IP Address

What is an IP Address?

Think of how vast the Internet is. Surely it needs something to help it differentiate between all the devices it interacts with. That’s where IP Address comes in. When we get down to it, IP Address is the identifier that enables data to be exchanged amongst different devices on a network. They comprise information that declares which network they belong to, and this ultimately makes inter-device communication possible. 

The Breakdown

What is an IP?

IP stands for “Internet Protocol.” It comprises different numbers that are separated by periods and form a string in this order. Essentially, it is a set of four numbers - with each number within the set ranging from anything between 0 and 255. 

What is an IP Address?

The aforementioned string of numbers is what an IP address is. It is not random; in fact, the numbers in an IP address are mathematically calculated by IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority). Every registered domain on the Internet essentially pays a small fee to ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), which is the central committee overseeing IANA. 

How Does an IP Address Work?

Let’s lay down the entire process point by point.

  1. When it is looking to connect to the Internet, your browser first connects with a network that then connects it to the Internet.  
  2. The network that connects you to the Internet will vary from place to place. If you’re looking to browse the web from the office, it will be your company’s Internet provider. Similarly, if you’re using your home network, it is going to be ISP (Internet Service Provider).
  3. The network then assigns an IP address to your device. All your internet activity passes through the ISP. This is how they assign an IP address to your device. 
  4. Since an IP address is not permanent, it can easily change if you switch off/on your modem or router. You can even get in touch with your ISP to change the IP address for you. 
  5. Every different ISP you use will assign you a different IP address, and that’s how your device will be recognized by the Internet. 

Types of IP Address

Here’s a list of all the different IP address 

  • Consumer IP addresses
  • Private IP addresses
  • Public IP addresses
  • Dynamic IP addresses
  • Static IP addresses
  • Shared IP addresses
  • Dedicated IP addresses

Looking up an IP address

The most convenient way of looking up an IP address is to search “my IP address” on Google. You will get your answer at the top of the page. This will be your router’s public IP address. It’s not only Google - every site has access to your public IP address because when you visit the site, it is your network that makes the request, transmitting your IP in the process.