IP Geolocation and How To Use It

IP address geolocation is the identification of an Internet-connected device’s geographical location and easily found with IP geolocation lookup. While this may sound complicated, it’s rather simple: all devices have their own IP address, and those IP addresses can reveal a device’s physical location, just like a real address would. Geolocation uses positioning systems to determine a person or device’s physical address, but this is a possible concern with IP geolocation accuracy.

Internet Protocol addresses aren’t the only way to find someone’s coordinates via geolocation with IP geolocation lookup.  However, using an IP address is one of the most common.

How IP Geolocation Works

IP geolocation uses an electronic device’s IP address to determine the device’s location. Third party organizations keep databases of electronic device data. The IP address allows the geolocation software to access this database and match it with the entered IP address, which then can reveal data about the electronic device.

Locational data may vary based on the database. However, the information is generally accurate and allows your device to be located geographically from its IP address.

Anyone can use Internet Protocol geolocation. Geolocation database providers can access the service, most of which have both free and paid plan options.  Because there’s no cost involved, free plans are typically less accurate than paid plans.

For someone interested in using geolocation database provider’s services, users need to assess cost and level of accuracy to see which plan fits better.

Is IP Geolocation Accurate?

The IP geolocation accuracy depends on how precise of a result the user expects. IP geolocation is generally accurate at pinpointing a person’s location coordinates; for example, geolocation site Digital Element claims that their database has over 99% country-level accuracy and 94% city-level accuracy. These are impressively high statistics. But note that the accuracy decreases as the map narrows.

Internet Protocol geolocation may consistently retrieve accurate coordinates for the country and city that an IP address is from.  But it will have a harder time determining exactly what street the IP address is located on.

If high geographic precision is required, then IP geolocation may not be as accurate as is necessary. In short, IP geolocation accuracy is extremely accurate for broader use.  It's less accurate as you attempt to pinpoint where the IP address you’re searching for might be.

The reason that IP geolocation accuracy isn’t 100% all of the time is because there is nothing in an Internet Protocol geolocation that connects IP addresses to specific physical locations. IP addresses assignment occurs when users go on the Internet, so that location may vary in accuracy. There is also no authority keeping track of all IP addresses in the registry.  This would mean there is the potential for invalid data.

This leads to inaccurate listings. These intricacies are what lead to occasional inaccuracies in IP geolocation, but overall, Internet Protocol geolocation will be able to provide an accurate general location for a user.

Applications Of IP Geolocation

Individuals and professionals can use the IP geolocation.  Businesses use Internet Protocol geolocation to gather information about their customer base. Financial organizations, ad agencies, and online businesses all use geolocation to provide customers with the best possible support for their area. This enhanced service is a big benefit of Internet Protocol geolocation.

Internet Protocol geolocation also benefits law enforcement agencies to prevent criminal activity like money laundering.  It also enhances everyday activities like scrolling through social media. Tailored search results appear based on your location.

When you open Google and perform a search, that's ultimately done via an IP address too.  It’s also possible to trace an email with an IP address.

However, there are also dangers. Internet Protocol geolocation is a powerful tool. Individuals can be tracked through their device usage via Internet Protocol geolocation. Should your IP address be intercepted, that information can be used to predict your future location, which could lead to theft, stalking, and greater dangers.

What About My IP Address?

You can use the IP Lookup tool to determine your own IP address and assist with IP geolocation lookup. Your IP address can reveal your city, state or region, zip code, time zone, and more. When you use the Internet or browse a website, others can intercept your IP address.

If this concerns you, know that there are ways to mask your Internet Protocol address and keep you off the grid in terms of Internet Protocol geolocation. A VPN, or virtual privacy network, encrypts your IP address and makes it so the IP address on display is the VPN’s address, not yours.  This won’t slow down your Internet or disrupt your activity, but it can keep you safer online.

Types Of IP Addresses

There are two different kinds of IP addresses: static and dynamic. A static IP address remains unchanged after assignment. Typically, servers or other equipment meant to last a long time makes use of it. Internet Service Providers provide static IP address assignments. They're broken down into two further categories: IPv4 and IPv6 addresses.

The difference is that IPv4 has four hexadecimal numbers divided by periods and IPv6 has six hexadecimal numbers separated by colons. While static IPv6 addresses do exist—and the number of potential IPv6 addresses is limitless—static IPv4 addresses are much more common at this point for permanent addresses.

Dynamic IP addresses are not permanent. The IP addresses used on devices like phones, laptops, and tablets are assigned by a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server. These allow for the Internet service to distinguish between devices, routers, and websites and provide the standard Internet Protocol address information: the Internet service provider and geographical latitude and longitude.

IP addresses are either a public IP or a private IP. Your address is private if its use is inside of a network and public if its use is outside of a network. Again, to find out the details of your own IP address, you can use the IP Address Lookup tool to see what information your IP address reveals for the IP geolocation lookup.

IP Geolocation And Credit Cards

IP geolocation services have another purpose: spotting credit card fraud. For the United States and other International customers of e-commerce businesses, stolen credit card information used to make unauthorized purchases is a major issue. Businesses cannot verify the actual location of the fraud.  When customers complain about unauthorized purchases, businesses are then forced to refund and take the hit.

But online billing companies and other online businesses can work around this by finding the IP location of an alleged customer’s device. If the details of the purchase from a certain location line up with other records, the transaction is much safer and more legitimate. Investigation of the inconsistencies in Internet Protocol address information and the previously recorded information. This saves both companies and customers from losing money.

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