Find Email Sender’s IP address in Gmail

When you send an email, it appears as if the email goes straight to the recipients inbox. Actually, there’s a lot more going on. Normally an email passes through at least four computers.

Every email contains a section called header which contains all sorts of information about the email. When you read an email, you see parts of this information – the name of the sender, the email subject and other fields like CC, BCC and such. If you look at the email headers, you can find tracking information for an email.

Tracking information contains a list of computers/servers an email crossed to reach you. By looking at the tracking information in the email header, we can find an email sender’s IP address in Gmail or any other email client or service.

Privacy

User’s IP address a sensitive information. Disclosing the IP address of a user is a serious privacy risk.Gmail respects the privacy of users and does not show any tracking information for emails sent from within Gmail. This means you can’t find IP address for the emails sent from Gmail directly.

Caution

All options in the email header can be forged except those added by mail servers. Take caution and don’t trust anything you read.

Finding Sender’s IP address in Gmail

The most reliable way to find the original senders IP address is to look the X-Originating-IP header. It tells you the IP address of the computer that sent you the email.

If you can’t find the  X-Originating-IP header, then things get somewhat tricky. You will have to scan through Received headers. The Received header is a record of the path travelled by an email as it crossed the mail servers. Your email server which received the email is the first Received header. The source where the email originated is the last Received header.

Let’s find an email sender’s IP address in Gmail. Login to your Gmail account and open an email received from any mail client or server other than Gmail. For the purpose of this tutorial, we are sending a test email to our Gmail account using Thunderbird.

In Gmail click the inverted triangle button on the right-hand side.

Gmail more menu

Click Show original

A new tab/window will open showing the raw email message. Scan through the headers.

raw email

In our case, X-Originating-IP header is not available. So, looking at the Received headers we can tell that the email originated at public IP 115.187.x.x and local IP 192.168.1.2

Now that we have the IP address, we can use a service like iplocation to find more information. We can expect information on ISP (Internet Service Provider), organization, country, region, city and even geo-location.

IP location

And that’s how you find an email sender’s IP address in Gmail. You can use this technique to find originating IP address of an email in other mail accounts too. Just find the option to look at the raw email and inspect the headers.

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Tapas Pal

Tapas pal is the founder of layerpoint.com and he is an avid Internet geek enthusiast and writer has deep interest in technology, Digital Marketing and love tools that increase human productivity.