How to find your IP address on different devices: a guide

Updated 17 March 2023

An IP address is a digital address that networks and other devices can use to identify your routers and devices connected to the Internet. It allows users to see their network identification and connect new devices. Knowing what an IP address is and how to find it can help you understand how your network operates and how to improve security. In this article, we discuss what an IP address is, how to find your IP address on different devices and how to secure it from potential cyber threats.

What is an IP address?

An IP address, or Internet Protocol address, identifies machines and devices connected to the Internet. Internet service providers (ISP) assign public IP addresses. The IP address allows networks to recognise other networks and devices and can help direct Internet traffic by providing an identification of the host network and a path to it. There are internal and external IP addresses.

The router that you use to connect to the Internet has an external IP address, and the external IP address is what other networks use to identify your Internet use. The devices you use, such as a laptop computer or a tablet, have internal IP addresses. Those internal IP addresses are only visible within your secure network if they're accessing the Internet through the router.

Related: How to become a security engineer: Skills and training

How to find your IP address

If you want to know how to find your IP address, here are several methods to use depending on the device you use:

1. Finding your public IP address

One of the easiest ways to identify your public IP address is to use a search engine. Search engines can provide additional information related to your IP address including your location, operating system, browser version, Internet provider and even assess cybersecurity. Here's how you can find the public IP address of your device using a search engine in 3 simple steps:

  1. Open any web browser on the Internet

  2. Search for 'What is my IP address'

  3. You can find your IP address and additional data in the displayed search results

2. Finding local IP address in Windows 10

You can find your IP address on a Windows 10 device regardless of whether you are using a Wi-fi network or ethernet connection. There are multiple ways to find your IP address on a Windows 10 machine. Here are some steps to access the required data simply and reliably:

  1. Click the Windows logo in the lower-left corner or press the Win key on your keyboard

  2. In the window that opens select 'Settings'

  3. Select 'Network & Internet'

  4. Use the menu on the left of the screen to select 'Wi-fi' or 'Ethernet' depending on the connection your device is using

  5. If you use an Ethernet connection, scroll down to find properties, including your IP address

  6. If you use WI-FI, click the 'Properties' button next to your network to find your IP address

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3. Finding local IP address in Windows 11

You can also find your IP address on a Windows 11 device. The process is similar to finding an IP address in Windows 10. Follow these steps to find it on a device using Windows 11:

  1. Click the 'Start' button

  2. Select 'Settings' in the Start menu

  3. Use the menu on the left of the screen to open 'Network & Internet'

  4. Click 'Properties' in the opened window and scroll down

  5. Your IP address is listed as the IPv4 address

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4. Finding local IP address in Windows 7

Even though users take more steps to find their IP addresses on Windows 7 devices, the process is reasonably straightforward. Here are some steps to find your IP address on a Windows 7 machine:

  1. Open the Start menu by left-clicking the Windows logo in the bottom-left corner or by pressing the Win key

  2. Select 'Control Panel' in the pop-up menu

  3. Click the 'View network status and tasks button', which is located below the 'Network and Internet' category

  4. Select 'Local Area Connection'

  5. Use the pop-up window to open 'Details'

  6. Your IP address is listed as the IPv4 address

5. Finding internal IP Wi-fi address using a smartphone

You can also find your Wi-fi IP using a smartphone. Even though operating systems differ significantly from one smartphone to another, the algorithm is relatively similar. Follow these steps to find the IP address on most types of smartphones:

  1. Open settings

  2. Find and select Wi-fi

  3. Find and connect to your network

  4. Select your network

  5. Locate your Wi-fi IP address on the opened page

6. Finding your internal IP address on a smartphone

As already mentioned, different types of smartphones use distinct operating systems. Nonetheless, in most cases, you can find the internal IP of a smartphone by following these steps:

  1. Go to settings

  2. Find and select Wi-fi

  3. Turn off Wi-fi and connect to mobile network

  4. Go back to settings, scroll down, select 'System' and 'About phone'

  5. Open the 'General information' category or select 'Status'

  6. Scroll down to find your internal IP address

7. Using Command Prompt (CMD) to find your IP address

Another way to find your IP address on a Windows machine is to use Command Prompt. You can use the IPCONFIG command to find your IPv4 address. Follow these steps to find your IP address on a Windows device:

  1. Press Win+R on your keyboard to open the 'Run' window

  2. Use the pop-up window to type 'cmd' and click the 'Ok' button or press 'Enter' on your keyboard

  3. Type 'ipconfig' using the command prompt and press 'Enter'

  4. Your IP address is listed as the IPv4 address

4 ways to secure your IP address

As an IP address is a code that identifies your routers and devices, some regulations view it as a piece of personal information. Even though your IP address provides limited information, other people can misuse it. Possible forms of IP address misuse include personalised advertising, illegal downloading, censorship, surveillance and even targeted attacks. Therefore, it is important to keep your IP address private to avoid potential privacy invasions or even cyber threats. Here are some ways of keeping your IP address private and secure:

1. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Virtual Private Networks create an encrypted tunnel between your network and the server. Therefore, VPN can hide your true IP address from other users and websites as VPN servers mediate between users. Consequently, outsiders can only identify the IP address of a VPN server that you are using. In addition, these services can provide increased access. Nonetheless, your IP address remains visible for the VPN server and hence, it is important to choose your VPN provider carefully.

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2. Be sure to update your antivirus software

Antivirus software protects your devices from a wide variety of threats including IP address misuse. Nevertheless, as new technologies emerge rapidly, the cyber threat landscape transforms. Therefore, it is vitally important to regularly update your router and firewall software to protect your network from potential threats.

3. Follow privacy precautions

Another way to secure your IP address is to follow several general privacy precautions when browsing. Modern browsers allow users to use incognito or private mode that limits the amount of information websites receive. Furthermore, it prevents the storage of history and cookies. Consequently, third parties are not able to track you and access any private information.

Consider using encrypted email and messaging apps to improve security. Open source description ensures that other parties don't misuse your data, which reduces privacy risks. Reading privacy policies is another method to improve the security of your private information. In many cases, companies request your permission to share your data with third parties to provide personalised advertising.

Related: How to become a network administrator in 8 steps (with FAQs)

4. Use private and secure networks

When you connect to new networks, such as Wi-fi, the internal IP address of your device becomes accessible. Hence, consider only using private and secure networks that prevent other users of the same network from accessing any of your data. This step can only secure your internal IP address as your external IP address would still be visible.

The router you use to access the Internet has an external IP address. It's how the Internet can recognise your network and is therefore accessible by the public. The internal IP addresses of the devices you use aren't public as long as you're on a secure, private network. Other networks recognise your IP address and it's one way that outside networks track your Internet history.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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