How to Trace the Path of an Email Address to Find Server Information

By Robin Lewis

There are times when it will become necessary to find out more information about an email you received. By default, most email accounts are set up to show only the email address of the sender, and some only show a nickname. Each email, however, is coded with much more information such as the exact address of the person sending the email and all of the routing information, including all of the servers that the email passed through on its way across the Internet.

Using the Online Email Service to See Full Headers

Step 1

Open the email that is to be identified using the normal procedure with the email server.

Step 2

Look at the top of the email to see what information is available in this view. If this is not the information that is needed, continue to the next step.

Step 3

At the top right or left, there will be something that says what view of the header is being displayed. Look around for something that reads "View Full Header," "Header View," "Change Header View" or something similar. Click on that or on the drop-down list below it to choose another view.

Step 4

Look at the drop-down list, and click on "Full Header," "Full Header Details," "Detailed View" or something similar, and click on that.

Step 5

In the email, the header should change to show various details of the message.

Using Email Software Such as Mac Mail

Step 1

Some email software will not have the header view information in the email window. If this is the case, the settings must be changed in either the "Preferences" or "Email Options" window. At the top of the page, go to "Mail" and slide down to "Preferences." For those who are using different software, the words will be different, but they can look for "Preferences" or "Options."

Step 2

With the "Preferences" section open, click on "Viewing," "View" or another similar option that brings you to the section about header view.

Step 3

Click on the drop-down menu next to "Show Header Detail."

Step 4

Click on the menu to indicate that a "Full" header detail is wanted.

Step 5

The emails should now show full detail through the viewer.