Website Review

What Is An IP Address, And Why Does It Matter?

When you’re setting up a business and beginning to dive into the world of the internet, you’ll find a lot of new terms popping up. One of these that you may see often is ‘IP’. An IP Address is an ‘Internet Protocol Address’, an online identifier that helps send information between devices on a network. 

The concept of an IP can be a little confusing, so in this article, we’ll answer the question of ‘what is an IP address?’ and explore why it matters.

Why Do You Need An IP? 

An IP is a series of numbers which contains important information. They’re a vital part of the internet’s structure as they contain location information that makes devices (such as computers) accessible for communication. 

The internet needs a way to differentiate between websites, routers, computers and other devices so that they can communicate with one another, so IP addresses provide a unique series of numbers which allows it to do this. They are individual identifiers to signal where demand comes from on the internet. 

IP data sourced by professional agencies has also become an important part of many business strategies, as it can be used to collect information that can help you within certain markets. It’s also very important for business owners to protect their IP from IP theft, as if someone claims their IP, it can result in them losing business. 

What Does An IP Look Like?

IP addresses are a string of numbers that are separated by periods. They are a set of four numbers between 0 and 225, so for example, an IP could look like this:


The full range goes from to, and it could be any combination of numbers within this that you’re assigned. 

Who Allocates An IP Address? 

Though it may seem random, IP addresses are produced and allocated by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). 

The IANA is a non-profit which works to protect the internet’s safety measures. It allows everyone to use the internet securely by providing data security measures via a mathematical procedure. 

When you register a domain name on the internet (i.e. a name for your website), it’ll go through a registrar, which pays a fee to IANA, who will allocate the site a specific IP. 

How Does An IPA Work? 

Now that we’ve established what an IPA is and how it looks, we can explore how it works. The purpose of an IPA is to help communication – it works much like we do when we talk and exchange information in person – by exchanging information with other devices and receiving responses. 

The difference, however, is that an IPA uses numbers instead of words so that it can communicate with any device regardless of language. This creates a ‘universal language’, a powerful worldwide communication tool. 

The process of this communication follows a system like this:

  1. Your device connects to a network (e.g. WiFi), which connects you to the internet. 
  2. ISP assigns your device an IP address. 
  3. Anything you do online goes through the ISP, which brings it back to you using your IP. 
  4. If your router fails or you turn it off, your IP may change as you’ll be working with a new connection. Or, if you’re worried about your internet safety, you can contact ISP to change it for you. 

Do You Have An IP Address When You Use Public WiFi? 

When using public WiFi, your home IP address won’t come with you as you’re no longer connected to that network or internet service provider (WiFi). If you use, for example, a coffee shop’s WiFi, then you’ll be assigned a temporary IP address from their internet service provider. There are a few issues related to temporary IPs, mainly because public WiFi is more at risk of cyber-attacks such as cloning and data copying. 

The Dangers Of IP Crime 

Temporary IPs are one of the reasons why a lot of online crimes take place in public spaces – an investigator could use a home IP address to track someone to a specific location; however, if they’re using a temporary address, it can only lead them to a public location that the person may have disconnected from and left. 

Public WiFi is also a lot less secure for the ordinary user, and Cyber criminals can clone public servers to create a fake provider and steal data from users. 

VPNs or ‘Virtual Private Networks’ can help you to protect yourself from these risks. They can assign you a static IP, which masks your real IP from hackers and allows you to connect to your chosen server without a ‘man in the middle’ attacker taking or monitoring your data. 

Why Does An IP Address Matter? 

Now we’ve answered your question of ‘what is an IPA address’, we can look at why it matters. 

The internet is an ever-growing superpower, and IPs are filled with technical complexities that will undoubtedly continue to develop with time. The most important thing to understand about why IPs are important is that they help you to get online. They ensure your computer connects to your router and then protect your private data whilst you use the internet to communicate with other devices. 

Without IP Addresses, devices would have no way of communicating with one another, as they wouldn’t be able to ‘talk’ to each other in their numerical language and form a connection. Simply put, IPs matter because they allow us to use the internet to its full capabilities. 

James Morkel

Tech website author with a passion for all things technology. Expert in various tech domains, including software, gadgets, artificial intelligence, and emerging technologies. Dedicated to simplifying complex topics and providing informative and engaging content to readers. Stay updated with the latest tech trends and industry news through their insightful articles.

Related Articles

Back to top button