Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Your IP address is the fundamental way of identifying your computer on the internet. Your IP address is available to any service you connect to.

I just read your automated answer to the question I posted, and you've got me worried. I can see my IP address in your answer. How did you do that? Does that mean that if I email you you also get my IP address?

I'm constantly amazed at how many people are concerned about the privacy of their IP address.

I guess I shouldn't be that amazed, because of the number of other questions I get by people trying to trace an IP address to a specific person or location.

Folks, there is no privacy with respect to your IP address. But that does not mean just anyone can actually find you.

When you connect to any web site, your IP address given to that site so that it knows where to send the data back. It's that simple. If your IP address wasn't included, the web server wouldn't know how to get you the web pages you want to look at.

That also means that web servers that 'do something' - like process a form or take a question, have access to that information. When you post a question on my ask a question page, the software that processes your question knows your IP address, and includes that information on the automated email that confirms your question.

The only difference between what my form does and the rest of the internet is that my form shows you what I know. Every website you visit also knows your IP address and can do whatever they like with it.

"Unless you expect the police to come after you for some reason, no one will find your physical location from your IP address."

But "what they can do with it" is very, very little.

Most people are afraid that they can somehow be physically located by their IP address. Yes, it is technologically possible, but it requires that your ISP provide the information. The only time they do is under court order or other legal pressure. Unless you expect the police to come after you for some reason, no one will find your physical location from your IP address.

In fact, all I could tell from the original questioner is that they were using an ISP based in England, and that they are possibly located in a specific region in England. To learn more I'd have to get their ISP to tell me - which they won't.

Now, I still won't publish the IP address here - or anywhere for that matter. With an IP address, it is possible to attack the computer across the internet without knowing it's location. For example one could stage a denial of service attack - attempting to overwhelm the computer at that IP address with bogus data.

But you still won't know where that computer is.

Now, as to email sometimes your email provider will include the email address of your computer, particularly if you use POP3/SMTP to connect to get your mail. For web based mail services like HotMail, GMail and the like results are mixed. Some will and some won't include your IP address in the header. In fact I've even seen HotMail be very inconsistent about this - sometimes it does, sometimes it does not.

But as I keep telling people, in the long run it doesn't matter.

In fact, come to think of it, everyone who's ever gotten an email from me has my IP address in the mail headers.

It just the way things work.

Article C2773 - August 29, 2006 « »

Share this article with your friends:

Share this article on Facebook Tweet this article Email a link to this article
Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

27 Comments
mroonie
August 30, 2006 10:55 AM

Someone detecting and knowing your IP address is the least of your concerns with the internet. There is probably loads of information about you online that you don't know about. But of course we all know we shouldn't do a search on ourselves or any other personal info due to recent AOL events.

If you really are worried about someone "finding" you or perhaps hacking into your computer from Botswana, just take the time to encrypt any docs you may have so that they (or even a virus) can't access that information.

http://www.essentialsecurity.com/products.htm

Simple.

joe
August 31, 2006 10:10 AM

On the radio...
From your newsletter...
Thank you..

starfriend
September 20, 2006 6:34 AM

see what u can do with the ip:

what is my ip adress and location?

starfriend
September 20, 2006 6:35 AM

here is the link:
http://www.ip-adress.com

Bruce Culling
November 16, 2006 1:42 AM

I had a Malicious atack on my computer today, my virus protection recorded the IP address as
88.111.230.16, when I tried to find out who and why, the virus software would not allow it, can you give me some advice in this matter.
Kind Regards
Bruce

the guru
February 27, 2007 11:15 AM

hi I have a person who has my password how can I get his ip and what could I do with his ip to stop him him

the guru
February 27, 2007 11:16 AM

hi I have a person who has my password how can I get his ip and what could I do with his ip to stop him plzz email me at gettinmad@hotmail.com

Lucian
March 21, 2007 11:33 AM

Use http://www.ipgp.net , it gives accurate results. It's almost imposible to get exact location, but you can easily get country, state, city and internet service provider.

Christian
April 5, 2007 4:18 PM

Can you send me back my IP adress??

Tyler J.
May 28, 2007 1:25 AM

I'm 19, a college student, and live alone. My home was buglarized including a expensive computer. How do I find the IP adress of a computer no longer in my possession? ISP or HP tech support possibly? And how do I find out the IP address from posted items.. pic and such? Thank you, Tyler

Leo A. Notenboom
May 28, 2007 9:00 AM

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

You don't.

The IP address is not permanantly assigned to your computer. It's assigned to
your computer *over its connection*. Once you change the connection (by taking
the computer out of your house) the IP address changes.

Sorry.

Leo

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (MingW32)

iD8DBQFGW677CMEe9B/8oqERAlpSAJsGr4BmbZ3ME15xwEfZIP2i/hyrIQCgivms
Nloed309tl5gc3HRZYejRoc=
=JUUb
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

armoond
August 23, 2007 3:50 PM

Many more sucj:
www.whatsmyip.com
www.ipchicken.com
www.iplobster.com
www.myip.es

James
November 25, 2007 4:52 PM

Try this webs solution, very clean and quick http://hey.getmyip.com/

Lolly
May 10, 2008 3:00 PM

Is there any reason you should or should not provide an employer with your IP address AND password?? What can they get to if they have your password and not just the IP address? Why do they want it?

lost_protocol
May 14, 2008 4:37 AM

www.ipmango.com gives you accurate details.

Leo
May 14, 2008 6:05 PM

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

No it does not. It was 300 miles of for me, for example.

Leo

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)

iD8DBQFIK4xoCMEe9B/8oqERAm01AJ9LiK2LvlY77iGLliTvQ8CZLwCr3wCeMn8B
pR8GRXn8MwgVh9tTxxbPVqE=
=x1O8
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

vinod
July 31, 2008 2:44 PM

How to find the ip address of my computer ? is there any command?? please help??

trackerman
October 3, 2008 11:33 AM

ip-address.com
they are pretty good, max range they missed with ip numbers of my friends is 5km. sometimes others even reported wrong country.

John
October 10, 2008 1:21 AM

I usually use this ip address lookup tool to determine my real ip : http://www.ipgp.net
There are a lot of these tools on the web. You can use them to get information about you, or about any other ip address in the world.

Andy P
December 21, 2008 3:12 AM

I put another site together - http://www.displaymyip.info, that gives your external IP address (as well as checking for IP leakage if you are using a proxy.
Also gives you the country of the IP address, the information is updated every 24 hours.

Rick
March 13, 2009 1:55 AM

I always use this site: http://www.myiptest.com to find my IP, also here are many network tools which I use.

PJ
March 21, 2009 10:47 AM

I use www.IP-Finder.com to find my IP address. It is simply for me and I don't need to go to the command line. I just need to open a new browser tab and put this address there. That's all.

ahamed
April 21, 2009 10:55 PM

dear all,
I found a site to get our IP details in ip-details.com. In this U will able know your domain info search, internet speed test and ip details on your website, etc., It is free of cost.

Niku
May 13, 2009 12:20 PM

Rick,
+1 for http://www.myiptest.com

I use it every day, the best one for me!

Serge
June 3, 2009 2:23 AM

IP-Finder.com just +1

Tyler
July 16, 2009 6:47 PM

Some ICP Clown found where i live and my moms name on the internet somehow.....what should i do?

ICP? Have no idea what that is, and hence what you should do. (Insane Clown Posse?)
- Leo
17-Jul-2009

Tejji
November 3, 2009 11:26 AM

http://tejji.com/ip/whatismyip.aspx

Comments on this entry are closed.

If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.

If you don't find your answer, head out to http://askleo.com/ask to ask your question.