How can you send a postcard without an address? Likewise on the Internet, information is sent and received via IP (Internet Protocol) addresses of the sender and receiver. Computers connected to a local network interact similarly.

There are two types of IP addresses: public and private. The public address is used to send and receive information in wide area network (Internet), while the private IP address triangulates the position of your computer in a local network.


What is IP address

IP Address or Internet Protocol address allows a computer to communicate in a network. Currently IPv4 or Internet Protocol Version 4 addresses are prevalent worldwide. These are 32-bit address with 4 billion possible permutations. With the increase in internet users and devices that use internet, IPv4 will exhaust in the near future, hence, IPv6 will replace IPv4 in future.

An example of IPv4 address is where the numbers after each period range from 0-255.
An example of IPv6 address is 2561:3001:2AE9::326C:9DF4 where the four digit numbers include numeric digits from 0-9 and alphabets from A-F.

How IP address works

Within a local network MAC address plays a major role in identification of the actual hardware, but the communication is carried out via an IP address. IP address is one either ends of the network communication channel.

To understand the working of IP address and MAC address and how they are responsible for the exchange of information on the Internet, consider the example below-


Imagine you sent a job application via email and a reply came back to you from the company. Now imagine the same information exchange via real mail instead of an email.

  • Post Office in your locality - Your IP Address
  • Post Office in the company’s locality - Company’s IP Address
  • Your home address - MAC address of your Computer
  • Company’s address - MAC address of the company’s Computer

First, you took the job application to the post office in your locality. From there, it travelled to a post office in the company’s locality, which delivered it to the company’s address. Now, the reply to your application was sent by the company to their post office, which redirected it your post office. Finally, your post office sent you the reply at your home address.

This is how information is exchanged on the Internet, via IP and MAC addresses.

Method 1: Find public IP address using a search engine

Use your most trusted search engine to find your public IP address quickly. Your public IP is the address of your router/modem and is your global identifier.

Step 1. Open the search engine

Open the search engine

Open a search engine like Google, Bing or Ask in your web browser.


Step 2. Type IP address in the search field

Type ip address

Type "IP address" in the search field and press “Enter”. This method works in the mainstream browsers apart from Yahoo. Click here to find your public IP address.

In most cases, your IP address will be displayed at the top of the search results page just below the search field. It will look like four groups of up to three digits separated by periods.

Method 2: Find public IP address using websites

There are also many websites that can tell you your current public IP address. One good one is IP Location. To find your public IP, simply click on the link to their website below. It will immediately display your system’s IP details.


IP address using websites

IP Location

Method 3: Find private and public IP addresses using Command Prompt

Step 1. Open the Command Prompt window

Click on command prompt

Press the "Windows logo key+X" or right click on the Windows logo icon in the bottom-left corner of the screen. In the menu that pops up, select "Command Prompt".

In Windows 7 and below, press the “Windows logo key + R" to open the Run window. Type "cmd.exe" in the Open field and the “Command Prompt” window will open.

Command prompt


Step 2. Type ipconfig in the Command Prompt window

Type ip config

Private ip displayed in cmd

In the “Command Prompt” window, type "ipconfig" and press "Enter". It will list all the connections on your computer.

Labeling of your active connection will depend on its type or the manufacturer of your network adapter. Find the IPv4 address after locating your active connection, which is your Private IP address.

Find Public IP

Type opendns command

To find the public IP of your connection type “nslookup” in the Command Prompt and Press Enter.

Check that the drive in the first character of the Command Prompt must be the one in which windows is installed.

Public ip displayed in cmd

Your Public IP will be displayed.

Method 4: Find private IP address via Network Connection

Step 1. Open the Network Connections window

Open run window

Press the "Windows logo key + R" to open the “Run” window.

Type ncpa.cpl


Network connection window

In the Open field in the Run window, type "ncpa.cpl" and click "OK". A Network Connections window will open.

Step 2. Open the active connection status window

right click

The “Network Connections” window will display your active connection (Ethernet or Wi-Fi).

Click status

Ethernet status window

Right click on your connection and select "Status" from the drop-down menu to open your active connection status window.

Step 3. Click on Details to find your IP address

Click details

Ip address displayed

Click on "Details" in the connection status window. A Network Connection Details window will open. Find the IPv4 address, which is your IP address.

Method 5: Find private IP address in Mac OS X

Step 1. Open System Preferences

System preferences

Click on the Apple icon located in the top-left corner of the screen and select "System Preferences" from the drop-down menu.

Step 2. Open the Network window

Select network

Network window

Click on the "Network" icon in the System Preferences window and the Network window will open. A list of connections will appear on the left side.

Step 3. Select the Network Connection

Click on advanced

Select your connection interface, like AirPort (Wi-Fi) or Built-in Ethernet, to find its IP address and click on the “Advanced” button.

Step 4. Open the TCP/IP tab

IP address in TCP/IP tab

A series of tabs will open. Select the "TCP/IP" tab in the case of Wi-Fi connection. In the case of Ethernet connection, your TCP/IP tab might already be selected. Here you will find your IP address listed as IPv4 address.

Method 6: Find private and public IP addresses in a Mac using Terminal

Step 1. Open the Terminal application

Open applications

Open utilities

Select terminal

Open the "Terminal" application in the “Utilities” section of the “Applications” folder.

Step 2. Type the command to obtain your IP address

Type ifconfig command

Huge ifconfig data

In the window that opens, typing simply the "ifconfig" command displays a large chunk of data along with your IP address. To remove any unnecessary information, use the command given below.

ifconfig | grep “inet ” | grep -v

Be sure to include a ‘blank space’ after (inet) and before the end quote (”).

Type custom command

Both ip address displayed

In the above case, the command shows the IP addresses for both Ethernet and AirPort respectively as the system is connected via both networks. If the same happens for you, remember “Terminal” shows the Ethernet IP first.

Find Public IP

To find the public IP using terminal type

curl ; echo

Public ip in terminal