Thursday, May 21, 2015

IPv4 addresses getting short this year in North America, could this affect small business, small websites?


The Internet is running out of IPv4 addresses (the four node addresses that we became accustomed to).  The United States (North America) will run out of its ration this summer, and Robert McMillan reports that Amazon and Microsoft are “scrambling” to buy up the rest, link here

The newer IPv6 codes offer an essentially unlimited supply.  Businesses need new routers to support these, and I’m not sure how significant that is.  A quick check with another tech journalist on the story last night indicated that he didn’t think it would be a big deal.
  
  
If you have a major telecomm vendor (like Comcast) and do an “Ipconfig” at the command prompt (in Windows 7), you’ll see a “Link-local IPv6 address” followed by the provider’s root IPv4 address, a Subunit Mask, and a Default Gateway, which is also IPv4. You telecomm provider already gives you a dynamic IPv6 address. 
  
What’s not clear is how this would affect average users and small businesses, which need to set up new websites.  It would sound as though dedicated web hosting could become difficult. Right now, dedicated hosting (your own server) costs about $300 a month, typically about ten times shared hosting.  However, blogging consultants are strongly recommending this  and this comports with the newly articulate idea that blogging needs to pay for itself with its own profits, as covered recently here.
  
I’m not sure how shared hosting IP address generation works.  It looks as though most providers have just one IPv4 per server, and generate you all the IPv6 addresses you need for your own domains.  This should work for most users.  However, one of my sites, while having a shared hosting account (on Windows Server), has had its own IPv4 for years, which Domain Tools confirms.  I’m really not sure what this means.  It might be possible that a service provider would set up one if a domain were a target of hackers and not inform the user, but I don’t know if this really .happens or would be industry practice.

Persons or entities who lose dedicated IP hosting accounts because a provider goes out of business or fail, could have difficulty getting another one.  It's not clear how this will play out. 
     
PCMag has an article on this issue back from 2011, here   Cisco has a technically detailed 2011 article here.
  
There is a lot to go through.


Update: May 31

BlueHost appears to be offering "free" SSL to all webmasters, but those on shared hosting would have to purchase separate IP addresses (right now $4 a month per domain). But could this run out if IPv4 gets short?  I will have to look into this in detail  But some people say on Twitter that this is just a "scare" to sell more services.  


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