An IP (Internet Protocol) address is a unique string of characters identifying devices connected to the internet. They facilitate data exchange and enable computers, servers, and other network-connected machines to access and communicate over a network.
When you enter a site's address into a browser, your device requests that site's IP address. A Domain Name System (DNS) converts the domain name to the associated IP address, allowing your device to recognize it, connect to the internet, and display content.
Every IP address format has four sets of numbers separated by periods. Each group ranges from zero to 255 — for example, 126.96.36.199.
IP addresses aren't assigned randomly — the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) generates and distributes them to Internet Service Providers (ISPs), which allocates them to individual devices, so no two IP addresses are identical.