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deep
deep

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How accurate can IP Geolocation get?

Since I started working at an IP geolocation startup company, I have come to realise just how misunderstood IP geolocation technology is. In my previous startup, we use to derive location data of a website using an IP address with freely available databases. We would often get inaccurate data which we would ignore as an outlier in the data.

Even now many developers use a free database or an API to detect the IP address of a website visitor and redirect them to different web pages. If you have developed an eCommerce site using WordPress + woo-commerce plugins, it is likely that you are using an IP address to detect the location and change the currency format and other content of your website.

I was talking to one of my developer friend about IP geolocation APIs and he simply stated that it was nothing but a simple database lookup on whois database and it isn’t that accurate. However, it is more complex than a simple data lookup.

I am curious to understand what the dev community think about IP geolocation technology and how do you go about implementing an API or a process to identify a user’s location with an IP address.

Top comments (2)

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darkain profile image
Vincent Milum Jr

I'm going to tell you the absolute scariest thing about GeoIP looking. The public databases are intentionally low quality. While not true of EVERY IP address, there are ranges (very large ranges, like /16s) where virtually every address can be identified to within under 100ft. Yes, that accurate. Yes, I know this, because I was the one that discovered an exploit in a particular ISP's handling of information and published the finding some years ago on this topic. I wont repeat it now, because of how dangerous that information is, but these types of highly accurate databases do indeed exist.

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bexdeep_45 profile image
deep Author

Thanks for sharing Vincent.

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