IP address

An Internet Protocol (IP) Address is designed to allow one computer (or another digital device) to communicate with another via the Internet. IP addresses allow the location of literally billions of digital devices that are connected to the Internet to be pinpointed and differentiated from other devices. In the same sense that someone needs your mailing address to send you a letter, a remote computer needs your IP address to communicate with your computer.

What is an IP address made up of?

An IP address consists of four numbers, each of which contains one to three digits, with a single dot (.) separating each number or set of digits. Each of the four numbers can range from 0 to 255. Here's an example of what an IP address might look like:

  • 78.125.0.209.

This simple group of four numbers is the key that empowers you and me to send and retrieve data over our Internet connections, ensuring that our messages, as well as our requests for data and the data we've requested, will reach their correct Internet destinations. Without this, everything on the internet would be impossible. 

There are two types of IP address

These are Static and Dynamic.

Dynamic IP addresses are temporary and are assigned each time a computer accesses the Internet. They are, in effect, borrowed from a pool of IP addresses that are shared among various computers. Since a limited number of static IP addresses are available, many ISPs reserve a portion of their assigned addresses for sharing among their subscribers in this way. This lowers costs and allows them to service far more subscribers than they otherwise could.

Static IP addresses are generally preferable for such uses as online gaming, or any other purpose where users need to make it easy for other computers to locate and connect to them. Easy access can also be facilitated when using a dynamic IP address through the use of a dynamic DNS service, which enables other computers to find you even though you may be using a temporary, one-time IP address.

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