The Internet Protocol (IP) knows each logical host interface by a number, the so-called IP address. On any given network, this number must be unique among all the host interfaces that communicate through this network. Users of the Internet usually use a domain name in addition to their numerical IP address.
The IP address of users browsing the world wide web are used to enable communications with to the server of the web site. Also it is usually in the header of email messages one sends. Depending on one's Internet connection the IP address can be the same every time one connects, a static IP address, or different per session (but the first part being the same each time): a dynamic IP address.
Internet addresses are needed not only for unique enumeration of host interfaces, but also for routing purposes, therefore a high fraction of them are always unused or reserved. As there are only a limited number of 32-bit IP addresses currently available to be allocated, with rising demand for new devices, including personal communicators for up to 6 billion people world-wide, there is a real prospect of the world running out of IP addresses.
A number of measures have been taken to conserve the existing IPv4 address space (such as CIDR and the use of NAT and DHCP), but there is a general consensus that the Internet is going to have to upgrade its addressing scheme to the longer 128-bit IPv6 addressing scheme sometime in the next 5 to 15 years.
Why would one need to see their own IP address? Well, this is geared toward those who have a different LAN and WAN IP addresses. For example, those behind routers, or those behind their school proxies would require their WAN IP address were they looking to host a game, connect in peer-to-peer chat, connect in peer-to-peer file sharing, connect in peer-to-peer video conferencing, troubleshooting with your ISP or any of the countless other reasons. If used your default operating system ipconfig tool to find out your IP, the other party you wish to have connect to you would not be able to under the circumstances of a different LAN/WAN IPs, because the ipconfig tool only gives you your internal network IP (LAN).
If you came here to seek your WAN IP address, please bookmark so you can come back with ease.
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