As a result of the 2020 pandemic, customers are now more likely to conduct business online as opposed to visiting brick-and-mortar stores. This is a huge shift, and now more than ever, big and small online retailers need to reach out and bridge the gap that local businesses have always enjoyed: building a relationship with their customers.
Thankfully, online businesses can establish and hold onto that personal connection by using IP geolocation. Not only can local businesses provide products and services to a wider customer-base, but they can also identify their local customers and develop/maintain a relationship with them.
Naturally, there are many companies that provide IP geolocation services, and choosing one can be a balancing act between price, reliability, and speed. But fear not; we’ve composed the following list of the 10 best IP geolocation services for you to review.
- Abstract’s IP Geolocation API
- IP Geolocation API
When it comes to geolocation data, IPData’s API provides just about everything you need without breaking the bank. In addition to accurate, basic geolocation data such as continent, city, region, etc, IPData provides threat intelligence data, ISP and company information, and internationalization data like currencies, time zones, and languages. While other services would charge extra for this additional information, IPData exposes all of their data across all pricing tiers. This sounds like a lot of data (it is), but you can easily filter your request results to just the information you need.
IPData’s services are trusted by many large corporations, and they are hosted in 11 AWS data centers around the world. So, it is reliable and fast— averaging 60ms per request without caching or CDNs.
Pricing starts at $10/month for 2,500 daily requests, but they also offer a free tier for testing and non-commercial use. Unlike many other services, you can lookup multiple IP addresses in a single request, making efficient use of your daily limit.
Maxmind is regarded as one of the best IP address lookups and geolocation APIs. They offer an array of products, ranging from IP geolocation web services to downloadable databases that you can use in your applications.
Their GeoIP2 web services are served from four endpoints (hosted behind Cloudflare) in the USA, UK, and Singapore. Maxmind uses latency-based routing that supposedly sends your requests to the region closest to you.
Maxmind’s pricing structure depends upon the product you choose. Their web services use a metered model, where you pay for each request you send to the service, and different types of requests have different costs. Their downloadable databases use a subscription model, or you can purchase a database outright without future updates. They do, however, have a free service and database dubbed GeoLite2, but you do have to create an account to use them.
ipinfo.io isn’t just an IP geolocation API company; they provide several APIs that they bundle into different monthly plans. Their geolocation API provides accurate basic geolocation data, and it is available in all plans—including including the free plan. The Basic plan includes more detailed ASN information, and higher-tier plans include even more data, such as company info, domains that are hosted at the IP, and much more.
ipinfo.io is hosted on Google Cloud, and their infrastructure automatically scales with customer demand. They also provide SSL encryption for all their data transfers, including the free plan.
Developers will find ipinfo.io’s APIs are simple to use and well documented. You’ll find information on authentication, filtering response, response payloads, and everything else you need to interact with the API. Better still, ipinfo.io maintains many official client libraries in a wide array of languages and platforms and provides sample code for each of them.
Pricing is separated into five plans:
- Free — has a rate limit of 40,000 requests per month and provides basic geolocation data
- Basic — $49 when billed monthly and allows 250,000 monthly lookups with expanded ASN data
- Business — $499/month for 1,000,000 lookups, and it allows access to more data sets and APIs
- Premium — $1499/month for 2,500,000 lookups and even more data sets/APIs.
- Enterprise — Flexible amount of lookups and all data sets/APIs. You’ll need to contact them for pricing.
Yes, you did read about ipapi a few moments ago. No, it is not the same as this provider. IP-API provides a simple-to-use interface for retrieving basic geolocation information about an IP address. Unlike many on this list, IP-API enforces a rate limit of 45 requests per minute. They do, however, provide a bulk endpoint to process multiple IP addresses in a single request.
It is hosted with Total Uptime Technologies, LLC, and while it is unknown how many servers the service uses to serve requests, IP-API’s status page provides information such as uptime (near 100%), latency (15ms average), and requests per minute (21,322 average).
For developers, IP-API provides thorough documentation regarding the endpoints, their expected and optional parameters, and the response. It supports multiple response formats, such as JSON, XML, CSV, and newline.
IP-API is a simple API with three simple pricing tiers. The free tier is available for non-commercial use, but it lacks SSL support. The Pro tier is €13.3 per month and offers SSL support and other features. The Enterprise tier comes with custom terms and agreements, but you have to contact the sales department for further information.
Abstract IP Geolocation API
Abstract is less of an IP geolocation company and more of a general API company, offering APIs for looking up IP address, exchange rates, email validation, and so much more. But don’t let that dissuade you; like many other entries in this list, Abstract’s geolocation API is used by many large corporations.
Abstract’s IP Geolocation API is hosted in AWS and built for scale and speed. However, Abstract does not let you filter your request results to save bandwidth. Therefore, every response contains the full JSON payload whether you want it or not.
The IP Geolocation API is one of the simplest on this list. Simply provide your API key and an optional IP address in order to perform a lookup. As a result, the documentation is very sparse. They provide detail regarding the response payload, but they only offer rudimentary code samples. There are no official libraries for any language or platform, but one could argue that such a simple API does not need them.
