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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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Finding an IP address

Visit my article What’s my IP address? and I’ll show you your IP address and a few other bits of information that web servers get whenever you visit any web page on the internet.

Many (though not all) email services will include the IP address of the machine on which email originated in the normally hidden email header information. (As I said, not all, and even for those that do, it’s often not on all messages. If it’s not there, it’s not there.)

If you make a point-to-point connection with an instant message program (typically during a file transfer), a peer-to-peer communications program (for example Skype, depending on how the connection is made), then your IP address is also available to the computer with which yours is communicating.

The very nature of how the internet works dictates that when two computers talk to each other, they must know each other’s IP addresses.

But once you’ve received an IP address, what can you tell about it?

Domains and reverse DNS

The Global InternetSome IP addresses are easy; they’re static (unchanging) and have a DNS name associated with them. For example, in a Windows Command Shell, enter the following command:

ping -a 67.227.211.203

That’s my quick-and-easy way to do what’s called a “reverse DNS lookup”. Normally, DNS maps names (like “askleo.com”) to IP addresses (like 67.225.235.59). In this case, it does the reverse and reports the official domain name associated with that IP address:

Pinging askleo.com [67.227.211.203] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 67.227.211.203: bytes=32 time=77ms TTL=52

Knowing the domain name, you can then do a “whois” lookup. One of my favorites is that provided by domaintools.com. For example,

http://whois.domaintools.com/askleo.com

Will tell you that askleo.com is owned by some guy named Leo Notenboom with a mailing address in Woodinville, Washington.1

There also exist services, typically referred to as private registration, which essentially replace all the public registration information with that of a third party, so as to keep even the basic registration information hidden.

What if the ping doesn’t work or doesn’t return a domain name? Then, things get less precise.

IP address ownership

The important thing to realize is that you do not own your IP address – your ISP or service provider does. Thus, all public information about that IP address will in all likelihood refer only to them.

We can use domaintools.com again to perform a “whois” lookup on an IP address we care about:

http://whois.domaintools.com/67.227.211.203

The information that results will tell you that the IP address in the example above is owned by LiquidWeb – the hosting provider I use for askleo.com.

If the IP address is owned by an overseas provider, the information may direct you to a whois provider specifically for the overseas region in which that provider is located.

Geolocating

There are services that will attempt to tell you where on the planet an IP address is located.

There are two extremely important things to know about these “geo-location” services:

  • They typically locate the endpoint of your ISP’s distribution equipment. What that means is the closest that they often get is the location of your ISP’s router – which could be next door, or it could be many miles away, depending on exactly how your ISP has configured their network, and where their equipment resides.
  • Geo-location services are notoriously inaccurate. Depending on which service is used, my home IP address has been located as “Woodinville” (the postal region
    which encompasses 18 square miles and some 10,000 residential addresses), Seattle (roughly 10 miles from my house), Portland, Oregon (150 miles) and even southern California (close to 1000 miles).

As you can see, occasionally geolocation of an IP address can get close – perhaps identifying the city in which an IP address might be located, but its accuracy is always seriously suspect.

Getting more details

Everything I’ve described above – reverse DNS, whois lookups, geolocation – is all based on public information or publicly available services.

And they are as far as you can go, at least without help.

Most notably missing from all the information above?

Your name and address.2
Other people cannot find your name and physical address from your IP address, and you can’t find it from theirs.

Not without help.

We’ve seen that using a whois lookup on an IP address will tell you the ISP that owns it. It’s that ISP that can then tell you who, exactly, that IP address is connected to.

Note that while they can tell you, that doesn’t mean that they will. That information is typically regarded as private and ISPs are reluctant to divulge it, no matter how desperate your plea.

What they can and do respond to, however, are court orders.3 If your situation merits the involvement of law enforcement, if laws have been broken and it is worth their effort to look into it, then a properly issued warrant or order from the court will get the information.

And you know what? Even that may not be enough.

An IP address is not a computer

Chances are you have more than one computer at home. In fact, chances are you have a router that allows those several computers or other internet-connected devices to share your single connection to the internet.

They, in turn, share the single IP address you’ve been assigned on the internet.

The IP address alone cannot be used to specifically identify a specific device behind your router.

Now, in many cases, that may seem inconsequential. An IP address might lead to a home, and it doesn’t matter which computer was used; you pretty much know at that point who owns the home and the computers therein.

There are two very important exceptions:

  • Sharing your connection, intentionally or otherwise. The classic case that you’ve probably heard of is an unsecured wireless access point being used – without permission – by a nearby neighbor. That neighbor’s activity would appear coming from your IP address.
  • Businesses, large and small, often share a single or limited number of internet IP addresses among dozens (if not hundreds or thousands) of different computers on their internal network. In the extreme case, while the internet IP address might be seen as being located in a city housing, the company headquarters, or IT center, the network behind the internet-facing router could span many cities or even countries.

