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Geocode IP addresses with a single Ruby if statement. No network access, no context switches, no delay, just one low-calorie lookup.


500,000 individual lookups per second is fairly typical performance.


Add this line to your Gemfile:

gem 'geolocal'

And this line to your Rakefile:

require 'geolocal/tasks'


Geolocal creates routines that return true or false depending on whether a particular IP address is within an area. A config file describes the areas you're interested in.

If you're using Rails, run rails generate geolocal to create the config file. Otherwise, crib from config/geolocal.rb.

Here's an example that creates three queries: in_us?, in_spain?, and in_central_america?:

require 'geolocal/configuration'

Geolocal.configure do |config|
  config.countries = {
    us: 'US',
    spain: 'ES',
    central_america: %w[ BZ CR SV GT HN NI PA ]

Now run rake geolocal:update. Geolocal downloads the geocoding data from the default provider (see the providers section) and generates the methods:

require 'geolocal'

Geolocal.in_spain?('2a05:af06::')  # optional IPv6 support

The in_area? method

Call this routine to discover whether an address is inside or outside the given area. You can pass:

  • a string: Geolocal.in_us?("")
  • an IPAddr object: Geolocal.in_eu?(''))
  • an integer/family combo: Geolocal.in_asia?(167838211, Socket::AF_INET)

It returns true if the IP address is in the area, false if not.

It works by generating a static array of ranges. in_area? binary searches the appropriate array to determine whether the desired address is contained or not.


Here are the supported configuration options:

  • provider: Where to download the geocoding data. See Providers below. Default: DB_IP.
  • module: The name of the module to receive the in_* methods. Default: 'Geolocal'.
  • file: Path to the file to contain the generated code. Default: lib/#{module}.rb.
  • tmpdir: the directory to contain intermediate files. They will require tens of megabytes for countries, hundreds for cities). Default: ./tmp/geolocal
  • countries: the ISO-codes of the countries to include in the lookup.
  • ipv6: whether the ranges should support ipv6 addresses.
  • ipv4: whether the ranges should support ipv4 addresses.

If you don't compile in an address family, but you pass Geolocal an address in that family (say, you omit ipv6 but call Geolocal.in_us?('::1')), then Geolocal will return false. It will always assume the address is outside your ranges.


This gem currently only supoports the DB-IP Countries database. There are lots of other databases available and this gem is organized to support them one day. Patches welcome.


There are some examples in the contrib directory. Run them like this:

git clone
cd geolocal
rake geolocal config=contrib/continents

Now look at the tmp/geolocal.rb file. Beware, it's big!

Here's an example of using it from a command. The -Itmp argument ensures require will load tmp/geolocal.rb, then we just look up the IP address

ruby -Itmp -e 'require "geolocal"; puts Geolocal.in_north_america?("") ? "yes!" : "nope"'


It's easy to use the Countries gem to create a Geolocal.in_eu?(ip_addr) method:

require 'countries'

eu_codes = ISO3166::Country.find_all_by_eu_member(true).map(&:first)

Geolocal.configure do |config|
  config.countries = { us: 'US', eu: eu_codes }

Now you can use it in your app: cookie_warning if Geolocal.in_eu?(request.remote_ip)

If European Union membership ever changes, just run bundle update countries and rake geolocal to bring your app back up to date.


It depends on how large an area you're looking up. Geolocal.in_antarctica? will take less than half the time of Geolocal.in_asia?. Generally, you can expect to do better than a million lookups every two seconds.

To see for yourself, run the continents benchmark:

rake geolocal config=contrib/continents
ruby contrib/benchmark-continents.rb


The Geocoder gem also offers local database services. It offers more options and more providers than Geolocal, but it's a little more complex and not as fast. Geolocal also doesn't add any dependencies to your deploy, potentially making it easier to get it working with oddball environments like Heroku.


Geolocal is running on multiple production sites. It has proven itself to be fast and stable. These features would be nice but may never be implemented. Just depends on demand.

  • Detect nesting? A config file with in_eu? and in_france? would generate a fair amount of redundant code.
  • Add support for cities
  • other sources for this data? MainFacts, NirSoft Also maybe allow providers to accept their own options?


The code is MIT. Downloaded data is copyrighted by the provider you downloaded it from.


To make this gem less imperfect, please submit your issues and patches on GitHub.


Geocode an IP address with a single if statement. No network access, no context switches, no waiting.







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