Top Links

Internet access Website basics Get a Domain Get a Website
Broadband Advice BT Broadband Virgin Media Namesco HostingInternet tools

Receive the latest updates direct to your inbox

FileSaveAs News Feed Follow FileSaveAs on Twitter FileSaveAs Tech Podcast
FrequencyCast UK Tech Podcast

Namesco, for Internet Domain registration

IP Addresses Explained

The IP address is at the heart of everything that happens on the Internet. On this page, we look at the basics of the IP address, and answer some of your common questions


What is an IP address?

There's a lot of stuff on the Internet, and it has to be gettable from anywhere in the world. The Internet relies on the humble IP address to find websites, servers and content.

IP stands for Internet Protocol, and a standard IP address looks something like this:

What's my IP address?

If you're reading this page on the Internet, you'll have an IP address. You can find it by using the website We can also try to tell you, using a liitle piece of Javascript code (sometimes works, sometimes doesn't)

You can check up on who owns an IP address at


IP Addresses: IPv4 and IPv6

We don't want to worry you, but we're running out of IP addresses!

The common type of IP address, e.g. is known as an IPv4 address. These are 32-bit numerical addresses, and there can only be 4 billion unique addresses. It's estimated that these will be used up by 2011/2012.

We need to move to a new format of IP address, known as IPv6,

What is IPv6?

This first started to appear in 1999, and uses 128-bit hexadecimal values. This new format will provide around 340 trillion, trillion, trillion unique IP addresses. An IPv6 address looks like this:


It will be entered into a web browser like this:


IPv6 is already in use on some systems, but will need to be rolled out worldwide across the Internet by the time we finally run out of IPv4 addresses. Here's what needs to happen:

  • Web services need to make content available for IPv6
  • Internet service providers and hosting companies need to support IPv6
  • Internet infrasture needs to be updated
  • Some home equipment, such as broadband routers, may need patching


World IPv6 Day:

This too place on the 8 June 2011. Many big players enabled IPv6 for 24 hours, to see what happens, and what breaks. It was estimated that only a tiny percentage of end users would notice anything on the 8th of June. More details: World IPv6 Day


What's the risk?

When we run out of IPv4 addresses, we'll need to start using IPv6 addresses. The old IPv4 addresses will still be valid, so there's nothing too serious to worry about. Existing sites and services will work, but newer services using IPv6 addresses will only be available over a network with hardware that supports IPv6.


Listen to the FrequencyCast UK online radio show
FrequencyCast Podcast IconIPv6 Explained: Listen to Show 62 for our look at the IPv6 changes, or download the show to your MP3 player.
Listen to our IPv6 Feature | What is FrequencyCast? | Add us to iTunes


IP Address FAQ

  • No questions yet. Ask away!


Anything you'd like to know about IP Addresses? Contact us!



Bookmark this page:

delicious digg stumble technorati facebook