What is an IP Address?

The IP address is used for machine-readable identification of network nodes on the Internet. Via the Domain Name System (DNS) it can be linked to domain names on the Internet that are easier to read and remember for people. In simple terms, the DNS represents the “phone book” of the Internet, since each domain is assigned a specific IP address that is “looked up” when the website is accessed. An IP address can therefore always be entered in the browser instead of the domain name. However, only IP addresses allow the unique identification of nodes at the network level of the OSI model, which is necessary for the routing of data packets.

Two different types of IP addresses have been in use since the mid-1990s, IPv4 and IPv6, which correspond to versions four and six of the Internet protocol. Nevertheless, IPv4 still dominates internet use in 2020. IPv6 is mainly used where the IPv4 address shortage is particularly clear – regional in Asia, especially Japan, application-specific for Internet telephony.

To learn more, you may read the guidelines below:

What does an IP address look like?

The Internet protocol initially defines an address as a simple, integer, with a range of values ​​that ranges from 0-232 for IPv4 and 0-2128 for IPv6. IT jargon speaks of a 32- or 128-bit value or width of four bytes for IPv4 and 16 bytes for IPv6. Various, structured representations are common for better readability. IPv4 addresses are generally represented as four numbers separated by a period (dotted quad notation). Each of the four numbers corresponds to a byte of the address and can in principle take values ​​between 0 and 255 or hexadecimal 0 and FF. The range of values ​​for IPv4 thus includes the addresses to, whereby these two endpoints have a special meaning and cannot be used as normal addresses.

How are IPv6 addresses displayed?

The protocol versions IPv4 and IPv6 can be used side by side on the Internet, but are not directly compatible with each other. The usual notation differs accordingly. IPv6 addresses are represented in hexadecimal notation, as eight groups of two-byte values, each separated by a colon. If possible, several successive groups with zero values ​​are drawn together, i.e. two consecutive colons are noted. This abbreviation may only be used once per IP address. If there are several options, the longest zero sequences are replaced, and if it is the same length, the one to the left. Leading zeros are also not noted in each group and lower case letters (a-f) are used for hexadecimal digits. The IP address 2001: db8 :: 1: 0: 0: 1 is an example of this standard, which is defined in RFC 5953.

Does the IP address provide a loophole for hackers?

An IP address alone can hardly offer hackers a gateway. The IP address can serve as a contact point to sniff out a PC for security gaps. But hackers face many obstacles in this way. Because on most computers a firewall is switched on, which protects against attacks of this kind.

Most PCs also connect to the Internet via a router. The router in turn has its own IP address and its own protection mechanisms. In order to start an attack on the computer, the hacker would first have to get past the router. Since dynamic IP addresses are constantly changing, an IP hacker would have to overcome all these hurdles relatively quickly.

What does my IP address reveal about me?

The IP address can be used to find out which Internet provider you are using and which region you are in. The number blocks of an IP address – such as 80.210.x.x – are not reserved for a specific country or region. However, the IP address ranges are distributed to Internet providers, large companies, and authorities.

For example, it is likely that the IP addresses of Deutsche Telekom customers begin with 81, 91 or 212. And depending on how far the next Internet dial-up node is, the geolocation also works more or less precisely. In urban regions, the dial-in nodes are usually only a few hundred meters from where you live. In rural areas it is usually a few kilometers, the dial-in node can be found in the nearest major city.

The Internet provider can also track the data stream of its customers via the IP address. In theory, your internet provider knows what you are looking for on the net, which pages you have visited, and which files you have downloaded. However, according to current legislation, Internet providers have to delete the entire historical data of an Internet session as soon as it has ended. How long IP addresses assigned to customers have to be stored by the provider has not yet been legally clarified. Several constitutional complaints against data retention are pending before the Federal Constitutional Court.

Do I always keep the same external IP address?

Usually not. As soon as your router connects to the Internet, it obtains an IP address that is dynamically assigned by the Internet service provider (provider). As a result, the provider needs significantly fewer IP addresses than he has customers since all customers are never online at the same time. As a rule, Internet connections are automatically briefly disconnected from the provider after 24 hours at the latest and the router receives a new IP address.

At the same time, there are static IP addresses that never change. They are assigned, for example, to websites like t-online.de, which should always be accessible under their URL. Servers or network printers also usually have a static IP address so that they can be controlled quickly

Abstract: What is an IP address?

  1. IP addresses are required to send data from one device to another in a network (such as the sender and recipient of a letter)
  2. When a website is called up, the IP address of the router is transferred to the webserver
  3. A distinction is made between dynamic and static IP addresses

The Importance of the IP Address For Search Engine Optimization

For the analysis of user data and the evaluation of SEO measures, the assignment of access to a homepage to the user who accesses it is essential. For this purpose, the IP address provides at least temporarily unique identification of a network node. By itself, it cannot be clearly assigned to a user, but together with other data, it allows user identification, for example in web server log files. Using geolocation, the IP address also allows an approximate location of the device from which a homepage is accessed.

On the other hand, search engines can also obtain information for the evaluation of backlinks from the IP addresses of websites. If the IP addresses of a homepage and the pages from which it received backlinks are in the same network, then they are hosted by the same provider. However, this looks very unnatural on search engines and gives rise to the suspicion that the site operator has acquired the backlinks illegally, which in the worst case can lead to a search engine penalty.

Also, Search Engines can find web sites without links thanks to their shared server’s IP Addresses or discover PBNs or Private Blog Networks in spam detection efforts.

Also, IPv4 and IPv6 can have minimalist speed differences according to your location and the API you are calling, but this difference is not even a minor factor in terms of UX.

As Holistic SEOs, we will continue to research and experiment on IP Addresses to learn more about SEO.

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