IP Numbers
Published On: October 4, 20202.6 min readBy Categories: Business, Internet, WebsitesTags: , , , , ,

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You may know websites by their domain names (such as google.com), but behind the scenes, these sites are associated with IP numbers.

Think of an IP number as a street address. A street address uniquely identifies a building or residence. Similarly, an IP number uniquely identifies the web server the domain name and website is on.

The term ‘IP number’ is synonymous with ‘IP address’.

Domain Name to IP Number Conversion

When you use a browser to surf to a name, such as a website, it must first resolve and obtain the IP number for the domain name you request. This translation is done by a Domain Name Server (DNS), which is a computer system with lookup tables that map domain names to their assigned IP numbers. The DNS table returns the IP number from the request, then the corresponding web server (where the IP number is assigned) grabs your request, translates the IP number back to the domain name, and displays the website to you. The name-to-IP number conversion is quick and transparent. However, technicians who monitor traffic across the Internet between web servers and other devices see IP numbers, not domain names.

Technicians Monitor IP Numbers

Technicians monitor IP numbers, not domain names, because they monitor traffic in the communication path after a request has been converted from a domain name into its IP number. For example, when you browse to a name, a technician sees your IP address making a request to the webserver. The technician doesn’t know who is making the request. They know the IP address assigned to you at the time of your request.

The same thing happens when one website requests another website. Again, the technician can’t see who is making the request. They know the IP address assigned to the requesting website. If the website is on a shared IP number, hundreds of websites could be sharing it. Knowing which one is making the request requires contacting the hosting company assigned to the IP number.

Technicians Monitor Traffic by IP Numbers

Part of a technician’s job includes monitoring requests to the web servers they manage to identify and block system abuse.

Here’s an everyday example. You own a business and have a website. Your hosting provider puts your website on a shared IP address with others on the server. If another website owner sharing your IP address violates a policy, whether knowingly or unknowingly (as in the case of a runaway script), in such a way that it adversely affects other websites, web servers, or other devices on the Internet, the only immediate recourse that a technician on the receiving end of the abuse has is to block the IP address of the abuser. If your website is sharing an IP address with the abuser, your website is blocked too. However, if your website is on a dedicated IP address, it is not blocked, in this particular case, and is not affected by what others do.

In Summary

IP numbers not only help locate websites on the Internet, but they also help technicians monitor traffic to block abuse.