The Difference Between IPv4 and IPv6

Looking to find out the difference between IPv4 and IPv6? Cool down! We have the answers in this article. You probably already know that computers and devices can communicate over the internet thanks to a thing called an Internet Protocol (IP) address. In a way, the IP address is the “house number” for devices connected to the network.

Well, this IP address has two versions: IPv4 and IPv6. Both function the same, namely to provide identity to devices connected to the network. Even so, there are still some differences between IPv4 and IPv6.

Want to know more? Let’s continue reading to find the answer!

What is IP Address?

For those of you who don’t know, this Internet Protocol or IP determines the routing of data in the network so that data can be sent to the right destination.

When sending data across a network, a computer divides the information into several “bits” called data packets, which makes the data transfer process faster and more efficient. Each data packet contains source and destination IP addresses. This IP address is a special identity that is given to all devices connected to the internet or computer network.

IP addresses are distributed by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), an organization in the United States whose job is to manage IP address pools.

What is IPv4?

Internet Protocol version 4 or IPv4 is the first version of the most widely used IP address. This version prioritizes the most feasible flow of data transmission, but does not guarantee the quality of data delivery or service.

This means that users may experience lagging and other problems that may occur due to the fluctuations in internet traffic load at this time.

IPv4 is also a connectionless protocol, which means that data packets will still be sent without having to check whether the destination device is ready. The advantage of IPv4 is that this protocol can send packets via alternative routes if the connection is hampered or the router is having problems.

This IP version uses 32-bit addresses, which is the most common format for IP addresses today. An IPv4 address consists of four decimal digits, separated by three dots, ranging from 0 to 255.

Here’s an IPv4 example:

The 32-bit address space can provide about 4.3 billion addresses. However, some are stored for private networks and are not available for public use.

What is IPv6?

Internet Protocol version 6 or IPv6 is the latest version of the IP address, which is also referred to as the Internet Protocol Next Generation (IPng). Its function is similar to Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4), which provides a unique address for all devices connected to the internet. However, unlike IPv4, IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses.

The 128-bit address space allows about 340 undecillion addresses or 1,028 times more than IPv4.

An IPv6 address contains numbers and letters, written as eight groups of four-digit hexadecimal numbers, separated by colons.

Here’s an IPv6 example:


As well as having more addresses, IPv6 also has simpler headers than IPv4. The IP header is the meta information at the start of the IP packet.

The IPv6 header has a new format designed to minimize header overhead resulting in more efficient packet processing.

Then, another difference between IPv4 and IPv6 is, Network Address Translation (NAT) is not needed with IPv6 so it restores end-to-end connectivity at the IP layer.

It also makes services like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Quality of Service (QoS) easier to implement and deploy.

Why Should There Be IPv4 and IPv6?

If we look around, the number of possible IP addresses that can be created for an IPv4 address is probably quite a lot. However, it turns out that 4.3 billion is not enough to accommodate all connected devices around the world, especially after the Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Well, the function of IPv6 is to meet the need for more IP addresses on the internet. Even so, IPv4 is also still needed.

Although currently some major content providers such as Facebook and Netflix can be reached via IPv6, only 19.1% of Alexa’s top ten million websites can be reached via this protocol, and the rest are still using IPv4. For now, it looks like it will still be a very long time to actually make the full switch to IPv6.

Difference Between IPv4 and IPv6

The difference is, IPv4 is a 32-bit IP address consisting only of numeric characters and separated by periods, while IPv6 is a 128-bit IP address consisting of alphanumeric (letters and numbers) and separated by colons.

Let’s look at the table below to compare more clearly the differences between IPv4 and IPv6.

IPv4 vs IPv6 Security

In terms of security, IPv6 is superior to IPv4, especially because this new version of the protocol is equipped with IP Security (IPSec), which is a suite of protocols that secure network communications at the IP layer.

