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  • Writer's pictureLARUS Foundation

What Is an IP Address and How Does It Work?

Updated: Mar 22

In the digital realm, where connectivity reigns supreme, the term "IP address" holds significant importance. Whether you're browsing the internet, sending emails, or streaming content, understanding what an IP address is and how it functions is fundamental. In this blog post, we'll delve into the intricacies of IP addresses, shedding light on their definition, purpose, types, and the mechanisms behind their operation.

What is an IP Address?

An IP (Internet Protocol) address is a unique numerical label assigned to each device connected to a network. Think of it as the digital identifier that enables devices to communicate and exchange data over the internet. Just like how a physical address identifies the location of a house, an IP address identifies the location of a device in a network.

The Structure of an IP Address

IP addresses are typically represented in a dotted-decimal format, such as This format comprises four sets of numbers separated by periods, each set ranging from 0 to 255. The two primary versions of IP addresses in use today are IPv4 and IPv6.


IPv4 addresses consist of 32 bits, allowing for approximately 4.3 billion unique addresses. However, with the rapid expansion of internet-connected devices, the pool of available IPv4 addresses has become increasingly depleted, necessitating the adoption of IPv6.


IPv6 addresses utilize a 128-bit address scheme, offering an astronomically larger pool of addresses compared to IPv4. This expansion is vital to accommodate the ever-growing number of internet-connected devices worldwide.

How Does an IP Address Work?

When you type a website's domain name into your browser, such as "," your device initiates a process called DNS (Domain Name System) resolution. During this process, the domain name is translated into an IP address by a DNS server, allowing your device to locate the destination server on the internet.

Once the IP address is obtained, your device establishes a connection with the destination server through a series of routing processes facilitated by routers and switches across the internet infrastructure. This connection enables data packets to be transmitted between your device and the destination server, facilitating the exchange of information.

In conclusion, an IP address serves as the foundation of internet communication, enabling devices to connect, communicate, and exchange data across networks. Understanding the structure, function, and types of IP addresses is essential for navigating the digital landscape effectively. As technology continues to evolve, the role of IP addresses in facilitating seamless connectivity will remain paramount, shaping the future of the internet.

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