Do you know your site visitors carry information beyond just their IP addresses? This information benefits many businesses and has the power to skyrocket their revenue. However, this data isn’t readily available. You need 3rd-party services that maintain geolocation databases and provide API services. Fortunately, many free IP geolocation database providers make geolocation more affordable. 

Read on to learn everything you need to know! Let’s start with a brief overview of IP geolocation.

An illustrated image showing a cloud database.

What Is IP Geolocation?

IP geolocation is a technology that determines the geographical location of a device based on its IP address. Each device online has a unique IP address, which you can link to a physical location. 

This means that by looking at an IP address, we can figure out where the device is in use. IP geolocation can determine the country, region, city, zip code, and specific coordinates.

Here’s how IP geolocation works.

When a device, like a computer or smartphone, connects to the internet, it gets a unique IP address. Internet service providers (ISPs) distribute these IP addresses in blocks and allocate them to specific regions, cities, or countries.

IP geolocation services maintain large databases that map these IP addresses to geographic locations. So, when you want to find the location of an IP address, you query this database.

The database then looks up the IP address you want and retrieves the associated location data. 

Let’s dig a little deeper into these databases.

An illustrated image showing multiple data servers

What’s Inside GeoIP Databases?

IP geolocation databases are collections of data that link IP addresses to specific geographical locations. These databases have various types of location data associated with IP addresses. 

This data typically includes:

  • Country
  • Region
  • City
  • ZIP code
  • Latitude and longitude
  • ISP name
  • And a host of other miscellaneous information

The data in IP geolocation databases come from several sources. Some of these sources include:

  • Regional internet registries (RIRs): These organizations allocate IP addresses to ISPs and maintain records of the addresses they assign to different regions.
  • ISPs: ISPs assign IP addresses to their customers and can provide location information based on their records.
  • Network information services: These services gather data from various sources about where IP addresses are in use.
  • User polling: Some companies improve data accuracy by directly polling users about their locations.
  • Data mining: Companies use automated processes to collect data from online activities and sources.

Next, let’s look at some free database options available so that you can decide what’s the best free IP geolocation database.

Image showing multiple location points

Best Free IP Geolocation Database

Here’s a list of free IP geolocation database providers:

  • Maxmind’s GeoLite2 Database: MaxMind provides a free IP geolocation database, which updates twice a week. They offer Country, City, and ASN databases, with web services available too. Users get 1000 daily IP lookups per service with a free account.
  • IPGeolocation: While IPgeolocation doesn’t provide a free geolocation IP database, it offers free API access to it. It provides country, city, currency, and more details from IPv4 and IPv6 addresses in JSON, XML, or REST formats. They have an average response time of less than 40ms.
  • Abstract IP Geolocation API: An efficient Geolocation service with global coverage, fast response rates, and reliable uptime. On the free plan, you have access to 1000 requests, which is usable at a rate of 1 request per second.
  • IP2C: A rather simple service that takes IP addresses and returns the associated country code and the country name. The good thing is that the service is fully free and has a 99.95% uptime. There’s also no limit on the amount of lookup requests per user.

Now, let’s take a look at the IP2location geolocation database.

IP2Location Geolocation Database

IP2Location deserves a separate mention for providing three GeoIP databases, all for free. These free databases include

  • IP2Location LITE: Free IP geolocation database containing country, region, city, lat/long, ZIP code, and time zone for IP addresses.
  • IP2Proxy LITE: Detects open proxies, proxy type, country, city, ISP, domain, usage type, ASN, days last seen, and residential proxy.
  • ASN LITE: Free database that translates IP address to autonomous system (AS) and autonomous system number (ASN).

While part of the open-source version, these databases may have some shortcomings, like limited accuracy and smaller database size. For more details on the differences between the commercial edition and the open-source version, you can visit their official website.

An illustrated image showing location sharing among multiple individuals.

Top 5 Uses of IP Geolocation Databases

Here are five major use cases of GeoIP databases.

1. Location-Based Marketing

Location-based marketing uses GeoIP databases to send targeted ads to users based on their location. 

Retailers and restaurants attract nearby customers with special offers, like a coffee shop sending a discount coupon to people nearby. 

This strategy, called geotargeting, increases foot traffic and boosts sales by reaching the right audience at the right time.

Image showing an individual using Google Maps

2. Navigation and Route Optimization

An IP address database powers navigation and mapping apps like Google Maps. It provides them with real-time directions, traffic updates, and turn-by-turn navigation. 

Businesses such as logistics companies use these tools to optimize delivery routes. 

Moreover, ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft rely on geolocation to match drivers with passengers and give accurate ETAs.

3. Customized User Experience (UX)

Websites use geolocation data to improve UX by delivering relevant content. This helps them perform actions like: 

  • Displaying content in the user’s local language 
  • Showing prices in the local currency (geo pricing)
  • Offering region-specific products and promotions
  • Auto-filling addresses in online forms

This convenience reduces bounce rates and makes the checkout process smoother and quicker.

4. Geofencing 

Geofencing uses geolocation to create virtual boundaries for specific areas. Companies can restrict access to their websites based on user location if they operate in specific regions only. This helps reduce unwanted traffic from burdening their servers.

Streaming services, like Spotify, also use geofencing to comply with licensing agreements by limiting content availability to certain regions. 

5. Fraud Prevention and Risk Management

Businesses and organizations use geolocation technology for security purposes, too.

For instance, geolocation can aid fraud prevention by detecting unusual transaction locations.

In addition, geolocation enables geoblocking, which can prevent DDoS attacks by blocking traffic from specific regions.

Geolocation Services by geoPlugin

A free IP geolocation database can have many benefits for your business. If you are not using a geolocation service and your business relies on user location, you’re missing out big time.

geoPlugin API lets you seamlessly detect visitors’ location and collect a host of location information. It can also perform currency and price conversion for your e-commerce website. 

So don’t miss out. Sign up today for a more personalized approach to business growth!

author avatar
Mehal Rashid
Mehal is a Computer Science graduate who specializes in writing SEO articles about Tech, AI, and cybersecurity. In his free time, you will find Mehal in a boxing ring or playing snooker.