You are currently viewing WHAT IS AN IP ADDRESS AND DNS


We use the internet to communicate and making our world closer to each other but may not know how communication is handled.

Our last publication was about what is the internet, which is the network of networks that connect devices to each other worldwide.

You may have heard of the IP address and DNS or you may never hear about before, but in this post, we are going to learn about it so that by the end of this post you will be able to know how IP address and DNS works and how any device can communicate with any other device.

Back in 1970, the internet was not as complex as today, only when VINT CERF and BOB KAHN invented the INTERNETWORKING PROTOCOL in order to make the communication possible. The internet links billions of devices to each other around the globe.

You may connect your laptop or your cellphone to a WIFI, then that WIFI is connected to an Internet Service Provider (ISP), then that ISP connects you to the billions and billions of devices around the world to the thousands of networks that are all connected to each other as well.

The Internet is really a DESIGN PHILOSOPHY and architecture expressed in a set of protocols.

What is a Protocol? The protocol is a set of rules and standards used to communicate without trouble.

How internet works are physically less important than the fact this design philosophy has allowed the internet to adapt and absorbs new communication technologies. This because in order for a new technology to use the internet, it just needs to know which protocol to work with.

All the different devices on the internet have unique Addresses, and the address on the internet is just a number. Something like this:

  • etc…

These numbers are unique to each device on the internet. This is similar to our address. When you want to send a mail to someone, you do not need to know the person in order to send the mail, but you need to know the address.

For example

123 Alex Street, North Beach, Cape Town South Africa. The next thing is to know how to write the address correctly so it can reach the destination by following mails systems.

The address system for computers on the internet is similar and form one of the most important protocols used in internet communication is simply called the Internet Protocol or IP. That Internet Protocol is what we called IP Address.

Using the internet is just like your computer asks another computer for the information. Your computer sends a message to another computer via IP Address along with his IP so that the other computer knows where to send back the response.

An IP Address is just a bunch of numbers that are organized just as we have the physical addresses that are composed of House number, area name, city name, and the country. An IP also has many parts, each number represented in binary:

 This IP address = is broken to binary as follows:

174 = 10101110 => represent Country/Network

129 = 10000001 => represent Region/Network

14 = 00001110 => represent Subnetwork

120 = 0111000 => Device

That is a 32 bits long = 10101110  10000001 00001110  0111000

Note, New update no more using Countries and Regions, but Networks and Subnetwork.

That traditional IP Address of 32 bits is called IPv4, designed in 1973 and adopted in the 1980s. It provides more than 4 billion unique IP Addresses to the devices in the world.

Internet becomes more popular and 4 billion unique addresses will not be enough that why we are now in the middle of a multi-year transition to a long IP Address called IPv6, which uses 128 bits of address and provides over 340 undecillion unique Addresses.

DNS (Domaine Name System)

Most users do not know or do not care about IP Addresses, because DNS takes addresses for example like and associates it with the corresponding IP Addresses. It means, every domain name got an IP address.

Your computer uses the DNS to look up the domain names and get the associate IP Address, which is used to connect your computer to the internet.

Every domain name on the internet has an IP address

For example

– can have an IP like

– can also have an IP like

The DNS uses the corresponding IP address to send the request.

Let us see an illustration in order to understand better

From your computer when you type for example, many things happen before getting the response.

Your computer start by connecting to the DNS server then asks the DNS, hey I want to go to, then the DNS can reply “hum, I do not know the IP Address of that domain, but let me ask”. The DNS will ask on the network from all others DNS “what is the IP Address of”, then the DNS that knows the IP Address is going to reply: “the IP address you looking for is” then the start DNS is going to save that IP Address in its memory for the next request before transferring that IP Address to the computer that requested it; that computer then can connect straight to that DNS server with the corresponding IP Address to receive what is searched for.

All these communications follow the designed philosophy of internet Protocols. A single DNS cannot handle all requests from billions of devices, but they are connected in a distributed hierarchy, divided responsibly to the domains.

For instance the DNS Server for domain:

  • .com
  • .info
  • .org
  • .gov
  • .edu
  • .fr
  • .cd
  • and more

DNS was created to be an open public communication protocol for government, educational institutions. Because it is an open communication protocol, DNS is susceptible to cyber-attacks. That cyber-attack is called DNS SPOOFING, which is when an attacker or hacker accesses the DNS and change the IP address of a giving domain, that let people redirect to the attacker’s address.

In conclusion, the internet is huge and getting bigger every day, but the DNS and IP Addresses are designed to scale. The internet is a network of networks, It connects billions of devices to each other. The internet in order to adapt to technologies it is build up with protocols and uses the Internet Protocols called IP Address to identify each device and handle communications. In order to communicate via the internet, the internet associates each domain names to an IP address and uses DNS, domain name system to transfer communication between them. The IP address is like our home address. In order to send a mail to a person, you need his address and you need to write correctly the address then you can send the mail using mailing protocols so that your mail can reach the destination.

Thanks for reading.

By Alexis Ange Dauli, Web Developer.

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