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What Is An IP Address?

People are uniquely identifiable by their fingerprints. Every fingerprint, even those for twins, are different. This is often a tool that investigators use to solve crimes simply because it is an easy way to link a specific person to a specific crime. In the computer world, fingerprints take the form of IP addresses.

The term stands for Internet Protocol address. It is the identifying number on a computer that not very many people are usually aware of. Every computer that is connected to the internet has a unique IP address. This address can tell you a lot about the computer, and is the primary way to figure out who is trying to contact you. There are different classes of these identifying codes, which is handy information to know if you're trying to decipher if it's a person or a company that is sending you email or commented on your blog. In general, it's not absolutely necessary to understand exactly which one is which, as any reverse search can give you all the information that you would ever want to know.

Why Do They Exist?

Some people wonder why IP addresses even exist. It's the internet, aren't you supposed to be able to maintain complete anonymity if you'd like? The answer is not always. While there are a lot of people who would never think to use their computer maliciously, there are also many who would do bad things with their computers. IP addresses are designed to help authorities keep track of ill-intentioned behavior on the internet. This way, if someone does something they're not supposed to do, such as threaten person's life, it is much easier to track them down.

What Can An IP Address Tell You?

Believe it or not, a simple little address, filled with just a few numbers, can actually tell you a lot. To begin with, the IP address will tell you where the computer exists. This can, however, be tricky. If you are using a satellite internet client, for instance, you could be in Maine using your computer but the IP address would point to the location of the company's main hub center. This, however, can be gotten around if you know what you're doing, but most reverse IP searches won't help you dig deep enough to track the person down. Also, while you'll usually get a good idea of what area the person is in, don't expect to get their specific address unless you have access to millions of dollars worth of equipment, as the IP addresses are not meant to allow the average person to track down the street someone lives on.

IP addresses are very important in the internet world, especially if you are receiving harmful or annoying email. The more you learn about them, the better armed you are against unsolicited attempts for internet contact.

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