Information about your IP Address and why you need it to visit internet sites.
I’d like to come visit your computer. What is its address? We are not talking about the internal IP Address internal IP address, but rather the external IP.
Your IP address is 126.96.36.199
Every time that you visit a web site, send or receive an email, log in to your bank, or even share files with other PCs on your own home or business network, your computer is telling the other computer what its address is and how to find it in cyberspace.
Yep, just like your address is totally unique in that you live in a numbered house or apartment, on a named street, in a named town or city, which is itself in a named county or parish, which is located in a named state, which is part of a named country, on a named continent or island, which happens to be on a named planet, in a named solar system, etc. — Your computer has a unique address as well. This address is called your Internet Protocol address or IP for short.
Unique IP Address
Your IP address is unique. It’s the only one like it in the whole world! Sweet,huh? Your computer can be contacted by any computer on the entire planet that knows your address. Let’s see how this works.
In order to provide for an orderly way of tossing bits and bytes of information back and forth between themselves, computers have to have a way of keeping their identities from being confused from any another PC. That’s what an IP address does.
An IP address is actually a 32-bit number that is expressed as four “octets” which are separated by dots. Here’s an example:
While that may look like a representation of the U.S. National debt to you, to another PC that’s a road map to your PC’s front door.
Each of the four groups of numbers (octets) in an IP address can have a value ranging between 0 and 255.
While some machines, such as network servers and web servers usually keep their same IP address for life, your PCs own IP address may change regularly. Most home PC users don’t have any way of assigning their PCs an IP address. Instead, they “borrow” one from their Internet Service Provider (ISP) every time that they log onto the Internet. This is almost always true for services such as AOL, and less true for broadband users who may keep the same IP address for months if not forever.
Anyway, if you do have the capability and knowledge to assign your own IP addresses then you don’t need to read this article anyway, so we’ll focus on the rest of us who end up borrowing ours from our ISP.
When you get your IP number from your ISP an interesting thing happens. Your IP address is not really the path for the rest of the world to follow directly to your PC, it’s really the address to your ISP’s server. Once the “visitor” reaches the ISP’s server, the server takes over and directs the information to your PC’s front door. This allows the ISP to change your IP address every minute if it wants to while keeping a static IP address out there for the world to find you at. Sound confusing? It is. In fact there is a lot of sophisticated machinery at work whose only job is to keep this all in order and working more or less flawlessly.
My IP Address
IP addresses are so basic to the success of the Internet that you really don’t need to know a web site’s domain name if you know their IP. In fact, domain names are only a convenience for humans who have better luck remembering to type www.Google.com, when they want to do a search, then they would have trying to remember Google’s IP address of 188.8.131.52.
Whenever you type http://www.Google.com into your browser, the browser sends a query off to a big telephone book in the sky and asks “Hey, what’s the IP address for Google.com?”. This big telephone book, more commonly called a “Domain Name Server” or DNS for short, returns 184.108.40.206 to your browser. Your browser then heads off to Google’s web site using the IP address as a map.
Try it for yourself. Type http://220.127.116.11 into your browser. And, where did you end up? Bingo! Google.com
And now you know more than you’ll probably ever need to know about IP addresses and their purpose in life.
What’s My IP – More detail!