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I was looking at an IP address and I was wondering if they can be read like phone numbers? I.e. does each of the four parts have a meaning: country code, area code, etc.?

For an example: IP of; what can be deemed from that?

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closed as not constructive by Canadian Luke, KronoS, Nifle, Moab, Mokubai Sep 8 '12 at 6:54

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They're numbers that are assigned based somewhat on what part of the Internet you're on. That's at a very basic level though. Check this out: – Mark Allen Sep 5 '12 at 21:26
certain ranges have meaning, they belong to companies, institutions, countries, reserved public/private... example: – Logman Sep 5 '12 at 21:32
possible duplicate of How are IP addresses assigned? – Mokubai Sep 8 '12 at 6:54
up vote 2 down vote accepted

can they be read like phone numbers?


does each of the four parts have a meaning, country code, area code ect ect ??

To a degree they have a meaning but not something easy like a geographic location (for the most part). The different parts (octets) are mainly for human readability so the different parts (network/subnetwork and host parts) are not easily distinguished from just an IP address; a subnet mask would give you more info about the address and its network in question but nothing location wise.

for an example ip of what can be deamed from that ?

Nothing definite. You can find information about IP addresses by using some networking resources (e.g. you can easily find out that this is British Telecommunications) to locate the IP but you will not be able to determine anything about it (in the sense you are asking) from simply looking at it.

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The four segments of an IPv4 address are called octets. They have no specific meaning.

Blocks of IP addresses are allocated to Regional Internet Registrars (RIRs) in different parts of the world, and from there, they are allocated to ISPs, governments, and other organizations. But it's not like all blocks starting with "192" are assigned to Asia, or something like that; there's no way to decode anything meaningful out of the digits themselves.

There are, however, ways to look up the allocation tables of which large blocks have been assigned to which RIRs, and which smaller blocks have been assigned to which individual organizations. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (, part of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (, maintains the list of which RIRs got which large blocks, and each RIR maintains a "whois" ("Who Is...?") server for which smaller block they've allocated to which organization.

There are also online databases of which IP addresses have been known to be used from what parts of the world. These are generally referred to as "GeoIP" databases. So even though you can't find out geographic information by decoding the digits of an IP address, you can query a GeoIP database to find which part of the world packets from that IP address are likely originating from. But there are ways to throw off GeoIP services, such as using tunneling services such as VPNs or Tor.

GeoIP databases are how sketchy ad servers pick a city name to put into those "Meet horny sluts in $YOURCITY tonight!" ads.

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Very simplified:
IP addresses are just ranges of 32 bits. The first part of those indicate the network, the second part the computer number on the network.

For a lot more details see, or google around for networking 101.

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IP addressed are issued in blocks of various sizes, the largest size being "class a" addresses, down to "class d". If you look at them from left to right you can walk down a tree of suballocations.

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IP addresses are not issued in class-sized blocks anymore. – grawity Sep 5 '12 at 22:01
only because they were almost all given out and and became scarce resources. The article describes how they were given out. – ddyer Sep 5 '12 at 22:28

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