IPSec has three components that secure various aspects of network communications:

  • Authentication Headers (AH) – helps the network verify where packets are coming from and whether transmissions have been altered. AH can also prevent hackers from creating fake data packets to spread malware to devices or applications.
  • Encapsulating Security Payloads (ESP) – add encryption and other authentication layers to protect data transmission.
  • Internet Security Association and Key Management Protocol (ISAKMP) – defines the security attributes that two devices will use to exchange data.

Although IPSec can also be used in IPv4, its use depends on the network provider and end user. Also, this framework will not work in NAT-based communication either.

Another advantage of IPv6 in terms of security is that the protocol can perform end-to-end encryption and integrity checks, thereby minimizing the possibility of man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks.

IPv6 also uses the Secure Neighbor Discovery (SEND) protocol, making name resolution even more secure. As a result, it will be more difficult for cybercriminals to route traffic between two authorized hosts and observe or manipulate conversations.

So, in terms of security, IPv6 may be better than IPv4, but those security features also depend on proper IPv6 design and implementation. It is also important to enable firewalls, access control systems, and antivirus software.

IPv4 vs IPv6 Speed

Security service provider Sucuri has run a series of tests on websites that support IPv4 and IPv6. As a result, both deliver the same speed when it comes to direct connections.

However, there is more evidence to suggest that IPv6 is faster than IPv4. One of them is a study from Akamai, which shows that IPv6 performance is superior to IPv4 in the top four US cellular networks.

Then, there is one more observation made by Facebook’s Engineering, with the results stating that accessing Facebook via IPv6 can be 10-15% faster than using IPv4.

The difference between IPv4 and IPv6 that makes IPv6 a bit faster is that IPv6 connections can access the network directly. Even though IPv4 has smaller packet headers than IPv6, it must go through a stateful NAT server to travel over the web.

When Should We Use IPv6?

While it might seem easier to stick with IPv4, it turns out that IP version 4 can also be quite expensive as the price is set on a supply and demand basis.

Then, using NAT as an alternative to IPv6 also has some drawbacks; for example, NAT was developed as a temporary technology so that performance may not be optimal for some applications and protocols.

These few issues show that using IPv6 is the only possible solution for the future growth of the internet.

The good news is, the transition to IPv6 has now begun. According to Google, worldwide IPv6 usage is currently at 37%.

As more internet service providers (ISPs), mobile operators, and other large enterprises have switched to IPv6, the number of IPv6-enabled websites and users upgrading their software and hardware to IPv6 has also increased.

Admittedly, the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 will probably be very slow for this reason, but it is possible that this process will continue to accelerate in the future.

Is Already Using IPv6?

In order to provide the best performance to visitors, customers, or employees using IPv6 devices, users need to know if their hosting provider supports IPv6.

If a web hosting provider only supports IPv4 and one of its IP addresses experiences blackhole (null) routing, clients using the same IP will also be affected.

At, users can avoid this problem with Cloud dedicated hosting, as we provide a dedicated IPv6 address for each website and client using VPS packages.

We are also running internal infrastructure and inter-service communications using IPv6 to help accelerate the full transition to this new IP version.


With an IP address, computers and devices can send and receive data over the internet. Then, the current IP address is divided into two versions, namely IPv4 and IPv6.

There are many differences between the two, but the most common IPv4 vs IPv6 differences are:

  • Number of addresses – IPv4 can provide around 4.3 billion addresses, while IPv6 offers 1,028 times as many addresses.
  • Security – IPv6 is superior because it is equipped with IPSec to secure network communications and end-to-end encryption to prevent MitM attacks.
  • Speed – IPv6 can access the network without going through NAT so it is faster than IPv4.

Since IPv4 cannot accommodate all connected devices worldwide, we also need IPv6 addresses. However, IPv4 will still be in use as many are sold and reused, and many users still rely on NAT. Perhaps, it will take many years until the whole world can fully use IPv6.

So, to provide maximum support for IPv6 devices, make sure you choose a web hosting provider that can integrate IPv6 into your website without any problems, such as

After reading this article about IPv4 vs IPv6, I hope you can fully understand the difference between IPv4 and IPv6. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to comment below!

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