Inside Secrets About IP Address Geolocation
Should you worry about being tracked?
We’re all familiar with the cartoon, “Where’s Waldo? ” As you know, it’s not always easy to find the character in the red and white striped shirt, glasses and ski cap.
Using top-tier geolocation, authorities can track down Waldo the instant he’s online.
It’s about the same with Waldo’s IP address (even if it is fictional). If he sent you an email with a picture of himself buried in a crowd, you might find him in the picture…but how would you know where he’s geographically located?
No. Not as impossible as you might think.
Through a useful Internet tool called IP geolocation lookup, you can track an IP address close to someone’s exact location, if they’re communicating with you through the Internet…and if you want or need to know where they really are.
You can get pretty close, depending on a variety of factors, to finding the physical location of someone’s IP address (if you can capture it).
Need proof? Let’s see where you are, in real time, right now.
Where are you?
Go to our IP Lookup (which is an IP location finder or tracker) to see where you show up on the map. If you allow your browser to update your location (when it asks you) the geolocation accuracy gets even better.
You can get a good idea of the where someone is emailing you from using a geolocation tool, like the one right on our site (see IP Lookup). And that, for the most part, should be good enough. It will not give you anyone’s name and address, but it’s not supposed to. That would be a violation of their privacy… and a little too creepy.
But you’d be surprised at how close geolocation can sometimes “zoom in” on you.
When you came to the website, you saw that your IP address was conveniently displayed on the home page. And you also saw—maybe surprisingly—that other information was displayed, such as your:
Longitude and latitude
Whoa! Where did that come from?
It came from the IP address geolocation service used to look at the IP address of wherever you were when you visited our site.
“Based on his IP address, we know
he’s within 2 miles. ”
The IP address you saw could be your home computer’s IP address, or the one at the local coffee shop or airport. It all depends on where you are.
Are you feeling creeped out? You don’t have to be.
Learning more about the Internet
You can also look at this as a way to get educated on the power of the Internet and the tools that you (and others) can use to keep safe. (Read our section on Change IP Address and Hide IP Address. ) After all, your name, street address, nickname or favorite color were not revealed. Chances are, your location was, at best, some five or six miles away from your home.
And does anybody care where you are? No, not unless you’re Waldo.
Still, even when not pinpoint accurate, geolocation usually puts a computer user in a nearby town or area, which may be good enough for the person who wants to know where the curious email they received was actually sent from. Check out Trace Email.
Super geolocation accuracy drills down to your Zip Code, and sometimes even down to your kitchen window.
And that person might be you. In other words, you may want to find the IP address of someone who emails you, run it through a high accuracy geolocation service and get closer to zeroing on their location. Maybe not the exact location of their IP address, but with great accuracy.
And that means you can locate Waldo and even direct him to the nearest mall to get a new shirt.
Get hidden now. »» I want to hide my IP
How Geolocation Works
Geolocation Database Providers
Update your geolocation
Check an IP’s location
Finding the Owner of an IP Address – Ask Leo!
What you can find, how to find it, and what you can and can’t do with it.
While you can’t find the specific owner of an IP address, there are a few tools to see what IP-related information you can get.
How do I figure out who owns an IP address?
That may come across as rude, but it’s the truth.
The level of detail most people want is simply not something you or I can get on our own.
There’s a certain amount of information you can get, however, and I’ll show you what that is and how to get it.
Who’s at an IP AddressIt’s not possible to find out who is using a specific IP address without the aid of law enforcement. There are services, including whois, reverse DNS, Geo-IP, and IP-sharing lookups, that can provide some information about an IP address. To go beyond that point, you need the assistance of the ISP owning the IP address, and to get that, you likely need law enforcement or the courts to get them to release otherwise private information.
Who cares who owns an IP address?
I’ve received this question repeatedly, and for various reasons. Most commonly, it’s from someone being harassed online. They believe they have the IP address of the person responsible, and they want to track the person down.
It’s important to realize that you will not, on your own, be able to get the information you want.
The name, location, phone number, email address, or other specific information is not available if all you have is an IP address. Not only can an IP address change or be shared among many computers (and hence people), but the information you’re seeking is private and protected by the ISP, who really “owns” the IP address.
Let’s look at what you can determine from an IP address on your own, and a few tools that will help you determine who that ISP is.
“Whois” is a service that basically answers the question “who is X” where X is an IP address, a domain name, or, potentially, several other things.
ARIN, the American Registry for Internet Numbers, is a fine place to start. The ARIN Whois can be accessed from In the upper right corner’s Search box,
enter the IP address you’re interested in and press Return. I’ll use 72. 104. 186. 113 (an IP address that I know to be assigned) as my example.
