Using PHP/cURL to grok your public IP address

I had the occasion to create a PHP page that displays the server’s current public IP address. Not necessarily a good thing to display. But, I have several internal web sites on a development server where the host names are not available on a public DNS server. Displaying the server’s current public IP address is handy to prevent needing to nslookup my dyndns host name when altering my host file.

So, here is how I did it:

$ch = curl_init();
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_URL, "");
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, 1);
$output = curl_exec($ch);

$pattern = '/Your IP:  ([d]{1,3}.[d]{1,3}.[d]{1,3}.[d]{1,3})</span>/';
$matches = array();
preg_match($pattern, $output, $matches);

$yourIP = 'N/A';
if (count($matches) > 1) {
  $yourIP = $matches[1];

What I’m doing here is using cURL to get the page at and then using a regular expressing to get the IP address returned in that page.

Albeit not completely fault-tolerant, as the web site can change it’s structure, but this type of quick’n’dirty screen scraping was what I needed at the time.