An IP address is an abbreviation for an Internet Protocol address. This is a numerical label that is allocated to a device and used to identify it when connected to the internet or a local network.
It can also reveal the area code, zip code, and city of your internet service provider. In some instances, it can also trace your details, such as your name and home address, etc.
Often you will visit a website that detects the city in which you are located. This is known as your geolocation and it is typically configured by a third-party database.
Simply put, the IP address of your device uses the factors that we have listed above, such as your country and zip code, to determine your geographical location. However, you will find that this is not entirely accurate all of the time, and you may be wondering why this is the case.
The reliability of your geolocation can differ between different databases as they tend to use different methods to collect this data. Sometimes, these databases are not very comprehensive and it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly where the traffic is coming from by using this numerical label alone.
Aside from this, you will also find that the geolocation is determined via the location of your internet provider, rather than your location.
When a website uses incorrect or unofficial information to try and locate you, it is more than likely to show that you are in a different city to the one that you are browsing from.
Another prominent reason as to why your IP address may be showing that you are located in a different city is due to how these addresses are allocated to subscribers.
To begin, your internet provider will have a block of IP addresses that they can allocate to their users. As their popularity grows, attracting users from different locations across the globe, these addresses will also spread.
As a result, they will be given according to demand, rather than where these new users are actually located. Although this will change the city in which your IP address says that you are living, it shouldn’t have a huge impact on your browsing experience so long as your provider knows where the address at which they need to send traffic is.
It is also important to bear in mind that it is often the website's best attempt at locating you and whilst it may not be completely accurate, it is the closest prediction. A prime example is a weather app. You may find that it is a little delayed in updating your location so it may be showing where you were located previously.
More often than not, the app will be equipped with a feature that will allow you to input your location manually.
What to do if your IP address is showing a different location?
If the city that your IP address is locating you in isn’t accurate, you may be wondering how you can rectify this issue.
It is worth noting that for some people, an incorrect IP location may not be a huge concern. If it isn’t hindering your experience when using your device to browse the internet and it isn’t performing slowly, it may be something that you can deal with.
Perhaps the quickest solution would be to change the settings on the website and the app. Often you will be able to access the location and update it so that it is a correct reflection of the city in which you are situated.
Another way in which you can update the geographical location of your IP address is to search it so that you can view the information and data that the databases have on file for you. If you find anything that does not seem quite right, you will need to contact them so that they can update the information.
You can also request a geographical correction. To do this, you will need to check what provider the app or website uses to identify your geographical location.
Then, once you are aware of the provider, you will need to contact them yourself and request that they change your location so that it is correct. You will then need to wait for them to approve your request.
The amount of time that this is going to take can differ between providers, however, in the majority of cases, it will take around a month, but it can take longer. Following approval, your location should then be showing the right city.
Some people may choose to switch networks. For example, if you are currently using wifi to access the internet on your phone, it may be worth turning this off and using your mobile data instead. As each network has a different IP address allocated to it, you will likely find that the location of this network differs from the one that you were previously using.
As you can see, there are multiple reasons as to why your IP address may be showing that you are in a different city. Typically you will find that these addresses are not 100% accurate due to the reasons that we have listed above e.g the different ways that the third-party databases go about collecting data.
It may also be that the website or application that you are currently using isn’t updated with the right information. For this reason, you will find that it struggles to locate you from the get-go. As stated, there are ways that you can rectify this issue so that it does display the right location, if this is something that you are concerned about.
If you have been unsuccessful in your attempts to do it manually by visiting the settings on the device that you are using, you may need to get in touch with the database providers themselves as they will be able to correct it for you.