An IP address (Internet Protocol address) is a unique number that devices
use in order to identify and communicate with each other on a computer
network utilizing the Internet Protocol standard (IP). Any participating
network device - including routers, computers, time-servers, printers,
Internet fax machines, and some telephones - must have its own unique
address. An IP address can also be thought of as the equivalent of a street
address or a phone number (compare: VoIP) for a computer or other network
device on the internet. Just as each street address and phone number
uniquely identifies a building or telephone, an IP address can uniquely
identify a specific computer or other network device on a network.
An IP address can appear to be shared by multiple client devices either
because they are part of a shared hosting web server environment or because
a proxy server (e.g. an ISP or anonymizer service) acts as an intermediary
agent on behalf of its customers, in which case the real originating IP
addresses might be hidden from the server receiving a request. The analogy
to telephone systems would be the use of predial numbers (proxy) and
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