The simple answer to this question is Yes. Every time that you visit a website yourcomuters IP Address is exposed. There are a few exceptions to this statement which will be discussed further on in this blog. For now, consider the answer to be yes.
Why is Your IP Address Exposed?
We use the term IP Address as though it is a single object, and that is somewhat true. An IP Address is really a bunch of different information that is bound together in a packet. Information is sent over the Internet in packets. So think of your IP Address as a packet that is full of information. All of that information is required by each web component, such as a website so that the web component understands how to work with your computer.
So your computers IP Address is exposed because it must share the data that is inside it’s packet in order for the web to function with your computer.
What information is Contained within an IP Address Packet?
There is a lot of information that is contained in your IP Address packet. Clearly there is your computers IP Address, which is used to identify your computer. That is important because a webpage must be able to sort out which computers asked for what. Consider the volume of visits that a website might receive in a day. To keep them all separate, each request for information is linked with your computers IP Address. That way when the website sends information to your computer it sends only the information that your computer asked it to send.
So thus far we have discovered that your computers IP Address packet contains your computers IP Address. It also contains information about your physical location. Not specifically your street address, though that can be found out. It tells the Internet what the country, state and city in which you live. It also provides geographic co-ordinance such as those used in GPS. This information is also very important. Nations, erect national Internet boundaries, so that they can control the actions of the Internet within that boundary. Because the world is made up of many different nations, and each nation has its own set of laws, it would be impossible to enforce laws. There is an international body that looks after the international affairs of the Internet, but it has limited authority to enforce laws. An example of a type of law that is enforced between nations would be copy rights.
The IP Package also contains information about your computer. It tells websites whether your computer is a PC or a MAC. It discloses what type of operating system your computer is using, and it shares some security information with the website.
All of this information is very necessary. It is what allows each website that you visit to be able to communicate properly with your computer.
Earlier I made reference to an exception that can occur when your computers IP Address is not exposed. In this case and only this case, IP Address means the numerical data that is used to identify your computer. That piece of the information packet that is contained in your IP Address packet is the only part that is hidden. It is able to be hidden away because sometimes when you use a VPN, the VPN will hide your IP Address and take all of the other information that is contained within that IP Address packet and it cloaks it in one of the IP Addresses that the VPN owns. In this way, your computers IP Address can be hidden, but all of the other information that is required to surf the Internet is exposed. This process works because anyone who would follow your computers IP Address is stymied by the VPNs address.