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Who owns IP addresses? IP WHOIS lookup explained

Who owns IP addresses — end users? Internet service providers? Businesses? In this article, we’ll analyze IP WHOIS lookup, a key tool used to find out who controls an IP address and an important part of internet governance. It will help you understand how IP addresses are managed and explain who actually owns all IP addresses.

Who owns IP addresses? IP WHOIS lookup explained

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

How to find out who owns an IP address

To find an IP address’ owner you must use a WHOIS lookup tool, which is essential for getting the IP’s registration details. For official and detailed information, you can use the RIPE NCC WHOIS lookup.

Input the IP address you want to know more about into the search bar, and you’ll find all relevant, publicly available information:

  • The organization that registered the IP address.
  • Contact information for administrative and technical matters.
  • Important dates like registration and last update times.

Keep in mind that WHOIS information may be limited:

  • The personal details of individual registrants are often protected for privacy reasons.
  • Specific user activity or precise real-time locations are not available.
  • Internal network configurations or network security measures are not disclosed.

Alternatively, you can use NordVPN’s IP lookup tool. It will show you the city, state, zip code, country, ISP, and time zone of any IP address.

What is IP WHOIS?

IP WHOIS is a protocol used to send requests to databases that store registration information about IP resources. Each regional internet registry operates its own WHOIS database. For example, RIPE handles registrations for Europe, while ARIN covers North America. These databases maintain detailed and updated records of IP allocations, which are accessible through WHOIS services.

Registries and IP address block ownership

There are five main regional internet registries (RIRs): ARIN, RIPE, APNIC, LACNIC, and AFRINIC. These organizations manage and distribute IP address blocks within their regions. Internet service providers, government entities, or large corporations must register with an RIR to receive a range of IP addresses called an IP block. Owning an IP address block allows them to use it under the terms set by that region’s registry.

Who owns all the IP addresses?

Technically, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) owns all IP addresses. ICANN is responsible for creating, distributing, and maintaining IP addresses. IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) is another key organization that oversees global IP address allocations. Together, ICANN and IANA ensure that internet resources and IP addresses are allocated fairly and in a standardized manner across different regions. This system helps maintain an organized, global internet infrastructure.

Can you be traced by your IP address info?

Information provided by a WHOIS search can potentially reveal details about who is using an IP address, including contact and organization info and their approximate physical location. However, registrants can hire privacy services that mask their data on WHOIS databases — users should always exercise caution when their personal information is involved, avoiding unnecessary exposure. You never know what someone might do with your IP address and related information.

Is using the IP WHOIS lookup tool legal?

Yes, IP WHOIS lookups are completely legal. But you should be mindful of what you do with the information you find — use it responsibly and consider privacy implications for both yourself and others.