Can Someone Get My IP Address?

Each Internet-connected device has an IP (Internet Protocol) address. An IP is a unique string of numbers assigned by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). It identifies devices and allow them to communicate across networks. They allow a device to relay information via the IP. Though the data shared varies according to factors such as device name, operating system, and browser, all IPs have information attached. Because of this, it’s a fair question to ask: can someone find your IP address? Though it doesn’t pose much danger to you, the answer is yes; it’s possible for someone else to get your IP, even in some cases without your knowledge.

How can someone find your IP address?

Every computer you connect to on the Internet uses your IP address to establish a connection. However, all these computers do is keep a log of connections. While all servers and services have access to your IP, and the geographical location attached to it, you don’t need to worry about a server broadcasting your IP. Servers use secure processes. Nevertheless, others can still obtain your IP.

In some cases, the software people use daily may share their IPs without the users’ knowledge. Messaging apps, file-sharing applications, and even some games share users’ IPs by directly connecting them to the server. It helps to increase connection speeds and functionality, but it also reveals their IP address. All file-sharing applications share your IP between you and your remote connection.

A user searching for someone else's IP address

Your WiFi network also reveals your IP address, so anyone who connects to your wireless network can see your local IP if they scan the network, as well as your public IP address if they visit the homepage. This includes guests who you invite on and anyone who may attempt to tap into your WiFi network if it isn’t secured. Connecting to public or free WiFi can also reveal your local IP to others on the network.

Ultimately, every connection you make online involves an IP address. Other users can find your IP, just as you can find others’ IPs.

What does your IP address reveal about you?

An IP is assigned locational information by your Internet service provider with ARIN (American Registry for Internet Numbers). Though IP geolocation isn’t completely accurate, it can provide data as precise as the country, state, city, or zip code a device is located in. However, you can’t be located in person by your IP address; it doesn’t contain personal information or information specific enough to do that.

How to hide your IP

If you don’t want someone to find your IP address, consider using a VPN service or a proxy server to protect your IP address. Both methods hide your IP address– through encrypted tunneling protocols and routing traffic as a gateway, respectively – from the rest of the Internet. Your address will appear as the proxy server’s or VPN server’s rather than your own.

You can also use a private browser, like the Tor browser, which masks your IP address by sending it through multiple web servers across the world. It doesn't keep a record of your online activity, so you're free to browse, go on social media, or do anything else online without worry of your IP being observed.