What Is My IP Address

The Internet Protocol (IP) is a miracle of the modern computing world. It is the backbone of our Information Highway and provides the method which governs how data is sent from one computer to another on the Internet.

In fact IP is not a single "object" or "thing" but rather a collection of Protocols that control a lot more than just the movement of data between inter connected computers and network devices. This collection is known as the Internet protocol suite.

Today's IP networking is a fusion of two developments that began to evolve in the 1960s and 1970s, namely LANs (Local Area Networks) and the Internet, which, when combined with the invention of the World Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989, have revolutionised computing and communications.

Although a massive over-simplification of the principals, a key component of how all this works is that each inter-connected device has it's own unique number or Address. This is simply refereed to as the IP Address of that device.

The easiest analogy to explain this is to use the example of your Home or Postal Address. . In order for you to receive snail mail at home the sending party must have your correct mailing address (IP address) in your town (network) or you do not receive bills, pizza coupons or your tax refund. The same is true for all equipment on the internet. Without this specific address, information cannot be received. IP addresses may either be assigned permanently for an Email server/Business server or a permanent home resident or temporarily, from a pool of available addresses (first come first serve) from your Internet Service Provider. A permanent number may not be available in all areas and may cost extra so be sure to ask your ISP.

One of the most common questions I am asked regarding Networking and Internet Connections is "How Do I find my IP Address?" or "What is the IP Address of my Modem or Router?" which, on the surface, seems like a reasonable question...

However, my first response is generally "Why do you need to know?" That's not because I'm trying to be difficult or that it is a secret but is more to do with the fact that the correct answer may not always be the obvious answer... Infact depending on the response, it could be 1 or more of the following IP addresses...

These are:

Your Current IP Address for your Internet Connection

This is the IP address that is used when you visit a web page of communicate with any other Server or Service on the Internet. Typically this is assigned, by your ISP, to your Modem or Router when ever you power on your Modem to connect to the Internet.

Note that your Current IP address may be inaccurate or misleading if you are using a web proxy to access this site. An alternative method of finding this address is to log into your Modem or Router and view the Status Page. The currently assigned IP, your Default Gateway and DNS Addresses are generally available.

Your Current IP Address
Current Hostname ec2-18-232-55-175.compute-1.amazonaws.com

The IP Address of your PC or Laptop

The easiest way to find the IP address of your computer or laptop, for Windows XP and Vista users, is to use the IPCONFIG Command. This will display not only your current IP Address but also the IP address of your default Gateway and what DNS entries currently apply. (See the How to Find my IP address Video below for details on how to do this. Also see the additional information provided about IPConfig below.)

In a Home environment the Gateway Address is, generally, also the Address of your Modem or Router.

The IP Address of your Modem or Router

As mentioned above, the IP address of your Modem or Router (on the Internal Network) is generally the IP address of your Default Gateway and the IPCONFIG command can return that address as well. Below you will find a Video Presentation showing exactly how to do this.

The IP Address of your Server or Other Network Devices

This can be a bit trickier. If the device has DHCP enabled, then the Status Page on you Modem or Router is the place to start. Generally you can refer to a status page that shows the currently allocated IP address to the DHCP Clients.

A useful tool for finding devices on a network is called IPScan. This device simply "Pings" all the IP addresses in a certain range and displays the IP addresses where a response was received. I have used this several times with great success. You can download a copy of IPScan here. It does not come with any instructions but is reasonable easy to work out.

Video Showing how to Find Your IP Address

Below is a Short Video showing you how to quickly and easily find your internal IP address and the address of your Default gateway. Simply Click on the Arrow to start the video.

Additional Information regarding IPConfig

The IPCONFIG command is used to display information about your TCP/IP network settings on computers running the Windows XP based Operating Systems. The IPCONFIG command also provides you with a complete list of active network interfaces on your system and their associated IP and Gateway addresses.