This is typical of what you’ll get: information that identifies the ISP who owns the “block” of IP addresses containing the IP address you asked about. In this example, the block is owned by Verizon Wireless, and includes all IP addresses from 72. 96. 0. 0 through 72. 127. 255. 255.
With a court order, law enforcement could then approach the ISP for more detailed information, including who the IP address was assigned to at the time in question.
Note that it’s possible the information presented may point you to a different whois server. ARIN covers IP addresses assigned in North America; there are other services for the rest of the planet.
In some cases, reverse DNS can be instructive.
DNS (Domain Name System) maps a domain name, like “”, to an IP address. As its name implies, reverse DNS does the opposite: given an IP address, it finds the domain name that has been assigned as the primary1 identifier.
I’ll use a tool from a third-party vendor this time,
You can see this gives much of the same information that we’ve seen above, namely the ISP who owns that IP address. But there’s an additional tidbit of information.
is the domain name associated to this IP address. This type of domain name is common for IP addresses assigned to consumers and small businesses. You can see that “myvzw” is an additional clue to which ISP provides this IP address: Verizon Wireless.
Occasionally, you may find things in the reverse DNS that lead you to some additional theories about the IP’s ownership, including, perhaps, an actual domain name for a website or some kind of encoded general location.
Looking at the report from, you can see that it references “United States Newark Verizon Wireless” as the IP location. Needless to say, that’s incorrect. It reflects the location of the ISP — Verizon Wireless — but does not refer to the location of the equipment connected to and using that IP address.
We may be able to get a little closer.
A company called MaxMind provides geographic location information based on IP addresses. They have a page on which you can test their technology, and here’s what they displayed for the IP address I entered:
Here you can see that the scope has narrowed somewhat. The location is listed as Chattaroy, Washington.
We’re getting closer, but not much. MaxMind has correctly identified the state where this IP has been assigned. The city of Chattaroy, however, is several hundred miles on the other side of the state from where that IP address is actually in use.
This is common. For most normal, residential, or small-business connections, most of the publicly available information is accurate only to the state. Occasionally, depending on how the ISP has constructed their network, you may be able to get to the correct city or neighborhood. It is possible, just not common — and there’s no real way to know how accurate the information is when you get it. The response for my IP address here at home, for example, is a city five miles to the south of me. Close, but not close enough.
Particularly when it comes to web servers and web hosting, it can be instructive to see what other domains might be hosted at the same IP address and server.
We’ll use for this.
A lookup of a residential or other IP assigned for internet access is unlikely to return any results, so we’ll use another IP address, one I know is assigned to a shared hosting service: 69. 89. 31. 214.
Reverse shared IP lookup results. Click for larger image. (Screenshot:)
That shows the beginning of a list of hundreds of entries. This is common for shared hosting: hundreds, if not thousands, of websites can be hosted on a single, powerful server.
This probably wasn’t what you wanted
While I’ve shown you several tools you can use to gather information about an IP address, I understand that it’s probably not enough to satisfy you. Most people want the name of the person at an IP address, their physical address, their email address, or their phone number.
You can’t get there from here.
The ISP provides internet service to someone, it’s true, but they will not release that information, and that information is not available publicly. You’ll need the assistance of courts, law enforcement, and possibly overseas law enforcement, if the IP address is located in another country.
And when you think about it, that’s exactly as it should be: if the tables were reversed, you wouldn’t want random people tracking you down by your IP address, do you?
You can’t. They can’t.
And that’s good.
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2: An IP address can be assigned to many different domains, particularly on shared hosting services. One domain name is typically designated as the primary. For example a reverse DNS lookup on the server hosting would actually return you – the primary name of that server.
Can Someone Find Me? – What Is My IP Address
You probably don’t think too much about your IP address, but maybe it’s time you did.
Most people (and maybe you) know their IP address is a digital address of some sort that helps the Internet deliver content to your computer.
And perhaps you know that 99% of the time, no one else knows or cares to know what your IP address is.
But there’s more you need to know.
See, your IP address is something like a beacon on the Internet.
Your IP address is like a beacon on the Internet
Your IP address gives websites, and people that you have connected with online, more than just a number—more than your IP address.
It also gives them the ability to trace that IP address back towards you if they wanted to.
To be clear, they can trace it back to your geographical location.
Okay. It’s likely that 99% of the time no one (and no websites) are running your IP address through an IP lookup site to see where you’re located.
But you’ll never know if it does happen one percent of time, five percent, or more.
Here’s the point:
Anyone can find out where you are.
Even though a website, or even a person (maybe some acquaintance you once sent an email too) can’t find your home address from your IP address, they most definitely could get a clear picture of where you are.
• Even if you don’t tell them what city you’re in, they could use your IP address to get an idea of where you’re connecting from.
• Even if you only contacted them once, they can analyze your IP address anytime after that…it doesn’t need to be in real time.
