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Your Internet Protocol (IP) address is a unique number of devices use to communicate and identify with each other through the internet network, similar to a mailing address. Data and information pass through from one device to another after identifying the IP address' of both the sender and receiver. Your IP address can be viewed from the public, allowing others to see where you are, where your device is located, and other information that passes through that address.
There are several ways to find geolocation of a user: HTML5 API, Cell Signal and IP Address to name a few. The pairing of an IP address to a geographical location is the method we used to provide geolocation data. There are times when you need to identify where your web visitors are coming from. You might have an eCommerce website, and would like to know where your potential customers are, pre-populate country code on forms, display different language and reduce credit card fraud based on geographic location. Or, you might want to fight against illegal spammers and hackers and would like to locate the source of a problem.
Although it would be nice to be able to find the precise location of a visitor, it is almost impossible to find the exact location of a host given its IP address. However, there are tools available to help identify the approximate location of the host. ARIN Whois database provides a mechanism for finding contact and registration information for IP resources registered with ARIN.
You may also use 3rd party websites such as Geobytes or Dnsstuff to lookup the IP address. The whois lookup will reveal the name of the ISP who owns that IP address, and the country where it is originated from. If you're lucky, you might also find the city of origin. You may also use products developed by 3rd-party companies like Ip2location and MaxMind. Our sister website, findmyip.org also provides geographic information of your IP address.
You may also use reverse DNS to find out the hostname of the IP address, which might give you some clues. Many ISPs, Corporations, and Academic institutions use location as a qualified hostname, although this is not always true. A couple of things to note here: (1) Reverse DNS translation does not always work. It depends on the correct configuration of the ISP's DNS server. (2) The US domain names such as .com, .net and .org does not always imply that the host is located in the United States.
You may use the 'traceroute' command to find clues to the location of the IP address. The names of the routers through which packets flow from your host to the destination host might hint at the geographical path of the final location.
IP-based Geolocation is the mapping of an IP address or MAC address to the real-world geographic location of an Internet-connected computing or a mobile device. Geolocation involves mapping IP address to the country, region (city), latitude/longitude, ISP and domain name among other useful things.
There are a number of commercially available geolocation databases, and their pricing and accuracy may vary. Ip2location, MaxMind, Tamo Soft, DB-IP, Ipinfo, and IPligence offer a fee-based database that can be easily integrated into a web application. Most geolocation database vendors offer APIs and example codes (in ASP, PHP, .NET and Java programming languages) that can be used to retrieve geolocation data from the database. We use a number of commercial databases to offer free geolocation data on our website.
There are also freely available geolocation databases. Vendors offering commercial geolocation databases also offer a Lite or Community edition that provides IP-to-Country mappings. Ip2Country.net and Webhosting.info (Directi) offer a free IP-to-Country database that can be also integrated into your web application. There are companies also offering free web services that can be used to show geolocation of an IP address on your website.
Accuracy of the geolocation database varies depending on which database you use. For the IP-to-country database, some vendors claim to offer 98% to 99% accuracy although typical Ip2Country database accuracy is more like 95%. For IP-to-Region (or City), accuracy range anywhere from 50% to 75% if neighboring cities are treated as correct. Considering that there is no official source of IP-to-Region information, 50+% accuracy is pretty good.
ARIN Whois database provides a mechanism for finding contact and registration information for IP resources registered with ARIN. The IP whois information is available for free, and determining the country from this database is relatively easy. When an organization requires a block of IP addresses, a request is submitted and allocated IP addresses are assigned to a requested ISP.