When combined with the '/all' option additional information is displayed including DNS, Physical (MAC) addresses and other information associated with each of your network interfaces. This information can be extremely useful when troubleshooting connection issues and is not easily available anywhere else within Windows XP.

In addition to retrieving formation the IPCONFIG command provides the '/release', '/renew', and '/flushDNS' commands that serve an essential purpose in the Windows XP TCP/IP networking environment.

The 'ipconfig /release' command directs your network adaptor(s) to drop their current IP address, assigned by a DHCP server, and 'ipconfig /renew' forces the adapter to request a new IP address. This is useful in networks that use DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) to assign IP addresses which is typically found in a Home Networking environment. This can be essential when attempting to resolve certain network problems.

The 'ipconfig /flushdns' command serves an equally useful function. DNS ('Domain Name System') is the system that maps IP addresses to Internet Names like www.thevoipstore.net. By default, your computer system has a cache which stores the IP address attached to frequently used DNS names (and Internet URLs). This enables your system to bring up frequently accessed web pages without the need to first check with a DNS what the actual address is.

If you have trouble accessing, larger, sites it could be the computer IP address in you cache is having problems. By clearing out you DNS cache a substitute computer's IP address will be accesed the next time you attempt to connect.

command Summary:
Display basic Connection Configuration: ipconfig
Display Help screen listing options: ipconfig /?
Display All Connection Configuration: ipconfig /all
Display DNS Cache Info Configuration: ipconfig /displaydns
Clear DNS Cache: ipconfig /flushdns
Release All IP Address Connections: ipconfig /release
Renew All IP Address Connections: ipconfig /renew
Re-Register the DNS connections: ipconfig /registerdns
Change/Modify DHCP Class ID: ipconfig /setclassid

To use this command you first need to open up a Command Prompt window. To do this either navigate through Start / All Programs / Accessories menus and click on the "Command Prompt" option or simply hold down the "Windows Key" and Press "R" key and enter CMD and click OK (as shown in the Video Above).

To see a complete list of available command, use the 'Help' option. The output of the Help option is shown below.

C:\>ipconfig /?

    ipconfig [/? | /all | /renew [adapter] | /release [adapter] |
              /flushdns | /displaydns | /registerdns |
              /showclassid adapter |
              /setclassid adapter [classid] ]

    adapter         Connection name
                   (wildcard characters * and ? allowed, see examples)

       /?           Display this help message
       /all         Display full configuration information.
       /release     Release the IP address for the specified adapter.
       /renew       Renew the IP address for the specified adapter.
       /flushdns    Purges the DNS Resolver cache.
       /registerdns Refreshes all DHCP leases and re-registers DNS names
       /displaydns  Display the contents of the DNS Resolver Cache.
       /showclassid Displays all the dhcp class IDs allowed for adapter.
       /setclassid  Modifies the dhcp class id.

The default is to display only the IP address, subnet mask and default gateway for 
each adapter bound to TCP/IP.

For Release and Renew, if no adapter name is specified, then the IP address leases
for all adapters bound to TCP/IP will be released or renewed.

For Setclassid, if no ClassId is specified, then the ClassId is removed.

    > ipconfig                   ... Show information.
    > ipconfig /all              ... Show detailed information
    > ipconfig /renew            ... renew all adapters
    > ipconfig /renew EL*        ... renew any connection that has its
                                     name starting with EL
    > ipconfig /release *Con*    ... release all matching connections,
                                     eg. "Local Area Connection 1" or
                                         "Local Area Connection 2"
Other useful IP Commands available at the Command Prompt
Open the Network Connections window: control netconnections
Load the Network Setup Wizard: netsetup.cpl
Test TCP/IP Connectivity to the Internet: ping google.com.au
Trace the Route taken to reach an IP address: tracert google.com.au
Displays the TCP/IP protocol sessions: netstat
Display Local Route: route print
Displays IP-to-Physical address (MAC) translation table: arp -a
Display the Computer Name of you PC: hostname
Display DNS information for Server Name: nslookup google.com.au

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