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How do I find my IP address?

Learn how to find an IP address.

Each computer on a network will be assigned an IP address. [©Shutterstock, 2010]
©Shutterstock, 2010
Each computer on a network will be assigned an IP address.

Every computer connected to the Internet has an Internet Protocol address, or IP address. There are several types of IP addresses, and several ways to find an IP address. If you're wondering how to find an IP address and why it can be useful, this article has some answers.

IP Address Overview

First, let's delve into IP addresses in more detail. When computers on the Internet communicate with each other, the "name" they use to talk to each other is a numeric IP address. Each computer's IP address is unique. The Internet Service Provider, or ISP, assigns a computer user an IP address when the user goes online.

Most IP addresses are static, meaning the IP address is permanent; it is the same number every time the computer user goes online. Dynamic IP addresses, on the other hand, are temporary and change each time the user goes online.

An IP address has four sets of numbers, each of which is between zero and 255. The set of numbers are separated by periods, for example: 999.999.999.999 (not all 9s of course; the numbers will vary).

A domain name, on the other hand, is a unique, non-numeric name on the Internet. That means that while the IP address for a Web site might be 999.999.999.999, its domain name might be website.com. If a person knows website.com's IP address, he or she can type the IP address in the browser instead of the domain name to access the Web site.

IP addresses can come in handy for solving Internet-related crimes involving cyberfraud or child pornography, for example. Law enforcement officials can trace a suspicious IP address back to its owner.

Finding an IP Address

So, how can Internet users find their IP address? There are several methods. One way is to access a Web site that will divulge the IP address. Typically, when users access such Web sites, the first thing they'll see is their IP address. An example of this type of Web sites is IP Chicken. IP Chicken gives the IP address along with the name address, which includes the information on the ISP.

In addition to providing an IP address, WhatIsMyIPAddress.com has information on how to change or hide an IP address. It also has an IP lookup feature that allows users to get even more information associated with the IP address, like the IP address host name and the computer's general geographic location.

A person also can find an IP address at IPAddressWorld.com. This site provides the HTML code for the IP address so the owner can copy and paste it into his or her Web site.

There are alternative ways to find an IP address. Users with Windows 95, 98 or ME should go to the Start menu and click Run. Type in "winipcfg," click OK, and the IP address will be displayed. Those with Windows NT, Windows 2000 or Windows XP can go to the Start Menu and click on Run. Type "cmd" and click on OK to get to the command prompt. Then type "iconfig" and press Enter. Voila -- the IP address appears.

No matter which method you use, finding an IP address is a relatively simple task.

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