What is an IP Address? – Definition and Uses

An IP address allows computers to communicate over a network. There are basically four types of IP addresses: static, private, dynamic, and shared. It is also possible for a computer to have both an IP address and a hostname, but this is rare. This article will discuss the characteristics of each type of IP address and the benefits associated with each.

Static IP addresses are used with websites on the Internet. A website can be created by anyone for any purpose and they will use the same IP address for that purpose. Because the IP address is static, it does not allow other addresses to be used for the website. In other words, a person cannot make a site for their business using an IP address but instead they would use the host name. This allows businesses the ability to share information across the internet because they all use the same internet protocol address for internet communication.

Private IP addresses are used within a home network. A home network generally consists of a router along with IP enabled hardware. The router is a device that sits between a personal computer and the World Wide Web. A router helps to keep track of the different sites a person may be visiting and to keep track of which website has been accessed. The router also keeps track of the speed at which data is exchanged between the personal computer and the website.

Dynamic IP addresses are used for things such as email. These IPs can change anytime an individual wants but there are times when the IP changes during the day. At night these IPs change to the IP of the office. This way the people on the internet can see what website has been visited when they are at work. When the router needs to know the IP of a home computer the information is passed along wirelessly from the office to the home.

There are two types of IP: public IP addresses and private IP addresses. Both have their own purpose, but the main difference between them is how much privacy is allowed. Public IP addresses are able to be viewed by anyone on the internet and this can pose security risks to businesses. On the other hand private IP addresses can only be used by individuals or companies on the internet for their specific purposes.

With private IP addresses there are more restrictions. In most cases only the individuals using the internet will know the IP address of the computer. Any company or computer that requires access to this IP address must get it through a secure secured server. This way no one but the person using the IP can see the IP address. These days with the popularity of the internet getting larger businesses and individuals are finding out that they need to get IP addresses to connect to each other.