The IP address is a critical component of any connected network device. Most users rarely require the knowledge of an IP address outside of an initial Wi-Fi router setup, but it can come in handy for setting up VPN networks, connecting multiple computers over a single network, and other technical network-related tasks. Looking up the IP address is simple, and various methods exist to complete the process.
Internal and External IP
The basic wireless internet router has an external and internal IP address. The external address is used for discovery by external devices located outside the network. This IP address is rarely accessed, and the internal IP address is used for all tasks related to communications across the network.
In the instance that an external IP address is needed – and your network may have multiple IP addresses – type whatismyip.com into the search bar on your web browser. This quickly returns one or more of your IPv4 and IPv6 addresses. You can access them at any time with this simple process.
My IP Address Location
The DNS lookup process is common for retrieving the internal IP address. You can quickly search for the IP through the command prompt in Windows. Type ipconfig in the command prompt and press Enter to retrieve the address.
The same command prompt is also useful for retrieving the IP address of another computer on the same network. For example, a network on a college campus has a main computer operating the network on which everyone is connected.
Open the same command prompt and enter nslookup. Then, press enter to run the command. The result shows two different IP addresses. The first displays ns.collegename.edu followed by the IP address for the networked computer. The second shows the IP address for your computer.
This is a handy method for looking up both your computer and the network lead. With a normal household network, however, using the simple ipconfig method suffices.
Ping the IP Address
Another method of retrieving the IP address is through a simple ping, but you need the server hostname or domain to utilize this method. Open the command prompt and type ping. Then, press the spacebar. Next, type the domain or server host and press enter to complete the process. It retrieves and displays the IP address quickly.
The ping method is a favorite for network administrators who are intimately familiar with the network and know the domain or server hostname. If these elements are unknowns, the DNS lookup process is a better method of retrieving the address.
Mac System Lookup
Mac computers make it easy to access the server IP address settings. Click the Apple icon and choose the System Preferences option. Choose Network, then select the Wi-Fi or Ethernet network that is currently connected to the computer. The results displayed show the IP address for your computer.
This feature is helpful for quick access to the network settings and IP address info. iOS systems can also retrieve an IP address through a global DNS lookup service. The IP address is displayed in the same format, regardless of the operating system. While multiple computer networks typically operate on a single operating system, the network can function normally with multiple computers running on different systems.