How to monitor your IP with this free tool

This tool allows you to determine the IPV4 address of your current device. By clicking the “Location” tab, you will be able to investigate the geographic location (IP Geolocation) of a given IP number.

What is and how IP Geolocation works

IP Geolocation

IP Geolocation is a solution for judging the approximate geographical location of Internet-connected devices based on IP addresses. Many parties can benefit from this technology. If the website can know the visitor’s geographic location based on the IP, it can provide them with more targeted information and services, such as advertising information in nearby areas. The electronic mall can automatically select the corresponding currency unit or exchange rate according to the customer’s location. A more advanced scenario is to incorporate geographic location and access behavior into datasets to analyze and develop more effective business strategies.

How does IP Geolocation work? A series of technical solutions need to be used in combination to get the most accurate results. The most basic way is to use the information provided by ISPs and RIRs. As we mentioned before, RIRs manage IP addresses and assign them to ISPs, and all assignment records are kept and published in the appropriate form. Therefore, for an IP address , you can find out which ISP it currently belongs to by querying these allocation records. ISPs are usually large and well-known companies, and it is easy to know which areas they operate in. Although clients usually use the IP address service from the ISP, there is often a corresponding relationship between the segment of a dynamic IP address and the geographic location. By combining all this information, a rough geographic location corresponding to an IP address can be obtained.

Another way is to use routing information. When a network access is initiated on the Internet, there is often a long physical distance between the starting point and the ending point which are not in the same network, so it needs to pass through different network nodes on the way. This process is routing. Using the ‘traceroute’ command, you can see the nodes and their IP addresses in the routing process. Since the device always connects to nearby network nodes when initiating access, the device’s location can be inferred from the known geographic locations of network nodes.

There are also some other methods. For example, the current mobile devices usually have the GPS function, which can obtain a fairly accurate geographic location. Under the premise of the user’s permission, the corresponding relationship between the GPS location and the IP address can be recorded to construct a data set, which can be used for analysis. IP Geolocation is already a widely used Internet service, and there are many mature APIs available, some of them are even free.

What is IP?

When we refer to IP, we usually mean Internet Protocol Address. Internet Protocol is a set of rules that specify the format of data sent over the Internet or a local network. As it literally means, an IP address identifies a device on the network. Whenever a computing device is connected to the network, it is assigned a unique IP address according to the protocol, just like a house number.

There are several ways to find the IP address of your current device. The easiest way is to do a Google search for “what is my IP address?”. Google will show you the answer at the top of the page, just like this:

monitoring IP Addresses

Google shows four numbers separated by dots, each of which will not exceed 255. In particular, Google emphasizes that this is the “public IP address” of your device, which means that your device is being identified by this address link to the internet.

In fact, our computing devices are usually not directly connected to the Internet, but are instead connected to a local area network. The local area network is connected to the Internet through a router, so that the devices in the local area network can access the Internet, that is to say, you can view websites or send messages through social software. Devices in the same LAN have the same public IP address on the Internet, just like rooms in the same apartment building share the same house number. Computing devices in the same local area network, just like rooms in an apartment have different room numbers, use private IP addresses to distinguish each other, that is 192.168.1.x in the figure below.

Checking your IP

How to get your IP?

Specifically, assigning IP usually goes through the following process:

Your device first connects to a network that is connected to the Internet, which then grants your device access to the Internet, thereby allowing your device to connect to the Internet indirectly.

When you are at home, the network may be that provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). At work, it will be your corporate network.

Your IP address is assigned to your device by your ISP.

Your internet activity will be transmitted through ISPs, who will route it to you using your IP address. They give you internet access, and naturally they are also responsible for assigning IP addresses to devices.

However, your IP address may change. For example, turning a modem or router on or off might change the IP address. You can also contact your ISP and they can change your IP address for you.

The IP address you use at home doesn’t go with you when you’re out and about (such as traveling) and take your device with you. This is because you will be using another network (Wi-Fi in a hotel, airport, or coffee shop, etc.) to access the Internet, and you will be using a different (temporary) IP address assigned to you by the hotel, airport, or coffee shop’s ISP.

Dynamic IP Addresses and Static IP Addresses

The 4-digit ip address mentioned above is actually the fourth version of the IP protocol, so it is also called IPv4, which was defined by the standardization organization IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) in 1981. Each IPv4 address contains four numbers, which are ranging from 0 to 255 and separated by dots. Considering that some numeric ranges must be reserved for special purposes, it can be calculated that there are at most about 4.3 billion different IPv4 addresses available. When the IETF set the IPv4 standard in 1981, they thought 4.3 billion IP addresses were enough to use. But decades later, the number of computing devices that need to be connected to the Internet has far exceeded 4.3 billion.

In order to solve the problem of insufficient IPv4 addresses, a variety of technical solutions have been designed. One of them is to design a new IP address standard, which is IPv6. An IPv6 address contains eight numbers or letters separated by colons, so there are theoretically up to 340 trillion, trillion, trillion different addresses. IPv6 is already in use, you can use a command line tool on the computer to check your IPv6 address. If you are using a Windows computer, open cmd or powershell; for Mac, open Terminal. Then type “ipconfig” in the command line interface, and the current IPv6 address will be displayed. However, in the past few decades, the Internet has been widely built on the basis of IPv4, so the transition to IPv6 is not a short period of time, but will take decades.

The main role is actually Dynamic IP solution for the problem of insufficient IPv4 addresses. Dynamic IP addresses change automatically and regularly. ISPs will purchase a large number of IP addresses and put them in the IP pool for management. For example, when a customer dials up to access the Internet, they will automatically take out the IP address from the IP pool and assign it to the customer for connecting to the public internet. When clients disconnect, they reassign them and put older IP addresses back into the pool for use by other clients. This effectively avoids vacant IP addresses. This also brings security advantages, as constantly changing IP addresses make it harder for criminals to break into network interfaces.

In contrast to a dynamic IP address, a static address means that the same IP address is always used when connecting to the public network. Most individuals and businesses do not need a static IP address, but for businesses planning to host their own servers, having one is necessary. This is because resources such as databases on the server should have a consistent address, so other web services can smoothly access these resources on the web.

The global authority for IP addresses is IANA( Internet Assigned Numbers Authority), under which there are five RIRs(Regional Internet registry), which manage IP addresses for five different regions: Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, and Africa. They allocate IP addresses to ISPs and other large network infrastructure providers, and the IPv4 addresses they have in their hands have been exhausted in recent years. However, with the help of technologies such as dynamic IP allocation, the Internet based on IPv4 is still running stably.