How IP addresses work on Google

An Internet Protocol (IP) address is used to connect to the Internet and identify devices so that computers, like desktops, mobile devices, and servers can communicate with each other. 

An IP address is assigned to your device by your Internet Service Provider, like your cable, telephone, wireless, or carrier company, and is a requirement to use the internet. IP addresses are how computers on the internet recognize one another to send websites or services back and forth. When you visit a website, like google.com, your Internet Service Provider uses your IP address to make sure google.com opens on the device that you’re using.

How Google uses your IP addresses

Google uses IP addresses in almost everything that we do, from building data centers and enabling our engineers to make products like Search or Maps, to getting YouTube videos to your phone.

Your IP address lets Google give you the content you search for. IP addresses are also used in other ways, like to give you relevant results for where you are and to help keep your account secure.

To give local results using your location

IP addresses are roughly based on geography, similar to phone number area codes. This means that any app or website you use, including google.com, can estimate the general area you’re in because of your IP address. When Google estimates the general area that you’re in, Google can provide you with results that are relevant for where you are.

For example, Google could use your IP address to give you the weather forecast for the town you're in when you search for weather. Learn more about how to manage your location on Google.

Important: You can’t prevent apps or websites that you visit, including Google, from getting the IP address of your device, because the Internet does not work without it. This means all apps and websites that you visit can usually infer some information about your location.

To help keep your account secure

Unknown location

In some cases Google is unable to estimate location from an IP address. In this case, you’ll find activity listed from an “unknown location.” You can confirm whether or not any activity was actually yours by checking other details, like the time of the activity and the browser used. If they don’t match up to a time you remember or a browser you recall using, you should take the Security Checkup to help protect your account.

I don't recognize this location

While we try to make sure that we can correctly show the general area for activity in your Google account, sometimes you might find activity from locations that aren’t your actual location. This usually happens when you use your account on a mobile network, but it can happen on other networks as well. If the location listed is very far away or you’re unsure if the activity was yours (for example, you don’t recognize the device or the browser that was used), take the Security Checkup to help protect your account.

What an IP address looks like

Your IP address will be an identifier, like 203.0.113.42 or 2001:0002:14:5:1:2:bf35:2610.

Find your IP address

Important: This feature is only available in English.

When you search what is my IP on Google Search, you’ll get the IP address of the computer or device where you did the search.

Find your IP address
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