IP geolocation capabilities: Myths and facts

IP geolocation Capabilities: Myths and facts

What is IP Geolocation and how it works

IP geolocation technology is a process used to obtain visitors’ geolocations through a combination of techniques that involve gathering and analyzing data associated with an IP address. Here’s a simplified overview of how it works:

The process:

  1. Data collection: Obtain the IP address of the device you want to geolocate, e.g. a visitor to your website, a user of your mobile app, or any device connected to the internet.
  2. Search and query in large databases that map IP addresses to geographical locations which are usually maintained by geolocation service providers like IP2Location.
  3. When a request is made to geolocate an IP address, the geolocation service provider queries its database to retrieve information about that IP address such as country, region, city, latitude, longitude, etc.

Common myths and facts about IP geolocation

Myth #1: Expose home address

IP address tracking can pinpoint the exact physical location and expose home address.


IP geolocation can only provide an approximation information about the general area associated with an IP address. Usually down to the city level or sometimes neighborhood level. It cannot provide specific physical addresses or an exact address.

If you have a dynamic IP address assigned by your internet service provider (ISP), your IP address may change over time. This means that the location associated with your IP address could also change, further limiting the ability to pinpoint your exact home address.

But, if it is the law enforcement looking for your location, then yes, they will be able to find it using other approaches. If they have your IP address, it immediately shows your ISP. The ISP will have the details of who leased that IP address during that particular time. The ISP will definitely have your address and can provide it to the law enforcement agency.

Myth #2: Track an individual

IP address can be used to track individuals.


While IP addresses can sometimes be linked to individuals, especially in the case of static IP addresses or through additional data points, it’s not always straightforward or reliable. In many jurisdictions, ISPs are subject to privacy laws and regulations that limit the disclosure of customer information, including IP addresses, without appropriate legal processes such as warrants or subpoenas. This can hinder the ability to obtain IP address data for unmasking the user assigned to said IP.

Myth #3: Always accurate

IP geolocation is always accurate.


While IP geolocation can provide an approximation of a device’s location, it’s not always precise. Accuracy is subject to various factors such as the quality of the geolocation database. Other factors such as the type of IP address (IPv4 or IPv6), dynamic IP addresses, proxy servers, and the use of VPNs can affect the accuracy of geolocation data.

Some ISPs use regional or national IP address blocks, which can lead to less precise geolocation results. For mobile devices or those with dynamic IP addresses, accuracy will definitely be lower.

Myth #4: IP geolocation only returns the physical location

IP geolocation is only about the physical location.


No, it’s not entirely accurate to say that IP geolocation is only about the location. As a matter of fact, the IP address can be used to retrieve the organization/company info. In addition, ISP info, network info, ASN and more are inherently linked to an IP address. With these related data, IP geolocation can easily do more than provide a location-based service.

Armed with the ISP, ASN and network information, users can enhance their network security, block online hackers and bots. In reality, IP geolocation is powering things like security applications, web content customization, online ads, networking optimization, marketing analytics and so much more.

Myth #5: VPN can obscure IP geolocation

IP geolocation can be defeated by VPN.


YES and NO. VPNs can obscure the user’s IP address from websites and online services. There’s a belief that using a VPN guarantees complete anonymity by masking one’s IP address.

Yes, it is true that IP geolocation can be affected by the use of VPNs. On the other hand, it is easy to detect if a user is behind a VPN by using the IP2Proxy database, in case you’re wondering. The use of VPNs can obscure the IP geolocation for user identification or localization purposes. However, it depends on the level of anonymity being offered by that VPN service.

Often, other identifying information can be gleaned despite the use of the VPN. Some VPN providers do keep logs of every request made through their servers and if compelled by law enforcement, must surrender that data to them. Some websites use more advanced techniques, such as device fingerprinting or analyzing additional data points, to improve accuracy despite the use of VPNs.

Myth #6: IP geolocation is costly

IP geolocation is expensive.


The cost associated with IP geolocation services can vary depending on several factors, including the provider, the level of accuracy required, the volume of queries, and the data points offered. Besides that, it is worth noting that various providers do provide free data and services such as the IP2Location LITE database or the IP2Location.io free API plan.


Understanding these myths and misconceptions is important for individuals to have a more accurate perception of the IP geolocation capabilities and limitations of IP address tracking technology. It also helps in making informed decisions about online privacy and security measures.


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