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IPv6

Since most of the people who share hosting on my server read my blog, I thought this would probably be an effective way to share some quick information.  I have finally gotten around to setting up IPv6 on my server.  For those of you who just want a quick explanation about what IPv6 is and wonder why you should care, I will be as brief as possible.

IPv4 addresses look like this:  192.168.1.100.  4 sets of numbers between 1-256, 32 bits of length total.  Anything on the internet for the past however many years required an address like that.  It points to your computer/phone/device/whatever like your address points to where you live.  It’s more complicated, but that keeps it simple.  The world is running out of IPv4 addresses; just too many devices.  The world is shifting to a new standard, IPv6.  IPv6 addresses look like this: 2610:18:cc0:8:0000:0000:1:8010.  8 blocks of 4 hexadecimal characters/numbers, 128 bits of length total.  IPv4 only allowed around 4.3 billion addresses overall.  IPv6 allows for at least that many addresses per person currently alive.  In the past static IPs could be costly; my server provider charges me for each IPv4 address I request.  For IPv6, though, my server provider is allowing me to have a pool of 4,096 addresses for free.

The switch, however, is not a cutover.  It will be a slow change over probably several years.  IPv6 has actually been around for a couple years now (at least) but many don’t even know about it.   So why care?  Servers/etc have to be made ready to listen for the right address.  Natively, IPv4 cannot talk to IPv6.  I could technically bring up a server right now that only listened on IPv6, and if your current ISP doesn’t support it, you could never visit the site.  Likewise, if you only had IPv6 and I only had a server listening on IPv4 then you wouldn’t be able to see my server either.  There is special software to act as a go-between, but it’s a band-aid at best and has to be specifically set up.

IPv4 and IPv6, however, can exist side-by-side on a server.  It’s just an address, and a server can have many addresses.  So to those who host with me, know that I have made the appropriate changes and within a day or so the server will be IPv4 and IPv6 compliant.  My server has joined the ranks of IPv6 compliant sites.  Kinda cool.

Well I think so.

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