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How to Find Your Computer’s Private & Public IP Addresses

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An IP address (or Internet Protocol address) identifies each networked computer and device on a network. When computers communicate with each other on the Internet or a local network, they send information to each other’s IP addresses.

Your computer likely has public and private IP addresses. You’ll need the IP address if you’re hosting server software – the client computers will need your computer’s IP address to connect to it.

Public vs. Private IP Addresses

IP addresses can be either public or private. “Public” means an IP address can be reached from the Internet, while “private” means it can’t. For example, in a typical home network, a router has a public IP address on the Internet. The computers, smartphones, game consoles, and other devices behind the router all have unique private IP addresses on the home network. The router acts as an intermediary, forwarding traffic to the local IP addresses that request it. From an outside perspective, all devices on the home network are communicating with the Internet from a single public IP address.

Assuming you’re behind a router performing network address translation, you have two IP addresses that matter. Your computer’s IP address is likely a private IP address, probably starting with 192.168 — is a range of IP addresses specially allocated to private networks. You also likely have a public IP address, which is used when communicating with other computers over the Internet.

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For example, if you’re hosting a server on your computer, people on the Internet will need the public IP address from your router to connect to your server. People behind your router — on the same local network as your computer — will need the local IP address from your computer to connect.

If your computer is connected directly to the Internet with no router sitting in between, your computer’s IP address is a public IP address.

Finding Your Private IP Address

To find your computer’s IP Address on Windows, open the Control Panel and select View network status and tasks.

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Click the name of your Internet connection to view its status.

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Click the Details button in the connection’s status window.

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You’ll find the IP address listed in the Network Connection Details window – look for the IPv4 Address field

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A quick way to find your IP address in Windows is by running the ipconfig command in a Command Prompt window. You’ll see your IP address in the IPv4 Address row beneath the name of your connection.

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If you’re using Ubuntu or another Linux distribution, check out our guide to finding your IP address on Ubuntu.

Finding Your Public IP Address

The easiest way to find your public IP address is by asking a website, since that website sees your public IP address and can tell it to you – for example, you can search for what is my ip or what is my ip address on Google. Google will display your public IP address.

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You can also access your router’s administration page to find this information. This page displays your public IP address and other information about your Internet connection. Different routers have different administration page layouts and different default local IP addresses – consult your router’s manual if you need more information.

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Unlike street addresses, IP addresses aren’t necessarily fixed. Your Internet service provider may regularly assign you a new IP address, just as your router may occasionally assign your devices new IP addresses.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 06/24/12

Comments (25)

  1. Bob Eisenberg

    Dear “How to … “,

    Your article is quite misleading I fear because you do not mention the main issue and problem.
    The private ip address is NOT accessible from the internet outside your router. You must set up
    your router to allow someone outside to reach your private ip address. Doing that setup is confusing.

    Please extend your article so it deals with this issue. Indeed, you should give exact instructions for a few of the most popular routers.

    Bob Eisenberg

  2. Dewald van Deventer

    Interesting article. I was wondering why my IP address changes. Now i know

  3. Martin N. S

    Hello,

    I think this a good article and has highlighted some of the issues that are tired on addressing, a little bit of a concern though, Private vs public ip can be confusing at times. Private are the addresses on your local network while public are on a WAN , mostly used by internet service providers. So your internet comes to your house via a public ip but your computer to access data from the router which translates the public IP it should have a private ip. so this is really a big thing because from there we now go MAC address, but as bob said the router can be configured (port forwarding) so that a computer on a LAN can be accessed from anywhere on the internet, though through a public ip.

  4. FooBar

    fast way for public ip:

    dig myip.opendns.com @resolver1.opendns.com +short

  5. T

    Nice! Saving that to my dropbox favs.

  6. William Henry

    How do you configure to IPv6? I thought the date to start using this was June 6th, I don’t see where my provider switched or anybody elses for that matter.

  7. James Mason

    I actually prefer http://www.ipogre.com/ it has a couple more useful networking tools and a very simple yet elegant interface

  8. lizbit

    Question you visit a geek site and are not aware of your own IP Address

  9. evielou

    total laymen here ,question– why would we need to know all the above
    IP address etc when would we use this information is all I’m asking

    remember there are no stupid question☺

  10. KM

    So, a person can get your IP address and then can look up your physical address. Is there any way to mask over, change, reroute or at least obtain some type of solid privacy without having to spend a fortune in routing through a special server?

    Surely, there is some type of “smart” software that can handle these privacy issues..

    Thanks

  11. KM

    This is a good question for the “How to Geek Staff”. What software can REALLY give us some measure of privacy? (privacy–as if there is such a thing anymore).

    Any thoughts???

  12. Jeff Burns

    Way too much trouble. Google “IP2 cnet” and download this great and free utility. It works on all Windows versions to date. It is also a very quick way to check to see if you have lost your Internet connection.

  13. Cliff

    “…a person can get your IP address and then can look up your physical address…”
    IP addresses do not equate to your physical location address.
    They do equate to a general area; that being the service area of the ISP assigned the IP address range you are within.
    A “proximity” address as it were.

  14. Cliff

    ” How do you configure to IPv6? I thought the date to start using this was June 6th, I don’t see where my provider switched or anybody elses for that matter….”

