What is the Difference Between IP Address and Hostname? with Proper Definition and Brief Explanation

The main difference between IP address and hostname is that IP address is a numerical label assigned to every device connected to a computer network that uses Internet Protocol for communication while hostname is a label. assigned to a network that sends the user to a specific website or web page.

A computer network is a collection of computers and other network devices such as routers, switches, and hubs for exchanging data and resources among multiple users. Every device on the network has an identification tag called an IP address. Therefore, this helps to locate a specific device on the network. In contrast, a host name defines the network that transfers the user to a specific website or web page when browsing a network such as the World Wide Web (WWW).

Key Areas Covered

1. What is an IP address?
     – Definition, Functionality
2. What is a hostname?
     – Definition, Functionality
3. What is the difference between IP address and host name?
     – Comparison of key differences

Key terms

IP Address, Hostname, Routers, Switches, URL

What is the IP address?

IP Address stands for Internet Protocol Address . It is a logical address that helps connect devices to the network. In addition, it is possible to assign IP addresses manually or dynamically. There are two versions of IP addressing like IPv4 and IPv6. The most common IP address version is IPv4. It is a 32-bit address that is 4 bytes long; Each byte is an octet. An example is the following.

IPv6 has eight sets of four hexadecimal digits separated by colons. An example of an IPv6 address is 2602:0445:0000:0000:a93e:5ca7:81e2:5f9d.

According to the OSI model, the IP address works at the network layer. The router is a network device that works at the network layer. Send data from one network to another. When the router receives a packet, it checks the IP address and forwards the packet to the corresponding network. If the packet is for its own network, it receives that packet. If the packet is not for its network, it forwards the packet to another network. Similarly, the router uses the IP address to forward the packets to the correct destination.

What is hostname

The hostname helps identify the network that directs the user to a particular website. When the user visits a certain website or web page, the web address or location is displayed at the top of the web browser. This address is also known as the Uniform Resource Locator (URL). For example, suppose www.microsoft.com. Here, the www section is the hostname. Specifies the network that the user must visit to go to the Microsoft.com website.

Also, consider the URL, pcsupport.about.com. The ‘pcsupport’ section is the hostname. On images.google.com, the ‘images’ is the hostname.

Difference Between IP Address and Hostname

Definition

An IP address is a logical numerical address that is assigned to every computer, printer, switch, router, or any other device that is part of a TCP/IP-based network. A hostname is a label assigned to a network that transfers the user to a specific website. This is the main difference between IP address and hostname.

Use

Another difference between IP address and hostname is that the IP address helps to identify a device on the network while the hostname helps to find the network that directs the user to a certain website or web page.

Conclusion

An IP address is a numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. In contrast, a hostname is a label assigned to a network that sends the user to a specific website or web page. This is the main difference between IP address and hostname.

Reference:

1. IP Address: IPv4 vs IPv6 Tutorial, PowerCert Animated Videos, Jul 4, 2016, Available here.
2. Fisher, Tim. Lifewire, available here.

Courtesy image:

1. “IPv4 address” by Undetermined – Own work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “1927706” (CC0) via Pixabay

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