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

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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.

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

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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.

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Finding the Owner of an IP Address

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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?

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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.

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

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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.

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What Can People Tell from My IP Address?

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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.

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