Any addressable device on the Internet has an IP address. Your home PC, your Xbox, your website…they’re all just a UNIQUE number on the Internet in the grand scheme of things.
To be more accurate, they’re all one LONG number, punctuated with three periods: xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx. 32-bit, 4 byte addresses. Simple enough. Short enough to memorize. And there are 4,294,967,296 possible addresses.
Four billion. With a B. A few million are reserved for specific uses, and there are some tricks to share IPs among devices, but four billion is the takeaway here.
“Back in the day” not much thought was really given to what might happen if the world ran out of IPs. And certainly not many thought that the Internet would grow to the size it has today.
But it finally happened. Today. The IANA IPv4 address free pool is now depleted.
If you’re looking for someone to blame, blame Vint Cerf. It’s all his fault!
Most people who’ve been given an allotment of IPs use them sparingly and have their own reserves built up. We’re sitting pretty ourselves and have plenty of older IPs that can be reallocated for future use if it ever comes to that.
And that’s a fine solution. For now. But we’re looking forward with the rest of the world to welcome IPv6 into our corner of the Internet.
IPv6 is the future of Internet addressing. It takes the world from 4 billion addresses to a maximum of 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456. That number is so big that I’m not even sure how to say it with my mouth.
The addresses themselves are far longer, as well. While an IPv4 address today might look like:
an IPv6 address would look like:
It’s going to take quite a while for all network providers and network devices worldwide to get IPv6-savvy (and some never will!) so “old-school” IPs aren’t going away anytime soon. Luckily a device can be assigned IPv4 and IPv6 addresses simultaneously so you can do an “out with the old/in with the new” at the same time!
That’s kind of where we’re at now.
All DreamHost customers can now add IPv6 IPs to their domains.
Just visit the “Manage Domains” section of your control panel and click the “Add IP” link by your domain to make the magic happen. This new address is tied to your hosting machine, but other services like email and MySQL are not yet supported. We also don’t (yet) support IPv6-only domains; you’ll need to have an IPv4 address on there too.
There is NO COST to add an IPv6 IP address to your DreamHost account. Go crazy. Throw one on every domain you host with us with reckless abandon. You’ll be helping to move things forward in your own little way.