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How to find your IP address

The internet is a vast ocean of information, and its contents increase every second. If every website is an island in that ocean, then IP addresses are the coordinates we need to navigate between them. These numerical codes work behind the scenes, allowing your device to chart a course successfully through the billions of pages and files that make up the internet.

Malcolm Higgins

Malcolm Higgins

Jul 10, 2020 · 3 min read

How to find your IP address

But it’s not just websites that have IP addresses — any device you use online carries a unique ID tag.

Knowing how to find an IP address can be useful and, regardless of whether you are using Windows or macOS, it's relatively straightforward. Here’s everything you need to know about how to find your IP address, what information it contains, and how to change it.

What is an IP address?

An IP address acts as an identification tag for a device or server, and helps us find and navigate to different “locations” online. IP means internet protocol, a term for the standardized rules by which data is transferred online and sent to the right places. The moment you connect to the internet, your IP address — and any information it contains — becomes visible.

There are different types of IP addresses, but these two are the most widely used:
  • Public IP address: This is the unique identification number assigned to your device when you connect to the internet. Every piece of connected hardware, from your iPhone to your smart printer, has a public IP address, allowing easy online navigation and tracking.
  • Local IP address: Also known as a private IP address, this ID isn’t public and is used to identify and distinguish different devices within a personal network. For most users, their local IP address will be assigned by their home Wi-Fi connection. This is useful to know when setting up smart devices and IoT systems.

How to find your public IP address

You can check your IP address using NordVPN's IP finder , or you can use a search engine. To do the latter, connect to the internet, go to Google, and type in “What is my IP address”.

Your IP will be displayed at the top of the page above the search results. That information is public, and running it through online scanners will provide data about your general location and your ISP. You can also check our tutorial on how to find your IP address.

Depending on where you’re connected, IP may or may not reveal your exact location. Fortunately, if you’re concerned about how easily accessible it is, you can use a VPN to mask it entirely (more on that below).

How to find your local IP address on macOS

The following applies to all of the instructions below: before you begin, ensure that you’re connected to your home Wi-Fi, as your local IP address is assigned via that connection.

    1. Open the Apple menu at the top-left corner of the screen.
    2. Click System Preferences.
    3. MAC ISP
    4. Click the Network icon.
    5. MAC network
    6. In the list on the left, click Wi-Fi (or Ethernet if you’re using a wire connection).
    7. Your IP address will appear below your “Connected” status indicator.
    8. MAC IP

How to find your local IP address on Windows 10

    1. Open Settings by pressing the Windows and I keys simultaneously.
    2. Click Network & Internet, and then Wi-Fi.
    3. Windows IP
    4. Click Hardware properties.
    5. Windows10 IP
    6. Your local IP address will be displayed on-screen.

How to change your IP address

While the local IP address of your device is known only to you, it can be disconcerting to realize how widely available your public IP is.

The idea that almost anyone can find out where you are and what ISP you use might be unsettling. That’s one reason why many people protect their personal data with a virtual private network, better known as a VPN.

With NordVPN, users channel their browsing data through encrypted tunnels, adopting the IP addresses of remote servers elsewhere in their own country or around the world.

With a single click, you can hide your IP address, and even your ISP won’t be able to view your browsing activity. Privacy is a right — protect it with NordVPN.