Internet Protocol (IP)

The Internet Protocol (IP) is a protocol, or set of rules, for routing and addressing packets of data so that they can travel across networks and arrive at the correct destination.

Data traversing the Internet is divided into smaller pieces, called packets.

IP information is attached to each packet, and this information helps routers to send packets to the right place. Every device or domain that connects to the Internet is assigned an IP address, and as packets are directed to the IP address attached to them, data arrives where it is needed.

A computer’s IP Address is like the physical address of a house. If someone calls a pizzeria to order a delivery, they need to provide their physical address. Without that address, the pizza delivery person will have no idea which house to deliver the pizza to!

IP Address

An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is a numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network.

‘IP’ stands for Internet Protocol, which is the set of rules that makes it possible for devices to communicate over the Internet. With billions of people accessing the Internet every day, unique identifiers are necessary to keep track of who is doing what. The Internet Protocol solves this by assigning IP numbers to every device accessing the Internet.

DNS (Domain Name Resolver)

Each IP address is a series of characters, such as ‘’. Via DNS resolvers, which translate human-readable domain names into IP addresses, users are able to access websites without memorizing this complex series of characters. Each IP packet will contain both the IP address of the device or domain sending the packet and the IP address of the intended recipient, much like how both the destination address and the return address are included on a piece of mail.

IP address gets packets to their destination

For example, when a user types a domain name, like, into a web browser, this will initiate a request to Google’s web server asking for content (the Google homepage). Once Google receives the request, it needs to know where to send the website content. For this reason, the request will contain the asker’s IP address. Using the provided IP address, Google can send a response back to the user’s device, which will then display that content in the user’s web browser.

Static IPs and Dynamic IPs

The limited supply of IPv4 addresses led to the introduction of dynamically assigning IP addresses, which is still a very common practice. Most devices connected to the Internet are assigned temporary IP addresses. For example, when a home user connects to the Internet on their laptop, that user’s ISP assigns them a temporary IP address from a pool of shared IP addresses. This is known as a dynamic IP address. This is more cost-effective for the ISP than assigning each user a permanent, or static, IP address.

dynamic IP Addresses

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