Frequently Asked Questions

For technical questions about integrating our products, see the FAQ on our developer website.

Account Related

Purchasing

GeoIP2 Web Services

GeoIP2 and GeoIP Legacy Databases

GeoIP2 and GeoIP Legacy Database Updates

GeoIP2 and GeoIP Legacy Implementation

GeoIP2 and GeoIP Legacy License

minFraud Services

Answers

Account Related

How do I create an account with MaxMind?

The purchase of one of our GeoIP or minFraud products will establish a new account for you. Following your purchase, you will receive your username and password information in the welcome email.

How do I reset my password?

You may request a password reset link.

The person who set up my company's account has left the company. How do I obtain access?

Please email us from a company e-mail address with as much information about the account as you have available, such as the username, contact address, or the first half of the license key.

Purchasing

What types of payments does MaxMind accept?

MaxMind accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and PayPal. We also accept wire transfers and checks drawn on US funds payable to MaxMind, Inc. Please email accounts@maxmind.com for more details.

Can I receive a discount if I upgrade my GeoIP2 or GeoIP Legacy database to a more detailed version?

Discounts are available for the following upgrades:

  1. Country to City
  2. City Subset to City
We credit the price of the license you currently have towards the upgrade. Please use a credit card when placing your upgrade order. The credit will be applied after your order is placed.

What is MaxMind's refund policy?

Please see our refund policy.

GeoIP2 Web Services

What is GeoIP2 and how does it differ from GeoIP Legacy?

MaxMind's GeoIP2 web services and GeoIP2 databases are an evolution of our original GeoIP web services and databases, which we now refer to as GeoIP Legacy. See What's New in GeoIP2 for details on enhancements in GeoIP2.

What is GeoIP2 Precision data?

GeoIP2 Precision data is our most accurate data. Our GeoIP2 Precision City and Omni web services accurately geolocate 3% more IPs to cities and 5% more IPs to postal codes than the GeoIP2 and GeoIP Legacy downloadable databases.

Why are my queries being used up at a faster than expected rate?

Search engine spiders may be crawling your site and depleting your GeoIP2 web service queries. The robots exclusion standard may help prevent search engines spiders from doing so.

You can write code to check the User-Agent header for the client to see if it's a spider.

If you implemented the robots exclusion standard and still are seeing queries being used up faster than expected, we recommend logging each request to our web service in order to better understand what is causing your code to make a web service request.

Will I get a warning if I am running out of queries?

We will send a warning email when your remaining queries for a GeoIP2 web service falls below 10,000.

Should I choose the GeoIP2 web service or GeoIP2 database?

It depends on your needs. There are four main considerations.

Our GeoIP2 Precision City and Omni web services accurately geolocate 3% more IPs to cities and 5% more IPs to postal codes than the GeoIP2 and GeoIP Legacy downloadable databases.

Our web service has had 99.99% uptime since January 2010 and responds quickly, but with a local copy of the database you are not dependent on the availability of our servers or a specific network route. Also, you can perform many more queries per second with a local database.

You need to download GeoIP2 databases yourself in order to have access to the latest and most accurate GeoIP2 data. With the GeoIP2 Web Services, you always receive the latest data available.

Once you have purchased a license to a downloadable database, there is no limit on the number of queries you can perform on that database. Based on the number of queries you are doing per month, you may find that either the downloadable databases or the web services are less expensive.

GeoIP2 and GeoIP Legacy Databases

How accurate are your GeoIP2 and GeoIP Legacy databases?

MaxMind tests the accuracy of the GeoIP2 and GeoIP Legacy Databases on a periodic basis. In our recent tests, the databases were 99.8% accurate on a country level, 90% accurate on a state level in the US, and 83% accurate for cities in the US within a 40 kilometer radius. For more details, see GeoIP2 City Coverage and Accuracy.

How much of the IP Address space do you cover?

