Can a Website Identify Me?
By Leo Notenboom
When I visit a web site, are they able to identify my IP address? If so, how can I block them from being able to identify me?
Not really, but kind of.
I know that’s really vague and doesn’t really clearly answer the question, but there’s a reason for that.
It depends on what you mean by the phrase “identify me.”
In the strictest sense, a server cannot identify you personally – not without your cooperation.
On the other hand, the information that a server can gather without your help can cause some folks concern.
Your IP address
The one piece of information that a web server gets is the IP address of your internet connection.
In fact, the Ask Leo! web server believes that yours is
If your computer is connected directly to the internet, that’s its IP address. If you’re connected through a router, that’s the IP address that’s been assigned to your router.
If you’re connecting through a corporate network, a proxy, or some other more complex private networking scheme, then that’s the IP address assigned to the equipment that connects that network or proxy to the internet.
The IP address is a core component of how the internet works. The server must know the IP address to which it should send its response. It’s like the return address on an postal mail envelope – you can’t reply if you don’t know where to send it.
This post is excerpted with permission from Leo Notenboom.