Have you ever tried to visit Amazon.in from the US? Do you see how Amazon suggests you should go to Amazon.com as it’s the site which can serve you better? How do they do it?
Whenever you connect your computer or any other device to the internet, you need to have a public IP address to communicate with other internet devices. Most of the time this work is done by your router at home, which gets a public IP address and shares it with all the devices at home.
What Is IP Geolocation?
Many organizations use Public IP address to provide more customized services to their customer based on their location.
This method is capable of finding out the location of the user up to a decent amount of accuracy, but it requires the assistance of GeoIP database. IP Geolocation databases contain a lot more information about that public IP, and you can use them to query and find out more information about your users.
Along with the database, the system requires a good knowledge of network protocols and tools which are collectively known as API or Application Interface Software to function as desired. You will need the information at the runtime like Amazon needs to know your location as soon as you reach to their site.
So you can use the API to query the IP address and get more information about it by using the API’s. An excellent set of IP Location API’s is provided by ipgeolocation.io. You can easily integrate their services within your web application or site to provide location-specific services.
What Are the Other Ways
IP Geolocation is not the only option to determine the location of your users. Now with the advancement of technology, you can use some hardware-based solutions like GPS. Another option is html5 geolocation API. However, both of these methods require the user’s consent to share their location, and most of the users are not willing to share this information for privacy concerns.
These methods provide more accurate location information which is not based on the external database but work only on the limited hardware. For Example, people accessing from a computer might not have GPS installed, and IP Geolocation might be able to provide more accurate information.
You might also need some other information like internet provider, currency, etc. It can be done with GPS information, but GeoIP API’s can provide this information directly.
GeoIP should be a default choice to identify the location, so if no other method works, your system should fall back to IP Geolocation.
How Does GeoIP Work
The GeoIP services are mostly premium services which need a monthly subscription. These services are heavily dependent on various databases to track the geolocation of a particular computer.
The entire process consists of a significant role played by data mining. The certain patterns in large databases are discovered using statistical models and database systems.
The primary requirement for a GeoIP system is the database can be obtained from many sources that know your IP address. So, this database will quite easily be available in the regional Internet registries.
Now, to gain further accuracy, it is essential to get more data, and this is what data mining accomplishes. The mining location may include a website where that asks for the IP of your computer or some other app that asks for your precise or approximate location.
Both these processes are taken help of to get higher accuracy in the process of geolocation using GeoIP.
How To Use IP Geolocation
There are many GeoIP services available on the market which either provide the GeoIP database or API services to their hosted database. You should decide whether you want to host your database or get the details at runtime. Both approaches have their pros and cons.
You should look for services like IP Geolocation which provides extensive database at a nominal rate. Their service is almost free for small to medium business, and you can keep upgrading your plan as you grow.
Common Use of GeoIP
There can be many different uses of GeoIP location as you can tailor your services according to users location. Let’s check some of them here.
Redirect Users To Location Specific Offering
We have just seen an example of Amazon which suggests users about their local Amazon Store. This is one of the most prominent uses of IP Location.
This is a good solution for business which has different interfaces and offering for their customers based on their location. You can use GeoIP to identify the user’s location and redirect them to Country / State specific offerings.
Block Services in Specific Region
Let’s take an example of services like Amazon Prime, Netflix, etc. which are only available in particular part of the world. What’s stopping them from working in another part of the world?
You can block the users to access based on their GeoIP location. This is a good way to launch your services in a phased manner. It makes sure you don’t get too much load on your servers.
Multiple Currency Support
This is a good solution if you are operating an e-commerce site in multiple currency zones. If we only support one currency, our users have to shell out extra money regarding foreign exchange charges.
So you can add a multiple currencies support and automatically transfer your user on the right currency page. IP Geolocation API provides the currency information along with other information. So you can efficiently use that information to decide which currency you should use.
Another good use of IP Location information is creating a multi-lingual site. You can use the location information and redirect the user to the language based on their location.
IP Geolocation API service can help you while implementing it. You can get the language options from the API call and present that to the user, so they can select the language they want to use.
Handle time zones without problems
Handling time zones can be difficult. By introducing a simple & consistent Timezone API, IP Geolocation now allows you to easily overcome this problem. It provides current time, date, year, time zone and geolocation information from either timezone, lat/lang, country, city or IP Address information.
For example, you can pass a timezone as a query parameter to get more information:
$ curl 'https://api.ipgeolocation.io/timezone?apiKey=API_KEY&tz=America/Los_Angeles'
You can learn more about the Timezone API from their official documentation files.
There can be many more case studies based on the functionality of your site which can be implemented with the help of GeoIP. So while deciding how to server users based on particular locations, do look at GeoIP services.