When you check your router’s admin settings, you might have seen a few different IP addresses.
What are those different IP addresses? Are they private or public IPs?
In this article, we discuss whether routers have public IP addresses. We also explain how to check whether your router’s WAN IP is public or private.
Does Your Router Have A Public IP Address?
A router has a private IP address on the LAN side, and its WAN IP can be public or private, depending on the ISP.
If your ISP uses carrier-grade NAT, your router’s WAN IP is private to the ISP. On the other hand, if your ISP doesn’t use carrier-grade NAT, the WAN IP is public.
How To Know Whether Your Router Has A Public IP Address
You should compare your public IP address to your router’s WAN IP address to check whether the router has a public IP.
You can check your public IP address using sites like whatismyip.com. Then you can check the router’s WAN IP by logging into the router’s admin page. Different routers have slightly different ways of accessing the admin page. Check your router’s manual to see the exact procedure.
If your public IP and the router’s WAN IP are the same, your router has a public IP address. On the other hand, if they are different, the WAN IP is private to the ISP, which means your ISP is using carrier-grade NAT.
Why Don’t Routers Have A Unique Public IP Address?
A router doesn’t have a fixed IP address; it simply gets a WAN IP address from the ISP using DHCP. So your router’s WAN IP can change over time. It can even change when you restart the router.
Because IPv4 addresses are limited, assigning a permanent public IP address to a router is impossible. This is why ISPs dynamically assign WAN IP address to routers using DHCP.
Some ISPs also use carrier-grade NAT to share the same public IP address between multiple customers. In this case, your router’s WAN IP is a private IP address of the ISP. The ISP uses carrier-grade NAT to combine traffic from multiple private WAN IPs from different customers to a single public IP.
Advantages Of A Public Router WAN IP
A public router WAN IP has a few advantages.
You can easily use port forwarding when you have a public WAN IP. For example, you can host a game server inside your private LAN using port forwarding. Port forwarding with a public router IP is also faster than with a VPN.
With carrier-grade NAT, you share a public IP address with many other users. So if one user gets banned from a website, you might also get banned. On the other hand, if your router has a public WAN IP address, you’re not sharing that IP with other users. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about IP-based bans from websites.
A static public router IP can also make it easy to host a web server. However, you have to pay for a static IP.
Disadvantages Of A Public Router WAN IP
Public router WAN IPs also have some disadvantages.
They can expose your local network to the public internet. So your devices are easier to get hacked, and attackers can also slow down your internet using DDoS attacks.
A public router WAN IP also makes it easier to track your internet usage, especially if your WAN IP is static.
How To Get A Public IP Address As Your Router’s WAN IP
If you want your router’s WAN IP to be public, ask your ISP to disable carrier-grade NAT. Some ISPs will disable carrier-grade NAT for you without any additional cost.
You can also get a static IP from your ISP. However, you have to pay for a static IP.
You can also switch to a different ISP that doesn’t use carrier-grade NAT.
Your router has a private IP address on the LAN side. Its WAN IP can be public or private, depending on your ISP.
If your ISP uses carrier-grade NAT, your router’s WAN IP is private to the ISP. On the other hand, if your ISP doesn’t use carrier-grade NAT, your WAN IP is public.
If you want a public IP address for your router, you can ask the ISP to disable carrier-grade NAT. You can also get a static IP from your ISP.