Knowing who you are talking to online can be complicated. Whether to try to discover the identity of someone who sends unreliable emails or to see where the server of a website is located(IP address), being able to reveal the identity or location of the messages it receives is a good ability to learn.
Here are some useful tips on how to track an IP address to verify the people and organizations you are dealing with.
For more ways to protect yourself, be sure also to read How to use a VPN to stay safe online.
What is an IP address?
IP means Internet Protocol and is an abbreviated form on the web of the unique number that identifies your router from the rest of the Internet. More precisely, this is your public IP and each computer in your home or business network will also have an internal IP address so that the router can send data to the correct device.
When you send an email, a message or other information from a computer to an external server, such as your email provider, it will be accompanied by your public IP address. This allows the experts to trace the source of the sender, or at least the server they were using.
It should be noted that there are several techniques that allow people to hide or disguise their IP addresses, with tools such as the VPN above increasingly popular.
In those cases, it is challenging to track someone, but if they have not been so scrupulous, then it should be possible to see where or who they are.
To find a VPN that keeps your data and location secure, read our guide to the best VPN services.
How can I trace the IP address of an email?
If you receive emails that you do not trust or want to know where they come from, then it is not very difficult to track the IP.
- First, you must find the header information for the email.
- In Gmail, the process is probably the simplest. To do so, go to Gmail and open the email in question. On the right side, next to the Reply button, you will see the icon of an arrow pointing down. Click here, then select Show original from the list.
- This will open a new window containing long strings of header data. Click on the Copy to clipboard button to get the information you need.
- Now go to WhatsMyIP and click on the IP search option that you will find on the menu at the top of the page.
- On the left side, you will now see a list of options. Choose Email Header Analyzer.
- Paste the header information into the empty text box, then click on the Analyze button.
- The site will now search through the header and produce the general location of the server from which it came.
- If you use an email provider other than Gmail, you can check the instructions provided by WhatsMyIP on how to find the header.
How can I trace the IP address of a website?
If you want to know where the server of a website is located, then there is a fairly quick way to do it.
- Open the Windows Start menu and type CMD. At the top of the results, you will see a list of the Command Prompt. Select this
- In the black window that appears write type tracert followed by the URL of the website in question. For example, tracert www.bbc.co.uk
- Windows will run the search and then give you the IP address of the site on the last line of the report.
- Copy this and then go to IP Tracker and paste the address into the box at the bottom of the page.
- Click on the Track IP with IP Tracker button and you will see a breakdown of the server address, name, as well as other useful information.