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What is Geolocation?

IP geolocation is the process of determining your geography based on your IP address

When you load up a website, stream music, or download a game, the server that provides it to you sees your IP address, kind of like telephone call display or a return address on an envelope.

It needs this information to send the website, song, or game you requested back to you. IP geolocation works by taking that IP address and looking it up in a database to see where in the world it belongs.

MaxMind is a major provider of geolocation databases, and they refer to their product as GeoIP®.

Area codes for New York: 212, 646 & 332
Area codes associated with geographic locations are similar to how IPs are assigned

When you get a phone call and have call display, you may see something like 212-555-5309. You can look up that area code online (or in some old phone books) to see that 212 area code has been assigned to Manhattan, New York.

IP geolocation works the same way; different "blocks" of IP addresses have been assigned to different ISPs, hosting providers, companies, and so on. When you connect to a server on the internet, it looks to see where that IP was assigned.

Example of an IP address whose location & provider can be identified
GeoIP2 Precision: City Results - Example of an IP address whose location and provider can be identified

Localization testing with confidence

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What is localization testing?

Localization testing is an essential part of the software testing process for websites that require a custom experience based on location.

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How do you make a geolocation database?

To make a geolocation database, providers combine a variety of data sources to determine where each IP is located.

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Start testing geolocated applications

This guide provides a base procedure to help you start testing your localized website.

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