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Gmail Security tip: How to Check IP addresses your mailbox has been accessed from

Updated on April 11, 2011

Gmail by Google

As many people already are very familiar with Gmail and already use it on a daily basis, you may be surprised that there are some features you may still remain unaware of.  

Gmail happens to be one of the most secure online email services on the internet - but it's still up to you to remain vigilant.  Gmail does a great job with filtering SPAM, delivering messages quickly, sending files, etc. but there is another feature everyone should know about:

How to check the IP addresses your Gmail inbox has been accessed from.

This is easy, and an important thing for everyone, especially if you use your email for important, personal information.

What is an IP address?

To put it simply, an IP address is "a unique string of numbers separated by periods that identifies each computer attached to the Internet."

This may sound confusing but it's not really so hard to understand. When you access the internet from home, you have one IP address. When you access from work, you have another. While you are the same (of course), the point at which you connect to the internet is different.

Even if you are using a laptop (so the computer is the same), if your physical location changes, your IP address will also change. If you access the Internet while on vacation from your own laptop, your IP address will be different from when you access the Internet from your home city.

Gmail has an easy way to check from where, and from what IP addresses, your account has been accessed from.

Why should I care?: Internet Security 101

This may seem obvious to some, but if suddenly knew your Gmail account was accessed from an IP address in Nigeria or something, and you have never been there, you might have a real problem.

If a strange IP address shows up, it could indicate someone has hacked your account. Changing your password IMMEDIATELY is a really good idea.

I've also heard stories about people finding out an ex was still reading their emails - so maybe another reason to make use of this information.

Gmail has built in an easy solution to keep an eye on your account.

How to check the IP addresses your Gmail has been accessed from

On the bottom of your Gmail inbox click "details" - this will show all the IP addresses your email account was accessed from.

The "details" link, comes below your inbox, after a line of text that reads something like "Last account activity: 35 minutes ago on this computer." The 35 minutes was my account so yours will probably be different.

Once you click the link you will be able to view your recent account history.  Just keep an eye out for any kind of weird looking locations.

Set a strong password to begin with (a mixture of letters - both upper and lower case, numbers, and symbols), be careful of using the same password for multiple sites, and check your Gmail IP addresses!  A few things can greatly reduce your chances of identity or information theft.

Be safe out there!

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