Public or Private IP Address?

A public IP address is an IP that can be accessed over the Internet. Like postal address used to deliver a postal mail to your home, a public IP is the globally unique IP assigned to a computing device. Private IP, on the other hand, is used to assign computers within your private space without letting them directly expose to the Internet. For example, if you have multiple computers within your home you may want to use private IP to address each computer within your home. In this scenario, your router gets the public IP, and each of the computers, tablets and smartphones connected to your router (via wired or wifi) gets a private IP from your router via DHCP protocol.

Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is the organization responsible for registering IP ranges to organizations and Internet Service Providers (ISPs). To allow organizations to freely assign private IP, the Network Information Center (InterNIC) has reserved certain address blocks for private use. The following IP blocks are reserved for private IP.

Class Starting IP Address Ending IP Address # of Hosts
A 16,777,216
B 1,048,576
C 65,536

What is public IP address?

A public IP address is the address that is assigned to a computing device to allow direct access over the Internet. A web server, email server and any server device directly accessible from the Internet are candidate for a public IP address. A public IP address is globally unique, and can only be assigned to a unique device.

What is private IP address?

A private IP is the address space allocated by InterNIC to allow organizations to create their own private network. There are three IP blocks (1 class A, 1 class B and 1 class C) reserved for a private use. The computers, tablets and smartphones sitting behind your home, and the personal computers within an organizations are usually assigned private IP addresses. A network printer residing in your home is assigned a private address so that only your family can print to your local printer.

When a computer is assigned a private IP, the local devices see this computer via it’s private IP address. However, the devices residing outside of your local network cannot directly communicate via the private IP address, but uses your router’s public IP address to communicate. To allow direct access to a local device which is assigned a private IP address, a Network Address Translator (NAT) should be used.



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