Need to know more about the people visiting your website? Perhaps you want to tailor information to visitors based on their location? What you need is a geolocation service that provides an API you can interrogate.
IP Geolocation API is one such example. Let’s see how a geolocation API can help you enhance development of a website or app.
The Benefits of Geolocation APIs
An application programming interface, or API, is a set of definitions and protocols that you can use to build software. In short, an API lets two applications speak to one another. Commonly, services provide APIs to enable software to access data collected by a service.
With geolocation, that data is based on your regional location, as determined by your IP address.
IP (Internet Protocol) address ranges are distributed by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). These are picked up by Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), such as ARIN for North America and APNIC for the Asia-Pacific region.
In turn, address ranges are distributed to countries, then Internet Service Providers (ISPs). This means that you can trace an IP address within a few feet of a user’s location. Of course, as a web or app developer, you probably won’t need quite that much specificity.
What You Can Do With IP Geolocation API
What you may need to know, however, is the general geographic location (geolocation) of a website visitor or app user.
Why might you use it?
- Display local news.
- Highlight information relevant to the reader’s location (perhaps a TV show corresponding with the website’s niche).
- Target the reader with offers specific to their location.
- Switch to a localized version of the website. This might have a theme for a national holiday, or be written in a completely different language.
- Ensure transactions are conducted with the best currency for a particular region.
Using IP Geolocation API
IP Geolocation API is simple to use. It’s designed to handle thousands of requests per second with low system requirements.
Before you get started, it’s worth checking out the IP Geolocation API GitHub repository to check any changes to the project. IP Geolocation API offers a number of useful requests to access data from the API.
Your site must rely on Cloudflare for the API to work. Here are some of the ways to use it:
1. Geolocate Without IP
One of the great advantages of IP Geolocate API is that it takes the workload away from your site. A simple call to the IP Geolocate API will display users accessing your site and their IP address:
GET https://api.ipgeolocationapi.com/geolocate/ HTTP/1.1
2. Geolocate an IP Address
Looking for the location of a specific IP address? The API will also handle information requests based on an individual IP address. As you may know, there are two types of IP address in use (IPv4 and IPv6), and the API will return information for either type.
GET https://api.ipgeolocationapi.com/geolocate/188.8.131.52 HTTP/1.1
3. List All Countries
Want more detailed information? The IP Geolocation API can list the home countries of visiting users. Data includes further location details, currency, phone numbers, and more.
GET https://api.ipgeolocationapi.com/countries HTTP/1.1
4. Find Country-Specific Data
You can query for information about specific data from the API using the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code. Do you recognize this? It’s the system which abbreviates country names down to two letters. So for example, the USA is “us”, Great Britain appears as “gb”, and Germany is “de”.
GET https://api.ipgeolocationapi.com/countries/de HTTP/1.1
Whoah, It’s Just a Load of Code!
You can get a look at the API data by opening a terminal session and using Perl’s GET command. Accompanied by the API call of your choice above, you can enjoy instant results.
Of course, in this form, it’s just raw data. But you’ll see just how in-depth the resulting data is.
All you need to do next is build a script that grabs the data you need and use it. As described above, this might be to display localized versions of your app or website, or to target a specific city.
You’ve probably seen online ads that refer to your own city or a nearby town. Well, it’s tools like the IP Geolocation API that make it possible for the developers behind those ads to make them appear local. Giving the web a local feel helps to increase engagement, and this is a great way to build that.
Run into trouble with the API? Check the service status web page, powered by UptimeRobot. This displays overall uptime and highlights any downtime.
Web or App Developer? Check Out IP Geolocation API
By now, you can hopefully spot how IP Geolocation API can solve several website and app-based development challenges. To find out more, head to IP Geolocation API’s homepage
Want to host IP Geolocation API on your own server? You can, thanks to Heroku’s deployment service. That’s an impressive collection of tools for a free API—certainly worth your time checking it out.
Looking for more APIs you can use with your website or app? Take a look at Userstack’s useragent API.