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Virtual IP address

Virtual IP address

(also VIPA, VIP address)

Virtual IP address definition

A virtual IP address (VIPA) is an IP address that is not connected to a physical adapter or physical network interface. Instead, it removes the physical adapter and provides an IP address associated with a stack. So, a virtual IP address exists only on its software, whereas a regular IP address exists on a physical adapter. And because a virtual IP address exists only on its software, it’s always online and active and can’t suffer from any physical failures. Typically, multiple domain names and servers get the same virtual IP address if they’re based on one network interface card (NIC). Machines and networks like virtual private servers and websites use virtual IP addresses. With a virtual IP address, they can improve their network load balancing and redundancy.

See also: private IP, public IP

Virtual IP address use cases

  • Load balancing. Many enterprises and organizations use virtual IP addresses with load balancers to divide incoming traffic on their networks. As they divide the traffic, it is spread out to multiple servers. Doing so decreases a server’s load and ensures that network services are still available even if one of the servers goes down.
  • Network simplification. If you use one virtual IP address as a point of entry to a collection of servers, not only will you reduce the number of IP addresses needed, but you’ll also make your network configuration much more simple. This results in easier networking and a healthier online ecosystem.
  • Security improvement. Virtual IP addresses can hide your server’s real IP address. This makes it much harder to hack individual servers and increases their overall security.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security