In cases such as these, you would need the assistance of the local network administrator to identify a specific machine, if that’s even possible.

At home, where you’re the network administrator, it’s important to simply realize that the actions of all computers sharing your internet connection will be associated with your IP address.

Bottom line

I hear often from individuals who have an IP address and they desperately want to identify who is at that IP address.

As we’ve seen by now, it’s not that simple and it’s just not realistically possible.

Unless of course you have the assistance of law-enforcement.

As someone with an IP address that identifies our connection to the internet, that should reassure you (unless, of course, you’re doing things you shouldn’t).

If you’re someone being harassed or otherwise wronged by someone whose IP address you were able to identify, it can be frustrating – but realize that the hoops you might have to jump through are the very same hoops that protect you as well.

Footnotes & references

1: Note that I use a P.O.Box not my home address. The infamous Mat Honan account hack used exactly this technique to learn his home address and thereby, the billing address of his credit card.

2: Unless you made that information public by registering a domain name with your name and physical address, and then pointing that domain to an IP address that is connected to your physical address.

3: First, I’m not a lawyer and this is in no way legal advice. Second, all of this assumes that your country has a court system. I’m speaking mostly of how I understand things to operate in the United States. The requirements (if any) in other countries may be very different.

189 comments on “What Can People Tell from My IP Address?”

  1. for example i got a mail hw can i determine from which ip addess i hav got the mail
    not only mail even a from yahoo msngr .

  2. Depending on your mail program, you would look at the full email header which will tell you what IP address the mail was sent from.

    As for Instant Messaging programs like Yahoo … I’m not aware of a way.

  3. Hi,
    I realize there are many different ways to check someone’s IP address. Is there any way to find out if someone else has been checking yours, looking it up in any way, or using it to look up info. in any way? Thanks.

  4. hello. thanks for your insightful article. i’m doing some research on internet security & have some questions. is there a way for people ot get your ip from a website you visit (not someone who manages the site but someone else, especially for sites like online journals or thefacebook.com where people can read other people’s accounts)? also is there a way, if someone knows your ip address, to use it to find other websites you visited, especially ones where you may have filled out personaly identifiable info? thank you

    • Your IP address is associated with your computer not any application. What people can tell from your IP address is explicitly discussed in the article you just commented on.

      • I’m meaning to say is whatever they have from my instergram or kik or the ip adress can they tell where my location is at because I delete and deactivated kik and instergram now that’s all if any1 can give me correct information on this it be ur pleasure thx

  5. As you say, the site admins know all – for example I know the IP address from which you made that post. But barring stupidity on the server admin’s part, the answer to your question is no, you cannot find the ip addresses of other site visitors. Now, stupidity would include making the server logs, which contain that information, visible somehow, or actually posting the IP on web pages. (Like, for example, if this comment form actually published the IP address from which each comment had come from. It does not, but it could.) Fortunately, in general, that’s not the case, and your IP is not visible/accessible.

    So the answer to the other question is also no… you cannot generally find out where people have visitted based on their IP address alone. It would require information from the servers, or information that was left on the PC that was used.

  6. hello i have one question that is how can i read email headers of mails that r in my inbox is there any way to find out ip of anybody without reading email headers

  7. How you view your email headers will depend on the email program you use. If they’re not visible, most have some way to get at them.

  8. thanx for ur article
    but i always find my pc to go slow
    how can i find the ip address of the various computers connected to my pc
    plz help

  9. How can I get the IP address from someone else website? Someone is making a joke at work and gotta know were that web comes from, and I need to get their IP to know their address, not sure

  10. Depends on what you mean by “from someone else’s website”. If you want the IP address of the website (like, say, this one) then in a command shell:

    ping ask-leo.com

    where ask-leo.com is replaced with the domain name of the website who’s IP address you want.

    If you want the IP address of someone who *posted* on a website (like you just did here), then you cannot get the IP address without the help of the owner of the website you’re talking about.

  11. Hi,

    Is there a program to determine all the ip address of the people i have chat in yahoo messenger? Or to be more specific I just wanna find a way how to get the IP address of the people whom I chat or emailed?

    I’m not a spammer, I was just amazed because I chatted with someone in the Internet and we emailed each other, in a matter of seconds he was able to tell me what time is it in my place and my location as well as Internet Service Provider. Our only means of communication is Yahoo Messenger and Yahoo mail.

    I would really appreciate a help on this one.

    Thanks in advance!

  12. Dear Leo,
    My daughter made her on site at piczo and there is one using this particular IP address saying bad stuff. Im just wondering if I will be able to find out this particular IP address but the problem is that this particular IP address have the same IP address who are defending my daughter.

