Public vs. Private IP Addresses: What’s the Difference?

Public IP vs Private IP – the common, the different, and the effect 

No one would argue that our daily lives are online to the same degree as offline. People communicate, work, do business, and have fun on the Web. But it has its dark side too. 

Public IP vs Private IP

While we are shifting more and more of our lives online, we get more vulnerable. Thus, understanding how to protect your PC from possible threats becomes a vital necessity. However, first, we need to understand how our activities on the Web are organized. When you know what happens there, you can ensure better safety for yourself.

So, let’s talk about the most fundamental things. First of all, these things are IP addresses, and we need to know how they work and what they mean for your security.  

Public and Private IP addresses – definitions and the differences 

Whenever we access the Web, we use a specialized device. That device has a unique identifier that allows the tool to look for the information, retrieve it, and deliver it to you. It also lets different devices communicate with each other. That identifier is the IP address, and each device has two – public and private. 

Public IP address 

Public, aka external IP address, is the one that your Internet Service Provider assigns to your router. This is the common address uniting all devices used to go online (desktops or laptops, smartphones, tablets, and all other devices accessing the Web). 

When you are online and deal with Internet resources, they use this public address to communicate with your devices. Besides, they also use their external addresses to reach you. Many pundits compare the public IP address with the P.O. box number. It does not reveal all your personal details, but it lets you know where to deliver the information. 

In practice, you have the address assigned by the router, and it serves as an intermediary. Most VPN apps are applied to mask this data from the possible interceptors and block the tracing attempts. This way you can shield your data because the most common threat on the Web is having your sensitive information revealed. Fortunately, it is easy to fix.

Private IP address

Private aka internal IP address is the unique identifier of each specific device that addresses the Web through your router. In fact, it is the router that assigns that address to the device thus creating the home network. If we return to our previous example with the P.O. box number, the private address is the name of each person using that P.O. box. 

The distinctive feature of the private IP address is that no one can see it online. If your neighbor shares the Wi-Fi password for you to use their router and access the Web, you won’t be able to use their devices. Only the Web connection, with your device having its unique internal address. Thus, we can have a bunch of different devices sharing the same public IP address. Besides the standard situation of working in the home or work network, it is a typical scenario for public hotspots. 

The need for masking the private IP addresses is not so obvious. Many experts even consider that it is not necessary at all. They claim that protecting the public address is enough to shield your data – your internal IP is invisible in any case. Still, there are VPN apps you can apply to protect the particular device. It is impossible to be too protected on the Web. 

Plenty of modern services, such as VeePN, provide you with the solutions. For instance, to get one for your smartphone, you can find it by clicking here – you will get the complete information. You can have protection for your desktop or laptop, the VPN for Android or iOS, and even get all your devices covered by one solution (we aren’t sure about protecting smart vacuum cleaners or fringes, though). 

How to find the IP address 

With the remote working model becoming more common, you need to protect your PC, and the company needs to protect its resources. Most employers apply encrypted access to their facilities through VPN. Providing access by the IP address is as popular. Here, we need to know which IP address to provide, and where to retrieve it. 

As a rule, the requirement to provide your IP address to the company for granting you access concerns the public address. You can define it easily. There are specialized resources that provide you with this information. You can simply type “what is my IP address” into the Google search bar, and it will display the number at once. 

You should note that Internet Service Providers sometimes change these numbers. If you access resources by the IP address, it will be a good idea to check that number regularly and inform the admins about changes if they happen. 

As for the private IP addresses, you should check them in the “settings and preferences” section of every device you use to go online. As we mentioned earlier, it might not be needed because your Internet activities go under public addresses. 


You need both the public and private IP addresses to access the Web successfully. And while internal addresses are naturally protected, it is strongly recommended to mask the public address. The most reputable VPN providers also offer a free trial of the solutions, letting you exploit the full functionality and pick the most suitable solution. 

manu bhadouria

Manmohan Bhadouria is a professional digital marketer with a strong SEO background. He's also a passionate blogger and writer. He loves to explore new places and adventures and has a soft spot for all kinds of animals.

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