Welcome to HowToTraceEmails.net

Have you ever gotten an email from someone, but it appears to come from a bogus email address that you haven't seen before? You want to know if that email address can be traced to its original location. You know...find out who sent it.

Perhaps you would just like to know if an email YOU send can be traced back to you! Well read on. You will learn the truth about how to trace any emails like Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc...

Emails use internet standards to send and receive messages. Any email server will follow these standards like SMTP or POP3. Whatever is being used will most certainly contain what's called "headers."

Email headers are textual information containing things such as originating IP address, intermediate IP addresses, timestamps, content type, and content size. When you send an email using Yahoo or Gmail all these pieces of information are tracked and sent along with your email text itself.




Side Note:

So what is an IP Address? Well "IP" stands for Internet Protocol. And your IP address is basically your personal identifier on the World Wide Web. Your IP address is most likely assigned to you by your internet provider. Your provider will keep private records of who was assigned a particular IP address at a particular point in time. You don't have access to this detailed information, but perhaps the appropriate authorities will.


You can gain access to this information by opening your email and viewing the email headers. The way you can view the headers differs between different email clients. If you're using Yahoo, you can open an email, click on the "Actions" button and select the "Full Header" Option. Another dialog box will appear showing all sorts of information. Look for the very first "Received: From" text starting from the bottom. See the sample below:

Yahoo Full Email Header Example

Notice the red font. That is the first "Received: from" header and it is from 192.168.138.154. This is the original computer where the email came from Right? Wrong! Sorry to say that it is not that easy to trace emails. When you do a google search on "How to trace emails" you will get to read everything you just read above. But the truth is, it will most likely not work for you! Why you ask? Because your personal IP address is not actually logged. What is available to you in the email header displayed by your email service is the first intermediate server to handle your email on it's way out. So if you are a comcast subscriber, that IP address will be from the closest local comcast hub.




So the most information any "normal" person can get is approximately where the email was sent from and what ISP is involved.


But don't get too thrilled with this information. If the right people really wanted to find out who sent that email, they WILL find out because your ISP most likely keeps track of that information. It's just not so readily available to the average Joe Schmoe.

So in the side note above I mentioned that you can find out approximately where the email was sent from; that is, how to trace the IP address. Well you can't really find out from just looking at the IP address. You will need a third party service to trace that IP address. I like using the website ip2location. I have conveniently provided a small search box from which you can enter IP addresses (look towards the top right navigation just above the google ads. btw, please click on those ads to help pay for this site! :-) ) and it will look up the approximate origination point and the network. I say "approximate" because I have seen that the location is never accurate for me. Notice that it provides Longitude and Latitude coordinates. You can enter those coordinates into Google maps and it will pinpoint a location but it will most likely be incorrect. I have tried it with the IP address of my work place and have gotten the wrong location. It sent me somewhere downtown where I know there are no servers or hubs or any network equipment.

So the bottom line is, don't believe all the other websites and forums which tell you you can easily trace that email or IP address just by looking at the "Received: From" header. That is just plain bogus.

Helpful Websites