  13. Yep. It’s likely that the IP address represents a router or corporate firewall (or even AOL’s firewall), so that perhaps several, or even thousands of different users and computers all share the same IP address.

  14. I own an online store and sell on auction sites. People send me their orders via email so I am able to obtain their ip address using the headers. What I want to know is can I use this information to verify that the address they provide for shipping of the items they purchase? Some people will send me their shipping address and it will end up being a false address, can I do a who is to verify that they are sending the email from the same Country State and City as the shipping address they provided??? Thanks Heather

    • No. Stop confusing email addresses with physical addresses. For example Leo knows (on the back end) that my IP indicates my computer is located in City A, when in fact, I am many miles from City A – I am in City F, number of cities in between. That is what computer science tells us. Experience tells ‘us’ that my router is perhaps a rental, and was, at one time, located in City A, and either has not been reset OR I have changed it (possible with eh “right” tools) OR most likely, is tied to the nearest ISP offices for the area I am, and will never change – no matter who may get my router should I upgrade. (And that last, most likely scenario, with the help of my ISP is what easily allows LE – with proper authorizations – to ‘contact’ me if something needs further in-person discussion!)

  15. Not really. In some cases it will work, or at least get close. But, for example, an AOL user’s IP address will probably point you at the location of AOL’s world headquarters, not the user’s location. Other ISPs may also often work that way. So when things don’t match, which will happen frequently, it doesn’t neccessarily mean something’s wrong with yout customer.

  16. Could you help? I have brought Paessler Router Traffic Grapher (PRTG) which cost a lot of money. It helps me monitor my website to see if its up or down as I’m using the very unprodictable piczo.com. How can I get the IP address for my website (www.wu-mings-den.piczo.com). When I go to enter a site it usually says “finding site/connecting site or connecting to [example 131.43.454.4]” but it doesn’t tell me any more. I need to know the IP address or the DNS name, what is a DNS name?

  17. JJ: It’s hard to say if it actually happened, but depending on how the PM software was written it would certainly be possible to get your IP.

    I also don’t understand how you can have an IP from both the phone company and AOL. If you’re connected to the internet you should have only one IP.

    • This happens when using a cellphone connected to Wifi – generally, unless you have the latest Android versions (4.2.2 and up), all 4gLTE phones will always grab the Data connection – no matter how weak compared to a Wifi signal – before the Wifi connection (or before even hardwired connection if you are using a tethering Cat5/6 cable – some phones can do this).

  18. What are the scenarios for two computers to have the same IP address when accessing web sites and reading articles. (these people are supposedly from two different citys)

  19. Is there any site where i can just enter the IP address, and it will display the Home Address and Phone Number, if it can find it for this address? i dont need state and city.

  20. No. That information cannot be determined from an IP address with out the help of the ISP owning that IP address. This help is difficult to obtain.

  21. No, internet addresses must be unique. If you are behind a router, your machine may have the same ip address as anothe rmachine elsewhere behind a router, but you’d never see it. The addresses on the internet musy be unique.

  22. I came across a website that discouraged against posting slanderous comments about a famous person stating that sometimes their lawyer would call up and request the IP address of the poster.

    Is this a ‘scare tactic’ or can they really tell who posted comments based on their IP address?

  23. It’s both. For example there was an IP address reported with your comment here (68.x.x.x) and from that I can see you’re on adelphia.net. But to go any futher I’d need adelphia.net’s help – which I cannot get, but I believe law enforcement can.

  24. i wanted to know if it is possible to find out a i.p address by using the phicical address of where the computer is located

  25. You see,I am trying to play a really old peice of software over the internet. It connects using direct IP addresses. It works fine over a closed network using local Ip adresses. but can i like combine the local and the foreign IP’s into one. like using the foreign ip first, then add the local as an extension to it. Is what i’m asking possible

  26. you can trace the IP address of the sender of that bomb threat using the email itself,there would be an option in the email content to show all heading instead of just the name and email address of that person then what you have to do is to go to apnic.net to check the server of that IP,if your bro matches the IP,then your bro could be convicted, but if not,then he’s free…

  27. “And that leads to my final point: use a router or a firewall.”

    Perhaps we should settle for “use a firewall, and maybe a router”. Why? Well – in case of hardware routers, they should have at least basic firewalls installed; in case of software routers (like Windows Server systems), not using a firewall is like saying that you want to be cracked by any o’ n00b.

    All in all, the machine that is DIRECTLY connected to the internet MUST have a firewall, PERIOD. It doesn’t matter if it’s hardware or software – without a firewall it’s just as vulnerable.

    By the way, Leo – dunno if aynone has previously suggested this (and I believe someone somewhere has, must have) – the site is a great resource to educate the less-technical family members. ^__^ I’m not really a technician just yet (still learning to become one), but I do get a fair load of admin and programming work daily, so I’m so deep in all that and I realized that sometimes I just can’t “dumben” my explanation far enough for ‘normal’ people to understand… 😉

  28. By sharing photos on MSN (by sending a file), can the person on the other end find your IP address if the photos you are sending are from websites/other people or emails sent to you. But all of these photos have been saved on your computer? thanks for the help!

