Even though we use it almost every day, most of us really do not understand and might end up asking, what is an IP address? IP stands for Internet Protocol. Despite the complicated name, it is just a series of numbers to help locate computers or servers online. To illustrate it as simple as possible, just imagine your town as a network with every house or building in it having its own unique identifying number.
This numbering system is needed for people to locate places or homes so that they can deliver mail, information or anything else. In the vast network of computers and servers, each of these devices is assigned a number or an Internet Protocol address. When computer A wants to send something to computer B, it uses the computer IP address to locate and deliver information.
To get really technical, it is basically a code that contains four sets of numbers each separated by a single period. The numbers can have one to three digits and range from 0 to 225. The normal one would look something like 18.104.22.168. Without this number, it would be nearly impossible to send information to its proper destination in the vast network of the Internet.
Now that you know about why this system of numbers is useful, is it is time to discuss a bit more about the different versions of IP addresses. There are two standard IP addresses being used today. The common IPv4 and newer IPv6. The example given earlier is a standard IPv4 convention. It uses binary numbers to make a unique address. The problem with IPv4 numbering is that it they have less than 4.3 billion possible combinations.
With the numerous computers and devices out there, this limits the addresses available for every computer, mobile device or service provider in the future. The IPv6 uses 128 binary to make a set of numbers that will serve an IP configuration. With the IPv6, the number of unique combinations is nearly limitless and will last centuries.
There are several types of IP addresses. The dynamic version is not permanent and is assigned to you by your Internet Service Provider every time you log on into the Internet. ISPs use this type as it is more cost effective and allows them to serve more subscribers. Static IP addresses on the other hand are permanent.
This type is used by people who use their computers as network or file sharing servers and for online gaming websites or conducting online businesses. If you want a static version, there might be extra charges as well as security risks since it is easier to obtain. A dedicated number is usually the best option in these instances.
If you are curious about your own IP number, there are several websites that display this information to you. If somebody asks you what is an IP address, you will be able to answer with high accuracy. Understanding the way computers and devices connect together is important for technology. As technology grows, computers and devices will continue to rely on a networked system to share information back and forth between users and clients.