Email Trace

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Trace an email to a specific location.

Trace an Email

Insert the email source, including the email header, in the text area below. The results of the email trace will include the route and IP addresses the email took to arrive in your inbox. Read the instructions below, "How to get the email source code" to learn how to get the email source code.

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How the Email Trace Works

The email trace tool, which is also known as an email tracker, uses the source code of an email to track the origin. The trace works by parsing the information contained in the email to find the IP address where the email was sent from.

How to get the Email Source Code

The email source is fairly easy to get. However, there are different steps for each email provider.

Web-Based Email Providers

Email Clients / Email Software

Email Headers

Email headers are formatted according to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in RFC 822. The document contains strict formatting guidelines that provide a standardization of email source data. The email headers should contain, at a minimum, the following header information:

  • The To Information.
  • The From Information.
  • The Subject.
  • The Date.
  • The Path the email took to reach the destination Inbox.

Email Security

Many Internet users don't realize that email communication is NOT SECURE. The most important reason that email is secure is that most people use email that is sent in plain-text or html. This means that the email is transmitted from one location to another in a completely visible format.

Email Trace Information

As the use of the email trace tool shows, information that identifies your device is sent with an email. This information, including the IP address, could be used to trace your mailing address. The security implications of email header information in email tracing should encourage you to only send emails to people you know or trust.

Packet Sniffing

Applications, such as Wireshark, are designed to capture, or sniff, packet information across an Internet network. These applications can easily copy the information contained in any email sent on the same network. Worst of all... it's entirely legal. Although it may not be considered ethical, packet sniffing is completely legal in the U.S.

Forged Email Headers

When receiving email, you may think it's entirely safe. According to the paragraph above, it should be easy to trace an email that was sent with malicious intentions. Unfortunately, this is not entirely correct. As long as a person sends an email in the required format and from a clean IP address, they could easily forge the header information included in the email message.