An IP address is like an identification number for your device on the internet. It allows information to be sent to and from your device. You probably know how to find your IP address, but what about finding someone else’s?
There are legitimate reasons why you may want to find someone’s IP address. For example, you may want to identify a device that is trying to access your network or verify the location of someone you are communicating with online.
While it is legal to trace an IP address, it’s important to do so ethically and not use it for harmful purposes. This guide will walk you through several methods to find someone’s IP address and also discuss how to protect your own.
What is an IP Address and What Does it Reveal?
An IP address is a unique string of numbers separated by dots that identifies each device on a network. Here’s what the two main types of IP addresses are:
- Public IP address – This address is assigned by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and identifies your device on public networks like the Internet. It can reveal your general location, ISP, and other device details.
- Private IP address – This address is used for devices on a private network and is not visible publicly on the internet.
While an IP address itself won’t provide your exact location, it does reveal a considerable amount of information:
- Country and region
- Postal/Zip code
- Internet Service Provider
- Device type
- Hardware and software details
- Browsing history and online activities
This data can potentially be misused by hackers, advertisers, and other parties if your IP address falls into the wrong hands.
Why Would You Want to Find Someone’s IP Address?
There are a few legitimate reasons why you may want to trace someone’s IP address:
- To identify a device attempting unauthorized access to your network or system.
- To verify the general location of someone you are communicating with online.
- For cybersecurity research and testing purposes.
- To report abuse, hacking attempts, or other cybercrimes to the relevant authorities.
However, keep in mind that methods to find IP addresses can also be misused for unethical purposes like stalking, hacking, and harassment. Only use these tools legally and ethically.
4 Methods to Find Someone’s IP Address
1. Use an IP Lookup Service
One of the easiest ways to find someone’s IP address is to use a publicly available IP lookup service.
These websites allow you to enter an IP address and perform a search to view information associated with it. Some popular IP lookup services include:
To use them:
- Go to one of the IP lookup websites above.
- Enter the IP address in the search bar.
- The service will perform a search and display details like location, ISP, hostname, and more for that IP address.
Keep in mind the results are not real-time and come from public IP databases, so they may not be completely accurate.
2. Check Email Headers
If you have received an email from someone, you can find their public IP address in the email headers.
Email headers contain technical information about the source and routing of the email. Here’s how to find them:
- Open the email message.
- Click the down arrow next to the reply button.
- Select “Show original” to view the full email headers.
- Open the email.
- Go to the Message tab > Properties > Internet Headers
Look for a line starting with “X-Originating-IP: ” which shows the public IP address of the sender.
However, header spoofing is possible so the results may not always be genuine.
3. Use Command Prompt
On Windows, you can use the Command Prompt to find the IP address of a website or internet service.
Here are the steps:
cmdin the Windows search bar and select Command Prompt.
pingfollowed by the website URL (e.g.
- The IP address of that website will be displayed after “Pinging” if the ping is successful.
You can also find the IP address of devices connected to your network using the
arp -a command.
On Mac, you can similarly use the Terminal app.
4. Use Online Communication Tools
If you are communicating with someone directly via tools like Skype, Facebook Messenger calls, online games etc. you may be able to view their public IP address.
- Open Command Prompt
netstat -anto see active connections and associated IP addresses.
This works best if you are in an active voice or video call with the person. The IP address shown should belong to their device.
How to Protect Your IP Address
While it’s good to know how to find someone’s IP address, it’s equally important to conceal your public IP address and maintain your privacy. Here are some tips:
- Use a VPN service – VPNs mask your IP address and replace it with one from their servers. All your traffic is routed through an encrypted tunnel.
- Enable a firewall on your router and devices to make ports invisible.
- Use anonymous communication networks like Tor to hide your IP address.
- Avoid directly revealing personal information tied to your IP address publicly online.
- Be careful when downloading files or clicking links as they can reveal your IP address.
- Use encrypted messaging apps and enable settings like IP hiding where available.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it illegal to find someone’s IP address?
No, it is generally legal to find and trace someone’s public IP address through ethical means. However, using that information to hack, harass, or commit other cybercrimes is illegal.
Can I find someone’s exact location with an IP address?
No, you cannot pinpoint someone’s exact home location with just the IP address. It only reveals general location information like country, city, and postal code.
Can the police trace an IP address?
Yes, law enforcement agencies can trace an IP address during criminal investigations with a subpoena or warrant. The ISP can provide details on the account holder and the location of the IP address.
Can I track an IP address in real time?
It’s difficult to track an IP address in real time as they are usually dynamically assigned by ISPs. You would need access to specialized equipment and the cooperation of the ISP.
How do I permanently change my IP address?
Contact your ISP and request a new static (permanent) IP address assigned to your account rather than a dynamic one. This costs extra for most providers. Using a VPN also changes your public IP address.
Finding someone’s IP address can be helpful at times but also raises privacy concerns if misused. Use ethical methods only for legitimate purposes. Furthermore, take steps to protect your IP address and online identity by using tools like VPNs, encrypted chats, and firewalls. Act responsibly when tracing IP addresses.