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Is there any way to check that when I visit a site, if the site is logging my IP address?

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migrated from superuser.com Jan 26 '11 at 15:43

This question came from our site for computer enthusiasts and power users.

That's what anonymous proxies are for. – Ryan McGeary Jan 23 '11 at 23:35
If it is anonymity you are after, check out tor: www.torproject.org en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tor_%28anonymity_network%29 – russau Jan 23 '11 at 23:48
You can't, they are. Once your packets leave you, you can't touch or monitor them, so you can't know. They're logging it, nobody wouldn't. Very few do this for malicious purposes. – Phoshi Jan 24 '11 at 10:07
Mozilla has an add-on for that. It's called Hide My Ass. It gives the websites you visit a fake ip . :-) – user18132 Mar 14 '12 at 19:27

Nope. You're sending them your IP no matter what and most probably, they're logging it.

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By default they ALL do. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Log_Format – Chris Nava Jan 24 '11 at 4:20

The scary part is that if they know how to build a gui with visual basic, they can also track you even when you're not online. I saw that once on an episode of CSI. :)

Seriously though, everyone is tracked on the web. Every website you visit tracks you by default. All of them. A few may not bother to do anything with the information, but it's there. There is no way to destroy the information, so it hangs around.

The real joke is that 90% of all websites feed visitor data to google [or a few nameless organizations you don't want to mess with], where your online activity is linked to the real you the minute you buy something online with a credit card, use a popular email service, or log into a financial website. Once you've been identified in real life by such a transaction, you cannot hide.

Once you use an android or apple phone, your physical whereabouts become part of this personal record, because you keep your phone with you all the time. In the case of android, your gmail identities are linked, and best of all, your position data gets archived every time your phone synchronizes with the cell tower. It's accurate to within a couple hundred feet.

Your IP address, when combined with a date, will generally be trackable to a specific city without any extra information. However, additional information is often available depending on if you use any commercial websites. Very large databases are maintained for this purpose.

It isn't very hard to link the "you" with the phone to the "you" with the website history. Within a few months, a VERY accurate picture of every place you visit starts to appear. It's time stamped. Ask yourself how hard it is to combine your email and web use with the location of your cellphone... the answer is that it's trivial.

Now, imagine what portion of the public uses the internet and packs a cellphone. Each and every one of those people now has an easily accessible dossier with more information in it than even the most ambitious man in black could ever hope for. No warrant is needed to obtain this information in most states.

Now if you become an evil doer [or if we can categorize you as one for whatever reason], we can immediately identify all your real social contacts and likely physical locations. This info isn't publicly available yet, but it's slowly being made available to state and local governments.

Did I mention that your credit and debit card activity can also be linked in? It's hard to keep track of all the stuff that's connected these days. The internet is NOT anonymous. Period. It just seems that way.

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Scary! The companies may use such data to make a profile of you without telling you,but is that legally allowed. – abel Jan 24 '11 at 8:10
@abel - yep. In the case of IP data online - it is public. In the case of eg android phones - you agree to it in the T&Cs – Rory Alsop Jan 24 '11 at 9:11
@Rory New internet coming up in 2^x, (2^x)-1,... – abel Jan 24 '11 at 9:28

The real question is "does it matter", to which the answer is "no, not really". Virtually every site stores your IP, at least temporarily in their logs. Even if a site claimed not to, there wouldn't be any way to verify the claim.

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Most sites keep logs of accesses, at least for a few days. But of course these logs are not public, so you can't easily check what they are recording. You can send them a mail and ask.

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Most do. It's certainly not hard, so you may as well assume that it is.

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Websites are ALWAYS logging your IP by default. The access logs of web servers store a timestamp and your ip address, with the page and type of access your browser is asking for.

Even if the website is not grabbing your ip live from your session, it can still parse those logs and extract it after the fact.

Obviously there are ways to explicitly not log an IP (ie. settings in the web server software or just having a cron delete the log file), but that's an exception not the rule.

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Quite a few sites keep your IP on file for a good while; even if just for a few days, their backups can be held for months or years.

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It is not possible to be sure. Hovewer, there are some markers. If you remove all the cookies and the site still seems to recognize you some way... and then you change IP and f.g. the suggested articles became standard... you can assumpt they are using IP to identify you.

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Cookies, but also: Flash local shared objects (aka Flash cookies), HTML5 local storage, ... ;-) – Arjan Jan 24 '11 at 14:13

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