We cover all of the IPv4 space, including all publicly available IP addresses, and we cover nearly all IPv6 addresses in use. Note that some IP addresses may not be in use or may be reserved for private networks. These addresses are not locatable. For example, the IP address 127.0.0.1 is used by each computer to refer to itself, so it cannot be located.

Does MaxMind support IPv6 addresses?

Yes! Our GeoIP2 databases and web services return data on IPv6 addresses. For more details, please see our IPv6 Information and FAQ page.

How many IP addresses are in your database? How many countries are included?

Please see our page describing IP allocation details.

What is the difference between the GeoIP Legacy ISP and Organization databases?

The ISP database generally contains the ISP name. However, when we are not able to obtain the ISP we include the name of the organization the IP address block was assigned to. For example, the ISP database often contains the names of universities instead of the universities' ISPs.

When only the ISP or organization name is available, both the GeoIP ISP and Organization databases return the same value. In such cases, the shared value usually represents the ISP. When both the ISP and organization names are available, the GeoIP ISP and Organization databases return the ISP and organization, respectively.

How many lookups can your GeoIP2 or GeoIP Legacy APIs support per second?

Please see our GeoIP Legacy benchmarks. GeoIP2 benchmarks will be added in the future.

Which cities are in the GeoIP2 and GeoIP Legacy City databases?

We offer a CSV file that contains all the cities in the GeoIP Legacy City database. The equivalent for GeoIP2 is forthcoming in later 2014.

GeoIP2 and GeoIP Legacy Database Updates

How often are the GeoIP2 and GeoIP Legacy databases updated?

The GeoIP2 and GeoIP Legacy Country and City and GeoIP Legacy Region databases are updated every Tuesday. All other databases are updated on the first Tuesday of the month.

How often should I purchase GeoIP2 or GeoIP Legacy database updates?

We recommend updating at least every 1-3 months, as the data changes frequently.

GeoIP2 and GeoIP Legacy Implementation

What are Cellular and Wi-Fi connections, and how do I identify them?

A cellular IP address is one assigned by a cellular carrier (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, etc.), and the connection is made via the cell tower itself. These are also sometimes referred to as 3G or 4G connections. The GeoIP Netspeed database identifies cellular IP addresses. The GeoIP ISP database identifies who the carrier is.

Wi-Fi is a method of wirelessly connecting to a local area network (LAN), and is independent of any IP address that might be assigned to that LAN--a Wi-Fi connection could be made to a wireless router that is connected to a dial-up, broadband, or commercial modem, or a cellular connection (such as a "portable hotspot"). It is not possible to identify a connection that uses Wi-Fi with only the IP address.

How can I find the Postal Code of an IP address?

The GeoIP2 and GeoIP Legacy City databases include postal codes for many IP addresses. The percentage of IPs that resolve to a postal code within each of the following countries is approximately:

  • Australia, 28%
  • Canada, 60%
  • Denmark, 28%
  • France, 45%
  • Germany, 41%
  • Italy, 35%
  • Spain, 49%
  • Switzerland, 52%
  • United Kingdom, 34%
  • United States, 69%

In many cases we return a city but not a postal code. This is because an ISP may allocate an IP range over multiple postal codes, and we only return a postal code if we are confident in the resolution.

The GeoIP2 Precision Web Services accurately geolocate 5% more IPs to postal codes than the GeoIP2 and GeoIP Legacy downloadable databases.

If accuracy is not a major concern, you may use one of the following solutions. With a postal code database you could lookup a US postal code using the city and state returned by the GeoIP2 City database. Alternatively you can use the GEO-132 binary Format (without metro and area codes) of GeoIP City, which contains postal codes for every US city-level resolution, even when we aren't confident in the accuracy of the postal code. For the CSV format, we have a location file with postal codes for every US city record.

GeoNames provides free worldwide postal code databases.

GeoIP2 and GeoIP Legacy License

I would like to use a GeoIP2 or GeoIP Legacy database on xyz.com, xyz.ca, and xyz.biz. Do I need more than one site license?

As long as you own, operate, and have sole access to those websites, you only need one site license.

