• January 19, 2023

How Long Do Websites Keep Ip Addresses

How Long Does Your ISP Store IP-Address Logs?

How Long Does Your ISP Store IP-Address Logs?

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The ongoing avalanche of mass-BitTorrent lawsuits reveal that IP-addresses can get people into a heap of trouble and it’s not unusual for Internet subscribers to be wrongfully accused of sharing copyrighted material. This begs the question, for how long are these IP-addresses stored? To find out, TorrentFreak asked some of the largest Internet providers in the US about their logging practices.
Currently there are no mandatory data retention laws in the United States. Unlike in Europe, Internet providers are not required to track IP-address assignments so these can be linked to specific subscriber accounts.
The question is, for how long will this remain the case, especially considering SOPA author Lamar Smith’s introduction of a new bill last year. Under his Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act, ISPs will be required to keep IP-address logs for a minimum of a year.
For now, however, no logs are required by law.
Earlier this week the CEO of Sonic called on fellow ISPs to protect the privacy of subscribers and purge logs after two weeks like his company does. One of the reasons cited was the massive amount of civil subpoenas that are, ironically enough, often sent by “Internet pornographers” in mass-BitTorrent lawsuits.
A refreshing stance, and one that makes users of other providers curious about the logging practices of their ISPs. Unfortunately, nearly all providers are very secretive about their data retention policies. Unlike VPN providers, all admit to logging IP-addresses, but how long they retain them remains a mystery.
In an attempt to find out more, TorrentFreak contacted several large ISPs with the seemingly simple question; How long does “company X” store IP-address assignment logs? Our findings are detailed below.
Those who value their privacy and hide their IP-address can of course always sign up with a VPN provider, one that doesn’t keep logs.

Time Warner Cable
Time Warner informed us that they store IP-address logs for up to 6 months.
Interestingly, the company is the only ISP we contacted that also posts information regarding its data retention on its website.
Comcast
Comcast did not respond to our inquiries but has mentioned a 180 day retention policy for IP-addresses in BitTorrent-related court documents. On some occasions cases have been dismissed because logs were no longer available, meaning that alleged infringers could not be identified.
The 180 day policy is also mentioned in the Comcast Law Enforcement Handbook that leaked in 2007.
Verizon
Verizon’s Privacy Office informed TorrentFreak by email that information about IP address assignments is retained for 18 months, the longest of all ISPs who responded to our request.
Qwest/Century
The Qwest/CenturyLink Law Enforcement Support Group informed us that IP-address logs are kept for approximately 1 year. As is also the case with other Internet Providers, Qwest/Century noted that personal details are only disclosed when the company receives a subpoena.
Cox
Cox failed to reply to our inquiry, but previously it has mentioned a 6 month retention policy for IP-address assignments in the press. In Cox’s “Lawful Intercept Worksheet” the company also mentions that logs are kept for “up to 6 months. ”
AT&T
AT&T’s IP-address logging practices are not public. Initially the company did not reply to out inquiry, but upon publishing AT&T’s Privacy Policy Team promised to get back to us as soon as they find out how long logs are kept. We will update this article as soon as their response arrives.
Update (2014): AT&T has never responded but this document posted by ACLU suggest that they retain data for about a year.
Charter
Charter lists no information about their IP-address retention in its privacy policy. However, a reader alerted us to an answer on Charter’s website where it states that residential IP-addresses are retained for one year.
Update 2021: Charter currently retains IP-address logs for six months, unless it’s legally required to keep the data any longer.
The ISPs below were added after publication.
– DSL Extreme says they retain radius IP logs for two weeks on their DSL service.
– Teksavvy (Canada) keeps IP-assignment logs for two years 90 days.
– Eastlink (Canada) keeps IP-assignment logs for one year
– Start Communications (Canada) keeps IP-assignment logs for 90 days
As far as we are aware, this is the first overview of IP-logging practices of the largest U. S. ISPs. However, we need help to make the list more complete as not all the providers we contacted replied.
We encourage all readers to tweet, mail or phone their Internet providers to get a more complete overview, including ISPs not listed above. This is not limited to providers in the U. Feel free to forward us the answers so we can expand this article.
Do Websites Track and Record IP Addresses? (with pictures)

