What Is a Private IP Address?

There are an estimated 4.6 billion internet users in the world today.

With so many users, there needs to be a way to identify and track them. IP addresses were created to allow devices to interact with the worldwide web.

Now, there are two types of IP addresses: public and private. As you'll see, knowing more about this will help you better understand how your router and internet service work.

What is a Private IP Address? Keep reading to find out.

What Is an IP Address?

First, let's quickly define the term "IP address." IP stands for Internet Protocol.

Each device that connects to the internet is given a unique number which allows it to communicate with other devices and websites online.

There are several versions of IP address systems, with the newest one allowing for 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 IP addresses. The previous system only allowed for 4.2 billion which did not meet the demand.

What Is a Private IP Address?

A private IP address is one that's only seen by your router and other computers on your private network.

Think of how you would receive mail in an office. Your private IP address would be your office number used by an internal mailing system. This number is only known by the members of the office. If someone wants to send you a letter, they use the public address and your name.

Receiving information online works the same way. Information is sent to your public IP address first. Then, your router uses your private IP address from there to ensure your computer gets what you're requesting.

Why Use a Private IP Address?

It's important to have private IP addresses because it adds a layer of security for your computer. If your computer's direct address was readily available to everyone, it would be too easy for cybercriminals to access your system.

If an unauthorized source tries to send something to your computer through your public IP address, it's immediately blocked because you didn't request it with your private IP address.

By using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), you can hide your private IP address even further to keep it protected from attacks. This is a way many people add another layer of security.

Another reason private IP addresses are used is that there's a limited number of IP addresses available to be used. By having some IP addresses set aside to be private, it prevents all of the addresses from being used up.

Private IP Address Ranges

There are a set number of IP addresses that are split between public and private IP addresses. As such, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) has set aside certain ranges of numbers for private IP addresses.

These are:


Combined, these three ranges allow for over 17 million private IP addresses to be used.

Learn How to Protect Your IP Address

Now you know the answer to "what is a private IP address", and how it works with your internal network to protect your data.

If you want to learn more about how you can protect your IP address, check out our blog. We have tons of articles that can show you how to do just that, including one on what VPN's hide.


Jonathan has a masters degree in Computer Engineering, loves programming and creating web services that help people perform various tedious tasks.

In his free time, he writes informative articles about networking and routers for RouterReset.com

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