How to Find an Email Address

Find out where that email address has been on the Web!

The posting email on the tablet
Yagi Studio/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Finding someone's email address is not usually accomplished with just one search, unless the person you're looking for has put their email address on the Web somewhere. The best way to find someone's email address is to start with a wide search and then gradually narrow it down using a variety of search tools.

Finding out who an email address belongs to can be accomplished by a series of small Web searches; basically, you're going to be following the clues left behind in the email address itself.

Check the domain

The very first clue you're going to want to follow is the domain. A domain is the part of the URL that specifies what exactly that site is part of (institution, government, business, etc.). For example, if the email address you're looking at looks like this:

bill@fireplace.com

You can see from the domain in this email address that Bill is affiliated with something called "fireplace.com". Using this clue, you can navigate to the "fireplace.com" Web site (or whatever website your domain is affiliated with),and do a site search for someone named Bill.

Use the email for clues

Sometimes the easiest solution can be the best one. If you're not sure who that email address belongs to, simply email them a polite message asking for their information - it couldn't hurt to try, anyway.

IP address:  An IP address is a series of unique numbers that identifies a computer connected to the Internet.

Every computer that gets online has an Internet address, and most of the time (not always), you can search the header of the email you've received to get it. Once you have that IP address, plug it into a simple IP address lookup tool, and you'll be able to determine the general geographic area of where that email originated.

If you already have an email address, and want to see what other kind of information you can find that is associated with it, you might be surprised at what you could discover. A simple email address can reveal much more information than you might think. Using an email address in a free reverse email Web search can actually turn up all sorts of personal identifiers, including name, phone number, address, and a variety of public records. It all depends on where that particular email address has been posted publicly on the Web.

Start with search engines

Type the email address into your favorite search engine and hit "enter". If that email address has been placed publicly on the Web; on a blog, on a personal Web site, on a message board, in a social networking community, etc. - then it should turn up in a simple Web search.Look at the results. Do they have a personal site? How about a blog? Are they on LinkedInFacebookTwitter, or do they have a Google Profile?

In order for this email search to be as effective as possible, it's suggested to use at least three different search engines (for a comprehensive list of over 100 search engines, read The Ultimate Search Engine List).

Google it: You'd be surprised at how many times I've simply used Google to find out who an email address belongs to.

Copy and paste the email address into the Google search field, and if this email address is printed somewhere on the Web (on a Web page, a blog, a social networking site, etc.) then you'll hit paydirt. While you're at it, I highly suggest using more than one search engine in your search; you'll turn up little bits and pieces with each different search tool.

Use specialized social networking search utilities

Not all social networking sites will show up in a general search engine query. That's when it's time to turn to specialized social networking search tools, such as YoName, Zabasearch, Zoominfo, These sites search across a variety of social networking communities; if the email address you're looking for has been put up on one of these sites, chances are, you'll find it using these social search tools.

People search sites

There are many impressive Web search tools online that focus specifically on finding people; here are fifteen people search engines that search across social networking services, search engines, databases, etc. to find tidbits you might not usually find on a rudimentary search. Type in your email address to one of these people-specific search engines and if it's been publicly shared, it's going to show up in the search results.

Invisible Web email search

Using the Deep, or Invisible, Web (the vast part of the Web that doesn't necessarily show up in a rudimentary Web search) to find information related to an email address can reap some impressive results. These Invisible Web people search engines and sites can help you access more of the Web that you might not have otherwise been able to.

What to do if you can't find that email address

Still no luck? If, after using all these different search tools you're still coming up empty, you might have to cede defeat. Unfortunately, if someone has not publicly posted their email address online, it is quite difficult to track - especially if they do not use their given name as part of their email address. If the email address you're tracking has not been posted publicly, then naturally it follows that this email address will not be found on the Web. However, all is not lost; use the following people search resources to find what you're looking for online:Don't give up hope, though: here are a few more resources for you to try: