Time Saving Tuesday

We’ve already shown you how to setup an FTP server in less than 30 seconds, but now I thought I would show you how to retrieve your IP address when you’re not at home. After all, you do need to know the IP address of your computer before you can remotely access it, and if you have an Internet Service Provider (ISP) that is always changing your IP, it can be hard to keep track of.

There are many tools that will tell you what your IP address is when you request it, such as my favorite which tells you the information you want to know without a bunch of clutter. However, it could pose a problem if you’re not in front of the computer you want to know the IP address for. That’s where these tools will come in handy.

I wanted to write about this because a reader emailed me asking if I knew any utility that would let them know when their IP address changes. Luckily my ISP never changes my IP address so I haven’t had to worry about it, but I started looking around to see what kind of freeware solutions I could find.

The first application that I found is called IP Observer and it is essentially a zero-configuration solution. All you have to do is download the program (download mirror for version 0.8.4), unzip the folder, and run it. Then you can optionally enter in your email address(es) for it to send the notifications to. Click on this screenshot to see just how easy it is:

IP Observer

Most software applications (even the ones you pay for) require that you take the time to setup your mail account in order to send the emails. Not with this one! They do offer the option to use your own mail account, but I like being able to just enter in my email address and let it do its work. Here is what the email notification looks like that you’ll receive each time your IP changes:

IP Address Notifications

You can let IP Observer check for IP address changes every 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, or 6 hours. It will even show you the computer’s local IP address (in case you’re behind a router) and MAC address, which is something many of us are always searching for.

There is, however, a small downside to this program and it’s that it lacks the ability to minimize itself to the System Tray. Normally I would say that is a big downside, but there are plenty of applications (examples: DM2 and TrayDevil) that most people will already have installed which makes doing this possible.

While I really like that application, there is something that I’m a little more partial to because of how useful it is…LogMeIn! I’ve written about the service before because it lets you remotely control any computer using just a Web browser, and it also needs no configuration. It is a free service, but there is a feature that let’s you view the IP address of the computer as well. When you’re on the “My Computers” screen (which you’re taken to after logging in) just click on the Edit link of the computer who’s IP you want to view:


Then you’ll be taken to the screen where you will see the IP address of that computer:


LogMeIn is also nice to have because you can always connect to the computer that you’re having troubles with. It’s a nice service to have and I use it all the time, but if you’re looking for something a little more straightforward (and something that doesn’t require installation) then IP Observer (Download Mirror) might be the better solution.

If you know of any other great freeware tools that will email a user their IP address feel free to post them below in the comments.