Do Websites Track and Record IP Addresses? (with pictures)

An IP or Internet Protocol address is a unique numerical address assigned to a computer as it logs on to the Internet. The IP address can be mapped back to a specific individual with help from Internet Service Provider (ISP) records. Virtually every website on the World Wide Web (Web) will track and record IP addresses as visitors click through the site’s pages. Two primary reasons for this are security and site improvement.
Visitors are tracked by a website even when they don’t register or log in.
Every website is hosted on a server. When a visitor clicks his or her way to a website, the user’s browser sends a request to the server for a webpage at the location. The server returns the webpage to the IP address on the request. The page subsequently loads on the visitor’s computer screen.
Gauging the popularity of webpages is a common reason to track IP addresses.
If the server is bogged down by traffic (handling many requests at once), pages might load slower for visitors. In the case of an overload of simultaneous requests, the server will “crash” or go down, leaving the site temporarily unavailable. This can be a form of attack, called a Denial Of Service (DoS) attack. If the attack comes from a network of infected computers called a botnet, it is referred to a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack.
A malicious hacker might infiltrate a Web server in an attempt to gain information from protected databases that hold customer data such as credit card numbers. So-called “script kiddies” might simply want to malign a site by uploading images or text to the website.
For these reasons and more, websites track and record IP addresses as a matter of course, storing the numerical addresses in server logs. Each request from the IP address is recorded, along with a time stamp. Older data is routinely purged from logs to make room for newer data. The length of time a website holds on to IP logs is variable, configured by the site’s administrator, and dependent upon many factors.
Websites also track and record IP addresses to learn which pages are most popular. The site can build on popular pages to increase site traffic. Tracking IP addresses across the site can also reveal traffic leaks. For example, a page that provides information about a product might have a link to a remote site with additional information. If server logs reveal that a large amount of traffic is clicking through to the other site, the administrator can improve the page’s content or design to keep traffic longer.
Website policies generally refer to IP addresses as “anonymous” data. However, with the help of computer cookies there are many ways for websites to link identities to IP addresses, even when the address is dynamic, or changes with each Web session. Many websites also contain “Web bugs” or a few pixels linked to an advertising firm that can track and record IP addresses across the Web, from one site to another, surreptitiously compiling detailed surfing profiles of individuals over a period of months or years.
A visitor need not register at a website to be tracked and profiled. Typically all visits to a site are time-stamped and recorded to a cookie, if cookies are enabled in the Web browser. All pages and links visited within the site are commonly added to the cookie (in addition to the sever logs). While server logs are purged, cookies are commonly retained. Deleting a cookie from a user’s computer does not remove the duplicate cookie on the Web server. Upon a subsequent visit to the site, the server might “recognize” the surfer by various system and software data that browsers routinely hand over; even when the surfer is careful to allow temporary cookies only, or no cookies.
Due to these concerns, many savvy netizens prefer to surf anonymously. In this case a proxy server stands between the surfer’s computer and the Web. All browser requests are sent to the proxy which relays them to the Internet. Web servers return pages to the proxy’s IP address, logging its address instead. The proxy receives the page, forwarding it on to the surfer, acting as a go-between. Web servers have no record of the surfer’s IP address, (however, the proxy server will track and record IP addresses).
If using a proxy service, it is important to know if it is truly anonymous. Some proxy servers forward the requester’s IP address in their headers, defeating the purpose. Only anonymous proxy servers hide this information. Some proxy’s claim to be anonymous but are not, so personal checking through available proxy tools is advisable. Using international proxies can also increase anonymity because the proxy’s logs will not be subject to jurisdiction of the netizen’s home country. That said, proxy services are designed to help maintain freedom and privacy for legal activity, not protect illegal activity.
The Firefox™ browser has an add-on plug-in called FoxyProxy which allows users to keep a list of proxies and easily switch between them to keep records from accumulating on just one proxy server. One can also link proxies, placing two or three proxy servers in a chain, however, this slows surfing. Also, if one of the proxies is down requests get lost. Additionally, there are various shareware programs for proxy surfing.
Web-based anonymous services allow visitors to surf the Web through an onsite interface. Surfing from the site, requested pages appear in a window. The only IP address revealed to the Internet is the website’s own address. But once again, the website itself will record and track IP addresses of those who use its services.
There are many ways for websites to link identities to IP addresses.
Can I Ask My ISP for Internet History? - Lifewire

