An IP address is similar to a phone number that is given to an
individual computer on a network. It can be either Public (or
routable) or Private (unroutable). The IP Address takes the following
xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx where xxx is any number from 0 to 255 (with some large
exceptions). The first digit can not be a 0. Also, the IP address
255.255.255.255 is reserved (as is the entire 127.0.0.0 -
There are many other rules about when and which IPs can be used, but,
that is slightly outside the scope of this question.
The current VERSION of IP's that we use is IPv4. That is the familiar
192.168.1.1 that we see on the Internet today. A new generation,
called IPv6 is on the way however. The difference is the number of IP
available for use on public networks.
IP's are made up of two 'parts'. The network and the host. For
example, if you own an Internet broadband router, chances are that it
uses the network 192.168.1.0 internally. Therefore, the 192.168.1 is
the NETWORK. The host is the last number, (a number between 1 and 254.
255 is reserved). So, if your router has an IP of 192.168.1.1, and
your computer can have anything between 192.168.1.2 and 192.168.1.254.
You can find a very good explanation of IP's on Wikipedia, at the
You can also look at the definition that is found on webopedia.com:
and, of course, Google has a definition too at:
I hope that helps you understand what an IP address is.
Since, I'm only satisfied with my answer when you feel it's worth
5-stars, please ask for clarification prior to raing, and thus
closing, the question.
ip address definition