How to Trace an IP Address to a PC & How to Find Your Own
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An Internet Protocol (IP) address is as unique to a computer as a fingerprint is to us.

An IP address enables one networked device to talk to the next. The downside of this inter-connectedness is that a logical location provided by the IP address is an open arms invitation to spammers How Do Spammers Find Your Email Address? How Do Spammers Find Your Email Address? Spam is the closest thing we’ll ever find to an Internet plague. No matter who you are, spam will one day find you and you’ll have no choice but to put up with its pestilence.... Read More and hackers. The art of war necessitates the importance of knowing who your ‘attacker’ is. Being able to trace an IP address to a PC is a direct way to remove the cloak of anonymity from a computer communicating with your own.

What Is an IP Address?

An IP address is a series of digits separated by dotted decimals and represented from 0.0.0.0 to 255.255.255.255. We are still currently following the Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) IPv4 Addresses Have Run Out: Here's How It Affects You IPv4 Addresses Have Run Out: Here's How It Affects You We're out of IPv4 addresses yet we aren't adopting IPv6. What's the problem? How can we speed everything along? But most importantly, why does it even matter? Read More , although its successor, Version 6 (IPv6) — developed in 1995 — has been standardized, and deployed since the mid-2000s.

A good hacker will take steps to prevent his IP from being revealed. A spammer might hide behind a proxy server Hide Your Country Of Origin For Any Application Hide Your Country Of Origin For Any Application Read More . It is also important to remember that locating an IP address using online tools does not reveal the physical address of the guy on the computer.

Tracking an IP address, for instance, means you can find the source of email How To Trace Your Emails Back To The Source How To Trace Your Emails Back To The Source Read More ; a MakeUseOf reader might use such techniques in order to find out the locations of potential customers making inquiries through their company’s website. The basic tools merely tell us the location of the Internet Service Provider (ISP) supplying the connection by using publicly available information. To go beyond that and actually nail down, say, the guy sending you dirty emails would require the law to be in the loop Smartphone & Laptop Searches: Know Your Rights Smartphone & Laptop Searches: Know Your Rights Do you know what your rights are when travelling overseas with a laptop, smartphone or hard drive? Read More .

Fortunately, the internet is packed with sites that’ll help you trace an IP address to a PC. Any one website should be enough, but is there any harm in bookmarking a few more?

Part 1: Trace an IP Address to the Country and City of Origin

MyIpTest.com

How to Trace an IP Address to a PC & How to Find Your Own MyIPTest

This web service provides a whole range of geolocation services. Included tools are IP Lookup, Reverse IP Lookup, Traceroute, Ping, among others, notably Email Tools which lets you trace senders using Email Headers. You can even do this through Facebook!

Also of use is a handy link which you can use to get someone else’s IP. Field the IP address in the IP address location box and the results give you the geolocation info Creepy Shows Just How Much Geolocation Data You Broadcast Online Creepy Shows Just How Much Geolocation Data You Broadcast Online Enter someone’s Twitter or Flickr usernames and see everywhere they’ve been and when. If this sounds creepy then it is. Ever wonder how much information geolocation leaves behind? As it turns out, quite a lot.... Read More behind the address and a marker on a Google Map. A Firefox add-on, MyIpTest, is also available from the Firefox Add-ons gallery.

Geotool

How to Trace an IP Address to a PC & How to Find Your Own Geotool

Enter an IP address or host name into the single field box, and extensive information follows, including the host’s name, postal code, and local time. Geotool also uses Google Maps to depict the geographical location of the originating IP address, as well as displaying longitude and latitude.

Its associated Firefox extension shows a country flag representing the location of the current IP address (or URL), updated monthly, and gives one click quick access to detailed location and web server information. Geotool values your privacy and security, also offering malware checks on websites you visit, and running your location searches locally.

