What is my IP address?

Your IP location is

Your internet service provider (ISP) is

Already using a VPN? Great!
If not, find out how to hide your IP.

This tool is designed to show you the IP info you are automatically exposing by browsing the web unprotected. By using our tool you can check your public IPv4 address, IPv6 address, and IP location to make sure you’re browsing the internet privately and securely.

What Is an IP Address?

IP address stands for Internet Protocol address. It is a unique identifying number that allows every internet-connected device to send and receive information. It’s entirely public, and it can be used to identify you when you do things online. Your IP info can tell people what ISP you’re with, and even what city you’re in.

Think of it like your car’s license plate or your home’s zip code and door number: everyone has one, it’s unique to you, and it can be seen by anyone.

To find your IP address and location, simply use our IP lookup tool at the top of this web page. You’ll see your IPv4 address, IPv6 address, ISP, and your physical location. You can use this to learn your real IP address or to check that your virtual private network (VPN) is working.

Because a VPN will hide your public IP address with a different one, try using this tool first when your VPN is off, then again once you’ve connected to a VPN server. If you’re shown two different IP addresses then your VPN is working. You can find full instructions for checking your VPN later on in this article.

What is an IPv4 address?

There are two types of IP address in use right now: IPv4 and IPv6. IPv4 is the default system used by most devices, and is by far the most common.

IPv4 stands for Internet Protocol version 4. It is 32 bits long and usually written in decimal digits separated into four fields – each field represents one ‘byte’ of the IPv4 address. Every IPv4 address is unique, which means that all in all there are 4,294,967,296 total IPv4 addresses available.

Your IPv4 address will typically look something like this: 192.14.126.0. Your home internet router will have one public IPv4 address which is used for all the different devices connected to it at once.

IP addresses are so important because they form the foundation for how the internet itself works. Your device’s IP address communicates with websites via their IP address, sending small sets of data (known as packets) back and forth between one another. IP addresses send and receive thousands of packets of data every second.

The internet has grown exponentially since IPv4 was first created, which means the number of IPv4 addresses available is running out fast. That’s where IPv6 comes in.

What is an IPv6 address?

IPv6 stands for Internet Protocol version 6. It is a new standard for IP addresses introduced to solve the limitations of IPv4. It uses 128-bit rather than 32-bit addresses, meaning the potential number of IPv6 addresses available is enormous.

A typical IPv6 address looks like this: 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334.

Not only are there more IPv6 addresses available, IPv6 is faster, safer, and more reliable than IPv4. However, you likely haven’t seen an IPv6 address yet because they’re still very uncommon – in fact, your router probably doesn’t even have an IPv6 address assigned to it.

A device using IPv4 cannot communicate with a server using IPv6, and vice-versa. Right now, it takes a lot of time, effort, and expertise to convert a website from IPv4 to IPv6, and special equipment is required to make the two compatible.

If you do have an IPv6 address then problems can occur when using a VPN, too. VPN services will automatically assign you an IPv4 address; if you then try to contact an IPv6 server, your true IPv6 address may leak.

Some VPN services that don’t work on IPv6 connections block your internet connection altogether in order to stop your true identity from being revealed. If either of these problems concern you, be sure to choose a VPN with IPv6 leak protection.

What is an internet service provider (ISP)?

Everyone has an internet service provider, more commonly referred to as an ISP. Your ISP is the company that provides you with access to the internet, usually in the form of a monthly contractual payment. The ISP is also the one in charge of assigning you an IP address.

Your router might not be made by your ISP specifically, but all of the other infrastructure like fibre cable networks and wireless masts will be owned and operated by your ISP, or rented by them from a larger provider.

Most ISPs are required by law to retain logs of their customers’ browsing activity based on their IP address. If necessary, your ISP will be able to match your identity to your online activity using your unique IP address.

What is your IP location?

IP addresses are assigned to ISPs in blocks. That means that a given IP address is not only guaranteed to be within a certain country, but also within a specific region. There are companies that keep huge databases full of this information.

IP lookup websites pay to access these databases, see which IP addresses are in which areas, and place the addresses across a world map. The result is what we call geolocation. It’s geolocation that enables complete strangers to see where on Earth you are, just by looking up your IP address.

Geolocation isn’t super accurate, and ordinarily it will only be able to identify you to within a certain city or state, as well as revealing your ISP. This makes it extremely difficult for a normal person to track you down from your IP address alone.

It’s an easy task for law enforcement or the government, though: all they need to do is trace your IP address, identify your ISP via geolocation, then demand the ISP tell them the user registered to the public IPv4 address. As your ISP likely has your home address and all your personal details your privacy is entirely at their mercy.

Public vs. private IP address

There are two different types of IP address: public and private.

Your public IP address is one unique string of characters assigned to your router, and it’s visible to anyone who knows how to look it up. If any website or service wants to communicate with your device, then it will do so using your public IP address.

If you have more than one device connected to your home router, that’s where private IP addresses come into play. Your router will assign a different private IP address to every device that’s connected to it, like your smartphone, PC, or games console. These IP addresses are only visible to you.

diagram of the difference between a public ip address and a private ip address.

Your public IP address is visible to everyone, while your private IP address is only visible to you.

