Difference between Public and Private IP Address
By Theydiffer - November 30, 2015

When talking about the network, either public or private, you’ll always have with you your IP address. Now this so called IP address will serve as your network identification and location addressing. This will allow you to identify computers or gadgets connected through your own private network, but will also locate your location through the internet. That is why these IP addresses do matter, especially when you are frequently connected to a network.



A sample on how private networks are connected through a public network

What is an IP Address

To know what these public and private IP addresses are, let us first discuss what an IP address is. Well to put it simply, it is a numerical label assigned to your devices like your computer, printer, tablets and smartphones that are connected through a network that uses Internet Protocol (IP) for communication.

Public IP Address

This is an IP address usually provided by your ISP (Internet Service Provider) that is connected through your router. Its main use is to connect your PC or capable device with the internet via a modem. In other words, your public IP address will be assigned to you by your ISP, which will then be recognized by the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority), which then connects the world wide web to your modem, and through your router to share your online access with your other devices.

A sample public IP address would look like this: (Google.com)

Private IP Address

When talking about a private IP address, it implies something personal or exclusive. So with your private IP address, it simply means a private network in your own home or office. It is assigned by the user or owner of the network and can also be provided automatically by the user’s router. Currently there are two types of Internet Protocol, namely IPv4 and IPv6 address spaces. It specifies the technical format of packets and addressing schemes for computers to communicate through a network.

  • IPv4 – Most widely used IP to connect your devices through the internet. It uses a 32-bit address scheme, meaning it has over 4 billion available addresses. It is defined by three address blocks.
  1. 24-bit block : Ranges from –
  2. 20-bit block : Ranges from –
  3. 16-bit block : Ranges from –


  • IPv6 – With the growth of the internet, it is now probable that the number of addresses will run out and so, IPv6 comes into play. It uses 128-bit address scheme and can hold an unimaginable number of addresses.

Sample: 3ffE:1900:4343:1:100:F6FF:FE12:FE3F

Public vs Private IP address

What’s the difference between a public and private IP address? By simply having the labels ‘public’ and ‘private’, you can easily assume what their differences are. While it might not be exactly what it sounds like, the idea is there.

When talking about a public IP address, it does not necessarily mean publicly like an outside office or Wi-Fi hotspots, instead it means the public network that you are connected with and that’s the internet. It would now mean that a public IP address is not your usual ‘public’ area. Private IP addresses on the other hand, are used through your home, office, or enterprise LANs (Local Area Network). These are provided by your router, or you can assign each device with a particular IP address, so long as it passes the standards of a true private IP address.

To check for your public IP address, you can refer to this link here.

Comparison Chart

Public IP AddressPrivate IP Address
Connected with the internet networkConnected with a LAN
Publicly registered with Network Information CenterIs not registered with Network Information Center
Requires Modem to connect with a networkRequires Router to connect with a network
Assigned by your ISPAssigned by user or router