Can I Get Someone’s Name and Address from Their IP Address?

I have the IP address of someone who’s causing me some problems. Can I get their name and location from that?

Yes and no. But mostly no.

This is perhaps one of the most common questions I get. Unfortunately, people’s expectations have been colored — often dramatically — by popular television shows and movies.

Unfortunately, this is real life, which isn’t nearly as easy or exciting.

Read moreCan I Get Someone’s Name and Address from Their IP Address?

How Do I Find the DNS Server Being Used By My PC?

How do I find the domain name server on my PC?

The DNS (Domain Name System) server used by your PC provides the service that maps domain names (like “”) to IP addresses (like

There are several different DNS servers your computer could be using.

I’ll look at how to quickly find out which servers your computer is configured to use, and then I’ll discuss a couple of situations where you might want to use something different.

Read moreHow Do I Find the DNS Server Being Used By My PC?

When I Visit a Web Site, Can the Server Identify Me?

When I visit a web site, are they able to identify my IP address? If so, how can I block them from being able to identify me?

To begin with, I think you’re confusing two different issues. Your IP address doesn’t really identify you, personally.

But, absolutely, web servers see the IP address you’re connecting through when you access them. And unless you’ve taken steps, you’d probably consider it “your” IP address.

Read moreWhen I Visit a Web Site, Can the Server Identify Me?

What’s the Difference Between a MAC Address and an IP Address?

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.

Read moreWhat’s the Difference Between a MAC Address and an IP Address?

What is “ping”, and what does its output tell me?

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.

Read moreWhat is “ping”, and what does its output tell me?

Can a MAC address be traced?

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.

Let’s look at why.

Read moreCan a MAC address be traced?

What is a “subnet mask”?

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.

Read moreWhat is a “subnet mask”?

Finding the Owner of an IP Address

How do I figure out who owns an IP address?

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.

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Does visiting a search-engine cached page prevent the original site from noting my visit?


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.

Read moreDoes visiting a search-engine cached page prevent the original site from noting my visit?

I’ve been blocked because my IP address is on a blacklist. What do I do?

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.

Read moreI’ve been blocked because my IP address is on a blacklist. What do I do?

Can My ISP See that I’m Using a Proxy?

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.

Read moreCan My ISP See that I’m Using a Proxy?

How Do Those Ads Know Where I Live?

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.

There are a couple of ways this can happen.

Read moreHow Do Those Ads Know Where I Live?

Why Doesn’t My Machine’s IP Address Match What I’m Told on the Internet?

Using tools on my machine, I can see that my IP address is one thing (in my case, 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.

Read moreWhy Doesn’t My Machine’s IP Address Match What I’m Told on the Internet?

What is DHCP?

What is DHCP?

DHCP stands for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol.

I can hear you thinking, “Thanks a bunch, but … what’s that?”

In a nutshell, DHCP is all about the request that your computer makes and the response that it receives when assigning a “dynamic” IP address.

Let’s look at that a little more closely.

Read moreWhat is DHCP?

What Can People Tell from My IP Address?

What exactly can someone tell from your IP address and what can they do with it? Can they find personal details or my precise geographical location?

It’s typically very easy to find out your IP address or the IP address of someone with whom you are communicating somehow on the internet.

Unfortunately, many people believe that with an IP address, it’s possible to find out all sorts of information about the person at that connected computer.

That’s simply not the case.

Exactly how much it does expose about you specifically depends on your ISP and how their (and your) network is configured.

The very short answer? Not much.

Read moreWhat Can People Tell from My IP Address?

What’s My IP Address?

As you probably already know your IP address is the “address” or logical (not physical) location of your computer or router connected to the internet.

There are plenty of sites that will tell you your IP address. In fact, any web site you visit can see it.

I’ll do the same, but also try to explain, a little, exactly what it is you’re seeing.

Read moreWhat’s My IP Address?

Why Does My Home Network Only Work with One Computer at a Time?


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.

Read moreWhy Does My Home Network Only Work with One Computer at a Time?