Difference between Public and Private IP Address

Difference between Public and Private IP Address

7 mins read2.1K Views Comment
clickHere
Chanchal
Chanchal Aggarwal
Senior Executive Content
Updated on Feb 9, 2024 16:58 IST

Just as your public home address helps others find you in the physical world, a public IP address acts as a beacon on the internet, allowing devices to communicate with your network. Meanwhile, private IP addresses facilitate smooth internal communication within your network, ensuring secure device interactions. Here we will understand the difference between Public IP address and Private IP address.

2023_03_Private-and-Public-IP-Address.jpg

In the vast digital landscape, every device that connects to the internet carries a unique digital identity—a numerical fingerprint, if you will. These digital fingerprints, known as IP addresses, enable communication between devices. However, not all IP addresses are created equal. There are two distinct types: public and private. Let’s explore the difference between private and public IP address and understand their significance through a simple analogy.

There are two types of IP addresses private and public. Let’s understand the significant difference between the two of them.

Table of Content

Difference between Public IP Address and Private IP Address

Aspects Public IP Address Private IP Address
Definition Unique identifier assigned to a device directly connected to the internet Unique identifier assigned to a device within a local network
Accessibility Accessible from anywhere on the internet Limited to the local network
Assigning Authority Assigned by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) Assigned by routers or network address translators (NATs)
Uniqueness Unique across the entire internet Reusable within different local networks
Range Varies depending on the ISP’s allocation Common private IP address ranges include 192.168.0.0-192.168.255.255, 172.16.0.0-172.31.255.255, and 10.0.0.0-10.255.255.255
Purpose Identifying devices on the internet and enabling communication between devices across the internet Identifying devices within a local network and facilitating internal communication between devices
Use Cases Hosting websites, online game servers, VPN connections, remote access to a computer or network Assigning IP addresses to devices in home networks, office networks, printers, servers, and other network-connected devices
Addressing Provided by ISPs through static (permanent) or dynamic (temporary) assignment Assigned by routers or network administrators
Security Subject to potential security risks and external access attempts Generally more secure due to the restricted local network access
Configuration Automatically assigned by ISPs or configured manually Assigned and managed by the local network administrator

Your Career Awaits: Discover the Best Government Job-Oriented Courses After 10 & Online Government Certification Opportunities.

What is a Public IP address?

A public IP address is a unique identifier assigned to a device directly connected to the internet, such as a computer or a router. It is used to identify the device on the internet and allows it to communicate with other devices.

Public IP addresses are assigned by internet service providers (ISPs) and are unique, meaning that no two devices on the internet can simultaneously have the same public IP address. This makes it possible for devices to communicate with each other across the internet using their public IP addresses.

A public IP address can be either static or dynamic. A static public IP address is a permanent address that does not change over time, while a dynamic public IP address is assigned temporarily and can change periodically.

Some examples of public IP address use include hosting a website or online game server, remote access to a computer or network, and virtual private network (VPN) connections.

 

What is a Private IP address?

A private IP address is a unique identifier assigned to a device connected to a local network, such as an office network or home. We use Private IP addresses to identify devices within the network that are not accessible from the internet.

Private IP addresses are typically assigned by a router or a network address translator (NAT) and are used to allow devices within the network to communicate with each other. The most common private IP address ranges are 192.168.0.0 to 192.168.255.255, 172.16.0.0 to 172.31.255.255, and 10.0.0.0 to 10.255.255.255.

Unlike public IP addresses, which are unique across the internet, we can reuse private IP addresses within different local networks. This is because private IP addresses are not meant to be accessed from outside the network and are used only for internal communication within the network.

Some examples of uses for private IP addresses include assigning them to devices on a home network, such as computers, printers, and smartphones, as well as on office networks, such as servers, printers, and network-attached storage (NAS) devices.

