By now I’m sure we’ve all bumped into some site that came eerily close to telling you exactly where you are located. You’ve seen the little guy holding up the sign, or the banner stating a string of numbers and the location of your home, if not the town right near by your home. And you begin to think, wow, big brother really is watching over me.
Well, the truth of the matter is that every computer that connects to a network (i.e. the Internet) does so with an address not unlike your postal address so that the data you ask from a web server can return to the right location. And these numbers are pretty good and telling your physical area based on the network you connect to.
Every comment you make on this blog has one of these addresses (called IP) attached to it. From that address and tools that you can find online you can determine where a person is who commented, posted, and even just dropped by your site.
The site WhatisMyIPAddress.com actually has a number of tools to help you manage your own IP and find out something about the people that are visiting your site. When you first go to this site, the IP address of your computer is used to show you exactly where you are connecting from– giving you that eerie feeling I mentioned earlier. But that’s not the only tool that this site has.
The site gives you instructions on how to hide and change your IP address. The way to hide it is to go through a proxy– or third party– server that can mask your address and provide the web server with a different one. Changing your IP address is simple, if your computer connects directly with the Internet. If you have a router, WhatisMyIPAddress.com will actually give you step my step instructions on how to get that router to get a new address.
Another tool at this site that you might find useful is trace email. This feature lets you copy the headers of an e-mail that you have received and then find out how it got to you and the its point of origin. Now, spammers will sometimes put in false information here, so it can’t be guaranteed, but it is a neat tool nonetheless.
So, check it out the next time you’re wondering about an address. It’s neat to see where everyone is coming from– or at least know that people can find out this information about you!