Determine Zip Code Based on IP Address


I was searching on Google for a way to determine the users Zip Code based on their IP address and came across this product.

I was curious if anyone has used this product or has an alternative solution to determing the users Zip Code when they visit a web site. I realize a form can be added to ask the user what their zip code is but I was trying to complete research to see what other alternatives there are.

If you have any feedback on this product or another solution, I would appreciate the feedback.

Thanks in advance for your time.

I do use MaxMind’s GeoIP City database. It’s what they say it is, and there’s no alternative that will be more accurate than IP-location without asking for information directly. A good portion of visitors will see nearby major cities instead of exactly where they are – ISPs don’t ration IP space to such specific regions for databases to identify locations any more precisely.

Zip code data is only available for part of the database, so you’d want another database that can map latitude/longitude to zip codes as well.

Whether that’s accurate enough for your application is up to you.

The main thing to be aware of is that the IP address identifies the location of the ISP or proxy server that your visitor is using and that can be anywhere up to half way around the world from where your visitor is located although most will probably be within a reasonable distance (although not necessarily within the same or an adjacent zip code area).

That’s not how it works. If that were the case, the database would be far less than 95% accurate.

Time Warner is headquartered in New York and incorporated in Delaware. But if I were a Time Warner cable subscriber, GeoIP could tell you I’m located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

ISPs allocate different IP space to different cities and regional areas across the country. Take a look at the hostname of visitors to your sites some time – you’ll likely see something like – a location. Even if you don’t, the IP address is likely specific to the region they live in.

This is the case for most major ISPs around the world, which is why the accuracy is far higher than it’d be simply returning the location of the ISP.

Thank you for the feedback. Are you using the free GeoLite City version or are you using the GeoIP City Database that you have to pay for?

81% to the U.S. city assuming your database was updated this month.

I find it easier to visualize by the number of times it is wrong.
95% would be wrong 1 time in 20.
81% is wrong about 1 time in 5.

More specific targeting is naturally less accurate. There are 300+ zip codes in the Atlanta metro area and 1000+ in New York metro.

It is true that geo-targeting is more complex than the city of your ISP, though it is still not super-accurate, for a variety of reasons.

Having the user enter their zip code is the only way. Anything else is a waste of time and braincells. Also, it takes something like 3 seconds to type. Lazy *******s. :stuck_out_tongue:

There are many situations where asking is impractical or would reduce sales or responses. There’s a reason GeoIP databases exist.

Google and Yahoo! respond with local results when you type a business name in the map/local search… without asking where you are. Should they stop doing that since it’s a waste of time?

There was also a free site that provided the web service. I used it for one my projects, but cant find it. It actually provided City, and State.

But another alternative is**:

**Never used this site, just letting you know.