IP2Location geolocation data comes in 2 different data file formats. One is the Comma Separated Values (CSV) file format which users can use to set up a relational or NoSQL database, such as SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, MongoDB and so on, for geolocation lookup. The other format is the IP2Location BIN data file format. The IP2Location BIN data is a format introduced by IP2Location that compresses the geolocation information into a binary data file for direct lookup without a need for a database setup. It is a binary format, which means you cannot read the file like you would a normal text file, but you will need an IP2Location Library to retrieve the geolocation information.
Overview of the BIN data file
List of libraries & components: https://www.ip2location.com/developers
Advantages of the BIN data file compared to the CSV data file
- Easy to deploy. Just copy the IP2Location BIN data file along with any programs you’re using.
- Easy to update. Just replace the existing IP2Location BIN file being used by your programs.
- Takes up minimal space and no need to install any database server software.
- The libraries support the loading of the geolocation data into memory for processing. As a result, you can have much faster query performance.
- On lower end systems, queries using file I/O are still fast but will not take up much RAM.
- Easy integration with your own codes by using our free IP2Location libraries for querying the IP2Location BIN data file.
When should you use the BIN data file instead of the CSV data file?
There is no absolute answer to this question. It all depends on your project requirements, server architecture, platforms and many other factors. For example, if you already have the relational or non-relational database in place, naturally, you should use the CSV format to set up the geolocation database for the lookup, and this will ease your data maintenance and management. If you are building a plugin in an open source platform, e.g. WordPress, you may consider using the IP2Location BIN data file for a cleaner setup. If you are doing an ad-hoc solution to analyze your traffics or data, using IP2Location BIN data file will save your time and hassle to set up a database for the processing. Therefore, there is no definite answer whether you ought to use BIN or CSV, but you just need to try and decide which one works the best for you.