Can I Ask My ISP for Internet History? – Lifewire

What to Know
You can’t get your browsing history from your ISP, but there are other ways to view your search history and protect your privacy U. S. government mandates that ISPs keep records of customers’ internet history for at least 90 you don’t want your ISP (or the government or hackers) to track your internet history, invest in a virtual private network (VPN).
This article explains why you can’t, generally speaking, obtain your browsing history from your ISP.
Can I Ask My ISP for My Internet History?
While it’s true that your ISP tracks your internet history, most ISPs will not give out this information, even to the customer. Nonetheless, it never hurts to ask. The only way to know for sure is to check with your provider.
Getty Images/Inspurify Images
Can My ISP See My Internet History?
Your ISP keeps records of the websites you visit and the files you download. All ISPs have a privacy policy explaining how customer data is used, stored, and secured. Depending on how the website is encrypted (whether through HTTP or HTTPS), your ISP may only be able to see the domain names of sites you visit, or they might see the entire URL.
Most ISPs claim to keep your data confidential, so no one is actively reviewing your internet history. However, if asked for records from the government, they must comply with law enforcement. For example, there have been cases of ISP records being used to prosecute online piracy.
How Long Does an ISP Keep Browsing History?
In the United States, the Electronic Communication Transactional Records Act of 1996 requires internet service providers to maintain all customer records for at least 90 days. The requirement is even longer in some other countries. It’s common practice for ISPs to discard most of that data after this time, although they may keep records related to billing.
Review your ISP’s privacy policy to ensure your data isn’t being sold to third parties for marketing purposes.
How Do I Check My Internet Service History?
Although your ISP most likely won’t hand over your internet history, there are ways to check your browser’s search history. If you have children, consider downloading some parental control software to prevent kids from seeing adult sites. If you’re concerned about mysterious online purchases appearing on your account, you should contact your bank.
FAQ
Can parents ask their ISP for their children’s browsing history?
It depends. As with requesting an ISP for your browsing history, most ISPs will not give out this information, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. If parents are concerned about their child’s browsing history, they could opt to view browsing history on the web browsers on their devices.
How do you hide your internet history from your ISP?
There are several ways to obscure your internet history from your ISP. You can use a private browser such as Tor, use a VPN to bypass the ISP, or use the HTTPS Everywhere browser extension to increase web browser security.
Can ISPs sell your internet history?
It depends on where you live. In the U. S., ISPs can collect and sell non-identifying data. If you’re concerned, Apple and Cloudfare are proposing a new DNS standard that would bypass your ISP so it wouldn’t be able to see and sell your history.
Thanks for letting us know!

Frequently Asked Questions about how long do websites keep ip addresses

Do websites keep IP addresses forever?

The IP address can be mapped back to a specific individual with help from Internet Service Provider (ISP) records. Virtually every website on the World Wide Web (Web) will track and record IP addresses as visitors click through the site’s pages. … Visitors are tracked by a website even when they don’t register or log in.

How long do websites keep IP data?

The U.S. government mandates that ISPs keep records of customers’ internet history for at least 90 days. If you don’t want your ISP (or the government or hackers) to track your internet history, invest in a virtual private network (VPN).Jun 2, 2021

How long do companies keep IP address records?

It requires Internet providers to retain any “record” in their possession for 90 days “upon the request of a governmental entity.” Because Internet addresses remain a relatively scarce commodity, ISPs tend to allocate them to customers from a pool based on whether a computer is in use at the time.Jul 11, 2011

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