  29. Hello Leo,

    I have a stalker who knows a lot about me, I suspect it’s one of my friends due to the information this ‘person’ seems to be spouting off on e-mails.
    I’ve located some info via WHOIS, but I need to know the general location where the computer is located to tell who is the person. I am not sure what a Windows XP Command Shell is, or how to use it on my computer. I’m not familiar with this area of expertise!!
    I want to know who this person is so I can see if i can/want to take legal action etc. Please help me!

    thank you!

  30. The whois information is typically the best you can do. Using that you should be able to contact the ISP and have them help you further – but you’ll probably need to involve law enforcement to get them to pay attention to you.

  31. Hey Leo,,,Love the site. I have a slight problem, I’ve been banned from a forum and I want to get back in it. I’ve been reading about hiding ur ip address, there are tons of programs u can use but I’m not sure they work. Can u tell me if there is a way to change or hide ur ip address without having to purchase anything. thank u so much.

  32. You can’t change your IP address, but you can use an anonymizing service. Google “anonymous web surf” and you’ll get several such services.

  33. Charles: contact the ISP that whois.arin.net tells you owns that IP address. Be sure to have a court order giving you permission, though, since they won’t give that information without a reason.

  34. —–BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE—–
    Hash: SHA1

    No, You cannot.

    as I keep saying, you can get the location of the ISP, and that’s as
    close as you can get. You CANNOT further determine the actual location
    of the IP address without the ISP’s help.

    Leo
    —–BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE—–
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    iD8DBQFFy2d2CMEe9B/8oqERAno8AJ0TsmLJsPc/na80xE9HlfAML/aCSgCePKvG
    3qvofkQUgMjUDb3J+gQT2Xs=
    =61o7
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  35. i can tell you this….

    Country : United States (US)
    Region: CA California
    City : Cupertino
    Longitude: 37.3042
    Latitude : -122.0946
    Postal Code: 95014
    DMA Code: 807
    Area Code: 408

    So basically youve just given out your home adress…….

  36. —–BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE—–
    Hash: SHA1

    Again, I say: No.

    First of all: who’s IP address was that supposed to be? Certainly not any of
    mine … it’s 100’s of miles off.

    Second, in all likelihood you’ve just geo-located their ISP, not the user.

    Leo
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    =9uVl
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  37. Leo A. Notenboom, i have read lots of your articles about how people cannot get much from your ip address.

    Then how do you explain this: someone from youtube found my ip address through my youtube account (i had never posted any information about me not my name or city or anything and i used a separate email account for my yt account). So once they had my ip address they somehow found my myspace!! Even though i had separate emails for both myspace and youtube, and i hadn’t communicated through email with the person.

    So how did he do that? I understand that it is very hard to get an ip address through yt but how then did he find my myspace? And is it possible he could also find out my email?

  38. Hi, Got a guy who has scammed me out of a lot of money. I have spoke to him on MSN and have our convo saved. Any idea of how i can track his location etc.
    Any help will be appreciated.
    Thanks
    Ross

  39. —–BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE—–
    Hash: SHA1

    Contact the authorities. There’s nothing you can do on your own.

    Thanks,

    Leo

    —–BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE—–
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    iD8DBQFGZDg7CMEe9B/8oqERAqFmAJ0VjQzkMmtDveDbw+XJ+jyQLCvPUQCfWM7n
    Ksmc4ewVyJidcGtPDHZE7b0=
    =y1J3
    —–END PGP SIGNATURE—–

  40. I was able to find the exact location of a computer through an IP address. There were some anonyomous postings on my website that were derogatory in nature. I got the IP from the posting, plugged it into geobites.com and found the longitude and latitude of the location of the computer. Then went to a site that converted longitude and latitude into a general location and was able to use a gps instrument and find the offending house.

  41. The gov’t has a Do Not Call Registry but nothing protects my privacy, i.e. my ip is shown all over with the State, City, the browser and the wireless company I use. I think this is an invasion of privacy. Is there anything I can do? Thank you.

    • Remi,
      The Do Not Call registry is for your phone number. It won’t do anything to protect your IP address. The internet is, by definition, an open source. In order for computers to be able to communicate with each other online they have to share certain information. So it is not reasonable to expect complete privacy through that medium.

