I was thinking about buying IP addresses so i could setup small hosting company. I know that i can rent IP addresses aswell. I have alot of knowledge about networking in common but i don't understand that how IP addresses are assigned to physical location.

However i was thinking that how do IP addresses really work? How IP address is assigned to physical location? Lets think that there is no such thing as ISP that could just handle all this for me. Instead i had to do things so i could use the IP address that i bought and forward it to my modem and use it. How would that work? How do i assign IP address to physical location?

I did not find any answers to my questions. I am not able to find any answers because i don't have enough knowledge about right terminology.

  • 1
    You need a /24 or shorter prefix, not a single IP address, to have provider-independent addressing, then you contract with one or more other companies to advertise your addressing. The Internet is just companies (ISPs are companies, too) that connect to each other and advertise addressing about which they know how to reach.
    – Ron Maupin
    Commented Sep 2, 2021 at 22:53
  • Did any answer help you? if so, you should accept the answer so that the question does not keep popping up forever, looking for an answer. Alternatively, you could post and accept your own answer.
    – Ron Maupin
    Commented Dec 23, 2021 at 21:05

2 Answers 2


The IANA assign IP address blocks to the regional internet registries (ARIN, RIPE, LACNIC, APNIC and AFRINIC) who in turn assign them to ISPs and other "autonomous" networks. Unfortunately most of them have run out of IPv4 address blocks for new regular allocations, so if you want IPv4 address blocks you have to buy them on the market and get the RIR to transfer them.

The smallest block of IPv4 addresses that is routed on the public internet is a /24 (256 addresses).

Once you have an IP block assigned, you will then need to interconnect with at least one (but preferably more than one) other ISP and exchange routes with them over BGP. There are two main types of interconnection (and some less common intermediate variants.

In a "peering" interconnection you exchange traffic from your network and it's customers with your peers network and it's customers. Peering is not transitive, if A peers with B and B peers with C, C does not get access to A. Peering is usually but not always "settlement free", that is neither network pays the other, though obviously someone has to pay for the infrastructure that carries the traffic between the two providers, this may be either a private link between the two providers or it may be an exchange point where multiple providers interconnect.

The other is a "transit" relationship, unlike peering this is asymetric, the transit customer pays the transit provider to deliver their traffic to and from the internet in general.

Most ISPs won't offer BGP peering or transit on "broadband" infrastructure, you will most likely have to pay for dedicated links to other providers or to internet exchange points. Sometimes it's more economical to rent space in locations where the providers you want to interconnect with already have a presence.

As a new network, particularly if you are on the hosting/content side, it is likely you will have to pay for transit services for the bulk of your traffic. Large ISPs will often refuse to peer with small ones, and even if they would peer with you, geography can become an issue. If you are on the access side things look a bit rosier as large content networks tend to have an open peering policy and a presence at a large number of locations and these can cover a substantial portion of your traffic, you will still probably have to pay transit for the rest though.

Finally most networks will require you to operate a 24/7 network operations center before they will peer with you. This means that running a network with peering can't be a single man operation.


How IP address is assigned to physical location?

By administrative decry. There's nothing about an IP address that says it belongs to any specific physical place. (or for that matter, any logical place.) IANA assigned large blocks of addresses to various Regional Internet Registries (RIR's - ARIN, RIPE, APNIC, LACNIC, AfriNIC) who then apply their own rules for address assignments. (i.e. if you're in NZ, asking ARIN would take some explaining.) Logically, through BGP, any address block can be announced by anyone, anywhere. Just because your block came from APNIC, there's nothing stopping you from announcing it from peers in Canada.

Bottom line: An IP address is not a physical location. An IP describes an internet location, not an actual place in the physical world. Unlike the physical world, an IP can easily be moved -- one minute it's assigned to my laptop, an hour later it's on someone else's laptop. It takes a map ("route table") to know where anything currently is. (and that map is constantly be rewritten.)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.