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How to find an IP address

Updated on June 11, 2009

AN IP (Internet Protocol) Address identifies a computer on a network. Most computers these days have 2 IP Addresses;

  1. LAN (Local Area Network) IP Address, and
  2. WAN (Wide Area Network) IP Address, shared with other computers on the LAN.

A computer that is not on any kind of local area network won't have the LAN IP Address.

The Local IP address identifies the computer on the LAN, or Local Area Network. Most home and business routers (the device that connects your computer to the internet) provide your computer with a Local IP address when the computer first boots up.

If you're running Windows, you can see your Local IP address this way:

  1. Open a Command Window
  2. Type ipconfig and press the Enter Key
  3. Look for the line that starts with "IP Address..."

From home, your IP address will probably start with 192, followed by 3 other numbers seperated by periods. From work, your IP address will probably be comprised of a different set of numbers in the same format.

If your local IP address begins with 169, then you may have a problem. The 169 series is used as a default assignment when your computer can't find a router or some other device on the network to issue a real IP address.

Figure 01 - The Local IP Address from Microsoft Windows
Figure 01 - The Local IP Address from Microsoft Windows

The WAN IP Address assigned to your computer is actually assigned to your router by your Internet provider. All the computers on your side of the router use the same WAN IP value. This IP address is usually the way that the rest of the Internet identifies you. Many sites record this information in the event that they need to backtrack to you in the future. It's not a fool-proof identification technique by any means, but it's interesting. Your internet provider assigns you a WAN IP address from a pool of addresses; any site you visit will see the address but won't be able to tie it directly to you. The FBI probably could, but not the average web site.

To see your WAN IP Address, visit a web site called or any other similar site. I'm not endorsing this particular site, but I have used it in the past.

To use the site, simply surf to it with Internet Explorer, FireFox, or any other Internet browser program. You don't have to enter any information. Every site you visit has access to your WAN IP address; this site just gives it back to you.

Your WAN IP address will almost certainly change over time if you are connected to an internet service provider. It may change at any time during the day; your service will not be affected when it happens. If you're using the computer at the time you won't even notice the difference.

Most ISPs offer a static IP for a slight additional cost per month. This investment provides you with an IP address that is guaranteed not to change.

Figure 02 - Display the WAN IP Address
Figure 02 - Display the WAN IP Address


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    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 4 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Greencolour wrote:

      Well ! An IP address is an Internet Protocol address. It is used to identify all the websites on the internet. There are two types of ip address:

      1. Private ip

      2. Public ip

      To find a private Ip use the following command :

      start- run -cmd-ipconfig/ipconfig/all

      It displays os configuration,ip address,subnet mask etc.

      Nowadays, there are so many websites available to view public/WAN ip like, etc.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 8 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Regarding countrywomen's comment, above...

      The only information you'll get from this web site ( is ISP and country of origin. That'e enough to tell you that you've been spammed but nowhere near enough info to help you track down any single person or computer. And I guarantee you that the ISP already knows about the spam before you start hunting for it. They can detect the outbreak as it happens and usually shut it down quickly.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 8 years ago from Ohio, USA

      The IP address in an email header is the address of the server that sent it. 99.9% of the time that's not the IP address of the person who wrote the message. We typically use email servers provided by our Internet Service Provider. We have an email client on our PC (or MAC). The client relays the email to a computer configured as an email server and the message header gets built from there.

      Even if your IP address gets encoded into the message, unless you have a static IP assigned to your machine it would be virtually impossible to track the message back to you. As I wrote in my hub; in general your IP address is assigned from a pool of addresses owned by your Internet Service Provider. Any attempt to trace back will stop there. The 'tracer' can learn that the message originated in a pool of IP addresses owned by an Internet Service Provider but that's where the trail stops.

    • countrywomen profile image

      countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

      Ag- Yes it is possible. There are some ways both ethical/unethical. Btw you can check this link:

      Nicomp- Good basic info presented in a simple style.

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 8 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for that info. But a more interesting answer would have been how to find someone elses IP address ?

      Is that at all possible ?

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 8 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Chirp Chirp Chirp

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 8 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Does it help my rating to answer a HubPages question?