Each computer connected to the Internet is assigned a unique IP address for the purposes of communication. An IP address is a 32-bit numeric address usually expressed as 4 numbers from 0-255 separated by dots, for example 192.168.0.123. There are billions of addresses possible, however, the number is finite.
In the Web hosting industry there are two types of IP address…
- Dedicated IP address (also called static IP) means that a website has its own IP address. Whether you type in your URL or the numeric form of its IP address, both will bring you to the same domain.
- Shared IP address means that multiple websites share the same address. Web servers can determine by the domain entered in a user’s browser which website is being requested. Typing in the IP address will bring you to some kind of generic page instead of the specific site you want.
Due to the rapid increase of the number of registered domain names and the finite number of IP addresses, Web hosting providers are forced to use shared IP’s when possible. In fact, hundreds of websites often share the same address. Static IP hosting is no longer the norm and usually costs more.