Need Dedicated IP Web Hosting?
IP Address Introduction
What is an IPv4 address?
When you connect a computer to a network using the Internet Protocol (IP), the other computers will need a way to identify it. In the real world, many people have a cell phone number that uniquely identifies them. An IPv4 address works in much the same way. On the Internet, each device has an IP address. Sending a data packet across the internet requires the sender's IP address, and the recipient's IP address.
How does somebody get an IPv4 address?
For everyday people, getting an IPv4 address is straightforward. Whenever you sign up for internet service, your Internet Service Provider (or ISP) provides you with an IPv4 address, and sometimes an IPv6 address. It's simply part of the service they provide. Your ISP gets their IP addresses in the US by registering them with the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN). Web hosting companies also have their IP addresses registered through ARIN, either directly or through their own ISP.
What does an IPv4 address look like?
An IPv4 address is a string of numbers separated by 3 decimals. For example, the IPv4 address of one of google's dedicated servers is "18.104.22.168". In fact, you can open your web browser, type in this IPv4 address (without the quotes) and hit enter. When you do, you'll see the google search page come up. Your web browser sent an request for a web page to that IPv4 address, and then the server with that IPv4 address sent you a web page.
But then how do ".com" names work?
Now to get to the same page, you probably just type in "google.com". You probably noticed that this isn't an IPv4 address. So how does your computer get to know google's IPv4 address? It's called a Domain Name Server (DNS), and it works like a phonebook. Your computer sends the domain name (google.com) to the DNS and in return, gets the IPv4 address or IPv6 address for that domain name.
How does my computer know the IPv4 address of the DNS?
Communicating with the DNS is important. In order to communicate with the DNS, your computer will first need to know the IP address of the DNS. Your computer communicates with your local router which knows the ip address of the DNS servers. Your computer needs this communication with the DNS server in order to turn domain names into IP addresses. When you plug in your computer to the internet, your computer will listen for your ISP to send it the necessary settings to connect. The DNS IPv4 address and other settings are included in this initial process.
What's the difference between IPv4 and IPv6?
IP version 4 and IP version 6 are two address standards used on the internet. Learn more about them by visiting the IP Versions page here: IPv6 Address