  42. hi leo
    can u perhaps tell me, our it guys blocked our networks internet, now i want to use my s3 as a modem. the network shows internet access, but i cant go on the internet. is there some settings that i must change on my pc or what.
    thanx
    maritza

    • Not really enough to go on. I assume you mean a Galaxy S3 – to use it for internet for your PC you’ll need to configure it for tethering, or to operate as a wifi hotspot, depending on the phone and PC. More importantly, though, is that what you can and cannot do with the phone and HOW you would do it are controlled by your mobile provider. I would have you contact them for assistance.

  43. My dell computer had problems. Called dell, they referred me to another company to fix my problems. $200, 7 hours on the phone with someone who’s English drove me nuts, I thought my problem was history. A couple months later, I get a message someone is using my ip address. Soon after, the company who sold me their repair (including changing my ip address), calls, my computer has been compromised I am in great danger of someone accessing my files and destroying my computer. They want me to spend another $200 and buy Windows 7. From the beginning I felt I was being scammed. Do you think I am?

    • You can assume anybody who phones you and tells you your computer has been compromised or your registry needs to be repaired is trying to scam you. Unless they have hacked your system, they would have no way of knowing these things. As for the initial support that you originated, if you really went to the Dell website or phoned a number that came with your computer, you can normally assume that they would have referred you to a legitimate support site. To be sure you are on a real Dell page, it would be of the format http://www.dell.com, support.dell.com or (anything).dell.com, where .dell. comes right before the com (or ca, co.uk, fr, de etc. depending on which country’s site you are trying to contact).

  44. I use statcounter.com — it was telling me that I was getting a lot of traffic to our tiny family blog from Mountain View, CA and Paulo Alto, CA (and it gave me iP addresses).

    I was concerned as we don’t know anyone there so I wondered if some weirdo was stalking us
    but, when I followed a comment by one of the other people here and used geobytes.com — both the IP addresses that I entered gave me C-Springs (family there) and N. Carolina (friends there).

    So,
    1) Is statcounter.com good to use? (in your opinion!)
    2) is it possible that since those CA locations just happen to be where all the giant internet providers come from that that’s why they are showing – even though perhaps the IP addresses are actually in other states?

    Expert advice please!!!

    • Just a guess, but Google is in Mountain View, CA. So maybe Google was indexing your blog, or your blog came up in the search results for something else. You can do a WhoIs search on the IP and see if it’s Google of Yahoo or something like those which is accessing your blog.

    • I have no experience with statcounter, so I can’t say for certain. And as the article discusses, it’s difficult to know with certainty what the IP addresses reflected.

  45. Today a friend called, she was warned her computer was about to crash! She also owns a Dell. Dell had referred her a fix it site about 1 1/2 years ago. Again, English was a second language and it cost her $100. Have others had this problem recently? My friend declined further work on her computer.

  46. Hi Leo,
    Is there a way I can determine an IP’s DDNS hostname? I have tried reverse DNS lookup but doesnt return any information that will give me the DDNS hostname.

  47. Hi Leo,
    Is there a way to find out what IP address was used when someone posted a negative review about my business online? Am I able to hire someone to help me find this? I truly believe this is an act of defamation, and I’d like to confirm where this originated from. Any tips would be appreciated! Thanks!

  48. Not sure if I’m in the right place or not but here goes…

    I think my son is using my computer for porn but he uses the InPrivate browsing tool. How can I find out for sure (w/o asking – already tried that). I’m not very computer savvy so any ‘baby steps’ would be appreciated. Thanks! Also

    PS – Please reply only here and not my email.

  49. I just found an email I sent that a whois search revealed exactly what building I was in when I sent the email. I sent if from a university where I work and the university was listed as the ISP, and the address was listed as the building I was in. So, be careful if you are sending an email or visiting a website from a university or large company which operates it’s own ISP.

  50. My computer read out that another computer has been sharing the same IP address as I am!
    No other computers at my place are being used as of now..
    Could you please help me with the possible reasons and if all my personal details are safe and protected?
    Thank You!

  51. When i check the ip address of someone using DOS. I don’t know where is ip address located. I’ll extremely thankful to you if you assist me in this regard. Thanks

  52. Hi leo! Im curious about ip address. Will my ip address tell which website I visited? What if I opened my facebook account can my ip address in my fb account tell the previous activities I did like browsing the net?

  53. Hi Leo,
    I’m analyzing 75 days worth of weblog data, about 6 million rows. There are 1.33 million unique IP addresses, of which 472K registered more than 0 seconds on the site. Can you tell me what I can infer about the number of unique users from this? An additional wrinkle is that a just a few hundred of the IP addresses account for 25% of total time spent on the site. Thanks, Tom

  54. I’ve found this most basic tool to validate IP address quickly. It uses web browser for mobile/tablet/desktop. This is for end user only it shows ISP details as well. Some related topics about IP address explains in lay mans term that can be found on this website.
    http://whatismylocalip.com

  55. So, someone sent me an sms saying they have my IP address. I told them that didn’t mean anything but then I started to worry to worry and thought how did they get it from an sms (or was it from viber) and can they do anything with the ip to get into my phone or any apps on my phone like facebook or email? I think I’m being paranoid but would like to know definitely they cant do anything.
    Thanks

  56. if someone knows your IP address and your ISP can they say see where you have posted comments in forums? Can they see what comments you have posted? can they see if you have used an im service such as whatsapp or snap chat?

