Private IP Address Definition & Meaning

A private IP address, also known as a local IP address, is given to a specific device on a local network and can only be accessed by other devices on that network. Private IP addresses do not route directly to the Internet. For a device using a private IP address to access the Internet, its request must pass through the router, which uses the public IP address. While Internet service providers assign public IP addresses to devices, a local router (such as the one in a household) provides private IP addresses for all the devices that connect to the local network.

A private IP address, like a public one, has four different sections and a series of numerical digits. An IP address might be formatted as 1.12.413.058, for example. Of all the available numerical combinations for IP addresses, a few ranges are reserved specifically for private IP addresses. These include 10, 172.16 172.31, and 192.68. No public IP addresses will be in these numerical ranges.

Private IP addresses within networks

Unlike public IP addresses, private IP addresses are not visible to ISPs or web browsers. This makes them more private. This can also protect the devices to some extent, since they aren’t accessible directly through the Internet. Websites cannot gather private IP address data from the specific device to which it belongs, though they can still garner that private network’s public IP address. But the IP addresses for the devices themselves are more secure.

No device within the same private network can have the same private IP address; each receives a unique one. But two devices from different networks can have the same private IP address, since they will not interact with each other. Only devices within one private network can typically interact. Because there is not an inexhaustible number of available private IP addresses, it’s necessary for some of them to be the same. This typically isn’t a problem, especially since the private addresses cannot access the Internet directly. Therefore, websites won’t see multiple requests coming from the same IP address.






Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps is a contributor for websites such as Webopedia.com and Enterprise Storage Forum. She writes about information technology security, networking, and data storage. Jenna lives in Nashville, TN.

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