Is the Internet Running Out of Space?

Lindsay Mannering

matrixAll good things must come to an end. Like the Internet. Sorry! If you didn't claim one of the last remaining IP addresses, then you're out of luck. Every time someone buys a domain name like, it's assigned an IP address. And those addresses are all gone. All dried up. No more websites. Well, kinda.

The Internet is out of space, but thankfully, there are tech wizards out there who are smarter than you and me and have come up with a solution. Phew! As you're reading this, the last 3 million IP addresses will have been assigned, but there's still hope.

The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority has developed some genius-bar algorithm that will add an additional 26 letters to addresses so that you, and you, and you, and you can have a blog, after all. Yay!

But when will these new IP addresses run out?

Let's put it this way. The algorithm will add 3.8 undecillion new addresses. Never heard of that number? Me neither. But technically speaking, that's a shit-ton of new addresses that should give us some breathing room for a long, long while. It's like when they added area codes to numbers. The more numbers, the more possibilities.

But it's not all rainbow websites and puppy websites. The lengthened IP addresses will give your computer more identity, which means you'll be easier to find on the world wide web. Great news for advertisers and hackers, not so great for us.

The Internet running out of space is kinda like the phone companies running out of numbers. It'd be OK for a while I suppose; I'm cool with all the websites out there now and don't feel like I need a new one. But commerce would certainly slow down and innovation would suffer. Have a great idea for a new product? Sorry, can't make a website or sell it online.

We'd become a world frozen in 2011. And a frozen world is a dead world. Just ask Al Gore -- he invented the Internet and global warming.

What do you think of the Internet running out of space?

Photo via Patrick Hoesly/Flickr

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