    • It depends. They can GUESS – if, for example, the IP address is published with those comments they can see that that IP is your IP – but that doesn’t mean the comment was posted BY YOU. Could be anyone using that same IP address under any number of scenarios. (IP addresses change, they’re often shared and so on). If the IP address is not published in those forums, then no. Same for IM services: no, that person cannot see what you’ve used. Your ISP, of course, can see everything.

  57. so my ISP can see if I have used a service such as snap chat? Whatsapp? even if its a peer to peer mobile app? Can they also see the naughty pictures sent to my GF

    • That depends on how the pictures are sent. If it’s through a SSL or TLS (https: for websites)connection then it’s encrypted between your computer and the web or email server you are communicating with. If it goes over normal http: then they can see it. On the bright side, even it it’s unencrypted passing through their servers, they are usually to busy to look at it.

    • Possibly. They can see that you have *used* services like those. Whether they can see what was shared on those services depends on how well those services do things like encryption and security.

  58. so if I were to send a picture to my wife via, say whatsapp can my isp see that? could they see the picture in question? Should I be concerned that potentially private photos of me (or my wife) could be leaked? I know its unlikely but is it possible?

    • If you are at all concerned you MUST assume that the answer is “yes”. It is impossible to prove that the answer might be “no”.

  59. So Could someone find me with my IP address and a random cookie I’d if I clear my cookies? Asking because of stalker concern on omegle

    • If your phone number has ever been posted to a web page then people can find it. That’s the easy way. Alternately if hackers get into a database that has your information they also will find it. So yes, it can be done.

  60. Im so worried.. please help me.. so I was playing Yoworld (a game in fb) its a virtual game. Someone there annoyed me so I kick him out of my house. Minutes later, I received a message in fb. I was surprised that it was him. He began cursing me.. then he said it was easy to find my IP address. I was panicking I only have an anti virus and I think it’s not updated and I dont know how to update it.. Im afraid that he can send virus to my pc or see my pics. What should I do? Can he hack my fb? if I use other gadget, will he get through it too?

    • Under normal circumstances, if you don’t try to hack the account, it would generally be legal.

    • Anything you do at work on a work computer can be seen by your boss. Many companies have tracking software to catch people doing what you mention, so definitely yes.

    • It Is this depends entirely on your network configuration and how much of your boss’s computer equipment or network you happen to be using at the time.

  61. Recently the Chinese military were accused of hacking us. The exact physical location (bldg) in China of the military unit was shown on TV. Is this possible using only their IP addr ? If so, maybe they ain’t as smart as we are lead to believe – seems too obvious to be overlooked by the hackers. What is going on ??

    • They probably just used stock footage and which led people to believe it was the actual location.

    • My guess is that the photo was of a generic building perhaps known to be military, and not necessarily the actual location of the IP address.

  62. I would like to ask, for example, i’m browsing Tumblr on my phone using Wifi. Can anybody detect my IP address ? for example the government ?

  63. Someonew harrsing me and sending me messages saying things. Ive contacted police before but they weren’t able to do anything about it. It still hasent stop and I managed to get their ip address. Ive read the article above and is there really absolutely nothing I can do to identify this person?

  64. We’ve identified IP addresses through a subpoena to facebook. We’ve identified the email accounts used as well as several IP addresses used. However when the investigator contacted the ISP with a subpoena the ISP claims to be unable to identify the IP addresses without port access numbers which Facebook nor MSN keep track of!!! WHAT DO WE DO?!?!? How i that possible? We’ve been harassed and stalked for 6 years now and although we know who is behind it because we are unable to get physical proof we cannot prosecute! We cant even prove for a fact who it is!!! I thought that if law enforcement were involved IP could identify the computer being used…Advice?

    • Law enforcement can’t create (or re-create) data that doesn’t exist. While it surprises me that something like a “port access number” is required, there’s no guarantee (or at this time, requirement) that the information be kept at all. I honestly don’t know what to tell you. Your attorneys would be better suited to investigate further.

  65. i sent what i though was an anonymous email but the person said they can track down my ip address and get my name and address is this true

    • Without help from law enforcement, they would only get the name of your internet service provider and your approximate location which sometimes can even be off by several hundred miles. If you click on the link to this article https://askleo.com/whats_my_ip_address/, it will show you the information anyone can typically get from your IP address. When I clicked on the http://whois.domaintools.com link within that article, it had me located about 400 miles from where I actually am.