HostIP

How to Trace an IP Address to a PC & How to Find Your Own HostIP app

HostIP is a community-driven project to resolve IP addresses. At present, it has roughly 9,245,104 entries in its database. You can contribute information to the database (it only takes a few seconds!), which is accessible to all. The site’s FAQ goes into the motivation behind the idea and tackles the notion that it can be used by spammers. The project is an alternative to commercial geolocation databases. The site also provides a Firefox add-on, and an iOS app — though its accuracy is up for debate — while further offering a connection speed test that inexplicably requires Flash Why Flash Needs to Die (And How You Can Get Rid of It) Why Flash Needs to Die (And How You Can Get Rid of It) The Internet's relationship with Flash has been rocky for a while. Once, it was a universal standard on the web. Now, it looks like it may be headed to the chopping block. What changed? Read More .

DomainTools

How to Trace an IP Address to a PC & How to Find Your Own Whois Lookup

This Whois Lookup search service provides a spiffy domain name lookup service along with IP address searching, but the first thing you’ll notice is how gorgeous the site is. The information is comprehensive including contact data, like listed telephone numbers and email address of the hosting service. The Whois access is free while other domain tools (the Power Tools) come with the paid options.

Arul John’s Utilities

How to Trace an IP Address to a PC & How to Find Your Own Aruls IP Address

A simple box and a simple IP address tracking service, but one which also offers you the option of tracking a US telephone number. You can add the IP tracker to your website as a Google gadget How to Bring Desktop Gadgets Back to Windows 10 How to Bring Desktop Gadgets Back to Windows 10 Desktop gadgets were those movable widgets that displayed bits of information on your screen. With Windows 10, they were replaced in favor of live tiles. Here's how you can get them back in Windows 10. Read More .

IP-Address

How to Trace an IP Address to a PC & How to Find Your Own IP Address

IP-Address has three information pages which are of use to us — the homepage of IP-Address detects your IP, IP-Tracer locates the source of any IP address, and Email Trace, which nails the location of the senders IP address. With the latter, we simply need to paste the email header info in the box provided to get details about the sender.

IP Address Location

How to Trace an IP Address to a PC & How to Find Your Own IP Address Location

While the interface might initially look clumsy (and certainly ad-filled), the web service provides different tools for locating IP addresses. With an input, you can find the exact location of any IP address plus the Operating System (OS) used, DNS, IP address range of the country, country code, and country flag. The integrated Geolocator and a world map narrows down to the city and country. Also included is a tool to check the validity of an email address.

According to the site, its IP database is updated every 48 hours.

Part 2: How to Find Your Own IP Address

Some might say that an IP address is akin to a home address, but really, it’s not as simple. Lots of geek speak and networking lingo would be required to explain what’s it’s all about. The seven online tools already covered not only give you the location of a foreign IP address but yours too as soon as you hit their landing pages.

There are many online services which decipher your IP address in a flash. Here are a few from the swarm, all simple but effective:

Alternatively, if you’re using Google, for instance, you can just type in “My IP Address”, and it’ll come up!

That’s the quick and easy way. But what if you wanted to do it on your own using just your OS?

Don’t be intimidated; it’s very simple to do. Here’s how to find your internal IP on Windows:

  • Right-click on the Windows button, and click Command Prompt.
  • A black box will appear; type in ipconfig/all and hit enter.
  • Basic information of your network interfaces is listed along with your device’s IP address.

How to Trace an IP Address to a PC & How to Find Your Own Command2 Saikat

The process is equally straight-forward on Mac:

  • Locate Utilities in your Applications, and open the Mac Terminal.
  • Typing in ifconfig will display all available interfaces, so there’ll be a lot of unnecessary information. You can filter it somewhat by instead typing ifconfig | grep “inet ” | grep -v 127.0.0.1
  • Your internal IP address can be found by inet.

