How to look up locations from IP addresses for free

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Photo by Mag3737

I'm working on a project where I need to convert large numbers of IP addresses to latitude/longitude positions, and I was pretty depressed looking at Quova's rates starting at $8 per thousand queries. I was happy to lose a bit of quality for a cheaper rate, so I was overjoyed to come across MaxMind's free database of city-level IP lookups. Even better, I could install it on my own server rather than making remote API calls, which makes dealing with large amounts of lookups a lot quicker.

There was some example PHP code available, but it had PEAR dependencies I'd rather avoid, so I made some alterations and uploaded my sample code to github.com/petewarden/geoip_example with a live demo running at web.mailana.com/labs/geoip_example/

Before you can run it on your own server you'll need to install the data files, either using the one included in the package or downloading the latest from http://www.maxmind.com/app/geolitecity

Once you have the GeoLiteCity.dat file downloaded and unzipped, copy it to /usr/local/share/GeoIP, or update the code to reflect the location you've actually installed it in.

Big thanks to the MaxMind folks for making this available under the LGPL, they'll definitely be getting my business next time I need a paid geo-location service.

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