What is an IP Address?

Basic – Web/Development

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What is an IP address? It stands for Internet Protocol (IP), and it’s made of a unique series of numbers that is assigned to every computer on the Internet to identify each of them individually. This protocol helps to identify where the computer is located on the Internet and route the information easily among the computers.

You cannot browse the Internet, watch online videos, send emails or download a file from the Internet without getting an IP address assigned to your computer. Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is responsible for overseeing global IP allocation. The IP addresses are assigned to the end-users through the Internet Service Providers (ISP).

There is two types of IP: Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPV4) and Internet Protocol Version 6 ( IPV6). IPV4 consists of 4 numbers separated with dots. Each number can range from 0 to 255 in decimal numbers. An example of an IPV4 address is 192.168. 2.1.

IPV6 was introduced to cope with the depletion of IPV4 addresses due to the increase of new devices connect to the Internet everyday. IPV6 is written as a group of 8 hexadecimal numbers separated with a colon. 2001:db8:0:1244:0:527:8:1 is an example of IPV6 address. When they are assigned to the computers or any other network device, these human-friendly decimal values are converted to computer-readable binary values.

IP addresses can be further divided as private and public. Public IP addresses are assigned to devices when they are allowed to access through the internet. They are globally unique. Sometimes organizations want to maintain private networks. In such instances, they will use private IP addresses.

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