Saturday, January 16, 2010

Get real IP from request in Java

Simply getting the IP of the remote client in Java is an easy task. Assuming we have a request instance, we can simply invoke the “getRemoteAddr” method:


The problem, is that the IP we get is not always the correct IP. For example if our server is behind a load balancer, the method “request.getRemoteAddr” returns the IP of the load balancer and not the IP of the remote client. Another common example, is that the client is behind some proxy or even several proxies. The IP we will get will not be the correct IP.

Fortunately, In most of the cases when a request passes in a load balancer or a proxy, the IP of the remote client is passed in the header of the request. The header key most of the time is: x-forwarded-for. The header value can be one or more IP addresses. The first address, is the address of the remote client. The second or any other IP is the IP of the proxy on the way. The IP of the last proxy is the IP returned in: “request.getRemoteAddr”. For example, if we have 3 proxies, the request header will look like:

x-forwarded-for: client1, proxy1, proxy2

The IP of the client if the first IP. The IP of the third proxy will be returned when calling to: “request.getRemoteAddr”.

There is one none-common case that may happen. The first IP can be an IP of a private network (for example, an IP that starts with “192” or “10”). I such case we will want to take the second IP.

Writing a Java code that will get the IP from the request is quite easy. We will use assistance from code of these older posts: Convert IP String to numeric representation and numeric representation to IP String in Java, Test if IPv4 belongs to a private network address. The general logic of the code is:

  • Look for “x-forwarded-for” header.
  • If header exists, get the first IP.
  • Check that:
    • IP is valid.
    • IP is not a private IP.
  • If IP passes these 2 tests. Return this IP. If not move to the next IP and do the same test and so on.
  • If header doesn’t exist. Return the IP from calling “request.getRemoteAddr”.

Let’s see how it looks in Java:

import org.apache.commons.lang.text.StrTokenizer;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest;
import java.util.regex.Pattern;
 * @author Bashan
public class IpUtils {
  public static final String _255 = "(?:25[0-5]|2[0-4][0-9]|[01]?[0-9][0-9]?)";
  public static final Pattern pattern = Pattern.compile("^(?:" + _255 + "\\.){3}" + _255 + "$");
  public static String longToIpV4(long longIp) {
    int octet3 = (int) ((longIp >> 24) % 256);
    int octet2 = (int) ((longIp >> 16) % 256);
    int octet1 = (int) ((longIp >> 8) % 256);
    int octet0 = (int) ((longIp) % 256);
    return octet3 + "." + octet2 + "." + octet1 + "." + octet0;
  public static long ipV4ToLong(String ip) {
    String[] octets = ip.split("\\.");
    return (Long.parseLong(octets[0]) << 24) + (Integer.parseInt(octets[1]) << 16) +
        (Integer.parseInt(octets[2]) << 8) + Integer.parseInt(octets[3]);
  public static boolean isIPv4Private(String ip) {
    long longIp = ipV4ToLong(ip);
    return (longIp >= ipV4ToLong("") && longIp <= ipV4ToLong("")) ||
        (longIp >= ipV4ToLong("") && longIp <= ipV4ToLong("")) ||
        longIp >= ipV4ToLong("") && longIp <= ipV4ToLong("");
  public static boolean isIPv4Valid(String ip) {
    return pattern.matcher(ip).matches();
  public static String getIpFromRequest(HttpServletRequest request) {
    String ip;
    boolean found = false;
    if ((ip = request.getHeader("x-forwarded-for")) != null) {
      StrTokenizer tokenizer = new StrTokenizer(ip, ",");
      while (tokenizer.hasNext()) {
        ip = tokenizer.nextToken().trim();
        if (isIPv4Valid(ip) && !isIPv4Private(ip)) {
          found = true;
    if (!found) {
      ip = request.getRemoteAddr();
    return ip;

Note that the class “StrTokenizer” used to iterate the IPs of the header, is the Apache version from Apache commons lang.

You can download the class here.


  1. How i call public static String getIpFromRequest(HttpServletRequest request) ??

    example i want to show the ip to:"Ip address: "+getIpFromRequest(?));

  2. "JavaProgrammer" I think you got a little bit confused. This method if for server side. When you are on the server side you get the HttpServletRequest from the server. "" seems like a client side method (Swing maybe?). On the client side you have to get the ip of the machine using the InetAddress class.

  3. Thanks for the useful code. Exactly what I was after!

  4. actually the code will get infinte recursion of the header (x-forwarded-for ) does not exist

  5. Oops... pls ignore last comment, code is just fine

  6. thanks a lot! just what i was looking for

  7. Great and articulate article.

  8. Good Article, Thanks Joseph

  9. Nice article!

    Here are the headers that apache uses