What is an IP address?

Think of your computer’s IP address as your computer’s street address. Your IP address is made up of a group of numbers that represents your internet service provider (ISP) and your general location to roughly your city level (similar to a mailing zip code).

What does an IP address look like?

As stated above, your IP address is a group of numbers (for IPv4) or numbers and letters (IPv6). Some examples of IP addresses are:

IPv4 –
IPv6 – FE80::0202:B3FF:FE1E:8329

What is an IP address used for?

Using an IP address, websites can guess roughly where your computer is located. This gives them the ability to display things, like search results, in the local language or display content, such as weather, relevant to that location.

IP addresses can also be used by law enforcement to track down internet criminals who are using stolen credit cards to make purchases or individuals who are downloading illegal material. For this reason alone, Computer Works recommends securing your wireless internet connection with a password.

Finally, IP addresses can be used by internet companies to block or allow certain users access to their web content. Some video game companies will use IP blocking to block an IP address from someone who was accused of cheating or other actions against the End User License Agreement (EULA). Some big companies will also use IP addresses to allow only a select group of outside users to access their content, such as logging into a company network from a home computer.

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