As it’s open-source Why is Linux So Great? Because It's Open Source! Why is Linux So Great? Because It's Open Source! But what makes Linux such a great choice that it's used in all those devices? It's because it's open source, which as you're about to see, has various implications. Read More , with many distros available, we’ll focus on the widely-used Debian, Ubuntu, and Mint OSes, all of which use the same commands for locating an internal IP:

  • Open Terminal using Ctrl+Alt+T.
  • Type hostname –I.
  • Your IP should appear on its own, as long as you’ve no other active interfaces.

Please note that your IP address may be static What Is A Static IP Address, How Do I Get One & Its Advantages/Disadvantages What Is A Static IP Address, How Do I Get One & Its Advantages/Disadvantages In home networks, IP addresses aren't usually fixed, but they do fall within specific ranges. A static IP address doesn't change. What are the advantages to this, and why would you want one? Read More or dynamic depending on how the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server (the protocol that automatically assigns IPs) is configured.

Have You Ever Traced an IP Address?

The ISP service provider knows exactly where we are located. With the tools mentioned here, at best we can find the approximate area (even though a city is a large area!).

It’s still useful — to make sure someone is genuine, for example, or, if you run a business, for advertising campaigns View Your Website's Visitors' IP Address & Keep Statistics View Your Website's Visitors' IP Address & Keep Statistics Read More — and it can be fun too.

Have you ever had to use IP tracking? If so, why, and which service did you use? Would you recommend it?

Image Credit: FotoCuisinette via Shutterstock.com

Originally written by Saikat Basu on August 11th 2009

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  1. Jack
    October 30, 2017 at 10:54 am

    wretye5ryabcd.com

  2. Moinulhaqq
    September 28, 2017 at 11:06 am

    I thought I will finally know where makeuseof servers are located. Bummer.

  3. Lee Hamilton
    May 12, 2017 at 8:10 am

    If your IP address starts with 10. or 192.168 it is an address assigned by a router or similar network address translator that is only local to the private network that you are connected to. Those addresses are not what is seen on the Internet outside the local private network. What the interne sees is an ip address that the router connects to the public network. The router keeps track of requests, assigns a new socket number to be used on the public internet and sends the information to the public internet. Note that there may be many levels where the request is forwarded to another private network before it reaches the real public network. And the ultimate recipient may be on another private network if responding to a request. You can see this using the network utility tracert with a destination address, e.g.
    tracert gmail.com
    It will probably start with your address assigned by your router if you use one, then the address assigned by your provider modem, addresses of routers from your network provider, before going to a public address. There usually are a number of intermediate addresses before arriving at the destination.

  4. Kevin C.
    December 25, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    some of this hiding location of ip addresses is crap. my home was broken into and cops wouldn't even try and find it. Dell and Microsoft wouldn't give any info either. said it had to be compelled on a federal level. anyone know a way around this????

  5. Nikki
    January 29, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    I have the IP addresses from my hacked into email account and one note back up for my phone ,from my log in records, how do I then find out who or what device has been successfully logging into my account?? My email is synced to my phone so I didn't do it and I have 5-8 different ip addresses on my login besides my phones. I also have a lot of other hacking into my devices issues, if anyone is knowledgeable and would like to help explain or help catch my perpatrators please contact me????? thanks!!

  6. Ejaz
    December 16, 2009 at 1:48 am

    How do I can check IP / Computer name on local network.

    • Chris Catalano
      February 8, 2017 at 10:54 pm

      For windows "ipconfig /all"

  7. Del Hopkins
    October 29, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    That's the problem with IP geo-location, accuracy is ok to an extent, but starts to break down. myipaddress.mobi/ is a mobile site for quickly checking your IP and/or proxy server.

  8. Sid
    September 13, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    I just wanna know that can i trace mac address from an ip address?Please Let me know if any thing is possible.

  9. blogdar.org
    August 27, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Hey people, you can just check out IPAdy for detect your own using OS or other useful informations. But i got a bad news about that service, this site is publishing with Turkish language. So you can use the Google Translator for English or your language.