Public and Private IP Address Example

Let’s understand Public and Private IP address with the help of an example:

Imagine you’re hosting a grand party at your home. Your home address represents your public IP address. It is visible to everyone, allowing guests from far and wide to find their way to your doorstep. Just like your public IP address, it acts as a beacon on the internet, enabling devices to locate and communicate with your network anywhere.

Now, let’s shift our focus to the inner workings of your home—the private IP address. Think of it as the unique room number assigned to each guest within your home. Each guest or device receives a private IP address only relevant within your network’s confines. It facilitates smooth communication between devices within your home network, much like how guests find their way to different rooms without leaving the premises.

What is MAC address: Format and Types
What is MAC address: Format and Types
MAC address is formed according to principles of two numbering spaces that are based on extended unique identified (EUIs) that are managed by IEEE. Unlike IP address, it is a...read more
What is Wireless Networking?
What is Wireless Networking?
Users’ mobility is severely limited when connecting to a network via physical cables. On the other hand, wireless networking is not constrained in this way and allows network users to...read more
What is NAT (Network Address Translation)?
What is NAT (Network Address Translation)?
Are you aware of how network devices, such as routers, translate the IP addresses of devices in a private network to a single IP address used to communicate with the...read more

Key Differences: Public and Private IP Address

The key differences between public and private IP addresses are as follows:

  • A private IP address, such as a home or office network, is assigned to a device on a local network and is used to identify the device within that network. 
  • On the other hand, a public IP address is assigned to a device directly connected to the internet and is used to identify the device on the internet. 
  • Private IP addresses are not accessible outside the network and only for internal use. The most common private IP address ranges are 192.168.0.0 to 192.168.255.255, 172.16.0.0 to 172.31.255.255, and 10.0.0.0 to 10.255.255.255.
  • Public IP addresses are unique and can be accessed from anywhere. Public IP addresses are typically assigned by internet service providers (ISPs) and can be either static (permanent) or dynamic (assigned temporarily).

Conclusion

Understanding the distinction between public and private IP addresses is crucial for maintaining network security, configuring routers effectively, and optimizing communication between devices in both the digital and physical realms. Public and private IP addresses are essential for establishing communication between devices in the digital world. While we use public IP addresses for communication between devices on different networks and for hosting services on the Internet. We use Private IP addresses for communication within a private network. Understanding the differences between public and private IP addresses is crucial for network administrators to ensure proper network configuration and security.

Related Articles:

FAQs

What is a public IP address?

A public IP address is a unique identifier assigned to a device that is directly connected to the internet. It allows the device to communicate with other devices across the internet. Public IP addresses are typically provided by Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

What is a private IP address?

A private IP address is a unique identifier assigned to a device within a local network, such as a home or office network. It is used for internal communication between devices within the network and is not accessible from the internet. Private IP addresses are usually assigned by routers or network address translators (NATs).

Can public IP addresses be accessed from anywhere?

Yes, public IP addresses can be accessed from anywhere on the internet. They enable devices to communicate with each other across different networks and are essential for hosting websites, online game servers, establishing VPN connections, and remote access to computers or networks.

Can private IP addresses be accessed from the internet?

No, private IP addresses are not accessible from the internet. They are meant for internal use within a local network only. Private IP addresses are used to identify and facilitate communication between devices within the network, such as computers, printers, and smartphones in a home or office environment.

How are public IP addresses assigned?

Public IP addresses are assigned by ISPs. They can be either static or dynamic. A static public IP address remains the same over time, while a dynamic public IP address is assigned temporarily and can change periodically. ISPs manage the assignment and configuration of public IP addresses.

Can private IP addresses be reused in different networks?

Yes, private IP addresses can be reused within different local networks. Since they are not meant to be accessed from outside the network, private IP addresses are reusable. However, care must be taken to ensure that there are no IP address conflicts within a specific network.

About the Author
author-image
Chanchal Aggarwal
Senior Executive Content

Chanchal is a creative and enthusiastic content creator who enjoys writing research-driven, audience-specific and engaging content. Her curiosity for learning and exploring makes her a suitable writer for a variety ... Read Full Bio

Comments