    It is not actually a “switch over to” situation; but rather an “invoke the new” in addition to the existing IPv4 .
    Specifically, new site addresses will be in the extended address range (IPv6).
    This does not mean that any IPv4 addresses will, necessarily, be changed.
    “…How do you configure to IPv6?…..”
    This is a matter of your Network Interface port and the software driver, on your computer/device, being capable of the IPv6 address range,.

  15. sk hp win7

    how to change my ip address and how get anti banned on flash chat 123.how to change my ip on run command cmd

  16. Cliff

    “…how to change my ip address…”

    Access your Router Config page (192.168.x.y) (.x.y depends on your Router brand; Google it);

    “Release” ; “renew” MIGHT work. Do it multiple times if needed.

  17. William Henry

    Cliff, I expanded the properties of the server and the IPv6 protocol is “turned on”, but the internet properties show “No Internet Connection”. Is this somehow related to the new features that the upgrade to Verizon Quantum or Brighthouse Turbo and others are offering? Thanx

  18. B.H.

    Yes, this was a very minimalist article. You could for example have given the Ubuntu/Debian command ifconfig just as quickly as ipconfig for windows, and yes, you still could have linked to the Ubuntu IP article which hopefully says a bit more. You also failed to mention that in a few years none of this will be relevant as we all switch to IPv6 where all devices may have the same public and private IP.
    For William Henry: I don’t know about your ISP’s offerings, but generally once one switches to IPv6 they won’t be able to go back to IPv4 on the given isp.
    Come to think of it this article didn’t even mention that IPv4 was being phased out, nor that we are now basically out of the good old familiar . separated 192.168.1.254 style IPs.

  19. Danny Irby

    I liked your article. I took some Cisco classes about a year ago at a local tech college and currently work as a transcriptionist at a local hospital where the computer is part of a LAN with an intranet private IP.

  20. MSwhip

    I have a collateral issue to ask help about.

    The proxy addresses to surf the web anonymosuly. Could you please explain how to set a proxy to prevent ppl from outside to “see” your real IP, can the Public Adress be masked?
    Is there a way to use a proxy so the router show another real IP which is not my own? IF that is possible could you pls show ina simple. step by step how to set that up?

    Another little sideline i need to learn about is . What are hashes and how do they reveal your identity?

    Thank you.

  21. LF

    Are you kidding me? Use the command prompt. ipconfig/all will tell you the private from public. Anything behind a well setup router will be firewalled. If one wants to run on a proxy, Google it. Homework is involved. Some of us pay for our education in just looking things up or actually going to school. It ain’t rocket science. If someone gives you the answers for free, you are setting yourself up for some hard times.

  22. LF

    Also, if you want to find out if you are connectable use the command line prompt and ping yourself by using ping/127.0.0.1 it will show four successful packets returned or none at all, in most cases.

  23. spike

    @William Henry: IPv6 is being enabled in parallel with IPv4, which means enabling IPv6 has no effect on IPv4. You are referring to IPv6 World Launch day, but there wasn’t 100% participation across the web, by a long shot. To use IPv6, your network adapter must have it enabled (sounds like it does), your router must support it and have it enabled on it’s LAN and WAN interfaces (internal and external), your ISP must support it, and the website you are trying to visit must support it. Only when all the links in the chain are there will you be able to use it.

    @evielou: Anyone setting up a network should know what their devices’ IP addresses are. Without knowing them is like not knowing the street address of a place you are trying to find. (bad example- someone can probably give a better one)

    @Cliff: If required, the police could get records from your ISP associating your IP at a given time with your physical address. Of course, this info isn’t publicly available. For the general public, what you said is correct.
    -also-
    RE: changing IP address. To learn your router’s IPv4 address, open cmd and type route print. Look at the entry (entries) in the gateway column. Besides 192.168.x.x, it can be 10.x.x.x or 172.16.0.0 – 172.31.255.255. When you are in the router config page, release and renew *might only* change you’re IP address if you have a dynamic IP from your ISP and it’s IP lease on the ISP’s gateway has expired.

    @B.H.: ???- When an ISP enables IPv6, it doesn’t do a thing to IPv4 in and of itself. IPv4 simply continues to run in parallel, still very useable.

    @MSwhip: When you use a proxy server, websites see requests from the proxy server, not your local computer. If the proxy server has a different public IP than your computer, then the website doesn’t have your public IP. This is a very abridged answer, but hopefully illustrates it clear enough to make sense. Setting up a proxy server is not something that can be explained comprehensively in comments like this, so I advise that you do a *lot* of research on your own. (Same with “hashes”)

    @LF: ipconfig /all does *not* give you your public IP address, unless you aren’t behind any NAT, in which case you would only have a public IP on that interface. Also, pinging localhost has very little value- yes, it shows (to a degree) that you are ‘connectable’ (network adapters enabled) but certainly doesn’t show if you are connected.

  24. HK

    Anyone reading How to Geek is trying to learn something.I’ve learned a lot from their articles.Having an attitude towards someone who ask’s a question is uncalled for.If it’s too much trouble you can ignore his question or point him to an article that could help.

  25. Jeff

    I too prefer http://www.ipogre.com/ when looking up my public IP address.

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