Your Internet Protocol (IP) Address is a series of numbers that identifies your computer whilst on the Internet. It is important that you be aware of your IP Address when sharing files over a network or resources, such as a printer. Your IP Address is also a form of security, which allows your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to track your online usage, maintaining a timestamp of your activities on the Internet.
Once you are connected to the Internet, you are assigned an IP Address. To find out your IP address you may visit several websites which can give you your IP address; simply use a search engine and search for “what is my IP address”. Sites such as whois.com and whatismyipaddress.com will inform you of the IP Address issued to you by your ISP.
For more intensive purposes, such as a local area network (LAN) where computers are connected to each other for the purpose of sharing information and resources, Internet connectivity may not be available. In such cases, you have to manually find your IP Address.
Here are a few steps in checking your IP Address using a Microsoft Windows-based Operating System computer.
1. If you have a connection icon, signified by a flashing computer or connected computers, in the system tray (bottom right of the screen), you can right click the icon and go to “Properties”.
2. A new dialog box appears. Click on the “Status” tab and it will give you your IP.
3. If there is no connection icon present in the system tray, click on the “Start” button on the lower left of your screen in the taskbar. Click on “Control Panel” then go to “Network and Connection Settings”.
4. Once in the “Network and Connection Settings”, you should see an option for “View Connections”. Click that option, then right click the icon labelled “Local Area Network” and then click “Properties”. View the “Status” tab and your IP Address will be displayed.
5. For other users connected to both a computer (via Ethernet cable) and a wireless network, you can use the aforementioned steps, or go to the Command Prompt. To access the Command Prompt, click on the “Start” button in the taskbar; navigate to “Programs”, then “Command Prompt”. You will be given a black screen with a blinking cursor. Type the following without the quotation marks: “ipconfig” then press the enter key.
6. The results will show your IP Addresses for the Wireless connection and the Wired connection; yielding two unique IP Addresses to identify your computer on the Internet and on the local network.
Tips and Warnings
- It is highly recommended you use the Internet within the laws of your country or state as illegal activities can be traced back to your computer using your IP Address.
- E-mail can also be traced back to an IP Address. If you should have the need to notify security authorities of any e-mail containing illegal or threatening material, they can contact ISPs responsible for the delivery of the e-mail to trace the source.