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The world wide web is a huge network of interconnected devices, and this interconnectivity requires tools to identify users and devices for fast, efficient communication. One of the tools used is the Internet Protocol address, or IP address.

Your IP address, seen above, is a unique identifying number that allows other devices on the world wide web to relay information to you, and you to relay information back to them. This identifying number is automatically assigned to all devices using the world wide web by their respective ISP, or Internet Service Provider.

Your IP address also brings along more information with it -- what browser are you using, what ISP, your rough location, and more. As even this amount of personal information being shared can put some people off, there are ways to modify what information you present online.

A VPN, or virtual private network, creates a secure tunnel that allows you to transmit information on the world wide web without broadcasting your location or other identifying information. VPNs also act as a proxy, allowing for anonymous browsing.

There are other methods that can allow you to surf the web without fear of interference -- proxy servers, heavily-encrypted web browsers like TOR, or using port forwarding to allow use of a local IP address.

Did You Know?

The majority of internet traffic served uses IPv4, or Internet Protocol version 4. An IP address under IPv4 is four series of numbers from 0 to 255. As this does technically create a limited number of Ip addresses, many providers are recommending a switch to IPv6. IPv6 assigns a much more complex identifier that uses a mixture of numbers and letters.