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How To Find Your IP Address

Updated on August 11, 2013

Guide To Finding Your Internet Protocol (IP) Address

If you're trying to find out what your IP address is, or to learn more about it, this is the right place. As someone who knows a little bit about computers and technology I often get asked an Internet Protocol question when friends or family are trying to set up a router or join a gaming network. Whether for gaming, setting up a private address, masking their internet presence or installing a new router, there are lots of reasons why people are trying to find their IP (Internet Protocol) address; and if you don't know how it can be really frustrating.

Every computer that is connected to the internet has two Internet Protocol addresses (local and public, explained in detail later). A unique address serves the same purpose as your mailing address at home... it's how other people (and computers) find you. On most home networks every computer or device on that network is sharing a common "public" address to connect to the internet, but they have a unique local address so that the modem or router can distinguish between them.

There's a reason why privacy software has become more and more popular. Hackers and internet thieves cannot harm you as easily if they don't have your address to begin with... it's like having a house that the thieves cannot find. With most proxy services that hide or mask your address, all of your activity goes through the proxy services' IP address, so if hackers try to capture your information they'll be stopped at the proxy site. It is no different than having an unlisted phone number at your house.... people can call you if they know your number, but they cannot search and find your home number.

Back to the point of this article. For you, finding your Internet Protocol address is as simple as can be and I'll outline some simple steps below, and list some good resources to help you locate and identify your address, but also ways to help you share, secure and even hide your address from prying eyes, or those who are malicious and want to hack into your system or steal information off of your computer or device. I hope that article helps you and if so, please leave me a note or comment at the end. And perhaps you'll find some good resources that you weren't aware of, and share your favorites with the rest of us. If you would share this on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest it would be really cool. Thanks for your support! ♥

Image by Sergio Roberto Bichara

The Difference Between Local and Public IP Address

Putting It All Together

An IP Address is nothing more than your mailing address... and you have two of them; the public address is how others on the internet distinguish you from the millions of other users, and the local (or private) address is how your modem or router distinguishes one computer from any other device on the home network. On the World Wide Web there are of course millions of computers and devices connected to the internet. If someone, or a computer, is trying to find you they will need to know your public address. If you want to hide or mask your internet activity, you will be masking your public address. Anyone leery of online spies can feel safe and secure using this vigorous tool - Anonymizer Universal.

A closer look at the two types of addresses that you have:

You have a local (or private) address for use locally on your home, business or school network. This is referred to as your local address and no one can see it but you. You'll most often need it when configuring a new router or modem, and setting up a local area network. Step 1 below will discuss how to locate your local address, and it's quite simple so no worries. Your local address is designated (given to your computer) by your router or modem. When you set up the modem or router initially to the primary computer it's assigned a number by that device, and any other computers that you connect to the router will also be issued their own unique local address.

Then there is your public Address that is seen by websites that you visit and others that you interact with on the web (this is how cookies and such track your activity). This address is assigned to you by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and is mapped to your account and modem so that it never changes. The only exception is for users with a dynamic IP address, discussed later. Every computer and every device which accesses the internet through your network, whether wireless or wired, will be using YOUR public address. Your public address is linked to all internet traffic occurring on your internet account. So, for example, if someone is at your house but using their laptop, connecting to your internet service, all of their activity will be logged and seen as activity on your account. That's one of the reasons why it's important to have secure wireless networks at home, so that someone doesn't hop on to your wireless network and do things which are illegal or unscrupulous.

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Having a router that is easy to set up and which works like you want it to is important. These are some top rated routers that you can check out at Amazon and which will make your computing life much easier.

"Hack Attacks Infect 450,000 Websites Daily"

- Blogger News Network

How Do You Feel About Internet Security?

Do you think the threat of hackers is overrated for home users?

Remember - your local IP address is the one your home network uses, not the rest of the computer world.

Of course you must be connected to the internet, but often times when you're installing a new router or piece of equipment and don't yet have a connection to the internet this is problematic, so I recommend that you identify and write down both your local and public address, now, before you need it later. Nothing is worse than having computer or internet problems, and not having access to the internet to find the information you need, like finding your address.

This, too, can be problematic for those with a dynamic connection. Most people will have a single Internet Protocol address assigned to them by their service provider, and it will never change. However, some people have dynamic connections and receive a new address each time they connect to the server (or sometimes the service updates the address each day automatically). For most of us, however, we have one static address that won't change, so you probably don't need to worry about that.

For PC users, you can access your local IP information from your system really easy. First, you can search for the Network Connections or Network tab in your system folder and click through to find Local Area Connection, which will show your local address. You're looking for the line of information that starts with "IPv4 Address" or IP Address; due to different operating systems it'll be labelled one of those two.

Second, and a much easier way, is to use the Command Prompt on your PC. There are two ways to get there. The simplest is to click on the Start button and when the menu expands, look for the RUN icon and click on it. In the text box, simply type in cmd and press enter, and your Command Prompt box will open. Another way to get to the Command Prompt is to click on the Start menu button and find your way to the Accessories folder, and inside that Accessories folder you'll find the icon for the Command Prompt. Click on it and a new window will open up.

This Command Prompt interface is what some people unknowingly refer to as the DOS console, referring back to the old days. The Command Prompt is a unique environment that is nothing more than Windows' Command Line Interpreter; that is, you can issue written commands to the system, versus the typical icons and links that we're all used to.

When you get to the Command Prompt a new window opens up and you'll see a blinking cursor next to a string of text that looks something like C:\User\YourName. From there simply type in the following: ipconfig and press enter. A new string of information will scroll down and you will be looking for the line that starts with "IPv4 Address" or IP Address. The number that follows to the right of that will be your local address. Your Internet Protocol address will look something like this:

xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx (example: 168.212.226.204 or even 192.168.0.5 as shown below)

"Each year the Pentagon estimates their computer network is hacked 250,000 times."

- InfoSec Island

Step 2 - How To Find Your Public IP Address - Using Free Online Services This Is Quick And Simple

Your public IP address is the one that the whole world uses to identify your individual computer

There is no shortage of free online address checkers and finders. And the service is so simple and rudimentary that which one you use makes no difference, really. However, finding the one you like is up to you so I'll list some of the more common free services here. Using them is as simple as going to their website. Most of them identify you immediately when you land on their page, with others you simply click one simple button and they give you the address you're using.

A lot of people, fearing more and more intrusive prying eyes and malicious marketers, are turning to Internet Protocol hiders, masks and proxy servers to keep their identity a secret, and they use these free sites frequently to check that their address is actually being properly masked. Later I'll list some of the free proxy servers, too.

Note: These sites tend to offer a more robust set of features so I prefer them, but you can also simply go to google.com and type in what is my IP address and you'll get it on the first line of the results. Try it here and see: Google Search

Image by Zsuzsanna Kilian

Finding Your IP Address - A Video Tutorial

90% of companies say they've been hacked.

- Computer World

Address Tracers, Trackers and More - Here Are Lots of IP Address Related Tools

Want to snoop yourself, or learn more? Here are some great Internet Protocol related tools to help you:

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