A geo IP database is a database of IP addresses with their locations tagged.
Geo IP databases are used to perform geolocation using an IP address.
An IP address is the unique number given to every device on the internet.
IP addresses serve a similar purpose to phone numbers, and allow computers across the internet to communicate with each other.
Geo IP databases are made by combining data from:
This process is a manual one.
The IP addresses themselves do not indicate anything about the geolocation of an IP.
There are several free databases available:
Personally, I recommend taking a look at IPGeolocation.io first, as it’s a fully wrapped API service, with a free tier and reasonably priced thereafter, which will be suitable for most applications.
IPGeolocation.io is an API & database service. Using the API, it has the advantage that you can perform a geoip lookup in the browser (say, for example, with serverless or Gatsby.js applications). Alternatively, they also provide a geo IP database you can install in your own application if geo IP lookups are latency sensitive.
Abstract IP Geolocation API is another easy to implement and maintain API with clear documentation. Geolocation data is updated regularly and data accuracy is constantly improved. They offer 20,000 free requests per month. You will need to register and obtain an API key to use it.
GeoIP databases are only as accurate as the data inside them.
Generally speaking, country level databases are very accurate.
GeoIP databases don’t carry data for servers and cloud providers. This can be an easy way to spot ‘bots’ or malicious users, as their IP cannot be geolocated.
City level databases vary in accuracy depending on the region. Well developed countries like the United States and Europe tend to have reasonably good data, while less developed countries are still inaccurate.
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