How to Determine the Port Number on a Computer

By David Perez

Ports identify different types of information in order to direct Internet traffic. Different kinds of information have different ports. For example, when you send email, you’re using port 25, but when you surf the web you’re using port 80. Your computer uses port numbers, but it doesn’t have a port number. The number that identifies your specific computer is your IP address. IP addresses consist of four numbers—ranging from 0 to 255—separated with periods. Finding your IP address depends on your operating system.

Windows 7

Step 1

Find the network icon in the task bar on the bottom-right corner of your screen. It usually consists of two computers with a triangle, a circle or an “X.” When in doubt, hover the cursor over an icon and its name will appear. Click the network icon and select “Open Network and Sharing Center.”

Step 2

If you’re using a wireless connection, select “Wireless Network Connection.” If you’re using a wired connection, select “Local Area Connection.”

Step 3

Select “Details.” A window will show up with your IP address.

Windows XP

Step 1

Open the Start menu on the bottom left of your screen, right-click on “My Network Places” and select “Properties.”

Step 2

If you’re using a wireless connection, select “Wireless Network Connection.” If you’re using a wired connection, select “Local Area Connection.”

Step 3

Select “Support,” then “Details.” A window will show up with your IP address.

Mac Running OS X (version 10.3, 10.4, or 10.5)

Step 1

Go to the Apple icon on the top left of the screen and select “Location,” then select “Network Preferences.” A window will appear listing various connection types.

Step 2

If you’re using a wireless connection, select “AirPort.” If you’re using a wired connection, select “Ethernet.”

Step 3

Your IP address will appear under “Status.”

Tips & Warnings

  • While you might think of your IP address like you think of a phone number or street address, bear in mind that it identifies your computer when you connect to the Internet. Some networks give you a new IP address every time your computer connects to them. Thus, you might find that you have a different IP address today than you did yesterday. This is not an error. It just means that the network you’re on uses “dynamic” rather than “static” addressing.