IP Geolocation through Reverse DNS

Ovidiu Dan, Vaibhav Parikh and Brian D. Davison

Article (29 pages)
Official ACM published version: DOI: 10.1145/3457611
Author's version: PDF

IP Geolocation databases are widely used in online services to map end-user IP addresses to their geographical location. However, they use proprietary geolocation methods, and in some cases they have poor accuracy. We propose a systematic approach to use reverse DNS hostnames for geolocating IP addresses, with a focus on end-user IP addresses as opposed to router IPs. Our method is designed to be combined with other geolocation data sources. We cast the task as a machine learning problem where, for a given hostname, we first generate a list of potential location candidates, and then we classify each hostname and candidate pair using a binary classifier to determine which location candidates are plausible. Finally, we rank the remaining candidates by confidence (class probability) and break ties by population count. We evaluate our approach against three state-of-the-art academic baselines and two state-of-the-art commercial IP geolocation databases. We show that our work significantly outperforms the academic baselines and is complementary and competitive with commercial databases. To aid reproducibility, we open source our entire approach and make it available to the academic community.

ACM Transactions on Internet Technology (TOIT), 22(1), article 17. February 2022.

Back to Brian Davison's publications

Last modified: 26 November 2021
Brian D. Davison