An IP is an abbreviation of Internet Protocol. IP serves a role of a digital computer identification number that is assigned by a network it’s connected to. Without an IP address, networking and IP tracking would not be possible.
An IP address can be considered a digital address of internet-connected devices and allows direct connectivity to a specific machine.
Currently, there are two formats of IP addresses – IPv4 and IPv6. IPv6 is the latest implementation to expand the availability of an IP address assignment range. IPv4 has not been able to cope with the demand in the quantity and range of devices that required Internet connectivity.
In relation to a web hosting environment, there are two types of IP addresses – Shared and Dedicated. A shared IP address generally hosts 2 or more websites. A dedicated IP address is strictly used for a single domain name.
The IP address availability is managed by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), and by five regional Internet registries (RIRs) according to their designated territories. The IP distribution allows assignment to local Internet registries as Internet service providers (ISPs), and end-users directly. IPv4 addresses are distributed by IANA to the RIRs.