• Even if you didn’t make a transaction of any kind with the site, they could still capture, analyze and trace your IP address back to your network.
It’s perfectly legal, yet most people aren’t even aware of this.
Is this all hype, or fact?
You could be thinking this is just an exaggeration to scare you.
Well, here’s a true story that illustrates firsthand what we’re talking about.
Recently an office manager (we’ll call him John) decided to see what would happen if he analyzed his own IP address on He shared his story with us.
I know all about, but hadn’t explored the geolocation aspect of it—the map that drops a pinpoint on where the Internet says I am. I wanted to see how precise that might be. So, on the map on the homepage, I clicked on ‘Show me more about my IP. ’ And on the next screen, I clicked ‘Update my Location. ’ What I saw—and realized—sent a chill down my spine.
As I zoomed in as close as it would go, the map become a Google Earth image. And I the image I saw on my laptop screen was a satellite view of the kitchen window of my condo! And my street name was visible on the map too. Not my address, but the map was definitely where I lived. I was a little startled, and then it hit me—anyone who knew my home IP address had the ability to see the same map. I could imagine someone knocking at my door who tracked me (or my wife! ) just by knowing my IP address.
Here’s the bottom line…
It radically changed how John looked at his IP address. It also changed the way he used the Internet at home and when traveling.
When privacy hits close to home.
Here’s why the geolocation aspect of your IP address is important.
Most people use the Internet from just a few locations, primarily at home.
You shop mostly from home
You send emails to friends mostly from home
You game or join chatrooms and forums from home
With a simple device (that someone can find on Amazon) a stranger or criminal can peer inside your home through the front door peephole!
That means the majority of your online activity is probably coming from your home IP address—the IP address that could be traced back very close to you. Maybe even your kitchen window.
I can guess what you might be thinking:
“Who wants to know where I am anyway? ”
The true answer is, “who knows? ” That’s not meant to be cute.
There’s just no way of knowing who is running your IP address through any type of IP lookup service. It could be your bank, your real estate agent, or a tech-savvy teenager who’s also a hacker.
However, one thing is clear…
It is possible to be traced by someone—a stalker, an investigator or even a criminal—via your IP address. And that clever stranger might just wind up right at your door.
Also, if a person (hopefully not you! ) were going online and doing something illegal (according to the laws in place wherever you are in the world), a law enforcement or government agency might seek legal permission to contact your Internet Service Provider for information.
With a subpoena in hand, investigators would ask the ISP to provide the online account holder’s name and address.
The ISP would have no choice but to provide it for them.
Thankfully, for just about everyone that’s an extreme case.
But don’t feel too safe quite yet.
You must admit, it’s unsettling news to know that anyone who has captured your IP address in the past can come close to zeroing in on your front door, depending on where you live.
Here’s some good news:
You can stop IP trackers cold, if you know how.
Hide your real IP address. Hide your real location.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could somehow pull the “old switcheroo” and go online with a different IP address—an IP address that, when anybody tried to trace it, would send them off to some other location, miles from where you actually are?
Guess what? You can.
Here are a few ways you can do that:
Use the Internet away from home. Go to the library or the local coffee bar. You’ll have a different IP address. The drawback: It still close to home and public networks aren’t always safe from other eavesdroppers.
Use the Tor network. Tor is an entirely different kind of network that is free and available to all. The drawback: It doesn’t offer great security and there are some very odd characters in some corners of Tor.
Use a proxy. They’re a touch old-fashioned and tricky to use, but a proxy hides your actual IP address. The drawback: Many websites block proxy access.
Here’s the best way to hide your public IP address.
Go online and sign up for a Virtual Private
Network (VPN) account.
A VPN is a service that redirects your Internet requests through a secure “tunnel” that is hacker proof. But more importantly, a VPN service assigns your live connection a different IP address, then reroutes your Internet request to the world.
Here’s why using a Virtual Private Network is a good thing:
No person or website you connect with knows your actual IP address…which your VPN masks for you when you are online.
You can use your VPN at home, at hotels and airports, and especially at free Wi-Fi hot spots with unsecured networks.
Is it hard to find a good VPN?
Nope. We’ll help you out.
Click below and you can sign up with a top VPN provider right now. It’s fast, safe and easy.
And once you do, you can stop worrying about strange people potentially showing up at your front door.
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Frequently Asked Questions about how can i locate someone by their ip address
How do I find someone by their IP address?
Who’s at an IP Address It’s not possible to find out who is using a specific IP address without the aid of law enforcement. There are services, including whois, reverse DNS, Geo-IP, and IP-sharing lookups, that can provide some information about an IP address.May 28, 2021
What can be traced through IP address?
Your IP address gives websites, and people that you have connected with online, more than just a number—more than your IP address. It also gives them the ability to trace that IP address back towards you if they wanted to. To be clear, they can trace it back to your geographical location.