intern reporter at BTW media dedicated in Fintech. She graduated from University of Southampton. Send tips to f.huang@btw.media.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *