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GeoIP – IP address location technology

Wouldn’t it be great if you could know the geographical location of people visiting your site/server? You can! GeoIP can be used to get this information and do lots more. There are many ways to use it, but the most preferred way is to use it as an Apache module. If Apache on your server has been set up to load dynamic modules, then you wont have to recompile Apache again. An Apache module for GeoIP mod_geoip can be installed to provide this additional functionality.

GeoIP is a database which maps IP addresses to their respective locations; including the country, ISP and city. Moreover, APIs are available to access the GeoIP database using C, Java and PHP too, so you can use the data in your application for further processing.

More information on GeoIP can be found at its site here.

Leaving out the technical details, lets see where GeoIP can be used:

1. If you have target web-pages for a country, GeoIP will utilize the visitor’s information and display the relevant page. Wouldn’t it be great to provide UK relevant pages to visitors from UK and US relevant pages to visitors from the US?

2. For security auditing, you will be able to identify parts of the world from which you have received the most number of hack attempts. If you do not expect visitors from that part of the world, block IP addresses from that country in your firewall.

3. You can run geo-targeted ads. After all, what is the use of displaying an ad for a Spanish store to a US customer?

4. Worried that your visitors are mainly behind proxy servers? GeoIP has a solution for that too, “minFraud“. Developed by MaxMind(also the creators of GeoIP), minFraud maintains a history of an IP address’ reputation, and if it is a known proxy.

5. Have you seen YouTube limiting certain videos to a certain country or a region? This is called Digital Rights Management (DRM) and yes GeoIP makes this possible for you too.


So hopefully you will give GeoIP a try and let us know how it helped you or has already helped you. Tell us your story in the comment section below.

About the Author

It has been four months and some odd days since Vicky Karmakar joined the Poornam family.
A graduate of Information Technology branch, Vicky has always been interested in exploring the newer ventures of the Open source technology with an acute inclination towards network security. He also harbors a passion towards writing poetry and cooking culinary delicacies.

Co-Authored by Hamish O. Lawrence

Bobcares is a server management company that helps businesses deliver uninterrupted and secure online services. Our engineers manage close to 51,500 servers that include virtualized servers, cloud infrastructure, physical server clusters, and more.