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What is an IP Address?

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Anyone that owns a web site, is a current or former Hostwinds client or otherwise, has perhaps heard of an IP address. Most of the time, it’s a sequence of four numbers, separated by periods. If you’ve set up DNS, chances are that you’ve had to find your IP address.

This guide will cover two items:

  1. What is an IP address?
  2. What does it do?

Your connection to the internet

When a computer needs to contact another computer on the internet, your computer uses the other computer’s IP address. This is similar to calling someone on a phone. To call or send a text, you need to know that person’s phone number. Therefore, you can think of a computer’s IP address as its “phone number”.

Examples of IP addresses

  • 127.0.0.1 – All computers have this address as their “Home Address” and is known as localhost.
  • 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 – These IP addresses belong to two servers hosted by Google that offer DNS services.
  • 192.168.0.1 – Most home computers or devices that use Wifi will have an IP address that starts with “192.168”. and is a private IP address for your home network.

IPv4 vs IPv6

The addresses listed above are known as IPv4 addresses, meaning IP version four. Another version exists, IPv6, which has IP addresses that use the numbers 0-9, and the letters A-F, in eight sets of four or octets like so:

fe80:0000:0000:0000:0000:0000:0000:0001

The first set of zeros in IPv6 addresses can be abbreviated with a double-colon, so the above address can be abbreviated to:

fe80::1

Because IPv6 addresses are still in the process of widespread adoption, this article mainly focuses on IPv4.

Will Hostwinds reveal to third parties that I own an IP?

While An IP address must be publicly available on the internet for other people’s computers to be able to reach it and pull up any services hosted on that site connected to that IP, these are typically announced as being owned and operated by Hostwinds.

Here are a few reasons why it is always good practice to hide ownership of one’s IP address: 

  • Avoiding Attacks – Bad actors looking to cause a webmaster grief may not know who owns an IP, or a web site. Keeping the link between you and your site discreet may prevent unwanted intrusions
  • Cutting down on spam – Your contact information may be very different on your site than on your personal email. Having anyone be able to access your personal contact information may be undesirable.
  • Privacy Concerns – Sometimes, people who post information on the internet may not want it traced back to them. 

In our efforts to protect the privacy and security of our clients, as a company, your details are not made public for others to see by searching the internet.

Does Hostwinds offer IP addresses?

Hostwinds is proud to include a Dedicated IP addresses on all of our Shared, Business, and VPS services, as well as a blocks of IP addresses for our dedicated servers. On Shared, Business and Cloud VPS services, Hostwinds clients can expect a dedicated IP address for your service, meaning that the IP address will not be used by other clients or shared with others. Your IP is dedicated to your Hostwinds service and is a fantastic feature.

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