  66. My question is that recruiters and their nasty ilk try to scare you by saying that when employers do a background check, they can uncover nasty stuff you say which, though not illegal, may paint you in an unflattering light when viewed by all those true-believing, Kool-Aid imbibers that seem to want to dermine your “cultural fit” and lack of “negativity. ”

    I have never used the same email for that kind of general ranting about the hiring process as I would when I submit resumes. However, I probably have used one of two or three machines to do it.

    Also, my big fear is that I if I am logged into my legitimate Gmail account (the one I do use to send resumes out so as not to appear a Luddite), is Gmail in a position to provide background checkers with a list of every site I have posted to under a pseudonym?

    Like I said, I don’t think ranting about incompetent hiring managers (not by name) is illegal, so I doubt Law enforcement would want to get involved. But you never know in the police state we live in whether the law could change to allow these Thought Police access to ensure that undesirable negatives like me never work again.

  67. if a person is using my wifi on mobile or laptop , now how can i figure it out that what he or she is watching? i mean the browsing data of that person. can it be done??? plz reply. it will be really appreciated.

  68. Hello Leo I would like to ask something that blurs my mind. I was playing a virtual game and a guy from there threatened me that he got my ip adress. I dont know whether he got it from the chat platform or an internet link that I sent him but we didnt share any folders.Now you mentioned that he can’t get my ip via the internet link without admin’s approval. Even tho he has my ip adress,what are the chances for him to find my folders and personal information like e mail,facebook,instagram etc ? Can he establish a connection to my modem and thus to my personal pc through my ip adress ? Thank you.

    • As the article states there is very little anyone can tell from your IP number other than your internet service provider and your general location which cam be off by up to several hundred kilometers.

      • I made a little investigation. There is a progrqm called nmap which allows you to find open ports to exploit with the help of ip. When you write the users ip in the program it demonstrates the open ports to sneak into. So i fear that the person got into my modem and system along with it? I neeed any assistance i can get. Thank you for your time

    • Anyone can get your IP address. It shows up in emails you send, and is actually available to the server that hosts this forum. It would be very easy for the website with the game you are playing to make that information public. There is no reason to keep it private. As Leo mentions in this article, very little can be found about you from your IP address.

      • That’s a relief. Since I do not posses very much knowledge in the computer-field I think I am being paranoid. I thought he was able to get into my personal pc through my ip adress and be able to extract information out of it and hack my social media accounts etc. So its not possible even though that guy has expertise in hacking right ?

  69. Can people really use your IP address to find out what websites you visit? For example someone like your friends and people you know?

  70. can i see visitors’ IP addresses on porn site? Like for example on pornhub…could i get the list of all ip addresses that visit this page and therefore confirm if someone is watching porn by knowing their ip address?

  71. Around here (New York/New Jersey), Optimum advertises that they have “Over a million wifi hotspots” in the region. Other carriers make similar claims. I believe that one of the the ways they accomplish that is to carve out a portion of each subscriber’s bandwidth to be used by a “guest” connection, whether the subscriber wants it or not. What is my liability as a subscriber if some unknown Optimum user accesses the hotspot on my router to do something illegal? Can the authorities come looking for me because the IP address traces back to my home? And if so, how can I prove that I was not the perpetrator?

  72. Does my ip show to my viber friends in any way? Also, if I send sb a file , can they later find a way to access all my other files from my device? Thank you.

    • It is so easy for a website to display a user’s IP address that it’s best to always assume it can be displayed. However, as mentioned in this article, very little can be found out about a person from their IP address.

  73. There is this one site on which you can install a program which allows you to use someone’s username and ip address and that way hack into someone’s computer and see all their files? is it really possible?
    It says this:

    1) Prepare the IP address of the Victim. (e.g : 101.23.53.70 )

    2) Download and Install …….(name of software)

    3) Open Advanced Port Scanner and Type the IP Address in the right column and Click Scan.

    4) It will lists you all Opened Ports of the Victim’s PC or Router. (e.g : Port 91 )

    5) After retrieving the IP address and the Opened Ports of the Victim, Open Command Prompt (CMD)

    and Type: telnet [IP ADDRESS] [PORT]

    e.g : telnet 101.23.53.70 91

    6) Now you’ll be asked to Enter Login Information, Just type Username and Password and hit Enter.
    If no password is used just type the Username.

    Done! Now you’ll get access to all Victim’s Files and Documents by browsing with CMD (use cd, copy, delete, mv… to do all tricks.)

    • That would work only if the stars aligned properly. It’s VERY UNLIKELY. Most routers, in particular, are protected from such a breach.

  74. I was on a chat site at my house and someone was able to tell what city I was in. But that was ok because I understand they know the city. But they found out who my boss was and where I worked. I dont use this computer for work or anything. I used my work computer on occasion here but I did not even have it with me on that day. So how would they know that info if I don’t do any work from my home computer. This freaks me out.

