Virtual IP Address

What Does Virtual IP Address Mean?

A virtual IP address (VIPA) is an IP address assigned to multiple domain names or servers that share an IP address based on a single network interface card (NIC). VIPAs are allocated to virtual private servers, websites or any other application residing on a single server. The host server for these applications has a network IP address assigned by a network administrator, whereas the different server applications have VIPAs. VIPAs enhance network load balancing and redundancy.


Techopedia Explains Virtual IP Address

VIPAs are primarily implemented for the following reasons:

  • To consolidate resources through the allocation of one network interface per hosted application
  • To improve redundancy by providing alternative failover options on one machine

A server IP address depends on the Media Access Control (MAC) address of the attached NIC, and only one logical IP address may be assigned per card. However, VIP addressing enables hosting for several different applications and virtual appliances on a server with only one logical IP address. The VIPA is used for communication by all hosted applications – even though data packets are routed through actual network interfaces.

Several different application instances may be hosted with different VIPAs on the same server and easily switched for improved load balancing/performance and reduced latency.

VIPAs have several variations and implementation scenarios, including Common Address Redundancy Protocol (CARP) and Proxy Address Resolution Protocol (Proxy ARP).


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…