An IP address, short for Internet Protocol address, is like a unique phone number assigned to every device that connects to the internet. It helps identify devices and allows them to communicate with each other over the internet. Each IP address is a series of numbers separated by dots or colons, making it easy for devices to find and connect to one another.
Here's an example of an IPv4 (most common) IP address: 192.168.1.1 And this is an example of an IPv6 (next generation) IP address: 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334
So, how are IP addresses used? Let's imagine you're using your laptop and want to visit a website, like example.com. When you type the web address into your browser, your device sends a request to locate example.com's IP address. Once the IP address is found (let's say it's 198.51.100.42), your laptop connects to that IP, and the website's server sends back the content, displaying the webpage on your browser.
In a nutshell, IP addresses play a crucial role in helping devices find and communicate with each other over the internet. They act like unique identifiers, ensuring that when you want to access a specific website or service online, your device knows exactly where to go and how to get there.