Pricing begins at $9/month for 200,000 requests and 50 requests per second. Abstract also offers a free tier of 20,000 requests per month and 1 request per second. Their other APIs are not included and have differing pricing structures.
Not to be confused with Abstract’s product of the same name, IP Geolocation API is a free real-time IP geolocation service. It requires no sign-up or API key. The service is open source, and you could easily host your own service using the freely available code.
IP Geolocation API is hosted behind Cloudflare to ensure speed and reliability, and the geolocation data returned by the API is provided by a monthly updated MaxMind Geolite2 database.
The documentation is very limited—providing only a sample response payload and a few example URLs. There are no code samples or libraries.
ipapi is yet another IP geolocation focused API company providing fast and accurate results. Its service is hosted in AWS behind Cloudflare; so, speed and reliability should not be a factor. In testing, the service responded with satisfactory latency (74ms).
ipapi uses a monthly pricing structure starting at $12 for 60,000 requests per month with no daily limits. They do provide a no sign-up required free tier that is limited to 30,000 requests per month with a 1,000 request daily limit. Their free tier, however, is suitable only for testing and development; it is not recommended for production.
Like many other entries in this list, ipstack’s IP geolocation service is used by thousands of developers and trusted by large and small companies around the world. They provide a wide range of geolocation information; however, it is separated into different modules that are only available within certain pricing tiers.
ipstack provides three endpoints for standard, bulk, and requester lookups, all of which are hosted behind Cloudflare. The documentation for these endpoints are well done, detailing the required pieces of information (such as the API key), as well as various options for specifying the output format (JSON or XML) and response fields. Unfortunately, the sample code is sorely lacking, and there are no official libraries.
Pricing starts at $9.99/month for the location, currency, time zone, and connection modules. Higher priced tiers are available that include the bulk endpoint and security module. Their paid tiers are protected via SSL; so, you don’t have to worry about the request and response data being transmitted in the clear. The free tier, however, does not use SSL. Therefore, your data is at risk at being intercepted and read.
The ipgeolocation.io API provides basic geolocation information about an IP address, but it also exposes three complementary APIs for retrieving an IP’s time zone information, its astronomical data, and a user agent API; the latter, of course, is only useful when called from the browser. Despite having different end points for each of these APIs, they are not charged separately; they are included with every pricing tier.
ipgeolocation.io is hosted behind Cloudflare; so, you can expect it to have good reliability and response times. According to their API’s status page, it has near 100% uptime and a global response time average of 109ms.
There are several pricing tiers. They provide a free tier for developers with a 1,000 daily request limit and 30,000 requests per month. Their Bronze tier is $15 per month for 150,000 monthly requests. Their highest tier, Platinum, is $500 per month with 20,000,000 requests per month. They have so many pricing tiers that you are bound to find one that fits your needs.
IP2Location is one of the oldest IP geolocation services on the internet. They provide 24 IP geolocation databases and provide a number of proxy detection databases as well. These are separate products and not bundled with the API. IP2Location claims to use a “non-intrusive IP location lookup technology that retrieves geolocation information with no explicit permission required from users”, which of course is marketing-speak for typical IP geolocation look-ups.
IP2Location’s geolocation API is hosted behind Cloudflare, and I experienced an average of 72ms response time.
The API itself is more complex than it needs to be. IP2Location has 24 predefined payloads that you can specify in your request, and you’ll have to consult the documentation to determine which payload you need. There are also add-ons that provide additional information, but not all add-ons can be used with all packages. The documentation does spell it all out, however, and there are basic examples for PHP, Java, C#, Python, and Ruby. JSON and XML are supported payload formats.
Like the API, pricing is more complicated than it needs to be. Instead of monthly or yearly subscriptions, you purchase credits that are good for one year. Each request consumes credits, and the amount of credits is determined by the package and add-on for that request. The cheapest package is $49 for 100,000 credits.
ipify’s geolocation API is relatively new, but they claim to have more than 15 million IP blocks and their associated locations in its database. According to their FAQ page, their database has the highest number of unique locations from the USA, France, and Germany. In addition to their geolocation API, ipify also has a downloadable geolocation database and an IP proxy data feed for detecting anonymous users, but they are separate products and not part of the geolocation API.
Like many on this list, ipify’s geolocation API is hosted behind Cloudflare. In my tests, ipify’s geolocation API had an response time average of 64ms.
Pricing is broken down by the number of requests per month and the length of subscription. For example, 10,000 requests per month is $10 with a monthly subscription and $79 for a yearly subscription. More expensive tiers do not provide extra features—only more requests.
IP geolocation APIs are a must-have for any business that wants to know the specific locations of their customers. This information can be vital, especially for small and local businesses that want to maintain the home-town feel. They can also be useful for displaying relevant advertisements, as well as filtering risky or questionable users.
No matter what your goal is, the APIs in this list will serve your geolocation needs.