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IP addresses are unique numbers that identify computers on the Internet. An IPv4 address uses the format x.x.x.x, where x refers to one to three digit numbers. The newer IPv6 address format is much longer.
When a user types the name of a website, a Domain Name Server (DNS) converts the URL to its IP address before the browser redirects to the correct page. A URL is a website’s name that is easier to remember than IP addresses.
Humans use URLs instead of IP addresses because numbers are difficult to memorize. Remembering IP addresses of servers is like memorizing a telephone company’s phonebook. Networks, however, use IP addresses to locate computers. Without a DNS server, humans may need an address book to connect to web services.
It also works the other way. When a computer connects to a server on the Internet, it records the IP address on its activity log. The server only sees the public IP address of the connecting computer. If the computer is on a private network, then the public IP address belongs to that computer’s network router and not the computer.
To determine a computer’s public IP address, users can employ a My IP Address Tool . Users cannot make use of the My IP Address Tool to get the IP address of another computer. The My IP Address Tool can only get the public IP address of the requesting computer. However, users can manually enter a different IP address in the My IP Address Tool to get more information about the computer that owns that IP address.
The public IP address that computers get are not portable. A laptop connecting from home will get a different IP address if it connects to an office network. When the owner goes to a cafe, connecting to its Wi-Fi will give a different IP address. If it connects via a pocket Wi-Fi, it gets the IP address from the telco. It does not matter, however, as long as there is no Internet service running on the computer. Only servers require a dedicated public IP address. Computers that connect to servers do not require a fixed IP address.
A My IP Address Tool can provide useful information in addition to the IP address of the connecting computer. This is how authorities can track down suspected criminals. One of the information that a My IP Address Tool can give is the Internet Service Provider (ISP) of the computer. ISPs can keep track of what IP addresses it gives to subscribers; hence, they can trace the source. Since ISPs are registered companies, their country location is also available using a My IP Address Tool . Some My IP Address Tools can even show the ISP’s approximate location on the map.
Even emails are traceable. Email headers contain the IP address of the originating computer, and a good My IP Address Tool has email trace option. Emails include the routing information on the header as it passes through different mail servers. Copying the email header and pasting it to an email tracer will yield the source mail server, the IP address of the sender, as well as its domain name. Knowing the domain name reveals a lot, especially if an office computer is sending the email. Most offices use company names in their domain names, including mail servers.
There may be times when emails do not get through. When this happens, there is a possibility that the IP address of that computer is in the list of email spammers. To verify, use the My IP Address Tool to get the computer’s IP address and submit it to a website that checks for blacklisted IP addresses.
My IP Address Tool is a handy utility and learning how to use it could be useful in the future.