  10. Chris
    August 24, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Well none of them got my location right.
    I guess that's probably a good thing though.

  11. anwawr
    August 15, 2009 at 9:59 am

    I used IP address tracking to find a long lost girlfriend. It was fun for me, but I guess I somehow scared her off, when I was able to accurately pinpoint her locale while being halfway across the globe.

    • Saikat
      August 15, 2009 at 10:07 am

      Hope you aren't a stalker in the making :)

      • Claire
        August 15, 2009 at 11:09 am

        makes you wonder why shes half way round the world....

    • harisrehman
      March 16, 2016 at 8:30 pm

      how yu did tha ? excatly i want to do the Same

  12. PetFoodz.Info
    August 12, 2009 at 7:44 am

    If you guys want to fight spam check out knujon.com.. Reduced my amount over the years..

    • CJ
      March 16, 2017 at 3:37 am

      If you have Gmail you can use that little arrow by the reply button and see the origin ip address by selecting show original. I usually send that over to knujon lol

  13. MyIpTest
    August 12, 2009 at 2:15 am

    Hi,
    Very good post!

    I like your description about myiptest.com

  14. gmpoint
    August 11, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    well that's an amazing tool and very useful for me

  15. Lar
    August 11, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    In your graphic, you are circling the MAC address, not the IP address. The MAC address can be used to figure what kind of computer you are talking to (the first 4 octets uniquely identify the company that made the network card...) Unfortunately, MAC address info is generally not routed beyond the local LAN.

    Also, ipconfig is useless for what you've described in the rest of the article for most people. Most people connect to the Internet through a router, which assigns a private IP address (via DHCP). The router uses a service called "NAT" to forward Internet packets to your computer. The outside world actually sees the IP address assigned to your router. The router IP address is assigned to it by the ISP. That is the address that these program use to figure out where you live.

    • Saikat
      August 12, 2009 at 1:04 am

      Sorry Lar,

      I uploaded the wrongly circled image. It wasn't intentional.

  16. Claire
    August 11, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    Interesting article in points, but you didnt include geobytes.com in your list of IP locator tools. Just some of the free services offered
    IP Locator / Trace Route Locator / Spam Locator
    GeoDirection, GeoWorldMap, CityDistanceTool,
    GeoFlag, GeoPhrase, EmailAddressEncoder

    • Saikat
      August 12, 2009 at 1:02 am

      Hi Claire,

      I did take a look at it (and a few more), but then just stuck to the seven :)

      • claire
        August 12, 2009 at 11:27 am

        Thanks for that; most people do top 10's !

  17. spdygnlz
    August 11, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    quick correction...

    IP Addresses go from 0.0.0.0 to 255.255.255.255 (not 256.256.256.256). There are 256 possibilities for each part of the address, 0 being the first.

    Another way to think about it is each part is actually 1 byte. The range therefore is (in hex) 00 to FF(255).

  18. Aaron
    August 11, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    I've used http://network-tools.com/ for a year now. Works great for me. I trace IP addresses logged by our company router who are flagged for DoS attacks and such. Interesting that they all come from Europe and Asia. Just sayin. Also it seem that all the IP's I trace end up being companies and not individuals.

    • shai
      August 12, 2009 at 5:20 am

      I like it !

    • Ryan Dube
      August 12, 2009 at 11:48 am

      I like network-tools too - been using it for years. One thing to remember is that most attacks take advantage of a misconfigured company server that leaves it vulnerable to a trojan. The hacker hijacks the server and starts sending spam or conducting DoS attacks, etc. Most of the nasty spam I traced years ago went to small companies, who I contacted. They apologized profusely and were always very embarrassed that their server had been hijacked by a hacker.

      Great article Saikat - fantastic resources!

  19. jollyrogue
    August 11, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    These things are never accurate enough for locations. According to these i live in Wetherby, near Leeds.. When in actual fact, im in the north of scotland.