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How to Find the IP Address of Your Printer

If you want to print something from a computer connected to a huge network and are unable to do so, the issue may be due to your printer not being configured correctly. To resolve this issue, one needs to know the IP address of the printer. We, at Techspirited, will provide you all the information you need in this regard.
Padmini Krishna
A Handy Tip
A good way to make sure that your printer's IP address does not change from time to time is to assign it a static IP address, which is not in the pool of IP addresses that the DHCP server is allowed to assign, and which will not change unless you manually change it.

Have you ever been in a situation where you want to urgently print something, maybe off the internet, or from a portable memory device, but you are completely stumped, because you are using your work computer, or you have no clue how to connect to the network printer?

You can overcome this problem easily by finding out the IP address of the printer. Even at home, if you have a small LAN, wherein you have hardly two or three computers interlinked with each other, as well as connected to the internet, via a router and switch, and now you want to connect a common printer to all the connected devices, it would make your task extremely easy if you knew how to configure the IP address of the printer.

If all these technical expressions are beginning to terrify you, do not fret. We will explain and simplify this process for you so that you will have absolutely no doubt when you try it by yourself. But for those of us who are a bit techno-phobic and would like to know what is an IP address, click here. For the rest, here are a few easy ways.

Methods to Find Your Printer's IP Address
  • The simplest method to obtain this information can be employed if your printer has a menu on its front panel. On it, there will be an option to display the IP address that is assigned to the printer, if and when it is connected to a network. 
  • For easy reference, you can even directly print the printer's test page, because this page contains information about the printer's settings and configurations, including the IP address. 
  • But in case your printer does not have a menu, the procedure to find its IP address will take more than just a single step.
On Windows 7
  1. Make sure that you are logged in as the Administrator, otherwise your access to the device and system settings may be restricted.
  2. Open the Start Menu.
  3. Type "Printers" in the Search Box. Amongst the many options that appear as search results, you will find the folder that contains details and settings of all printers that have been installed on your computer. If you are not sure whether it is the right folder, make sure that the folder path shows that it is nested within the Control Panel folder.
  4. Find the printer you want details of. Right-click its icon, and select Properties from the drop-down menu.
  5. Open the tab called Ports.
  6. A list of ports on your device appears. One of the names of the ports will have a name similar to the standard format of an IP address. In the same row, in the column to its right, (the Description column), you will find the words 'TCP/IP' displayed, and in the next column, the name of the printer can be found. Select that row, and then click on the Configure Port button.
  7. The name and the IP address of the port will appear in a dialog box. This IP address is the IP address of the printer.
If you are wondering why we suggested that you check the configuration settings, when the name and IP address of that port are the same, it is because, in some cases, the IP address of your printer can change. But the port name on that computer cannot be changed. Hence, to avoid the hit-and-miss chance of error, we included this additional step.

In the unlikely event that you are unable to find the information through the method described earlier, check your computer's connectivity with the network and with the printer. If there doesn't seem to be any issue, then you can follow these steps and get your required information via the Command Line Interface:

If you want to use the Command Prompt, you must know the correct name of the printer known to your computer. Although it may be, for example, an HP or a Canon printer, your computer might have configured its name as a random collection of letters and digits. Failing to know it properly will cause unnecessary confusion.
  1. Assuming that you are still logged in as the Administrator, open the Start Menu.
  2. Type "cmd" in the Search Box. This immediately opens up a black window, which is the Command Line Interface, also known as Command Prompt or MS DOS Prompt.
  3. Type "ipconfig" in the command line (you will find that you can type into the interface at the point after where the name of your device followed by '>' is displayed), and press enter. It will give you complete information about the network you are connected to, including your device's IP address, your subnet mask, and default gateway.
  4. Type "ping" followed by the IP address of your own computer. You will get the response and the command line back almost instantly. This is to ensure that the 'ping' feature is working correctly. After that, try to ping your default gateway.
  5. Do this a couple of times to ensure that your device's connectivity with your network not only exists but is also running smoothly.
  6. Once you are done, type "arp -a", and press enter. This step gives you a list of all the devices that are connected to your network along with their respective IP address. If your printer can be reached, it will also appear, and you can obtain its IP address.
  7. Another method to find your printer's IP address, without using ARP, is by typing "netstat -r" in the command line. This sends a request to the router of your network to provide information about the routes it provides links to. If your printer is physically connected to the router, its IP address will appear in the list of routes.
*PING is an operation which sends a fixed amount of data packets from your computer to the device you are trying to reach, and waits for the latter to respond with acknowledgment data packets. It repeats this action a number of times and calculates the average round trip time to get a response. If you get a response when you 'ping' a remote device, it means you can connect to it.

