How to find your local and external IP address

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A bundle of multicolored ethernet cables

Photo: amophoto_en (Shutterstock)

Your device’s IP address is both critical information and Something you probably don’t think much. But thereSometimes you’ll need it for a network-related configuration—if you are trying to punch a hole in your network to access the contents of your NAS box, run a web server, or connect to your home VPNto name just a few examples—so it’s important to understand how to find it when you do.

Also, you have two different IP addresses. Kind of.

What is the difference between your external and internal IP addresses?

In a typical home network, where you access the Internet from your cable modem, which is connected to your badass wifi router— you have both a external IP address And one internal IP address.

Simply put, an external IP address allows devices on the internet to find you. It’s a bit like calling the company someone works for when you’re trying to reach them. The external IP address, in this case, would be the company phone number.

Your internal IP address is what your router distributes to all devices connected to it. It handles all the “routing”, hence its name, for data packets entering and leaving your network. Think of it as the receptionist at said company who has to handle all incoming phone calls. They hear what you say and relay you to the specific person you are trying to reach, and also protect that person— to stretch the metaphor — by not allowing random people access to their direct phone number.

Understood? Kind of? We will continue.

How to find your external IP address

This one is easy. Visit the always useful website “WhatIsMyIP.com.” At the very top of the page, you will see your external IPv6 and IPv4 addresses. You’ll probably only care about the latter for now, but you (one day) use the former for all the networking activities you do.

If you want to make it even simpler, there is also ipconfig.me. Click on it and all you will see is your IPv4 address. That’s it. Nothing else. For the plain IPv6 version of this site, see the amazing name icanhazip.com. It doesn’t get any easier than this.

How to find your internal IP address

Getting your internal IP address is slightly more complicated than clicking on a hyperlink, but it’s not that hard.

How to Find Your Internal IP Address in Windows

Open the command prompt through your Windows Start menu. Type “ipconfig” and press Enter. Look for the line that says “IPv4 Address”. The number in front of this text is your local IP address.

Image of the article titled How to find your local and external IP address

Screenshot: David Murphy

You can also get fancy and use a utility like BgInfo or a larger application like Rain gauge to display your IP address on your desktop at any time. It’s probably overkill unless you’re an IT specialist or network administrator, but it’s definitely an option.

How to Find Your Internal IP Address on a Mac

First, click on the Apple icon in the upper left corner of your desktop and open System Preferences. Then click on Network. Find your connection type (wifi or ethernet) and click on it. (It should have a green dot if it’s active.)

Look to the right and you will see a sentence that looks like “…is connected to ….. and has IP address…” The number that follows is your laptop’s IP address.

Image of the article titled How to find your local and external IP address

Screenshot: David Murphy

If that’s too much work, you can always use the cleverly named utility “IP in menu barTo do just that, drop your IP address right into your macOS menu bar. Again, it doesn’t get much easier than this.

How to Find Your Internal IP Address on Android

I have a Google Pixel 3 XL, so I will describe the instructions for finding an IP address on it. Your Android device will be similar, but these instructions may not match exactly depending on what you’re using.

Tap on the Settings app and tap on “Network & Internet”. Tap Wi-Fi, which I’m assuming you’re using, because who connects their smartphone to ethernet? Tap the gear icon to the right of the wireless network you’re connected to, then tap Advanced near the bottom of the next screen. Scroll down a bit and you will see your device’s IPv4 address.

Image of the article titled How to find your local and external IP address

Screenshot: David Murphy

How to Find Your Internal IP on iOS

Tap your Settings app, then tap “Wi-Fi.” Tap the “i” with a circle to the right of the network you’re connected to, and you’ll see your IPv4 address right there and your IPv6 address right below it.

Image of the article titled How to find your local and external IP address

Screenshot: David Murphy

How to find your internal IP on all your other devices

If in doubt, your device’s IP address is Probably listed somewhere in its network configuration options with its settings menu, whether we’re talking about your smart TV, network attached storage, game console, or what have you. If you’re having trouble finding the IP address this way, you can always take the reverse approach and work through your router. Somewhere in your router settings will be a list of all the devices connected to it. Assuming you can find your device’s name or know its MAC address, you should be able to find its internal IP address.


This story was originally published in 2011 by Adam Dachis. It was updated by David Murphy in May 2019 with new information and techniques, then again on October 21, 2020, June 10, 2021 and October 29, 2021 to update outdated links and bring content into style. current Lifehacker.

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