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What Is An IP Address Anyway | Touchstone Words

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What is an IP Address Anyway

By Shane Staret on 2018-07-14

IP or Internet Protocol addresses are essentially unique identifiers that are assigned to every device that can be connected to the Internet. No matter what kind of device it is, whether a smartphone or a desktop, all devices have a unique IP address.


The main purpose of an IP address is to verify a device’s location and to identify the particular device that is being used. This is important if a website wants to block out a certain country’s citizens from viewing their content, or if they want to know who the Internet Service Provider (ISP) is for the device that has connected to their network.

IP addresses are like actual mailing addresses as well. Without a given IP address, a website or another computer doesn’t know where to send data to. So, if you were to try and connect a device to the Internet without an IP address, then the Internet would be virtually useless since you wouldn’t be able to receive data from other sources. A problem with using IP addresses as mailing addresses, however, is that they can be bombarded with information, which can cause the network to be slowed. This is known as a denial of service or DoS attack since it effectively prevents the user with the targeted IP address from accessing anything since their IP is handling so many more requests than it can actually process.

There are two different kinds of IP addresses that are recognized internationally. The first is the IPv4 address and it is the original version of the IP address. The problem with the IPv4 address is that it can only support 4.3 billion common addresses, which seems like a lot. But, then you remember there are over 7 billion people on the planet and some have multiple devices. So, you might run out of that many unique IP addresses quicker than you would think. Thus, the IPv6 address was created and has more numbers within it so that there are many more unique combinations. In fact, instead of 4.3 billion, there are about 3.4×1038 unique IPv6 addresses, so we should be good for quite a while, considering that is about half the number of atoms that exist in the universe. Currently, both versions of the IP address are in use and will likely continue to co-exist at least for the near future.

It is also important to note that there are different types of IP addresses within the two different kinds (IPv4 and IPv6) that were mentioned above. There are public and private IP addresses. Private IP addresses are simple to understand, as they are the individual IP addresses that are used to connect to your private router. A public IP address is the IP address that is used to connect to outside networks, like when you’re on the Internet. This IP address allows your devices to communicate with your ISP and therefore communicate with any outside network that allows it. Both public and private IP addresses can also be dynamic or static. If they are static, then they are constant and never change, but if they are dynamic then they can change every time you connect to a network. Dynamic IP addresses are advantageous because a single IP address can be used for multiple devices on a network at different times. This means that an IP address is not dedicated to a specific device, rather it jumps around from device to device, allowing more flexibility in the number of devices that can be connected to a network before the amount of available IP addresses run out.

IP addresses are actually very easy to understand and are simply ways of identifying a specific device. They are like the mailing address of a house, but instead of a house, it is a device that can connect to the Internet. You can use many sites to view what your IP address is...but just make sure you don’t go around the Internet spreading what it is.

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Discussed coding languages are well suited for those interested in pursuing a career in web design and development; however, other options are mobile App design and development, system admin and software engineering. It is advisable to consult with an IT counselor to understand what options best fits your skills. For instance, if you want to be a software engineer, learning HTML and CSS might not fit the bill. Here is an excellent article for learning more on coding and technology career roadmap. Once you know what career path you wish to pursue, you can make a plan on what, when, and how to learn. There are lots of online resources for learning coding and technology in general. For teenagers and high school students, High School Technology Services offers variety of hands-on training. For adults and professionals, Coding Bootcamps and DC Web Makers Companies offer basic to advance project-based programming and technology classes.

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