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If for example I connect to PIA VPN, and I hover over the icon on my toolbar, next to the volume, wifi, and battery symbol on a mac, it shows me one ip address (IP A) that is different from my actual IP (IP O). When I go on PIA's website, it shows me a separate IP address (IP B) however it says I am protected. The IP address on the website (IP B) is different from my actual IP address (IP O) as well as the one that is on my toolbar (IP A). What IP address is being used? Also, how many IP addresses do we have? And which IP address does the VPN hide? And if it doesn't hide the other IP address, how can I hide that?

  • That adds a good bit of clarity, but this is actually still going to be a very difficult question to answer. I'm not familiar with PIA, so I don't know exactly how their VPN service works. That said, you can have multiple IPs on a given machine, and depending on your routing tables, you may route different traffic across different interfaces/IPs. – Jesse K Aug 2 '17 at 17:57
  • I see, thanks. How can I know what my multiple IPs are and where can I find my routing table? Also in general what kind of IP address does a VPN hide? – user8358234 Aug 2 '17 at 18:02
  • The general purpose of VPN is to ensure that communications between you and some remote server are encrypted, and to make it appear as if you are on their network. Many VPNs will route all communications through that connection, which has the effect of obscuring your "home" IP. Regarding where to find it, in Mac, open a terminal and run netstat -r (maybe -nr would be better). – Jesse K Aug 2 '17 at 18:05
  • This might be some helpful background on VPN: security.stackexchange.com/questions/114762/… – Jesse K Aug 2 '17 at 18:08
  • Since you're seeing three IPs, it might be that one IP is your LAN IP (if it starts with 10 or 192.168 then it's most likely your LAN IP), one is your home's public IP, and one is your VPN's public IP. Try putting them into a geo-ip lookup program like maxmind.com/en/geoip-demo to tell them apart. – Macil Aug 2 '17 at 18:32
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Hard to sort this out without more info, but I believe:

IP A is probably a private IP only used inside your network (10.x.x.x/192.16.x.x/172.16-31.x.x)

IP O is your public IP (what the rest of the world sees, pre-VPN connection)

IP B is the IP the VPN gives you to browse the web

Go to something like https://www.whatismyip.com/, that'll show you what the world will see as you browse.

  • Thanks! This definitely clears things up. Maybe not a completely related question but who can see my private IP? And how can I hide my private IP? – user8358234 Aug 3 '17 at 15:42
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    Your private IP is already hidden from the rest of the internet. It's only used behind your router. Everyone uses the same private IP ranges. You may be assigned a 192.168.1.2 by your router, but so am I. Your router "translates" that to the public IP, and that's all the internet sees. See: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_network – Nick Simonian Aug 4 '17 at 16:54

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