    • It would depend on the chat service you were using, and what sort of information you share. For instance, if you log into the chat through your Facebook chat and are chatting with people who are your friends, then they will be able to see everything in your Facebook page. If you use your real name, and if your business has a website that lists your name, then they could simply find you on Google. So there are lots of ways that another user could find information.

  75. Hi is it possible for law infocment to get an ip address from a Facebook page . Not a profile just a page people like . Also can the identifie what type of mobile ph you are using

  76. Hi Leo,
    Recently a colleague said to me that there are some marketing database that are able to provide data about what webpage a IP address visited. In other words that you are able to track what a particular IP visited in a specific time frame. If this is possible, could you please provide some additional details about this option? Thanks

    • I’m not aware of a database that collects that. Websites, of course, DO know what IP address you’re visiting from. Even for posting this comment I know from which IP you came.

  77. Hi Leo, quick question. Im staying at a major US brand hotel chain initially here in Cancun, Mex (solo traveller). After the first night, and having been able to connect to Marriott’s inet just fine, the next day at lunch, I couldn’t at all. It kept looping back, each time I entered name and for 1 day, it repeated the loop. So staff sent a “systems” guy who supposedly works here. He was in attire, so hopefully, all is fine. But Im feeling uneasy after reading abt so many scams here.
    Anyhow, so he asked me for my IP address, and wrote it on his clip board. And I was back on to their open wifi.

    Should I be nervous? Should I do anything to my computer now (the next day)? I just left a message for Marriott corporate just to check.

    Thank you much for any advice!
    Ang

  78. I have a question. Lets say I visit a site and that site’s owner have my IP address but the site’s owner is in a dif country. If the law enforcement can not find the site’s owner then they cannot find me correct? And the only way for someone to find me from what the site’s owner has would be through the site’s owner?

    • In order to find out who you are, someone would have to go through your internet service provider. An ISP generally doesn’t give this information to anyone unless they get a court order from the jurisdiction they are in ie. from a local, state or federal judge. A foreign website would not be able to get this information on their own.

      • Ahhh okay! I see now. Wow. Now I see why investigations take a long time, Law enforcement must have proof of criminal activity before they can act.

  79. How can I find out who’s email address and possibly passwords have been used/entered on my cellphone devices? I found a couple email addresses that have been entered but I can’t figure out the passwords and they weren’t saved by the user. And how can I find out what sites the email addresses were used for?

  80. my neighbors is connected my WiFi and he still checking my search history through IP address and i want to stop to check my search history.

  81. I heard a program named a10 ip to id but i dont understand what does it do? Can someone use this program from his own pc and my ip address and then find out which websites i am visiting? Or is it used for people who share same network so you can id them?

  82. Can someone find out i have profile on porn site by knowing my ip address? There is this site called weleakinfo in which i can type someones ip address and get all his/her registred sites and if those sites have been hacked. Also i would like to know if those listed sites are from the same person or maybe its possible that few people were sharing same ip address?

  83. Places online where they allow you to send email to someone and they have your ip address, do they also know your personal email name etc?

  84. If an email stated it originated by my ip modem and no one in my house sent email could someone hack into my modem?

  85. Hello, I have a question. I was at my friends place and my phone automaticaly logs into her network (she gave me the password before etc.). When I got home and was logged into my own network I noticed on my phone I have different ip address then i have on my pc? Is that her ip address because i was loged into her network before or is it mine?

    • The ip address was 192.168.1.4 if that tells you anything. I was googling and read that i am not the only one who has such ip address on a phone.

      • It’s good that you included the IP number. IP numbers of the form 192.168.1.xxx are internal IP numbers assigned by the router. So it’s normal for every device in a LAN to begin with 192.168.1 and only vary by the last digits after the point. The “real” internet IP number is assigned by the ISP to the router which should be unique.

    • If the internet works then it’s yours. Your IP address does not travel with you like that (unless you’re NOT on Wi-Fi, but using the cellular data connection, in which case the phone company might assign you the same one each time, there’s no way to know).

  86. Is it possible to make an app that sends my IP address via SMS to a user with who I want to chat in a peer-to-peer way? So I send him my IP address and the app takes that address and connects to it and after the connection is established we can chat.

  87. Hi I am using a broadband inter connection. One of my friend has got my IP address and he is telling me that he can get a printed copy of my all browsing history using that. is that possible? If yes how can I prevent him from doing that.??

    • No, he’s just lying to you unless he’s had physical access to your computer and installed something capable of doing that. If you read the article, you’d know that.

  88. I’m closing comments on this article because the vast majority are simply questions that are already answered by the article. Apparently I can’t stress this enough: Please Read The Article (any article, anywhere, actually) before commenting on it.

Comments are closed.