Andy Green's Blog

A web-workers world…

How to Perform a Reverse IP Lookup

If you are the owner of a website or blog, you may want to keep track of your visitors, so that you can find out the reach of your website. Otherwise you may simply want to know who sent an anonymous email message to you, and hence you may often have wondered if there is any way to find out more about a person using only their IP address. There is a way to get some such information using a process known as Reverse IP Lookup.

In order to perform a Reverse IP Lookup, you first need to obtain the IP address of the person you want to trace. The IP address or the Internet Protocol address is usually a twelve digit number, unique to every computer connected to the internet. When you connect to the internet, your Internet Service Provider assigns a number to your computer, which acts as your universal address on the internet.

So, how do you find a person’s IP address? If you own a website or blog, then your server will usually have a log file containing a list of all visitors to your website. This log will have the person’s IP address recorded in it.

If you want to find the IP address of a person who sent you a mail, then you will need the full headers of the email message. Usually, there will be a button on the mail page which says “View Full Headers” or something similar to that. Clicking this button displays a large amount of extra information near the subject line of the email. The IP address of the sender will also be listed here.

So now that you have the IP address, what’s next? You will have to visit a site which offers IP lookup services such as Visual Route. There are a lot of free IP lookup services on the internet. Once you find a website of your choice, enter the IP address into the site, and it will perform a lookup. Once it is done, the results are displayed to you.

So now that you know how to perform a reverse IP lookup, can you find the address of the person who’s been spamming you all week? No, you can’t. Though some useful information can be obtained by doing a reverse IP lookup, there are some pieces of information that cannot be found using a reverse IP lookup. The name and address of the person are some of the information which cannot be obtained (unless you belong to a law enforcement agency that is).

Though you cannot obtain the name and address of the person, you can obtain some moderately useful information from a reverse IP lookup. Most sites offer various details about the IP address such as Internet Service Provider name, location, the time zone of the person, the international phone code. You can also obtain the state in which the person resides as well as a satellite map of the location.

Thus a reverse IP lookup yields a lot of useful information, which can be used to enhance the reach of your website or blog, or simply assist in helping pin down a spammer.

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October 3, 2008 - Posted by | Online Security | , ,

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