The European Commission is warning that the current internet addressing system is facing a meltdown.

European authorities are urging website owners, especially governments, to speed up their migration to a new system, put into place so that the ever expanding internet does not run out of IP addresses for new sites.

The original migration plan was for 25% of net users in the EU to be using the new system by 2010, but the C is worried that organisations aren't moving fast enough.

Version 4 of the Internet Protocol (IPv4) is currently used and offers around 4.3 billion addresses - a total predicted to run out in 2011.

The new version - Version 6 - provides, in effect, an unlimited number of addresses.

"This is very much a case of a stitch in time saves nine", said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for the information society, in a statement unveiling the plan.

Reding said that new technolgies being unveiled every day could see the demand for IP addresses increase 1000-fold - which may be beyond the capacity of the current system.

Europe could face a "crisis" when the older system runs out of addresses, she warned.