An IP or Internet Protocol address is the address of any computer on the web. Normally it is a number that might look something like this: 66.102.9.106. This number is like any home address in that if you mail anything to that address it will get to that computer. It is called IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4).

Every website has an IP address and can in fact be used in a web browser rather than the normal domain name (web address in simpler language such as www.google.com), so try entering 66.102.9.106 in your browser’s address bar and you should be taken to www.google.com.

Information is sent around the web in packets, each with the destination’s IP address on them rather like postcards with a postal address on them.

IP addresses can look different as a new system is being rolled out using a much longer address and is called IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6). These addresses would look more likeĀ  2001:db8:0:1234:0:567:1:1 and enable us to use many more computers as the number of normal IP addresses is running out thanks to the speedy expansion of the internet.

Not only do computers have IP addresses but appliances such as TVs, refrigerators and even watches will have them in future so that they too can be connected to the web. There is no doubt that there will soon be a toothbrush hooked up to the web with its own IP address.

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