To check all of your private IP addresses, just log in to your router. How you can do this will depend on your ISP, so check its website for more information.

It’s easy to spot your private IP address on IPv4, as it will always fall within one of these ranges:

  • 10.0.0.0 – 10.255.255.255
  • 172.16.0.0 – 172.31.255.255
  • 192.168.0.0 – 192.168.255.255

Static vs. dynamic IP address

When your ISP assigns you a public IP address, that address will either be static or dynamic.

Static IP addresses do not change over time. If you have a static IP address it will be the same right now as when you were first sent your home router and installed it.

Dynamic IP addresses change over time. The time frame may vary – sometimes it’s fairly frequent, sometimes it won’t change for years. ISPs often choose to assign dynamic IP addresses as it can be more cost efficient for them. It doesn’t make any difference to you, though – having a dynamic IP address doesn’t change the way you use the internet at all.

Some VPN services allow you to choose a static IP address at an extra cost. This can be useful if you want to have an IP address that is unique to you, but is based within another country.

Static VPN IP addresses are harder to identify as belonging to a VPN service because only one user has access to each address – this can mean more consistent access to streaming services and fewer Captcha security checks as you browse the internet.

Why Should You Hide Your IP Address?

illustration of a man hiding his IP address.

Your public IP address can reveal lots of personal information about you. Anyone can see your IP address, which means that they can instantly know what country you live in, along with your state or region, city, and even your ZIP or postal code.

Your IP address also gives away what ISP you use, which can then be used by law enforcement to demand total access to your browsing history. In countries like the US and the UK, ISPs legally have to keep complete logs of their customers’ activity – that means every website you’ve visited, every file you’ve downloaded, and when you did it.

Hiding your IP address provides the following benefits:

  • Hide your location
    If your true IP address is hidden, people won’t be able to use geolocation or address lookup sites to find your real-world location. Websites will also be unable to see your true IP address, which means it’s possible to appear as if you’re browsing from a different country.
  • Protect your privacy
    Hiding your IP address means that neither law enforcement, the government, nor your ISP will be able to view logs of your internet history. Targeted adverts will also be far less accurate as you’re much harder to track.
  • Improve your online security
    Without easy access to your public IP address, you’re less likely to be targeted by hackers. You’re also a lot harder to ‘doxx’, which is when malicious strangers combine publicly-available online information to work out your identity and location in the real world.

How to Hide Your IP Address

The cheapest and easiest way to hide your IP address is to use a VPN.

A VPN (virtual private network) is a piece of software that allows you to temporarily swap your public IP address with the IP address of a server located somewhere else. This hides your true IP address and makes it appear as if you’re browsing the internet from another city, or even another country.

When connected to a good VPN all of your internet traffic is also encrypted, which means not even your ISP can see what you’re doing.

Take a look at our guide on how to hide your IP address for step-by-step instructions.

What’s the best VPN to hide your IP address?

Hiding your IP is the single most important part of any VPN provider’s job. You need to make sure that your VPN is trustworthy, doesn’t keep logs, won’t leak your data, and has plenty of servers to choose from.

Finding a VPN that achieves all of this can be difficult – not every company is honest in their marketing claims, and some VPN services perform much better than others. Our experts have spent thousands of hours testing popular VPN providers to help make this decision easier.

We’ve created a list of the five very best VPNs to use in 2020 for hiding your IP – you can see them all here.

How Do I Check My VPN Location?

Once you’ve set up your VPN application, it’s easy to turn it on and connect to the internet without any error messages. But how can you be sure that all of your traffic is actually being routed through your chosen VPN server?

If you’re using a VPN to hide your IP address and location, you can use the IP checker tool above to check your VPN is working properly.

To check your VPN is working:

  1. Visit our IP Checker tool or another testing website like browserleaks.com. Note down your IPv4 (or, if applicable, IPv6) address and the address(es) of your ISP’s DNS servers when your VPN is disconnected.
  2. Before you connect to a VPN server, make sure to enable the VPN kill switch. This will prevent any leaks during sudden disconnections. Enable DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leak protection in your VPN application if possible.
  3. Open your VPN and connect to a server location of your choice – any one will do.
  4. Refresh the IP Checker page in your browser window and run the tool again.
  5. Note down the same information you recorded previously. If the VPN is working as it should, it will show different data for your IP address, location, and DNS servers. If the information is the same, your VPN is leaking.

Why Is My IP Address Location Wrong?

When checking your IP address location you might sometimes be shown a location that’s not 100% accurate. This is totally normal and doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong.

IP addresses are assigned in blocks by ISPs. Sometimes those IP addresses are reassigned, and sometimes they’re purchased by different ISPs. Because IP checking websites are created from databases purchased by third-parties (and not the ISPs themselves) it’s very common to find some slight inaccuracies.

In fact, with some IP addresses you’ll find different databases listing two completely different locations. With IP addresses being reassigned so frequently it can be hard for them to stay up to date.

If you’re seeing an IP address and geolocation different to what you’re expecting, the first thing you should do is double-check that you haven’t left your VPN on by mistake. When connected to a VPN you’ll be shown the location of your selected server rather than your own.