An IP address or internet protocol address is the unique number assigned to a computer when it connects to the internet through the internet service provider. IP addresses help computers communicate with each other and web servers that contain the information on websites by giving computers an identity that is used when exchanging information. Almost every activity online from browsing a website to sending an email involves an exchange of information which is managed and organized by the IP address of the computer and website server. The website server that receives your message or request for information uses the IP address of your computer's connection to know where to send the information you requested.
An IP address is divided in to two parts and identifies the region and country where the internet service provider's servers are located. The first part of an IP address identifies the network and the second part indicates the identity of a device. An IP address is written as a series of numbers separated by decimal points. IP addresses also have host names assigned to them which are words that describe the region and business name of the internet service provider.
Because IP addresses identify the region where the internet service provider is located, it is possible to locate an internet user by their IP address. Being able to locate an IP address is useful in many situations such as determining the location of a website's visitors to tracking down the origination of malicious emails. It is easy to find the general region where an IP address originates but pinpointing the exact location of a user's computer is not always possible. Most online IP locate programs will show you on a map where the internet service provider for any given IP address is located and it is usually within 50 miles or so of the user who's computer was assigned the IP address.