If you want to know what your IP address is, simply navigate to What is my IP address and you will immediately discover a lot of information, such as:
- your IP address;
- your ISP (internet service provider);
- your location (this information may not be accurate);
- if your IP is on a blacklist.
The Internet Protocol (IP) address is a number that identifies your computer on the network.
Even servers, being technically computers, have their own IP address and, thanks to the use of DNS, these addresses are transformed into domain names. It is thanks to DNS that, to reach a particular website, we can type its domain and not the IP address. Much easier!
Who can know your IP address?
IP addresses are usually public. This means that it is possible that your IP may be read by other people, and using What is my IP address can give you confirmation of this.
But who can it be read by, exactly?
Primarily, by potential hackers, but your IP could also be used to aggressively advertise you.
If you are on a public WiFi network, the risks increase significantly.
How your IP can be found
There are many systems that allow you to reveal your IP address to other people.
First, if you visit a website your IP is entered in the server log files.
Furthermore, every time you interact with a website, leaving a comment, writing in a forum, using social networks, your IP address is registered and is visible to the site administrators.
Now, think for a moment.
Think about Google Analytics. In your opinion, how can it tell if a user has arrived on your site for the first time or if it is a returning visitor? And how can it pinpoint its location? That’s right, it all happens thanks to the IP address.
And when you visit an eCommerce looking for a certain product, how come you find yourself advertising that product (or similar) on all the web pages you visit? Right, it’s the IP address “fault”.
But is there any way to protect your privacy?
Use a VPN
The private internet access system allows you to hide your IP address and encrypt your data.
There are several services that help you keep your data safe.
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) allows you to disguise your IP address, redirecting the connection to a server and then to the destination site. The detected IP, therefore, will not be yours, but that of the server.
If you want to use a VPN, you can choose from several solutions. Some are better suited for protecting you from hacker attacks and others for your privacy.
There is also a use of VPNs to bypass geolocation-based restrictions, such as some streaming services only available in certain geographic areas or government-imposed blocks on web browsing.
Is the VPN legal?
Using a VPN to hide your IP is legal, although there are some countries where there is a dictatorial regime where it is forbidden to use it.
In any case, using the VPN to cover up criminal activity is obviously illegal.
If you decide to activate this type of connection, read the terms and conditions carefully and make sure you turn to reliable and safe services.
How to use IP addresses to your advantage in WordPress
Now that you have a little clearer idea of what IP addresses are and how they work, if you have a website in WordPress you can use this knowledge in your favor.
I don’t want to dwell on tracking and retargeting issues to deliver targeted advertising to your visitors.
Instead, I prefer to focus on the benefits related to the safety and security of your website.
In fact, WordPress allows you to block certain IP addresses and thus prevent these people from:
- send spam messages ;
- attempt to access your Dashboard;
- browse any page on your site.
Spam protection can be managed from the Settings> Discussion section. Here you will find a field in which to enter blocked IP addresses. So they can no longer send you comments.
If you want to prevent repeated login attempts through your login page, you can use Login LockDown, which blocks the IP after entering an incorrect password a number of times.
To prevent an IP address from accessing any page on your site, you can instead use your hosting tools or the .htaccess file. Read this guide to find out more.
Knowing what an IP address is and how it can be traced can help protect your privacy and security.
Thanks to tools like VPN, you can browse the web safely, even if no system can be considered 100% secure.
Additionally, you can use IP address tracking to further secure your website.