What is IP address?

IP (Internet Protocol) is the number format for a network device, devices that use IP addresses to communicate with each other over IP-based networks such as the Internet.

Most IP addresses look like this: or, this is the IPv4 address. Some other IP addresses are: 2001: 4860: 4860 :: 8844, this is the IPv6 address.

What is the IP address used for?

An IP address provides identification for a network device, similar to a home or business address. Devices on the network have different IP addresses.

For example, if you send a package to a friend in another country, you need to know the exact address, not just the name and expect the package to reach your friends. You need to write a specific address by looking in the phone book. The process of sending data over the network is similar to the example above. However, instead of using the telephone directory to find their address, the computer will use the DNS server to look up a hostname to find its IP address.

For example, when entering a web page into a browser, like blogtip.org, the request to load this page is sent to the DNS server looking for the server name (blogtip.org) to find its corresponding IP address. Without an IP address attached, the computer will not have a “clue” to the search.

Types of IP addresses

Even if you have heard of previous IP addresses, many people do not know how many IP address types are there. Although all IP addresses are made up of numbers or letters, not all IP addresses are used for the same purpose.

IP address type: private IP address, public IP address, static IP address and dynamic IP address. Each type of IP address can be an IPv4 address or an IPv6 address.

Public IP addresses are used “outside” the network and are assigned by the ISP. This is the primary address that home or business networks use to communicate with other networked devices around the world (ie, the Internet). It provides access to in-house appliances, for example, to reach ISPs, allowing them to perform tasks such as visiting websites and communicating directly with other users’ computers.

Both private IP addresses and public IP addresses can be dynamic or static IP addresses. An IP address assigned by a DHCP server is a dynamic IP address. If the device does not turn on or does not support DHCP then the IP address must be manually assigned, in which case the IP address is called a static IP address.

How to find IP addresses

Different devices and operating systems require different operations to find the IP address.

Find the public IP address

There are many ways to find public IP addresses on your router, such as using ipchicken.com, whatsmyip.org or WhatIsMyIPAddress.com. These sites work on all networked devices that support web browsers such as smartphones, iPods, laptops, desktops, tablets, etc.

Find your own IP address

Other than finding a public IP address, finding a specific IP address of a particular access device is not simple.

In Windows, users can find the IP address of the device through the Command Prompt, using the ipconfig command. In Linux, use the terminal window and enter the command enter hostname -I (i in capital letters), ifconfig or ip show addr. For Mac OS X, use the ifconfig command to find the local IP address.

Find your private IP address on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices by visiting the Wi-Fi menu in Settings, pressing the small “i” button next to the connected network. Depending on whether the IP address is assigned by DHCP or manually entered, you will see the DHCP or Static tab.

For Android users, go to Settings> Wireless Controls> Wi-Fi settings, then touch the network in the new window to display network information including your private IP address.

IP version (IPv4 and IPv6)

There are two IP versions: IPv4 and IPv6. IPv4 is the old protocol and IPv6 is the upgraded version. The reason that IPv6 is replacing IPv4 is that it can provide a large number of IP addresses over IPv4.

As more devices are connected to the Internet, a separate address for each device is needed. IPv4 addresses are built to provide over 4 billion unique IP addresses (232). Although this is a very large number of addresses, it is not enough for all the devices users use on the Internet.

There are billions of people on earth, even when people own only one device and use it to access the Internet, IPv4 is not enough to provide an IP address for all. On the other hand, IPv6 supports 340 trillion trillion, trillion addresses (2128). That’s 340 numbers with 12 zeros. This means that people on Earth can connect billions of devices to the Internet.

In addition to providing multiple IP addresses over IPv4, IPv6 does not cause IP address conflicts caused by individual addresses, automatic configuration, no need to use NAT (Network Address Translation) technology, efficient routing and easier management.

IPv4 displays addresses in the form of 32-bit long strings written in decimal format, such as or Since there are trillions of IPv6 addresses, they are written in hexadecimal as 3ffe: 1900: 4545: 3: 200: f8ff: fe21: 67cf.