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What is an IP Address?

An IP (Internet Protocol) Address is a unique number used by all network devices to allow them to communicate with each other.
The communication (data traffic) is split up and sent in small packages, each with a specific IP number as it's destination. Routers, gateways, computers and switches in their path forward them in the right direction.
If the IP address is incorrect or doesn't exist, the package is deleted. This is why the IP address is so important, without it there would be no network.

The IP address of your computer can be assigned either by your ISP, or by a router in your home network.
One IP address can only be used for one computer, so if you want more than one computer you will need a router that can assign internal IP numbers to the computers in the network.
Click here to determine if your IP is external or assigned by a router

An IPv4 address usually looks something like this:
Each triple is a number between 0 and 255. If your IP is assigned by a router, it usually starts with

Domain Name System (DNS)

As IP addresses can be quite hard to remember for the human mind, there is something called DNS which translates them to readable, easy-to-remember names.
All domain names on the internet, for example is actually just an IP number that happens to be assigned to a specific name.
This is also the case for email addresses, computer names in networks etc. This translation is handled by DNS servers throughout the Internet.
That is why it can take a while to redirect a domain name to a new IP, the DNS servers need to update their registry.

Static vs dynamic IP address

A dynamic IP Address means an IP that could change at any time. The DHCP assigns the IP from an IP pool with a certain lease time, after which a new IP is assigned.
The advantages with a dynamic IP is that all devices are managed automatically, there is no need to keep track of which device uses which IP.
A static IP is the opposite, the IP always stays the same. This can be very useful if you have for example network printers or run a web server.

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