GEO-IP Databases – We’re not in Kansas anymore

This is going to be a brief post as to why (as some customers have aptly pointed out) some of our IP’s will show up in completely different locations than where your website was setup in.

The way most GEO-IP databases work is they’ll pull up the registrant information on an IP range and wherever the country & locality of the owner is (usually where the business is registered) it will default that range to that country / locality. As we operate on a global scale in many locations you can see how this can start to become faulty and inaccurate – if we own IP’s and have them allocated to Dallas, Singapore, Amsterdam but they all show as “Canada” in the database customers will get confused.

I’m not in Canada.

This is exactly what is happening if you notice an IP reporting a different location than where you signed up at. We can fix this – however we have to manually contact these GEO-IP database operators and let them know of the different ranges and where they are. We’re more than happy to do this however it has to be noted that this is an ongoing game of whack-a-mole. IP’s move – one day they can be in Amsterdam and the next in San Jose.

How do I know you’re not just pulling the wool over my eyes?

Understandably some customers believe we’re actually lying to them about where we put them or that we suddenly changes servers on them without letting them know. This is not the case – if we migrate servers we will e-mail you in advance and it will always be in the same location as before. If there is an IP move you’re not even moving servers – merely IP’s.

If you’re concerned you can easily verify by doing a trace route to your website (or the server you’re on) and seeing where the different “hop‘s” are. The closer you get to your website you’ll start seeing where things are routing to.

For example:

traceroute to dal.hawkhost.com (74.86.71.98), 30 hops max, 40 byte packets
 1  208.43.114.49-static.reverse.arandomserver.com (208.43.114.49)  0.415 ms  0.                                          393 ms  0.382 ms
 2  ae11.dar02.sr01.wdc01.networklayer.com (208.43.118.137)  0.208 ms  0.209 ms                                            0.198 ms
 3  ae9.bbr01.eq01.wdc02.networklayer.com (173.192.18.202)  0.839 ms ae9.bbr02.e                                          q01.wdc02.networklayer.com (173.192.18.188)  0.867 ms ae9.bbr01.eq01.wdc02.netwo                                          rklayer.com (173.192.18.202)  0.857 ms
 4  ae7.bbr01.eq01.wdc02.networklayer.com (173.192.18.194)  0.729 ms ae0.bbr01.t                                          l01.atl01.networklayer.com (173.192.18.153)  13.778 ms  13.783 ms
 5  ae13.bbr02.eq01.dal03.networklayer.com (173.192.18.134)  34.795 ms  35.186 m                                          s ae0.bbr01.tl01.atl01.networklayer.com (173.192.18.153)  13.717 ms
 6  ae1.dar01.sr01.dal01.networklayer.com (173.192.18.255)  33.905 ms ae7.bbr01.                                          eq01.dal03.networklayer.com (173.192.18.208)  36.423 ms ae1.dar02.sr01.dal01.net                                          worklayer.com (173.192.18.213)  34.561 ms
 7  po2.fcr01.sr01.dal01.networklayer.com (66.228.118.158)  34.377 ms  48.691 ms                                           ae7.bbr01.eq01.dal03.networklayer.com (173.192.18.208)  35.543 ms
 8  po2.fcr01.sr01.dal01.networklayer.com (66.228.118.158)  47.122 ms po1.fcr01.                                          sr01.dal01.networklayer.com (66.228.118.154)  48.780 ms po2.fcr01.sr01.dal01.net                                          worklayer.com (66.228.118.158)  46.977 ms
 9  * po2.fcr01.sr01.dal01.networklayer.com (66.228.118.158)  46.856 ms *

Near the bottom you can clearly see that our website is hosted in Dallas. Here is another example of a server in Singapore:

traceroute to sng.hawkhost.com (216.12.197.183), 30 hops max, 40 byte packets
 1  208.43.114.49-static.reverse.arandomserver.com (208.43.114.49)  0.313 ms  0.323 ms  0.337 ms
 2  ae11.dar01.sr01.wdc01.networklayer.com (208.43.118.133)  0.166 ms  0.154 ms  0.150 ms
 3  ae8.bbr01.eq01.wdc02.networklayer.com (173.192.18.196)  0.844 ms ae8.bbr02.eq01.wdc02.networklayer.com (173.192.18.192)  8.718 ms ae8.bbr01.eq01.wdc02.networklayer.com (173.192.18.196)  0.901 ms
 4  ae7.bbr02.eq01.wdc02.networklayer.com (173.192.18.195)  1.044 ms  1.017 ms ae1.bbr02.eq01.chi01.networklayer.com (173.192.18.155)  19.478 ms
 5  ae1.bbr02.eq01.chi01.networklayer.com (173.192.18.155)  19.472 ms ae1.bbr02.cs01.den01.networklayer.com (173.192.18.131)  44.355 ms ae1.bbr02.eq01.chi01.networklayer.com (173.192.18.155)  19.443 ms
 6  ae1.bbr01.eq01.sjc02.networklayer.com (173.192.18.148)  77.168 ms  77.161 ms  77.120 ms
 7  ae1.bbr01.eq01.sjc02.networklayer.com (173.192.18.148)  77.121 ms  77.179 ms  77.110 ms
 8  ae0.bbr01.eq01.tok01.networklayer.com (50.97.18.161)  179.154 ms ae7.bbr02.eq01.sjc02.networklayer.com (173.192.18.165)  69.228 ms ae0.bbr01.eq01.tok01.networklayer.com (50.97.18.161)  179.664 ms
 9  ae0.bbr01.eq01.tok01.networklayer.com (50.97.18.161)  179.614 ms ae1.bbr01.eq01.sng02.networklayer.com (50.97.18.165)  262.006 ms  262.310 ms
 10  ae5.dar01.sr03.sng01.networklayer.com (50.97.18.197)  263.327 ms ae1.bbr01.eq01.sng02.networklayer.com (50.97.18.165)  262.473 ms ae5.dar02.sr03.sng01.networklayer.com (50.97.18.199)  262.948 ms
 11  ae5.dar02.sr03.sng01.networklayer.com (50.97.18.199)  263.655 ms po1.fcr01.sr03.sng01.networklayer.com (174.133.118.131)  262.169 ms ae5.dar01.sr03.sng01.networklayer.com (50.97.18.197)  262.911 ms
 12  * po2.fcr01.sr03.sng01.networklayer.com (174.133.118.133)  263.015 ms *

As you can see as you get closer to the server the routers leading up to it will usually have a good indicator as to where they are.

In conclusion I hope this helps alleviate some concerns some of our customers have expressed as well as shed some insight as to how these location tools work. If you’re ever worried or concern please don’t hesitate to submit a ticket with us – we’ll be more than happy to address any of your concerns.

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2 Responses to GEO-IP Databases – We’re not in Kansas anymore

  1. My Geo IP Show as Canada

  2. Giorgio says:

    Don’t expect high accuracy, unless you’re satisfied with country/city precision. It is after all IP based geolocation and in most cases that is limited to information comming from ISP provided data records.

    Look at an IP location info webtool ( like http://geoipinfo.org/ ) and you’ll see approximately where it finds you, and it also provided accuracy at city and country levels – percentage wise.

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