When you get a letter in the mail, how do you know it was intended for you? The answer, of course, is because it is addressed to you. Computers have addresses as well, known as Internet Protocol addresses or simply IP addresses. Knowing how to use an IP address is a key component to being able to effectively navigate the Internet. By managing your own IP, you can determine who has access to your machine and much more.
The TCP/IP Protocol
The heart of a computer’s ability to navigate the Internet and receive information is the Transmission Control Protocol, or TCP. The TCP/IP protocol forms the standard of all online communication. TCP is used to connect to servers on the Internet and is essential to being able to send data. Meanwhile, IP serves as the unique identifier for your individual computer and is essential to being able to receive information fr om other sources. Your IP address comes in one of two different forms: IP Version 4, or IPv4, and IP Version 6, or IPv6. All computers have at least an IPv4 address, and many computers are now using an IPv6 address as well. The difference between them boils down to a matter of complexity.