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How to Trace Email Source IP

Updated on May 2, 2012

Each email we receive must have been sent from a computer which has its IP address. An email has a portion called header which remain hidden from us, this header contains the information of the originating computer’s IP and route an email takes to its destination computer. Email headers can be thought of like envelopes for postal mail. They contain the electronic equivalent of addressing and postmarks that reflect the route of a mail from source to destination.The headers don't contain any personal information. At most, you can get the originating IP and the computer name that sent the email. The originating IP can be looked up to determine from where the email was sent.. A header most likely to determine the city and the ISP the sender used.

How to find the email header?

Determining a header is not the same for every type of email system.

Trace Outlook

Right click the email while it's in the inbox and choose Message Options. A window will open with the headers in the bottom of the window.

Trace Windows Live Mail

Right click the email while it's in the inbox, choose Properties, then click the Details tab.

Tracing GMail

Open the email. In the upper right corner of the email you'll see the word Reply with a little down arrow to the right. Click the down arrow and choose Show Original.

Tracing Hotmail

Right click the email in the inbox and choose View Message Source.

Tracing Yahoo mail

Right click the email in the inbox and choose View Full Headers.

You can see that no matter the email program, the headers are usually just a right click away.

Finally, the popular Internet-based email services differ greatly in their use of IP addresses in email headers. Use these tips to identify IP addresses in such mails.

Note: Google's Gmail service omits the sender IP address information from all headers. Instead, only the IP address of Gmail's mailserver is shown in Received: from. This means it is impossible to find a sender's true IP address in a received Gmail.

Note: Microsoft's Hotmail service provides an extended header line called "X-Originating-IP" that contains the sender's actual IP address.

Note: Emails from Yahoo (if untampered) contain the sender's IP address in the last Received: entry

What to do after getting the header?

Usually the first IP listed is where the email originated. There are exceptions to this. You'll have to look at the information logically to deduce the originating IP.

Can we trace all types of email ?

Yes and No. For example, someone who sends an email to your hotmail account shows in the X-Originating IP section of the headers. However, someone who sends you an email from GMail

Email header's Sample:

Return-path: <>


Delivery-date: Fri, 12 Dec 200802:58:23 -0600

Received: from ([])

by with esmtp (Exim 4.69)

(envelope-from <>)

id 1LB3qp-0005cD-9e

for; Fri, 12 Dec 2008 02:58:23 -0600

Received: by with SMTP id 24so1217516tim.7

for <>; Fri, 12 Dec 2008 00:58:17 -0800 (PST

Yahoo! Email header

Gmail Header

Result of header analysis:

The source host name is "" and the source IP address is

Geo-Location Information

United States
Mountain View
Postal Code
Area Code

For tracing the sender you can paste the header of your email in the following address:


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    • profile image

      restdaye 6 years ago

      If the server used is common / public wifi, how can you determine a unique computer name of an email? (Yahoo to outlook)

    • sweetie1 profile image

      sweetie1 6 years ago from India

      Very informative.. so now i can know where the person is if someone try to harass me on net

    • andromida profile image

      syras mamun 7 years ago

      @Jandee-Tracking an email is not that difficult, but to track mails sent from Google is a bit difficult.Thank you so much :)

    • jandee profile image

      jandee 7 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

      Thanks I will try to figure it,knew of it and wondered and now you have got me into sorting it !!


    • profile image

      Shibu  8 years ago

      Thanks very much Andromida...

      Very useful informations........

      Thanks again for ur frank hearted.

    • mahesh2013 profile image

      MAHESH 8 years ago from MUMBAI

      thanks oh its working.

      but i can use mail in the header file i can't get

      send me replay.

    • andromida profile image

      syras mamun 8 years ago

      Thanks a lot soUPERMan.

    • profile image

      soUPERMan 8 years ago

      Nice hub, very informative...however not all header IPs can be traced, according to some security measures, some IP addresses appear as private IPs.

    • profile image

      masmasika 8 years ago

      Great hub. Now I know how to trace my spam mails. Keep posting. You have graat hubs.

    • Waren E profile image

      Waren E 8 years ago from HAS LEFT THE BUILDING............

      That's top of the line information andromida!

      this is an excellent hub,well done!: )

    • andromida profile image

      syras mamun 8 years ago

      Thanks Bail.

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 8 years ago

      That's really great information. Thank You !

    • andromida profile image

      syras mamun 8 years ago

      Thanks Nasim.

    • profile image

      Nasim 8 years ago

      very nice this helped a lot!

    • andromida profile image

      syras mamun 8 years ago

      Thanks Lady_E and Philipo.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 8 years ago from London, UK

      Thanks Andromida. Now I can trace those emails that are always requesting I log on to my bank account through their false bank websites. :)

    • Philipo profile image

      Philipo 8 years ago from Nigeria

      Thank you for sharing your experience. I never know that all these exists. Thanks.

    • andromida profile image

      syras mamun 8 years ago

      Its basically depends on the security policy of a company.If you divulge the actual IP to public then that system becomes more vulnerable to attack.

    • Reena Daruwalla profile image

      Reena Daruwalla 8 years ago from INDIA

      What a very informative and useful hub! I had no idea that headers could trace all this information. Any idea why Hotmail divulges IP add. info and not gmail?