IP to Geolocation: Expectations vs. Reality

A man analysing IP to geolocation data

IP to geolocation is an incredibly helpful technology for companies that want to give their users a personalized experience. By using IP to geolocation data, companies can customize the content on their website for customers from a specific continent, county, or city. They can also show different product offers to customers in different locations, and deliver more relevant content by redirecting users to pages in their own language. This, in turn, improves your engagement and conversion rates. In addition, IP-based geolocation helps you prevent fraud and makes your targeted advertising more effective.  

Due to its many benefits, IP to geolocation is essential for companies that want to get the most out of their digital marketing efforts. That is why most companies nowadays already use an IP to Geolocation API to get geolocation data. Unfortunately, not all of those companies get the results they expect in terms of accuracy, coverage, data points, scalability. Let’s look at why.

What is an IP to Geolocation API?

An IP to geolocation API identifies the location of a smartphone, desktop PC, or laptop, based on its IP address. It then returns detailed data points back to you for analysis. Generally, the data you collect includes a user’s country, region, and city. Some APIs also provide latitude, longitude, postal code, time zone, and currency of a particular location.

IP to geolocation APIs for websites show the location of a device site visitors are using to connect to the internet. This allows you to provide a customized user experience on your website.

The data sources of IP to geolocation APIs include:

Regional Internet Registries

Regional Internet Registries, or RIRs, are not-for-profit organizations that manage the distribution of Internet number resources. These resources include IP addresses from different regions around the world. RIRs also deal with domain registrations.

Browser Geolocations

Browser Geolocations are a collection of locations of users who allow access to their location while they use their web browsers.

User Submitted Data

Some APIs also use location data submitted by users or location data linked to a specific IP address. This includes data collected by different companies when their customers provide their location while purchasing something online. It also includes information collected when users enter their city or postal code while signing in to an online app like a weather site – this data is linked to the user’s IP address.

Internet Service Providers

Some Internet service providers or ISPs agree to share information. This is a great data source that helps IP address to geolocation APIs improve the accuracy of their data. This is because ISPs can provide the best information about their IP addresses and wh is using them.

What Users Expect From IP to Geolocation and what’s the Reality?

Accuracy

When it comes to data accuracy such as country, city, and region provided by an IP to geolocation API, users naturally expect to get an exact location against an IP. But not all APIs provide accurate data. This is because different APIs use different data sources to collect IP to geolocation data. Although there are many APIs out there that provide around 95% accurate country data, they are only 55-75% accurate when it comes to IP to city data and only 50% accurate when it comes to IP to region data. This is especially true if a user is not located in a big city or metropolitan area.

In addition, people can now easily use fake IP addresses or VPNs that hide their location. Many IP to geolocation APIs are unable to differentiate between a fake and genuine IP address, so they report incorrect locations.  For companies, relying too heavily on potentially incorrect geolocation data can result in poor decision-making.

That’s where IP to geolocation APIs like ipstack, come into play. With ipstack you can expect accurate location data because it uses rock-solid sources, like large ISPs, to provide precise and consistent data.

Coverage

Most people subscribe to an IP to geolocation API, believing they will get the location data of any user from any part of the world. However, different IP to geolocation APIs have different coverage capacities. They cover different IP address spaces, which is why it’s always important to know whether the API you’re choosing matches your coverage requirements. That said, there are APIs, like ipstack, that cover a wide range of unique locations in thousands of cities around the world, so you can trust them to give you accurate location data for almost any user.

Security

Some IP addresses pose risks and threats that can harm your website. Unfortunately,  assessing security threats originating from risky IP addresses isn’t something every API can do. ipstack, however, identifies potential threats to your website by detecting proxies and crawlers and protects your site or web application.

Features

Not all IP to geolocation API are created equally. The general perception is that geolocation APIs give you time zones, latitudes, and longitudes in addition to county, city, and region details. Although almost all IP to geolocation APIs provide country, city, and region data, not every API offers additional data points. You need to be aware of the features/data an IP to geolocation API provides to evaluate if it matches your expectations and requirements.

Is there an IP to Geolocation API that Can Meet Your Expectations?

Despite the fact that what most IP to Geolocation APIs offer is different from what users expect, it’s not impossible to find an IP to Geolocation API that can meet your expectations. ipstack is a real-time IP to Geolocation API that many companies worldwide use for its high accuracy, excellent coverage and scalability, and advanced feature set.

ipstack uses only credible sources, like large ISPs, to provide the most accurate location data available. It also covers more than 2 million unique locations in more than 200 000 cities around the globe. Finally, it gives you 1 million requests per day, so it can scale with your userbase.

When it comes to features, ipstack offers all the features you could want in an IP to Geolocation API. In addition to country, region, and city, longitude, and latitude coordinates against an IP address, ipstack comes with a currency module. This gives you accurate information about your user’s primary currency, no matter where they are. A time zone module also gives you the time zone your website visitors are located and a security module to protect your website or web app from threats and risks.

Ready to personalize user experience on your website based on your users’ location? Head over to ipstack and get the most accurate geolocation data today!