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How to Find the Owner of an IP Address

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To find out who owns an IP address, you can use a WHOIS lookup tool. They’re easy to use, and most let you look up an unlimited number of IP addresses for free. Whether you’re simply curious about an IP address’s owner or need to know more for security reasons, this is the guide for you.

Keep in mind: if it’s easy for you to find information about an IP address, it’s easy for hackers and police to do so, too. This guide also covers how malicious actors can use your IP once they have it and what you can do to keep your information safe and secure.

How to Find Who Owns an IP Address

The easiest way to find the owner of an IP address is to use a WHOIS lookup tool. When you enter an IP address into a lookup tool, you’ll be able to see information such as:

  • The Internet Service Provider (ISP) and the organization’s name
  • The IP’s hostname
  • The country of the IP address
  • The region/state of the IP address
  • The city of the IP address
  • An approximate latitude and longitude of the IP address location
  • Area code for the IP address region
  • Known services running on the IP address

Information that you WON’T get from a WHOIS lookup is:

  • An individual’s name
  • An exact location or street address
  • A phone number
  • An email address

If you’re trying to track down personal information such as a name or street address from an IP, you’re out of luck. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you and your info are safe from detection if someone has your IP address. Hackers have a lot of ways to find personal information about someone, and an IP address is simply one piece of the puzzle.

Wondering how someone can get a hold of your IP address in the first place? It’s surprisingly easy to spy on your IP address, whether it’s by borrowing your physical device, tapping into your wireless network, or through an email HTML bug.

WHOIS IP Address Lookup

A WHOIS lookup tool allows you to query the contact information associated with an IP address. For a safe, reliable way to look up an IP address, you can use the IP lookup tool on whatismyipaddress.com. Simply paste the IP address into the lookup box and you’ll get a results page with info about that IP address.

An IP lookup results page for 216.58.194.78 (which belongs to Google).

Most IP address owners make their information publicly available. Some blocks of IP addresses are allocated for private use, though. When you look up information for these addresses, you might see that the owner is the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). This is the worldwide organization responsible for assigning IP addresses.

These “private” blocks of IP addresses are still used by home and business networks around the globe, however. To figure out who owns one of these addresses, you’ll have to contact the network system administrator.

Who owns an IP address block?

Typically, an ISP owns a block of IP addresses that it can assign to its customers. ISPs receive IP address blocks from the IANA, which maintains the technical aspects of IP addresses. The IANA is broken up into five regional organizations:

  1. AFRINC (Africa)
  2. APINC (Asia-Pacific)
  3. ARIN (North America)
  4. LACINC (Latin America)
  5. RIPENCC (Europe and the Middle East)

These five organizations help allocate IP addresses in their respective regions. They coordinate the blocks of IP addresses that are given to ISPs, and help ensure IP addresses are unique. ISPs are the ones who update the WHOIS public directory. They enter information about businesses or individuals that they assign IP addresses to.

What does WHOIS stand for?

“WHOIS” doesn’t actually stand for anything – it’s not an acronym. It’s meant to be read as “who is” because it helps you find out who the owner of an IP address is. It’s usually written in all caps because it’s a command query and that’s how queries are usually written.

Can a hacker trace my IP address with WHOIS?

With just an IP address, a hacker can’t find your exact location. If a hacker gets a hold of your IP address and runs it through WHOIS lookup, they won’t be able to get a name, email address, phone number, or exact location. They may be able to get within 50 miles of the address registered to your IP, though.

Before you breathe a sigh of relief, consider that a hacker might have other information about you besides your IP address. Often, the IP address is just one factor used to piece together a profile of you. Hackers might use your IP address — and the publicly available information associated with it — to help verify other information about you that might be floating around on the dark web.

Can I change my IP address?

Yes, it’s completely legal to change your IP address. Many people change theirs out of safety concerns, or to beef up their security online. If you’re worried about hackers using your IP address to get information about you or your web activities, you can change your IP temporarily via a virtual private network (VPN) or change it permanently.

How to change your IP address temporarily

You can temporarily change your IP address or hide it when you want to go online. This doesn’t get rid of your original IP address that your ISP assigned you, it just makes it look like your IP address has changed to anyone monitoring your web activity.

The easiest way to hide your IP address is with a VPN. A VPN can encrypt your connection by rerouting your Internet traffic through a server. This makes it seem like your online activities originate from that server instead of your actual IP address.

There are a lot of VPN services available and some are better than others. We have a VPN comparison to help you choose the best one for you. One pro tip when choosing a VPN: skip the free ones and get one that’s paid. In some cases, a free VPN might be worth it but most of the time, it’s not.

How to change your IP address permanently

It’s a bit harder to change your IP address permanently, if your ISP has already assigned you one. But it can be done. Keep in mind that your new IP address will probably be a static IP address rather than a dynamic one.

You can read our guide on how to get and set up a static IP address for the full details, but the main steps are:

  1. Go to your network settings.
  2. Find your IP assignments.
  3. Enter your static IP address.
  4. Enter the preferred DNS address.

Find an IP address owner and stay safe online

As you can see, finding info about an IP address is pretty easy — and free. You can learn some general information about an IP address owner using WHOIS lookup, but you can’t really go any further. If you’re looking for a way to get in contact with an IP address owner, you’ll have to notify their site admin.

And remember, if you can find an IP address owner online, someone else can find you too. Be careful when getting online and use a VPN to hide your real IP address.

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