Computers are confusing, but they grew even more complicated with the advent of the internet. The internet is a remarkable device that many people have come to love and appreciate—and even depend on. That does not automatically mean they understand how it works, though. In fact, the majority of people don’t understand how the internet works in general, let alone the specific features of the web. One of the most confusing aspects of the internet is the distinction between IP addresses and domain names; understandably so, because these two concepts convey more information than one might initially think.

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What Is A Domain Name? How Is It Used?

To understand the concept of an IP address, it is important to sort out the functions and purpose of a domain name first. You see, domains are used to help with the identification of an IP address. They can actually be tied to multiple IP addresses. These domain names are conveyed through URLs, which indicate a specific website or page, and they all have a top level domain code that they belong to. There’s the .gov ending, or the .edu, but there’s also .org for an organization, .mil for the military, .net for a network, .ca for Canada, .th for Thailand, and the ever-popular commercial business .com suffix. Domain names exist to make things easier for individuals, who are not as readily capable of translating an IP address into an understood site.

What Is An IP Address? How Is It Used?

Every computer made has a unique and specific IP address that it uses to identify itself. Other computers can identify your computer based off of the IP address, and visa versa. The IP address is communicated through a string of numbers that have been separated with periods, and each string of numbers is obviously different for each computer. This identification method for computers is the way that these devices communicate over a network through the Internet Protocol. The reason they are used in conjunction with a domain name is because there are often several computers that are used to construct a website or a specific page. Using the IP address is a great way to locate a specific computer, but it is ineffective when all you want to do is access your favorite website with ease. Therefore, the domain name conveys the site, while the IP address conveys the specific computer used for the site.