The primary purpose of IP addresses (IPs for short) is to ensure that data sent and received over the internet arrives at its intended destination. Every single device on the World Wide Web has an IP address, which, in many ways, is not too dissimilar to a postal address.
For example, when you enter a domain name into your browser's address bar, your computer sends a request to the IP address of the server hosting the website you want to visit. The server processes it and dispatches the requested data to your IP address.
Without the IPs, your computer wouldn't know where the requests should be sent, and the server wouldn't know who is expecting a response.
In addition to routing every single packet of data on the internet, IP addresses also serve as identifiers. Website owners and analytics programs use them to monitor traffic patterns, and security systems can use IPs to establish and block the source of a potential attack.
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IP addresses are strings of numbers that act as identifiers for devices connected to a computer network. Every single device has an IP, so when another participant on the network wants to communicate with it, they know where they need to send the data.
IPv4 is the fourth version of the Internet Protocol, first deployed in the early 1980s. IPv4 addresses consist of four numbers separated by dots. Every number (except for the first one) can range between 0 and 255, giving us around 4.3 billion unique addresses. By the 1990s, we were beginning to exhaust this pool, mandating another revision of the Internet Protocol.
IPv6 is the latest version. First introduced in 1995, its main purpose is to help us deal with the depletion of unused IPv4 addresses. IPv6 addresses consist of eight groups of four hexadecimal digits, resulting in a potentially inexhaustible number of unique addresses.
The original expectations were that IPv6 would have replaced IPv4 by now, but the two continue to exist side-by-side to this day.
A typical home or office network has a single public IP address. It's provided by the ISP, and the network's router or modem uses it to communicate with other devices connected to the internet.
However, computers and smartphones can also send and receive data inside the local network. To do that, they are assigned private or local IP addresses. Local networks usually use IPv4, and private addresses start with 192.168.
Your device's IP address can't give away your precise location. However, it contains data related to the city you're currently in and the ISP, so you can get a rough idea where a person is located just from the IP.
Servers are often configured to block connections from IPs that display unusual traffic patterns (e.g., too many failed login attempts or a large number of simultaneous connections). The idea is to mitigate the risk of brute force and DDoS attacks.
However, blacklisting can also occur because of software applications or a large number of devices using the same IP. If you think that your IP may have been blocked by your ScalaHosting server, get in touch with our technical support specialists, who will assist you further.