IP address are all actually numbers, but are converted to words and phrases to make them easier to understand and remember. The IP address 127.0.0.1 is a special purposes address that is reserved for use on every computer. It is the computer’s loopback address. Network software and utilities are able to access the computer’s TCP/IP network resources by using the number. When messages are sent to 127.0.0.1 they do not reach outside of the local area network (LAN). There are other loopback addresses, but 127.0.0.1 is almost always the chosen address. The IP address 127.0.0.1 is also called the “localhost.”
How Does the IP Work?
The IP, short for Internet Protocol, is a collection of rules that ensure standardized methods of addressing and communicating between computers and other network devices. The IP standardizes the method by which data packets are sent, delivered, and acknowledged across the Internet and local networks. Establishing a connection to 127.0.0.1 is done in the same way a connection is established with any remove device or computer on a network. However, the connection avoids the local network interface hardware.
How 127.0.0.1 is Used
System administrators and application developers usually test applications on 127.0.0.1. When a public switch, router, or gateway receives a packed addressed to 127.0.0.1, it must drop the packed without logging the information. This means if a data packed is delivered outside the localhost, it will not accidentally be answered by a computer. It ensures the network security is maintained, since most computers answer packets addressed to their own loopback address, causing activation of other services on a machine by responding to a stray data packet.
127.0.0.1 is commonly used to verify that a computer’s networking equipment, operating system, and TCP/IP implementation are working. Users send a ping request to 127.0.0.1 and based on the results of the test, they are able to troubleshoot network connectivity problems. Application developers test basic network functionality during development of an application or program prior to “going live” by using 127.0.0.1.
When a computer user attempts to access a site or remote computer, the computer checks the Hosts file for domain name resolution before sending a request to the DNS. 127.0.0.1 is usually found in the Hosts files on computers assigned to “localhost.” It is used by malware to assign legitimate websites to the localhost to prevent users from seeking legitimate assistance with a malware infection. This is the case when users are alerted to infections and directed to phony virus protection programs.
The IP address 127.0.0.1 can also be used to trick unsuspecting individuals who are just “learning the ropes.” Novice hackers are tricked into infecting or hacking 127.0.0.1, thus infecting their own computer.