What is the difference between public and private IP?

  • A public Internet Protocol (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.
  • The Private IP Address of a system is the IP address that is used to communicate within the same network. Using private IP data or information can be sent or received within the same network.
  • The crucial difference between a public and private IP address is that the public IP can be seen by other devices on the Internet, while the private IP cannot.

An IP (Internet Protocol) address is a unique number or alphanumeric code that is linked to a device or router. It facilitates the proper direction of internet traffic. An IP address and your postal address are equivalent in real life. It facilitates letter delivery to the intended recipient by the postal service.

Although the majority of users are aware of what an IP address is, many are unaware that there are two different types. There are two types of IP addresses: public and private. Both are crucial in enabling people to access the internet.

The distinctions between private and public IP addresses are explained in this article. We go over each one’s benefits and emphasize how they can help you keep your online activities safe and private.

Also read: How did the internet start?

What is public IP address?

A public IP address is defined as the unique identifier assigned to your internet connection by your internet service provider. Your public IP address is what your router uses to identify you to other internet users. This guarantees that emails, websites, and other online content find their way to you properly.

A public IP address is an IP assigned to your router by your internet service provider. It’s also known as an external IP address since websites, servers, and apps on the global network use it to identify you.

You typically need a public IP address to access the internet, as it serves as your gateway. For websites to properly communicate with you, your public IP address needs to be visible to websites and web pages.

What is private IP address

A private IP address identifies different devices connected to the same local network. Once your router has received information from the global network, it needs to know which device to send it to.

The private IP address helps the router identify different devices on your network and forward the information correctly.

Unlike a public IP address, your private IP address is not visible to other websites. Instead, it’s only visible to other devices on your network. You can usually check the private IP addresses of all devices connected to the router via its settings.

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

Public IP address vs. Private IP address

When considering public vs. private IP addresses, it can be hard to understand the difference between the two since they’re both IP addresses and both connected to your Internet experience. However, to differentiate between the two, consider the elements below:

1. Scope: The main difference between public and private IP addresses is how far they reach, and what they’re connected to. The scope of the public IP address is global while the scope of the private IP address is local.

2. Communication: The public IP address is used to communicate over the Internet in a wide area network (WAN) while the private is used to communicate within a private network to connect to other devices on the same local area network (LAN).

3. Uniqueness: As the public IP address is unique and not used by other devices on the Internet, the private IP address is an address from a smaller range used by other devices in other local networks.

4. Origin: The public IP address is assigned by the ISP and the private IP address is assigned by the router to a specific device on the local network.

5. Range: In public IP addresses, Any IP not in the private IP address ranges, and any private IP addresses are from the following ranges: –; –; –

6. Security: On account of the traceability of public IP addresses, they require additional security measures because they are prone to attacks. In contrast, private IP is secure.

A public IP address helps identify you to websites on the internet. However, a private IP address identifies different devices on the same network. Because of the difference in traceability, private addresses are more secure than public IPs.


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.

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