What is an IP address?

An IP address, which stands for Internet Protocol address, is a numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. IP addresses serve two main purposes: they identify the host or network interface and provide the means for devices to communicate with each other on a network.

There are two versions of IP addresses in use:

1. IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4): This is the most widely used version of IP addresses. IPv4 addresses are 32-bit numbers written in the form of four decimal numbers separated by periods (e.g., Each of the four segments can range from 0 to 255, providing a total of around 4.3 billion possible unique addresses. However, due to the growth of the internet, these addresses have become increasingly scarce.

2. IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6): IPv6 was introduced to address the limitations of IPv4 and to accommodate the growing number of devices connected to the internet. IPv6 addresses are 128-bit hexadecimal numbers written in the form of eight groups, separated by colons (e.g., 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334). IPv6 provides an astronomically large number of possible addresses, ensuring that we won't run out of addresses anytime soon.

IP addresses are used by routers and networking equipment to route data packets to their intended destinations across the internet. When you type a domain name into your web browser, your computer uses a process called DNS (Domain Name System) to translate that human-readable domain name into the corresponding IP address, allowing your computer to locate and communicate with the appropriate server hosting the website or online resource.

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