IP Address

A Definition to a Common Term Related to Web Analytics

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Term: "IP Address"


An IP (Internet Protocol) address is a numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. It serves two main functions: network interface identification and location addressing. IP addresses are composed of numbers divided into sections and can appear in two main formats: IPv4, which is the most common form and consists of four sets of numbers separated by periods (e.g.,, and IPv6, which is intended to replace IPv4 due to the exhaustion of available IPv4 addresses, consisting of eight groups of four hexadecimal digits separated by colons (e.g., 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334).

IP addresses are fundamental to how the internet and other IP-based networks operate, allowing for the routing of data between devices on a network and the internet at large. They ensure that data sent from one device reaches the correct destination device. IP addresses can be static, meaning they remain the same over time, or dynamic, meaning they can change with each connection to the network. The allocation and management of IP addresses are overseen by organizations like the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) globally, and by regional Internet registries at the local level. IP addresses not only facilitate connectivity and communication but also can be used to approximate the geographic location of a device and are crucial in network management, security, and administration practices.

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