IP stands for “Internet Protocol,” and any computer or device that is connected to the internet will have its own unique address or “IP Address.”
IP Addresses are sometimes called “quads” because they are written in a series of four numbers separated by periods or dots. For example, the IP Address for www.wordpress.org is “188.8.131.52.” If you typed that IP Address into your browser, you would then be taken directly to the WordPress.org website.
IP Addresses are not just for websites. In fact, every single device that connects to the internet has its own unique IP address, including mobile phones, smart televisions, voice assistants, and tablets. Because there are billions of these addresses, they are written according to a standard known as IPv6.
Originally, the IPv4 standard was used to create IP Addresses. However, IPv4 can only handle around four billion different IP Addresses, so the new IPv6 standard was created that can handle trillions of different IP Addresses.
The old IPv4 standard simply assigned numbers in groups of four, which could occasionally conflict with other, existing IP Addresses. IPv6, however, ensures that there are no conflicts by requiring that all IP Addresses can be written in hexadecimal notation.
For example, WordPress’s IP address of “184.108.40.206” is in the IPv4 notation. The IPv6 version would be written as “ff00:4a2b::1fff.”
IP Address can either be public or private. Public IP Addresses can be accessed by any device on the internet. Private IP Addresses, on the other hand, can only be accessed from inside a local network. For a local network, the IP Addresses are assigned by the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) which is usually executed by a router.
IP Address can also either be static (unchanging) or dynamic (changing every time you connect to the internet).
Some people choose to use a VPN (virtual private network) in order to spoof their IP address to unlock content on websites such as Netflix or to prevent people from tracking them online.
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