What is an IP Address? 12 Things to Know

What is an IP Address? 12 Things to Know

If you hope for a snail mail letter to arrive at your intended location, you make sure to include the recipient’s exact address, including the house and street number, city, zip code, and country. This is how the USPS knows how to route your letter. But what is an IP address in the digital world, and how is it similar to an address in the physical world?

Every device on the internet on an external or internal network requires its own “address” to receive data packets from other devices and communicate with them. IP addresses make this possible. An IP address, however, looks very different from the physical addresses you’re used to writing on letters and envelopes.

This guide will answer the question, “what is an IP address?” and more. You’ll also learn how IP addresses are used, what they look like, and how to find your IP address.

What Is an IP Address?

In a nutshell, an IP address, or simply an IP, stands for internet protocol address. The idea behind the IP address is based on a long-standing Internet protocol that is the Internet’s underlying foundation. It points to the address of a web server, computer, printer, or another device. It gives it an identifiable address that’s 100% unique and unrepeated by any other device on an external or internal network.

A single IP address can also designate an entire group of different devices during a multicast or a broadcast. While single computers are sometimes assigned several different IP addresses, every individual IP within a specific network can only be used once simultaneously.

How Is an IP Address Created?

Currently, there are two different IP address versions in use. Each of them looks quite different from one another. But what both versions have in common is that they have a device component (for a specific computer or device) and a network component (for routing IPs).

Currently, the IP addresses in use mostly follow IPv4 (Internet Protocol Version 4) and are made up of 32 bits. Because of this, an IPv4 address refers to a 32-digit binary number. An example would look like this:

11000000 10101000 10110010 00011111

But to make an IP address easier to read, it’s assigned a combination of four different figures that range in value from 0 – 255 and are broken up by decimal points. This means that the assigned IP address for the above example would be:

The IPv4 format allows for about 4.3 billion unique IP addresses. And while this number is a lot less than the total number of worldwide devices, every device in the world will never be used at the same moment, and many are only used within the confines of



This article was written by Kristen Wright and originally published on WordPress News | iThemes Blog.

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