How to Convert a Web Address to Numbers

by Jamie Wilson

Everything connected to the Internet, from Web servers to laptops and cell phones, has an Internet Protocol (IP) address that allows it to be found and identified in the vastness of cyberspace. Fortunately, domain names act as easily remembered aliases so no one has to try to memorize these cryptic strings of numbers. Whenever you navigate the Internet, your computer queries Domain Name Servers (DNS) to match domain names to IP addresses and get you where you need to go. Finding the IP addresses behind domain names is a simple process thanks to a handy tool called "ping" found in all operating systems.

Ping a Web Server

Open up the terminal or command line program for Windows Vista/7 by clicking the "Start" button, Type "cmd" in the search field and then click "cmd" when it appears in the list of matching applications.

Determine the Web server from the full Web address (URL). The Web server is the first part of the URL, the part that comes in front of the first backslash (/). For instance, if the Web address is http://www.ehow.com/how-to.html, then the Web server would be www.ehow.com.

From the terminal, type: ping <web server>. The IP address will show up in the results as a series of 4 numbers separated by periods, like 10.100.12.50.

Warning

  • Many Web servers host more than one domain name, so it is very possible that the IP address for a particular web site may be shared by other Web sites and domains. This is common with companies that provide web hosting services, so don't make the mistake of assuming that a particular IP address is tied only a particular domain. Furthermore, IP addresses for servers change from time to time so what may be an accurate IP address one day may not be so the next.

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About the Author

Jamie Wilson is a Detroit native now living in New York City. He is a 2007 graduate of the University of Tennessee's Journalism and Electronic Media program and has worked for "Playboy" magazine and ProPublica, a non-profit investigative journalism organization in New York. He began writing professionally in 2006 and his writing and reporting has appeared in "USA Today," ProPublica, "Paintball Sports International," and elsewhere.

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