How to Trace an IP Address to a Physical Address

By braniac

Sometimes you are more comfortable doing things behind your computer since it gives you more anonymity. However, when you browse and do things around the internet, there is always one thing that you need to give out which is an IP address. Based on an IP address, you/someone may be able to locate the physical address or at least the proximity area of that particular IP address.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Internet connection
  • Persuasive skill
  • Good attorney
  • Money

Step 1

Once you obtain the ip address, you can get their proximity or ISP by do go to the following website http://whois.domaintools.com/{IP ADDRESS} for example: http://whois.domaintools.com/192.168.0.1.

Step 2

Once the result is retrieved, you now have the information of the country of origin for that IP, the proximity location and their ISP/Organization name that own the IP.

Step 3

Try calling the ISP listed in the website and if you are (very) lucky. You can persuade the CSR by giving out their name or address. If you only can get the email address or username, that's good too, you might be able to contact the person and have him/her reveal their physical address.

Step 4

If the above step doesn't work, you need to contact your attorney and have them get a subpoena, court order, or warrant to pursue the ISP to give out the information. You need to have a valid reason to do this though (ex. scam, sexual predator, harrasment, etc). Be prepared to shell out couple hundred dollars to do this.

Step 5

Some ISP doesn't keep log of their IP assignment, they usually just give out random IP from a pool of available IPs to their customer whenever they logged-on. However, if they do keep log and you know the time when you first encounter the IP, you might still be able to trace and find out which customer using that IP and that specific time.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't get your hope too much on finding the exact location of an IP
  • It's easier to get the physical address of a person by contacting them directly via email if you have them, instead of using a legal work-around with the ISP
  • Privacy is a really big issue in U.S. so unless you have a valid reason to trace the person then you should just let it go if it it's just a personal grudge.
  • It would be harder to trace if it is a dynamic IP (always changing) such as utilized by DHCP, PPOE or dialup connection
  • It's almost impossible to track if the IP they are using is from proxy or socks especially from other countries other than U.S. since the court system over here have no jurisdiction outside the nation.