An IP address is the foundation of any network, whether we are talking about a small local area network or the entire Internet. It is the electronic fingerprint left by the devices we use and is the only identifier that allows information to be sent between devices. 

In this article, we will look at everything we need to know about the IP address, what exactly it is, how it is defined, and what types there are.

What is an IP Address

Each device connected to any network obtains an IP address: a numerical or alphanumeric address that is unique for that device on that network.

The protocol works in the same way as any other language, using specified instructions to transmit information. All devices find, send, and exchange information with other connected devices using the IP address.

This applies to any device, from our computer, router, mobile, tablet, PlayStation, or network printer. Even the big hosting companies with servers that offer cryptocurrency hosting services.

Thus, the aim of the IP address is to attest to the exclusive communication between two devices on the same network. To some extent, it can be compared to the postal address of our home.

In order to receive our correspondence, it is important that our address is unique. If there were two houses with the same address, the postman could not know which one is the right one.

The same applies to the IP address of the computer when we want to enter a page or download a file. The data must be routed to the unique IP of our computer.

Conversely, it is equally important that each website has a unique IP, through the server that hosts it. If two websites had the same IP address, it would be impossible to visit the one we want.

Static IP and Dynamic IP

Regardless of whether we have static IP dynamics on the Internet, the internal IP of our computer changes with each reboot.

Each router includes a function called DHCP Server. This function, on each new device that connects wirelessly or wired to the router, automatically gives an internal IP to a specific address field.

If for some reason we want a static internal IP on our computer, it won’t cost us anything. We can set it directly from the router or from Windows.

Final words

This guide is an introduction to the concept of IP addresses. We didn’t cover issues like subnet mask and addressing. These are more advanced topics, which we may cover in a future guide.

If you have any questions or want to share your opinion on IP addresses, you can write to us in the comments.