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IP address

An IP address (short for: Internet Protocol Address) is a network address that can only be assigned once for each device in a network. This is necessary so that data packets can be correctly addressed and delivered. An IP address is the unique identifier of a computer in order to define its location on the Internet. It shows which provider is being used. The 32-bit IP address (also called IPv4) consists of four blocks of numbers from 0 to 255.

Example of an IP address [edit]

An IP address consists of two parts. The front part, the network address, and the rear part, the host address. The network address is particularly important for IP routing. The host address is important for the router in whose network the host is located. With the help of the IP address, devices or hosts can be clearly assigned and reached in a network.

Explanation of an IP address

In the meantime, it was necessary to switch to 128-bit (IPv6) because the address space in the 32-bit process was no longer sufficient to clearly assign all devices connected to the Internet. The expansion to IPv6 now enables significantly more devices to connect to the Internet. Instead of four billion numerical codes under IPv4, the new standard provides 340 sextillion addresses - that is, almost an infinite number.

Types [edit]

There are basically two different types of IP addresses. The static IP address and the dynamic IP address. One speaks of a static IP if it is permanently assigned. If a computer is assigned changing IP addresses while it is connected to the Internet, it is called a dynamic IP address. Dynamic IP addresses can be found, for example, with private DSL connections from providers such as Vodafone, O², T-Online, Alice or 1und1. When a customer dials into the Internet, an unused IP address is assigned to them and deleted after selection.

Static IP addresses, on the other hand, are mostly used by companies in order to be able to better control access to an IP address within the company network, for example.

IPv4 [edit]

Here the IP address is available with a bit code of 32 digits or four bytes. It can be displayed either as a hexadecimal or decimal number combination. The decimal notation is usually used for IPv4 addresses. For this purpose, the 32 bits of the IPv4 address are divided into 8 bits each and separated by dots.

Example of an IPv4 address

IPv6 [edit]

In contrast to IPv4, IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses. The address is noted in hexadecimal in 16-bit groups. The last 64 bits are here for the host address. A valid IPv6 address would be, for example:

1234: 5678: 90BC: DEFG: 0000: 0000: 0000: 2345

IP range [edit]

The IP range designates an address range within the host part of the IP address. Various other devices can be connected within this range within a local network or with the web. All IP addresses in a range follow one another directly. The size of the range is determined by the subnet mask.

The start of the IP range is limited by the actual network address. The end of the IP range is the broadcast address, which can be used for all devices connected to the same network.

Example of IP range [edit]

The IP address is

With a standard subnet mask, additional IP addresses within the range up to must be assigned.

The larger the IP range, the more devices can be used within a network.

What is my IP address? [Edit]

There are several ways to find out your own IP address: In Windows, the local IP address in your own network can be found out using the input console using the command "ipconfig".

On Mac computers, the local IP address can be viewed in the "Network" area in the system settings.

Various tools are available on the Internet to determine the public IP address, such as wieistmeineip.de.

How is the IP address located? [Edit]

The IP address can be used to determine where the respective Internet user is. Different IP address ranges are distributed to Internet providers, large companies and authorities. For example, Deutsche Telekom customers could be assigned an IP address that starts with 79, 95 or 234.

Depending on the distance of the respective Internet dial-in node, the determination of the location increases or decreases in precision. In urban regions, the distance to the next node is usually relatively short. In rural areas, on the other hand, the distance is usually a few kilometers and the determination becomes less precise.

Anonymity [edit]

The IP address plays an important role when it comes to data protection and anonymity on the Internet. If you want to surf the web anonymously, you have the option of using an anonymizer, which guarantees anonymous use on the Internet.

Programs like Tor or JAP are able to cover up traces on the web, but surfing speed suffers as a result.

Due to current legislation, Internet providers are obliged to delete the entire data stream after the session has ended. IP addresses assigned to customers must be deleted after seven days at the latest.

IP addresses and data protection [edit]

According to the ECJ, IP addresses are considered personal data and therefore fall under the GDPR. The IP address of users may therefore only be stored if the storage is essential for the use of the website and the functionality of the website depends on it. In order to save IP addresses, the website operator must also have a legitimate interest.

Importance for SEO [edit]

The IP address plays an important role in link building and in recognizing unnatural link networks. For example, if a website receives links from other websites that are in the same IP class and use the same IP address space, this can be an indication of an unnatural link. Accordingly, webmasters must expect sanctions from Google. If, on the other hand, the backlinks of a website come from different C-Class networks, this can indicate natural link growth. In order to check the quality of incoming backlinks, SEOs should therefore also check the IP addresses of the linking websites.

Web links [edit]