Any device that connects to the Internet has an IP address and if you did not have a thing such as an IP address you would not be able to communicate with other computers, users, website, devices and more on the Internet. This unique number assigned to your device is a unique number. Assigned to your device alone. A simple way to look at an IP address is like a telephone number, each telephone number is unique, you use it to identify yourself, and you alone are reached through your number.
A network can use two different IP addresses in Toronto, Canada or anywhere where you use an Internet connected device. Most routers and the Internet are configured for IPv4, which is a 32-bit address. Currently this version has an amount of 4,294,967,296 possible addresses with some reserved addresses in-between. However, there is a growing concern due to internet growth that addresses could be exhausted. Therefore was another version of addresses created called IPv6, although it was not necessary to use it yet.
What does an IP Address look like?
A typical IP address looks like this: 192. 278. 2. 11 and as you can see it is four numbers that are separated by periods. These numbers all have a possible range of zero and up through 255.
The function of IP Addresses
A device IP address is used by routers on the Internet that forward information from one computer to another on the Internet or as explained earlier, any device using Internet. When you compare it to a telephone service for example, the router is like the telephone exchange, which connects callers to dialed numbers.
An Internet user that sends a message online has that message broken down into packets and as header of those packetsis your IP address. You device sends that information with your IP address and the receiving devices IP address via the routers which read all the information and make sure your information is forwarded to the right IP address. When you send a message however, you enter a web address and not an IP address. There is no need for you to know or remember an IP address when you have the website address as servers store all the Internet addresses and corresponding IP addresses. These servers are called DNS servers, which main function is translation of web addresses to their IP addresses. You can compare a DNS server yet again to telecommunication in Canada like a telephone directory. As a telephone directory stores individuals and businesses with corresponding telephone numbers, the DNS servers list online devices and IP addresses.
How Do Websites Use IP Addresses?
Websites would not specifically know you and identify you personally simply by your IP address, unless you register and give personal information freely. Your IP address would be used in Canada for example to tie your geographical location or target location. IP addresses are allocated to countries and regions around the world and not only in Canada and by your IP address someone like a webmaster looking at stats would see your IP address, but nothing about you personally.