An IP Address (Internet Protocol Address) is a set of numbers assigned to every computer which is connected to a network and uses the Internet Protocol to communicate with each other. The IP Address is used to identify a device like we have our home address where someone can identify us and locate us via our physical address.
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Let’s got a bit deep about the IP Address
In the beginning, the IP addresses were only 32 Bit (Internet Protocol version 4 – IPv4) which looks like 220.127.116.11. Due to unexpected and rapid growth on Internet usage, now we have got 128 Bit (Internet Protocol version 6 – IPv6) which looks like 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334.
The common type of IP is IPv4 which has 4 sets of number and each set consists of numbers between 0 and 255. So the IPv4 will start from 0.0.0.0 to 255.255.255.255. In this way, it hardly can generate 4,294,967,296 unique IPv4 IP addresses. Unfortunately, the world’s population is almost twice the number of IPv4 addresses.
Think about what will happen if we ran out of IP address?
It’s a bit interesting question right? Yes, even very big tech companies like Apple, Microsoft will also have to pay millions of dollars to get an unused IP address. Guess what? Until now, we’re not running out of IP address, even though if it happens, we have the backup plan i.e., IPv6. So we do not have to worry about it.
The IPv6 addresses contain eight groups of hexadecimal digits each group contains four characters. In IPv6 we can create hardly 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 numbers of IP addresses i.e., we will never run out of IP address if we use IPv6.
IP Addresses on websites
As we discussed earlier that each and every device having a unique IP address, every website on the internet having an IP behind the URL.
As we cannot always remember the IP address of a particular website and it is not so easy though. So the Internet Giants found this solution to give a name (URL – Uniform Resource Locator) to the websites instead of IP addresses. But due to the limitation in the IPv4 address, not every website has a unique IP address. Most of the websites are using shared IP addresses.
In a single server, we can host many numbers of Domains depends on the server configuration. So many domains can have a single IP.
When somebody types in the location: www.cyberintro.com that name is converted into IP address and after that, the PC is coordinated to that IP which is the site. Each site on the web is found not by its space name but rather by its IP address.
You can reach a site by typing in the IP address alone and that will take you directly to the site. But note, not every single website has an IP address specifically allocated to it. For example, every single website on this server does not use different IP addresses.
So you might see jonswebsite.com and janeswebsite.com using the same IP address. Basically what happens is that when jonswebsite.com is resolved into the IP address, the person looking for jonswebsite.com arrives at the server; the server then realizes that the person is looking for jonswebsite.com and sends that page to the person requesting it. The DNS (Domain Name Server) helps to resolve the IP from the domain name
Using more than one site on an IP address is called sharing IPs or a Shared IP address. If a site has its own IP address and shares with no one else, it is called a Unique IP address.
You can always reach a site which has a unique IP address by using its IP address alone, but you can’t reach a site using a shared IP address by typing in the IP address alone because when you type in a shared IP address you arrive at the server but the server doesn’t know which site you want because you haven’t told it which domain name you want.
One common reason for having a unique IP address is that you can only use SSL encryption on a unique IP address. In order for a person to transmit sensitive data over the internet at times, this data must be encrypted to prevent someone from intercepting the information. You can only use this encryption (called SSL) when the web site has its own IP address (unique IP). It doesn’t work on a shared IP.
So, if you want a unique IP for your website, you can have it by buying a separate server from any hosting company. They will allocate a unique IP address to your server and it might cost a bit more than a normal shared server.
Do you want to hide your IP? Try ExpressVPN.
Also, read – What is Internet of Things (IoT)?