Understanding IP Server and IP Addresses
There term IP server, most commonly known as IP address, is a very common term that is thrown around in conversations related to the Internet and Internet-based technologies and protocols. The acronym IP is short for Internet protocol and serves as a numerical label.
The numerical label acts as an exclusive identifier for all technology devices that function on a common network and use that Internet protocol to communicate with each other. These devices include:
The computers on the network
- Scanners and fax machines
- Internet-based phones
To simply things, think about your IP address in a similar fashion to a street address. All of the devices (computer, etc.) are housed at this address and communicate over a common network (i.e. the Internet), which is similar to the city you reside. Therefore, in order for you to communicate with another device online, it must be assigned an IP address in order for your computer to find it.
The functions of IP addresses
Internet protocol is the standard protocol that is followed on the Internet. This protocol has two main functions:
To host interface identification
- Location addressing
What most people do not understand is that the actual location of their Web site address is not the name of their Web site (for example, http://www.website.com) the name of the Web site actually connotes what users are looking for.
The actual Web site address (IP address) is the actual location of a Web site. IP addresses are actually a set of binary numbers and look something like this: 18.104.22.168. Your IP address can only contain numbers in the range from 0 up to 255.
Since it is much more user friendly to remember a name rather than a 10 digit number, domain name system (DNS) is used to convert the IP address into the Web site addresses as users know them today. The same holds true for e-mail. It is much easier to remember email@example.com than firstname.lastname@example.org
However, users can type either an IP address or a domain name in the address bar and they will get the same results. For example, searching http://www.website.com or its corresponding IP address 64.288.144.40 would take the user to the home page of the Web site.
How to find your IP address
Finding out what your IP address is not difficult. There are actually a number of Web sites such as http://www.myipaddress.com that will provide you with your IP address. The site instantly displays your IP as soon as the Web site is loaded.
You can also get your IP address information from your computer by following these steps:
Click start menu
- Select All programs
- Select accessories
- Select Command Prompt
- When the Command window appears type “ipconfig” and hit enter
- Your IP address will be displayed
Types of IP server addresses
There are a number of types of IP addresses that exist. While they mainly all serve the same role online, they differ in some fashion and cater to a specific function. They are as follows:
Static IP addresses: Static IP addresses never change. This is common on business servers and is ideal for organizations that have their own e-mail or Web server.
- Dynamic IP addresses: Dynamic IP addresses can change at any time. In this case, your IP is selected and assigned from a pool of IP addresses that are assigned by your Internet service provider. Addresses are assigned as you log onto your network and are ideal for people that do not require a specific IP. Most home Internet connections have a dynamic IP address.
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