**ARP is an acronym for Address Resolution Protocol. It is the networking protocol that is used to obtain the IP address of a device if its physical address or name is known.

If you are trying to use the printer in a large network like at your office or your university's computer center, it is quite possible that your network is using Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, or DHCP. This is a time-saving technique used by network administrators, by which rather than physically assigning IP addresses to each and every device connected to the network, a server automatically completes the task of assignment, arbitrarily, whenever a new device gets connected to the network, and the IP addresses that it can assign are picked out of a pool of addresses.

But the implementation of DHCP means that whenever the printer is disconnected and connected once again, it would be assigned a new IP address, whereas the port information does not get updated.

Hence, if in spite of obtaining the address from any of the above means, you find that you are unable to ping your printer or print, then the solution is to verify the IP address assigned to your printer, from the DHCP list.

On Apple Mac OS X
On Apple Mac OS X, there is a very useful application provided called Network Utility, which helps users to easily perform base networking functions, such as pinging, running a traceroute program, configuration, obtaining information, and so on. One can easily find the network printer's IP address using Network Utility.
  1. Click on the icon of the magnifying glass at the top right corner of your screen.
  2. Type "Network Utility", and press enter.
  3. Open the tab called Lookup.
  4. In the search field, type the name of the printer for which you want the IP address.
  5. The application will return the IP address you requested.
If you want to be a little more adventurous and use the Command Line or Terminal, these are the steps you should follow:
  1. On the menu bar at the top of the screen, click on Go.
  2. Select 'Utilities' from the menu, and double click on Terminal.
  3. Type "netstat -i ", followed by the correct name of your printer, as it is saved on your computer, and press enter.
  4. This will return the IP address of your printer.
What is an IP Address?
IP stands for Internet Protocol, and each and every device that is connected to the public internet or to a local area network (LAN) needs to have an IP address. Basically, it is the identity of your device in the network. It comes into use when two specific devices try to communicate amongst a mesh of interlinked devices (whether it is you sharing a file with the owner of a different computer on your network, or trying to open a web page on the internet, for which your computer has to communicate with the server at which the page is located.

The necessity of having an IP address is not limited just to your computer/device itself. When a computer is connected to the internet or to another network, a device known as a router is used. A router has many ports and forms a sort of bridge between two networks. Hence, every port on the router needs to have its own IP address, and it has to fall in the category of the network it is linking other devices into/out of. The IP address of the port of the router to which your computer is directly or indirectly connected is called the default gateway of the network.

There are two formats of IP addressing; IPv4, and the more recent, IPv6. Although there is a gradual trend towards the widespread use of IPv6, IPv4 is still relevant. An IPv4 address has 32 bits (when the address is written using binary notation). For simplicity, it is written in the format of 4 numbers separated by periods. Each of the 4 numbers lies in the range of 0-255. The actual value of each number in the address depends on the various factors, such as the class of IP address (which, in general, refers to the size of network), whether it is a private network or a public network, and whether subnetting (the procedure in which the number of devices that are allowed to be connected to a particular network can be increased) is used.
Example of an IP address:- 192.168.2.253

Along with the IP address, the device also has a specified subnet mask and a default gateway. Subnet mask indicates the maximum number of devices permitted in that particular network, and is also a 32-bit address, but the way the bits are read and written differs from the way it is done for an IP address. The term, 'default gateway', has already been explained. Three of these addresses, together, enable the device to have a unique identity in the network.

So, as you can see, although obtaining your printer's IP address may seem like a daunting task, it is actually very simple. Do not panic if any of your attempts do not work. Always troubleshoot the process right from the beginning, and account for the fact that may be, you may made a typo on the command line, which is as seemingly insignificant as a space or the case of what you typed. Do not be disappointed if you still do not get the answer you want. For all you know, the network itself may be down, or the printer at your office or university computer center may have been disconnected for repairs!