How to find your IP address

Networks and the Internet do not identify computers (of any size, even your smartphone) by the name you give them. Computers prefer numbers, and the numbers they use as identifiers are called IP addresses. In this article, we are going to teach you how to know your IP address.

The “IP” stands for “Internet Protocol”, which is part of the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TPC/IP). Everything is called IP for short, and TCP/IP is the language used for communication by most networks.

When it comes to your computer(s), there are actually multiple IP addresses involved. One is how the computer communicates with the Internet in general, which is your router’s IP address. This IP address is usually assigned to the router by your Internet Service Provider (ISP); the router, in turn, handles all traffic from your computer to the Internet. So even if a website only sees a request from the router’s IP address, the router knows how to route the information to/from the computer. (That’s why it’s called a router.)

Computers on internal networks, whether Wi-Fi or Ethernet, at home or in the office, have their own assigned IP addresses (usually by the router). In this way, all nodes in the internal network can also communicate. The protocol used by the router to assign IP addresses is called Dynamic Host Control Protocol (DHCP).

If you are assigned an IP address, it is generally considered a “dynamic IP” because it may be temporary. the router may give the node in question a different IP address later (same as the IP address your ISP gives your router). However, you can set “static IP addresses” on computers so that they never change; this can be important for certain types of network communications, especially if being able to find the same node over and over again is critical. You can also get a static IP address for your router, which is useful if, say, you’re running a web server but expect your ISP to charge you extra.

IP addresses generally have the same format as a 32-bit number, displayed as four decimal numbers, each ranging from 0 to 255, separated by periods; each set of three numbers is called a byte. This format is used by IP version 4 (or IPv4). With it, you could in theory have 0.0.0.0 to 255.255.255.255 lying around. However, this has limited the world to over 4 billion IP addresses, which is not enough.

So now there’s IPv6, which is 128-bit, with eight groups of four hexadecimal digits (mixed lowercase digits and letters), all separated by colons (eg: 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e :0370:7334). This offers over 4 billion addresses. The real number is 34 followed by 37 zeros (or 2 to the power of 128), which is technically 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,455. There are many directions.

Good to know, but how do you find your IP address?

Finding Your Internet/Public IP Address

There may come a time when you need to know your router’s IP address, as assigned by your ISP. This can be especially useful for things like VoIP calls or remote control software.

What you will also find is that there is a lot of information about you attached to this IP address, especially the name of your ISP and your general location (called GeoIP). This is because ISPs distribute a range of IP addresses. Determining your provider and general location based on IP address is as easy as looking at a public list.

The easiest way to check your router’s public IP address is to search “what is my IP?” in a search engine.

With Google, that’s all you see. There are many sites that will show you the exact same thing. They see it simply because while visiting the site, their router made a request and thus revealed the IP address.

Find your internal IP address

Every device that connects to your internal network, whether at home or in the office, has an IP address (your PC, smartphone, smart TV, network printer, etc.) It doesn’t matter if you’re using Wi- Fi-Fi. Wi-Fi or Ethernet. Everyone has an IP address whether they are talking on the Internet or talking to each other through your router.

On the most basic network, your router will have an IP address like 192.168.0.1, which will be called a “gateway”. You’ll often see this when looking up the IP addresses of other devices. This usually means that your router will use DHCP to assign addresses to devices, where only the last octet changes. So 192.168.0.101 or 192.168.0.102, for example. It depends on the range set by your router.

It’s pretty much the same on all internal networks, because they’re hidden behind the router, which routes all of that communication to and from the right places. If you have a large internal network, another number called a subnet will help you divide your network into groups. The subnet mask used by most home networks is 255.255.255.0.

So how do you find it? On Windows, it requires the command prompt. I sought ” ordered (without quotes) using Windows Search. Click to get the command line. In the resulting dialog box, type » ipconfig (without quotes) then return.

What’s revealed is more than the IP address: you’ll see the IPv4 address (and IPv6 if supported), subnet mask, and default gateway (that’s your router). Look at this data line in the middle and it shows the connection type: “Wi-Fi Wireless LAN Adapter”. If you were using a wired connection, you would have information under “Ethernet Adapter”.

On Mac, go to preferences from system select Report and it should be there. Click the connection type on the left to see the IP addresses for each type. You may need to click on the TCP/IP tab top with slightly older versions. Optionally, go geek and open Terminal and type » ipconfig as in Windows.

On an iOS/iPadOS, navigate to Settings > Wi-Fi and click the » I in a circle next to the network you’re on. The IP address, subnet and router (gateway) will be there in an IPv4 and IPv6 section as shown below.