If you’re using a VPN, you might be wondering where your IP address is. While it is easy enough to find out your IP address when connected to the VPN, it can be a little more complicated if you’re not. Especially if you’re trying to keep your activities private, you might not want to broadcast your IP address around just yet.
Fortunately, there is a simple and straightforward way to find your remote IP address even when using VPN, and it involves a little bit of command line magic. Let’s have a look.
Check The Status Of Your VPS
As a first step, you should always check the status of your virtual private server (VPS). That is, make sure that you are indeed running a VPS and not just some free hosted server that you got from a cloud provider. You can do this by visiting the website of your VPS and looking at the information about the server. If all looks good, then you’re ready to move on to the next step.
Use Command Line Tools
Now that you know that you’re running a VPS, it’s time to use some command line tools to find your IP address. The first and most natural place to look for your IP address is within the output of the ifconfig command. As you might expect, the ifconfig command is used to display information about network interfaces. Here is an example of the output from the ifconfig command:
wlan0 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 00:16:3E:2A:C8:08
inet addr:192.168.1.101 Bcast:192.168.1.255 Mask:255.255.255.0
UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST MTU:1500 Metric:1
RX packets:6876 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
TX packets:6460 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
RX bytes:16504550 (168.5 MB) TX bytes:10483873 (105.8 MB)
Looking at this example, you can see that my IP address is 192.168.1.101. As you might have guessed, this is the IP address that I have assigned to my VPS. As long as everything is set up correctly, a command like ifconfig should always show your IP address. So if you ever wonder about that, you can always refer to this command to find out.
Of course, there are times when this might not be the case. Maybe you turned off your IP address by mistake. Or perhaps you have some sort of firewall that is blocking pings. No matter what the reason may be, unless you want to constantly check the interfaces file or fire up your firewall, you might not be able to determine your IP address.
Use Whois To Look Up Domain Names
If you’re curious about why your IP address is the way it is, you can use a tool like Whois to look up the domain name associated with the IP address. As you might imagine, Whois is a domain name lookup tool. It might also be used to look up the registrant information associated with a domain name. With Whois, you can find all kinds of useful information, including the date that a domain name was established and the contact details for the current registrant (usually the ultimate owner of a domain name).
The syntax for Whois is fairly straightforward. As long as you have the domain name and the IP address, you can enter them into the Whois query box and get the results that you need. Here is an example of the output from Whois when queried for pingdom.com:
Registrant Name:John Doe
Registrant Street:Santa Claus Lane
Registrant City:New York
Registrant Postal Code:10001
As you can see in this example, Whois was able to look up my IP address and associate it with a domain name of my choice, pingdom.com. This is because I had previously registered the domain name. So, while it is not always the case, often times a Whois lookup will give you the information that you need to know about the person or group that owns a particular IP address.
Use Reverse DNS Lookups To Find Out Who Is Really Responsible For An IP Address
If you really want to find out who is responsible for an IP address, you can do so with the help of a tool like DynDNS. First, you will need to sign up for a free account with DynDNS, and then you can enter the IP address that you need to investigate in the query box. You can also sign up for a free account with DynDNS and query their WHOIS database for domain names that are registered under a free domain service such as Tucows or GoDaddy.com. You will need to enter the IP address for which you need information in the query box, along with the domain name of the website or service that you’re investigating (in this case, it’s gmail.com).
DynDNS will then display a list of domain name servers (DNS servers) that are responsible for the IP address that you’re querying about. In this example, you can see that I have two DNS servers listed: GoDaddy.com and techmatt.com.
You might have guessed that GoDaddy.com is responsible for my IP address. This is because I have registered the domain name gmail.com with GoDaddy.com. To confirm, you can enter my nickname, johndoe, into the query box and get a list of domains that I own. (You can also click on my name in the top right to go to my profile page and see all of my domains.)
In some cases, it might be that you’re not actually responsible for the IP address that you’re trying to find out the owner of. For example, your IP address might be assigned to you by your Internet service provider (ISP) for tracking website traffic or for use within a VPN network. In this case, you will need to perform a reverse DNS lookup on the IP address. To know more, visit this helpful Wikipedia article about DNS.
Use A Proxy To Navigate The Web Without Having To Reveal Your IP Address
If you’re trying to keep your activities private on the web, it is a good idea to use a proxy server. A proxy server handles all of the requests from your device (computer, phone, or tablet) and relays them to the actual server. In most cases, your activities will be encrypted so that only the server will be able to see what you’re doing.
Let’s say that you’re at home and you want to visit a website that is blocked by your ISP. To do this, you will need to use a proxy server to cloak your identity. To specify, here is an example of what your Internet service provider might see when you try to visit a blocked website, along with the corresponding IP address: