An IP Address is a unique way of identifying each computer that connects to the Internet. The IP Address is a series of numbers that are separated by a period. 256.2.458.125 is an example of what an IP Address may look like. To make matters more confusing, an IP Address may also be assigned to another type of electronic device that also connects to the Internet. So not just computers are assigned an IP Address; however, the general definition remains true.
IP Address stands for Internet Protocol Address
IP Addresses are used by web components such as websites, to keep track of the millions of computers that may interact with the web component. The IP Address of your computer serves a very important purpose. It allows a website to keep track of each request that your computer sends and to separate requests from all of the computers that may interact with the website at the same time. In short, your IP Address allows websites to send you whatever you asked for. An example would be if you were to look through pictures on a website and asked to see an expanded view of one picture. Your IP Address allows the website to track your request and send you an expanded view of the picture you asked for instead of a picture that some other computer asked for.
IP Address come in to versions. They can be static, or they can be dynamic. The choice of which type of IP Address is determined when you set up your Internet settings on your computer. A static IP Address is one that remains constant. It does not change. A dynamic IP Address is refreshed or renewed each time a computer accesses the Internet. The strengths and weaknesses of each type of IP Address are dependent upon how the computer is going to be used while on the Internet.
What is a Static IP Address?
The benefit of using a static IP Address is that other computers can easily find a computer that uses a static IP Address. That is helpful if the computer serves as a connection point such as a server for remote access. In the business world, remote access is a common requirement of many jobs. Having a static IP Address allows employees to access the corporate server quickly whether they are local or globally located. Non-business applications of static IP Address strengths would be for applications that involve gaming where many people connect to a server to play online games.
What is a Dynamic IP Address?
Because dynamic IP Address are temporary, each time your computer connects to the Internet it receives a new IP Address. They are beneficial because they make your computer harder to find. If security is a concern, than a dynamic IP Address is slightly more secure. I say slightly because a dynamic IP Address can still be found. The Dynamic IP Address may allow one computer to represent an entire network of computers that access the Internet through it’s ports. An example of this would be a server.
Choosing to use a static or a dynamic IP Address is still a matter of personal choice which should be determined by usage. While IP Addresses are important for smooth Internet transactions, they need not become a vulnerable part of your Internet security. Computers connect to the Internet using ports. A port is an access point into or out of your computer. Ports are what allow devices such as printers to connect to your computer. This is another reason why an IP Address is important. A remote printer will understand which computer out of many it needs to connect to get its job done. The same is true if the computer is trying to send data to a printer. If they printer has Internet capabilities, it too will have an IP Address.
Who Assigns My IP Address?
The IP Address assigned to your computer, whether static or dynamic, is provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP.) The Internet Service Provider is usually assigned a large block of numbers that they distribute to their customers. To server both a static and dynamic population of customers, Internet Service Providers usually divide their block of IP Addresses into two groups. Those groups represent IP Addresses that will be used by static customers and dynamic customers.
Information That Is Associated With An IP Address:
An IP Address can be associated with data about your computer and your computers location. Some of the information that is shared by your IP Address is your approximate location. This includes your country of origin, your city of residence, and even the longitude and latitude of your computer. The equates to placing your location to a block within your city. An IP Address also provides information about your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and they type of connect that your computer is using. An example would be whether or not you use broadband, or dial up as a connection to the Internet. This information is public unless you subscribe to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or use a proxy connection.
Knowing what an IP Address is allows computer owners to make informed decisions about the way their Internet connection accesses the Internet. Understanding how an IP Address works, allows computer owners to set up the proper type of IP Address (Static or Dynamic) according to how they use their computer. Understanding what information is associated with an IP Address is important when computer owners set up their Internet security. The danger from the Internet comes from more than virus, malware and data mining programs. Hackers can also use this public information associated with an IP Address to gain access to your computer. It is with these dangers in mind that we provide this information to consumers. Being informed is the first step in being secure. For more information on selecting the best VPN service, check out our VPN resource page.