In a previous article, I reviewed how to discover the IP address(es) of the DNS server(s) your computer uses to resolve domain names (like “askleo.com”) to their actual IP addresses on the internet (for example, 184.108.40.206).
I also discussed why you might want to use DNS servers other than the ones assigned by your ISP.
Assuming you want to, I’ll review how to make the change.
What is the difference between a MAC Address and an IP Address? Are both traceable back to your computer? And can you hide them? If by hiding them is your computer safer from hackers. Also, are the free versions as good as the ones you buy?
Well, the last one is easy to answer: there’s no concept of free versus paid IP or MAC addresses. As you’ll see in a moment, IP addresses are assigned as part of connecting to a network, and MAC addresses are assigned at the time hardware is manufactured.
Even hiding a MAC or IP address is a concept that doesn’t quite apply, but we’ll get in to that too.
And whether MAC or IP addresses are hidden or not, they are not the kind of things you should be spending your time worrying about to stay safe from hackers.
Sometimes when I search for solutions for my home networking problem, I frequently see some people suggesting that I ping my PC by IP and/or by computer name. What does PING command actually do? What’s the point of using this command? How do I read and understand the results?
Ping is one of the oldest and most basic network diagnostic tools. It’s present in just about every modern, and even not-so-modern, operating system.
In concept, the tool is very, very simple: it sends out an “Are you there?” kind of request, and expects to hear back a “Yes, here I am!” kind of response.
Very basic, very simple, and yet very powerful as a first line of network troubleshooting.
I know that all computers have a unique MAC address. But how traceable are they? If my laptop gets stolen, and I know my MAC address, can I get back to it if the person stole it gets connected to internet, even after formatting the machine and thinking that it’s safe to connect? Seems like this could stop laptop burglaries if that MAC address thing is traceable.
You’re correct … it could put a big dent in laptop burglaries if MAC addresses were truly traceable. It would at least increase the odds of stolen equipment being recovered.
But they’re not traceable… at least not in any way that could help.
I keep seeing the term “subnet mask” when I configure network stuff. What is that?
Well, to be blunt, it’s something you probably never need to know about. Sure, you may have to enter one into a router configuration, but it’s typically something you’ll be given without needing to know exactly what it means.
You want to know anyway, don’t you? Fair enough.
A subnet mask is just a nifty way to define sub-networks. Besides being completely unhelpful, that definition actually opens up a slightly larger can of worms.
At the risk of coming off as rude: you don’t. There’s a certain amount of information you can get, and I’ll show you shortly, but the level of detail most people want is simply not something that you can get on your own.
Over the years, I’ve received this question repeatedly and for various reasons. Most commonly, it’s from someone who’s being harassed online, and they believe that they have the IP address of the person responsible and now want to track them down.
It’s critically important that you realize that you will not, on your own, be able to get the information you want. The name, location, phone number, email address or any other specific information are simply not available to just any given IP address. Not only can an IP address change or be shared among many computers (and hence people), but the information that you’re seeking is considered private and is protected by the ISP who owns that IP address.
To get that information, you’ll need a legal reason to require it and that typically means a court order of some sort.
However, let’s look at what you can determine from an IP address on your own and a few tools that will help you determine at least the ISP that owns it.
There are times when one might choose to search a company’s web page as cached by Google or Bing in the hope of not broadcasting one’s IP address to the company by searching its active web page. Does visiting the cached version of a page provide anonymity at least from the company being searched? If not, is there a way to modify the search to achieve this anonymity short of using a proxy address?
The answer depends a lot on the specific sites that you’re actually looking at. In many cases, yes: the original site will never know that you were looking at its content that was cached somewhere else. However, in many other cases, – perhaps even most – the answer might be very different.
Recently, some forums are not allowing me to register because they claim I’m a spammer. The administrator on one of them emailed me that my IP address is on some kind of blacklist. Now, I’ve checked my IP address on many blacklists and I was all green and clean so what’s the matter here? Should I or could I change my IP address? Is there any way to locate that blacklist and get me taken off?
IP address blacklists are normally unreliable and a poor approach to controlling whatever it is people are trying to control. But administrators definitely use them.
I’m living in the UK, using a well-known ISP-changer program. It gives me a different ISP address that says I’m in the Netherlands, Russia, or the USA. What exactly does my own ISP see when I use this? Can they still tell how much I download for example?
This is an interesting question, particularly when it comes to understanding “IP-changing” services.
Before I answer your questions, I need to clear up some terminology that you’re using… just to be sure that we’re talking about the same thing.
I live in Baltimore. When I go to a website, the content will often say things like, “Find sexy singles in Baltimore,” and stuff like that. I use spyware software religiously. So, how do they know where I live? And how do I get rid of it? These aren’t local websites that I’m visiting by the way.
Spooky, isn’t it? I see the same thing when I visit certain websites. It’s not always about “sexy singles,” but they frequently nail me down to the Seattle area.
Using tools on my machine, I can see that my IP address is one thing (in my case, 192.168.1.100). But when I go to an internet site that shows me my IP, it shows my something completely different. Which is right?
They both are.
Your machine really has only one IP address, but it isn’t necessarily the IP address that’s used to connect to the internet.
The IP address that appears really depends on who’s looking and from where.
Let me explain the who and where that I’m talking about.
The network consists of a cable modem, a hub/router, CAT5 cable in the walls, and two computers. If I disconnect one computer at the hub, the other one works. If I disconnect that one and connect only the other computer, it works. But, when I connect both neither works. I suspect a problem with the two computers getting the same address. Is this likely? How do I trouble shoot this kind of problem?
I suspect pretty much what you’ve indicated: a problem in the IP address assignment. But exactly what problem depends on a few details. Details we can look at.