What determines where the Internet thinks my location is? / What is geolocation?

Geolocation is the process or technique of identifying the geographical location of a person or device by means of digital information processed via the Internet. There are several companies/entities that manage IP geolocation databases which keeps track of IP addresses and track what area they are or were being pulled from.

How is geolocation used?
1. Streaming local content. Many streaming services (Ex: Hulu, Sling Box, Roku, Playstation Vue). allow the streaming of local content. They often use a combination of geolocation and their own tools to determine a user’s location.
2. Online searches. If you search for “burger joint” geolocation is used to identify your geographical location to give you results in your area.
3. Advertising. Your local businesses and storefronts often want to advertise to people in their area who are physically close to their locations. Political ads may want to target different areas with different messages as they see fit.

Problems with geolocation?
You could be inconvenienced with not being able to see local content when streaming, and or your searches and advertising won’t target your actual location.


How do I fix geolocation issues?
1. If you have a dynamic IP address, you can try to power off your connecting router or modem for a half an hour, or overnight, and plug it back in to attempt to get a different IP address. Check your IP address before and after doing this (https://www.whatismyip.com/) so you can see if it had changed.
2. Through the content provider, check for an option to manually specify your location.
3. Reach out to the content provider to request they set your location on their end in their system. Ideally if this is on an account you log in with, they can attach your location to your account.

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