When I send out emails using Gmail, is my IP address being recorded? Can the recipient of my Gmail message know my IP address and thus infer where I am located?


5 Answers 5


Send yourself an email (at a non-gmail email address) via gmail and read the "full header" or "message source", especially "X-Originating-IP".

Compare this with your own external IP address (google [my ip is]).

The header of an email which I sent from my own gmail address to my own gmail address ("Show Original") did not contain an originating IP address, or any IP address except a reserved address in the 10.x.x.x range (in other words no IP address that would be identifiable as mine).

Then, I sent an email from my gmail address to myself at another email provider. The header of this email had an X-Originating-IP address which resolves to Google, Inc. It contained several IP addresses, none of which were identifiable as mine.

In appropriate cases a subpoena, search warrant or other lawful process directed to Google, Inc. would, of course, unmask your IP address and reveal your general location (and more legal process would force your ISP to reveal the IP address subscriber's name and address).

Your IP address was recorded by Google when you sent the email, and by God knows what other spooks inhabit the interwebs between you and your ISP, and between your ISP and Google, but it was not sent to your mail recipient(s).

  • 19
    Readers beware that this answer is specific to GMail. Other mail providers might behave differently, especially when you use a real mail client and not a web interface.
    – Philipp
    Commented May 9, 2014 at 8:14
  • More generally, this answer assumes neither the sender nor the recipient are running their own mail server. Commented May 9, 2014 at 11:00
  • Note also that Gmail uses TLS for connection to the web browser. Those "other spooks" may be hoovering up the encrypted data streams, and the NSA might even be able to crack them, given enough interest, but the connection to Gmail is prob ably safe from others.
    – Bob Brown
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 11:34

If you use Gmail in as webmail (by sending emails on gmail.com), your IP address and hostname will not be leaked.

But if you use Outlook or Thunderbird like mail client to send gmail by using SMTP, then your IP address and hostname will be travel with your email.

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    If someone wants to be a nasty hacker, they could sign up to lots of email lists and build an IP <-> name,email database. I'd be surprised if actual hackers are not already doing this. Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 2:46

Google/Gmail strips the originating IP address (among other things) from outgoing messages - so the receiver cannot see the IP to indicate where you are, or more correctly, where the email originated from.

***update - seems if the email is sent between gmail accounts the originators IP is in there...

Other online email services (Yahoo...) leave the originating IP in the header. You could use a VPN to obfuscate the IP.

For privacy this IP stripping is great, for doing illegal stuff, then don't use email.

  • or if you have any concerns about privacy, such as not wanting other people to do illegal stuff to you, then don't use email. :( Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 2:48

2014, June 26: I used the Gmail web interface to open an email sent from a Gmail account to a Gmail account, clicked next to the "Reply" icon, and selected "Show original" and I was able to see the originating IP. In this case it was the IP address assigned from my ISP to my router at home (which I needed because it changed and I wasn't using any dynamic DNS tool)


Select the message you want to view, click on "More" (beside the reply button) and select "Show original". It will open a new window with the email header information. Under the "Received" section will be your IP address and all the corresponding mail transfer agent (MTA) information that the email traveled through.

So the recipient may roughly guess your geographical location via your IP address information provided you are not using either VPN or webmail. If the sender had used Google webmail, then the IP address will point to the Google's mail service rather than your IP address. A further check with Google or your VPN service provider is needed to determine the IP address from their log files. Finally, with the IP address, cross referencing from your ISP's DHCP records can determine exactly who sent the email.

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