An IP address is a series of numbers that identifies your device, such as a printer or a computer, on a network. For most purposes, when people talk about an IP address, they mean the address of a computer connected to the Internet. IP addresses can change over time, especially when you are using a dial-up Internet connection, so knowing how to find your IP address can be useful.
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Click on the Start Menu on your Windows 7, 2000, XP or Vista computer. Navigate through the Programs and Accessories menus until you find the "Command Prompt" menu item. Click on it. When the Command Prompt window appears, type "ipconfig" (without quotation marks) and press return. Windows will then display your IP address, along with other information. Type "exit" (without quotation marks) and press return to close the window.
Click on the "System Preferences" icon on your Mac OS X dock and select the "Internet and Network" icon to bring up the "Network Preferences" window. Alternatively, control-click (or right-click) on the wireless icon on your status bar and select "Open Network Preferences" from the drop-down menu. Your IP address is shown below your current network status.
Load a terminal program or log in to a terminal session on Linux. Enter the "hostname -i" command (without quotation marks) and press return. The computer will then tell you your IP address. Type "quit" or "exit" to close the window or log out of your current session when done.
Tips and warnings
- Many websites can tell you what your IP address is regardless of the operating system you are using, although these can be fooled by proxies and other rerouting techniques used to mask your location. If you are not using any proxies, visiting one of these sites is often quicker and easier than using your computer's in-built functions.
- If accessing "Network Preferences" or any other network utility to find out your IP address, you should not change anything in that utility without knowing what you are doing. Altering network settings without knowing what those settings should be can cause you to lose access to the Internet. If in doubt, use the "Cancel" option or close the software without saving changes.
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