What Is A IP Address?

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An IP address stands for the address of the internet protocol; it is an identification number associated with a particular device or computer network. The IP address allows the machines to send and receive information while connected to the internet.

Key Takeaways

  • An internet protocol (IP) address allows computers to send and receive information.
  • There are four types of IP addresses: public, private, static, and dynamic.
  • An IP address allows information to be sent and received by the correct parties, which means they can also be used to track down a user's physical location.

How an IP Address Works

An IP address enables computers to send data over the internet and receive it. Most IP addresses are strictly numerical, but letters have been added to some addresses as internet use increases.

There are four types of IP addresses that are different: public, private, static, and dynamic. Although the public and private are representative of the network's location, private is used within a network while the public is used outside a network. Static and dynamic signify permanence.

As compared to having been allocated, a static IP address is one that was generated manually. Also, a static address does not change, while a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server is allocated a dynamic IP address and is subject to change. The most common type of internet protocol address is dynamic IP addresses. Dynamic IP addresses are active for a certain period of time only, after which they expire. The computer may either request a new lease automatically, or a new IP address can be received by the machine.

As each one is completely unique to the device or user to which it is allocated, an IP address can be compared to a Social Security Number (SSN). The creation of these numbers helps routers to know where they are sending data on the internet. They also make sure that what is being sent is processed by the correct devices. A router requires an IP address to send to the web address requested, just as the post office requires a mailing address to deliver a package.

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