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To what extent is IP geolocation accuracy guaranteed?

geo location
5 minutes

When it comes to extracting IP location data from users, IP geolocation accuracy is something many people are curious about. Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to this question.

The truth is that the precision of geolocation data often depends on a number of factors, which even includes the depth of location data you’re after and the IP database you choose.

If you’ve had questions and grappled with IP geolocation accuracy, our post helps you understand this subject better. Access precise and accurate location data by going to the right sources and watching out for misleading data!

IP geolocation databases

How precise does the geolocation data need to be?

When it comes to sourcing location data through a user’s IP address, one thing you need to know is this: If the data you’re requesting is more generic, you’re likely to receive more accurate answers.

Why is this the case?

This is because, often, there are complex factors that regulate IP address allocation and registration in each country. Sometimes, the data may even be based on the location of the provider and not the user. More on this later.

Are your users using proxies or VPNs?

Many internet users, nowadays, are careful about who accesses their location data and are more sensitive about their privacy. According to GlobalWebIndex, as many as 410 million people worldwide are using software to browse the internet in anonymity.

As such, the success of your efforts to access location data may depend on whether users are masking their IP addresses.

While there are many ways to do so, using proxies and VPNs are some of the easiest methods. Proxies form a sort of bridge or buffer when it comes to internet traffic flow. They intercept user activity and take control of their connection. A proxy server will then mirror their online activity.

Websites being accessed, therefore - which may include your website - interpret the proxy server as the original server or stream of activity.

VPNs or Virtual Private Networks are similar to proxies in the sense that they mask IP addresses. They also encrypt internet traffic and allow users to access geo-blocked content. VPNs essentially work by assigning users new IP addresses, which can mislead geolocation data providers.

VPNs are also more sophisticated in terms of security compared to proxies. The use of either will prevent you from receiving accurate geolocation data.

Is registry data validated?

Another factor that determines IP geolocation accuracy is how well registries validate the data they receive. Sometimes, certain information connected with a particular IP address may simply be wrong, which undoubtedly reduces its usefulness.

Another factor that determines IP geolocation accuracy is how well registries validate the data they receive. Sometimes, certain information connected with a particular IP address may simply be wrong, which undoubtedly reduces its usefulness.

What are the naming practices/policies followed in a particular area?

Another factor that’s important when it comes to IP geolocation accuracy is location naming codes. Depending on the area each user lives in, you will find that cities may be referenced in different ways within certain hostnames

To ensure accuracy, therefore, city identifiers need to be reviewed properly before this information is incorporated into an IP geolocation database.

What kind of device is the user using?

On the whole, it’s harder to ensure IP geolocation accuracy if the users in question are using mobile phones.

While it’s not impossible to get your hands on this kind of data, it’s harder because mobile phones and their users are likely to change locations frequently. Additionally, many mobile carriers use centralised gateways through which user traffic reaches the internet.

This means that the user may end up geolocating to the city in which the gateway in question is being hosted, instead of where they actually are.

Is IP geolocation accuracy more of a hit than a miss?

In spite of everything we’ve pointed out, the truth is that for the most part, IP geolocation accuracy is more of a hit and is certainly good enough for a majority of business and marketing activity.paragraph

The factors discussed in this post are out of anyone’s control and, therefore, applies to other methods of geolocation data extraction. All things considered, IP geolocation is accurate and reliable if you go to reputed IP geolocation databases for your information.

2th June 2019

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