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An IP Address, or Internet Protocol Address, is a unique string of numbers separated by periods (in IPv4) or colons (in IPv6) that identifies each computer using the Internet Protocol to communicate over a network.It serves as a digital address that allows data to be routed to the correct location on the internet, similarly to how a postal address works for physical mail.
Public IP Addresses: These are used on the wider internet and are assigned by ISPs. They ensure devices can be uniquely identified on the global network.
Private IP Addresses: Used within private networks (like home or office networks), these addresses allow for devices within the network to communicate with each other but not directly with the internet without a router or NAT (Network Address Translation).
IPv4: This is the most widely used IP version, consisting of four sets of numbers ranging from 0 to 255, separated by periods (e.g., 192.168.1.1). Due to the exponential growth of internet devices, IPv4 addresses are running out.
IPv6: Developed to tackle the IPv4 exhaustion, IPv6 uses a 128-bit address space, allowing for a virtually unlimited number of devices. Its format includes eight groups of four hexadecimal digits (e.g., 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334).