The GeoIP technology enables a webmaster to grab useful information about the location of the visitors using their website. It helps in determining the country, city, area code etc. about a specific user. It can deliver customization of content based on the geographical location, targeted advertisements, web logs and statistics, spam detection, geo-location based access and some other beneficial solutions.
Though, there can be multiple methods of implementing it, but its usage as an Apache module is one of the widely used alternatives. An enhanced functionality can be achieved with the installation of Apache module for GeoIP mod_geoip.
GeoIP is basically a paid database that is capable of mapping IP addresses to their respective locations which includes the country, ISP and city. The APIs offered by MaxMind can be integrated with C, Java and PHP for accessing the GeoIP database, which can further simplify your process of using the data in your applications.
More information on GeoIP can be found at its site here.
Leaving out the technical details, lets see where GeoIP can be used:
How can GeoIP be beneficial?
If you are targeting a particular geographic location i.e.. a state, county or country, GeoIP would analyze the visitor information and present him/her with the appropriate webpage.
For example: if you have a business website which sells products of services to consumers in the UK and the US, then using the GeoIP technology, you’ll be able to show the relevant pages to the visitors browsing your website with the correct sort of pages.
Choosing an affordable web hosting provider offering servers in the targeted geographic location or nearer should be a better choice to suffice your needs as well.
In order to keep your website secure from attacks and hacks, you can identify different regions on the globe which you seem insecure and block the IP’s from there in your server firewall. This can be a smarter way to avoid any future hassles and hacking attempts can be reduced up to a great extent.
Since advertisements are one of the preferred means of online promotions, with GeoIP technology, you can run geo-targeted ads i.e. displaying ads that are relevant to providers of the region closer to the user. Hence allowing you to achieve a better click-through rate.
Moreover, GeoIP is smart enough to detect proxy servers, a service known as minFraud can be useful in such detections. It monitors the behavior of a user using a particular IP and keeps a history in its database.
One can relate the use of GeoIP to the restriction set by Google in its YouTube section, where it has restricted the access to certain videos to certain countries and regions on the planet. This is world over referred as Digital Rights Management (DRM). Such a restricted access can be achieved by anyone by using the GeoIP technology.