What Data Type Is IP Address in SQL?


Angela Bailey

When working with IP addresses in SQL, it is important to understand the data type used to store this information. In SQL, the most commonly used data type for IP addresses is VARCHAR.


The VARCHAR data type is used to store variable-length character strings. Since an IP address consists of four numerical values separated by periods (e.g.,, it can be treated as a string of characters.

Storing IP Addresses as VARCHAR

To store an IP address in a SQL table, you would define a column with the VARCHAR data type and set an appropriate length for the column. For example:

    id INT,
    username VARCHAR(255),
    ip_address VARCHAR(15)

In this example, the ip_address column is defined as VARCHAR(15), where 15 represents the maximum length of the IP address string.

Validating IP Addresses

Since IP addresses have a specific format, it is essential to validate them before storing them in the database. One way to validate an IP address is by using regular expressions.

SELECT ip_address
FROM users
WHERE ip_address REGEXP '^([0-9]{1,3}\.){3}[0-9]{1,3}$';

This query checks if the ip_address column matches the pattern defined by the regular expression. If it does not match, it means that the stored value is not a valid IP address.

Working with IP Addresses

To perform operations on IP addresses stored as VARCHAR, you can use various SQL functions and operators. For example, to find all users from a specific IP range, you can use the LIKE operator:

SELECT username
FROM users
WHERE ip_address LIKE '192.%';

This query retrieves all usernames where the IP address starts with 192.

Converting IP Addresses

In some cases, you may need to convert the VARCHAR representation of an IP address into its numeric form or vice versa. SQL provides functions for such conversions.

To convert an IP address from its string representation to an integer, you can use the following formula:

(ip_part1 * 256^3) + (ip_part2 * 256^2) + (ip_part3 * 256^1) + (ip_part4 * 256^0)

Where ip_part1, ip_part2, ip_part3, and ip_part4 represent the four parts of the IP address separated by periods.


  • The numeric representation of an IP address allows for easier comparison and sorting operations.
  • To convert an IP address from its numeric form back to its string representation, you can use the reverse calculation.

In Conclusion

In SQL, the VARCHAR data type is commonly used to store IP addresses. By treating them as strings, we can easily store and manipulate this information in our database tables. Remember to validate IP addresses before storing them and use appropriate conversion functions when necessary.

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