Every time you visit a site on the internet, your computer is asking another computer for the web page. How does that other computer get the web page back to you? It sends it right to your IP address.
We’ve all seen those WARNING YOU ARE BROADCASTING YOUR IP popups. They’re pretty goofy scams; of course you’re giving out your IP address, you need those web pages to get sent back to your computer!
Each one of the four numbers in an IP – 192.168.0.1 – can go from 0 to 255 (that’s 2^8, if you’re into binary math). That means we can get about 4 billion things connected to the Internet before we start to run out of addresses.
It sounds like a lot, but as we all get more iPhones and Twitter-enabled refrigerators we’re bound to use the rest up really quickly. As a result, a new version of IP addresses needed to be developed! It’s called IPv6 (the one we’re using now is IPv4). IPv6 addresses are super long and look something like this:
Which, as you can expect, offers you a lot more addresses. How many more? Something like this:
Yep, that’s a lot of tweeting fridges.
Now try this!
- Find your IP Address
- Go to Google.com
- Search “my IP”
- Your IP address will be displayed above the search results
Cocktail Party Fact
Now when you run into someone wearing a “There’s no place like 127.0.0.1” t-shirt, you’ll know that its not gibberish, its a Wizard of Oz joke! Most IP addresses are used to talk to far away computers, but 127.0.0.1 is the standard IP address for your computer to talk to itself, which some of us might just call home.