We are a hosting provider and have a license to one of your GeoIP2 or GeoIP Legacy databases. Can we install it on the different servers that we provide to our hosting clients?

No. While you can install the databases on multiple servers, they can only be used for internal business purposes. Any company that has access to GeoIP2 or GeoIP Legacy data and databases must have their own license.

Can I set up a website where my clients can enter an IP address and get GeoIP2 information back?

You can use a GeoIP2 Web Service to offer this service.

Using the downloaded GeoIP2 database to offer this service is not permitted under the license agreement.

minFraud Services

How effective is MaxMind in preventing different types of chargebacks?

MaxMind's minFraud service is effective in detecting stolen card fraud. MaxMind's service does not protect against "friendly" chargebacks where the cardholder placed the order but later denies having placed the order and requests a chargeback.

How do I report fraud to MaxMind?

You may report fraud using a web form or our HTTP API.

By reporting fraud to us, you help us to improve our service.

Can I customize the algorithm used to generate the riskScore returned by the minFraud service?

You cannot change how MaxMind calculates the riskScore. However, our minfraud service returns many other data points besides the riskScore. You can implement custom rules based on this data in your own code.

If you report chargebacks to us, we use that information to improve the riskScore.

Changing your blocked country list will affect the riskScores you observe when you see orders from countries you designate as high risk.

How can I make sure the minFraud service is as effective as possible for me?

First, if you are still using minFraud version 1.0, we recommend upgrading to the latest version of the minFraud service. Upgrading from version 1.0 gives you access to the riskScore, which represents the likelihood that a given transaction is fraudulent.

Second, we recommend you use the riskScore rather than the score as you make decisions about whether to accept, reject, or review orders. The riskScore is based on sophisticated statistical modelling and real-time data feeds while the score uses a simple formula. As such, the riskScore better indicates whether a given order is fraudulent.

Third, the more input fields you pass to the minFraud service, the more accurate the riskScore will be. In particular, we recommend passing at least the city, postal, country, bin, user_agent, and accept_language fields.

Fourth, we recommend you use the Device Tracking Add-on for the minFraud service on your site. The add-on helps catch fraudsters who change proxies while they are browsing your website or between visits to your website.

Fifth, you can help us improve the riskScore by reporting fraud and chargebacks to us.

Can I use the standard and premium minFraud queries from a single account?

You can use both standard and premium minFraud queries if you subscribe to both services.

You can use requested_type to specify whether you would like to use the standard or premium minFraud service.

What is the difference between the standard and premium minFraud services? Which one should I use?

Most clients use the standard service. The premium service provides more information about the credit card's issuing bank and whether the card is a prepaid or gift card. For more details, see our minFraud Feature Comparison page.

Can the minFraud service screen orders from every country?

Yes. The minFraud service can detect fraud from any country.

I run multiple sites. Can I use same minFraud account for the different sites?

Yes, you can use the same minFraud account to screen orders from multiple sites. You can use shopID to specify which website the orders are from.

What is a minFraud Alert? What should I do with it?

A minFraud Alert is a notification that a previously scored transaction may be higher risk. These alerts are sent as web requests to a URI that you specify. You can set the URI we make a request to for alerts. You will also receive an email for all alerts.

Is the minFraud service PCI compliant?

We have confirmed with Visa that the minFraud service is not required to be PCI compliant, since it doesn't receive the complete 16-digit credit card number. However, we still take data security very seriously.

Do unused queries on a monthly subscription carry over to next month?

Yes, unused queries carry over and do not expire.

Will you compensate me for any chargebacks?

No. While the minFraud service can be used to identify fraudulent transactions, the decision whether to accept or reject a given transaction is the responsibility of the client.

Can you identify whether the person placing the order lives at the given address (or uses the given credit card or phone number)?

The minFraud service does not collect personally identifiable information such as the cardholder name, street address, or full credit card number. Thus, we cannot perform address verifications.

Can you tell if a person enters gibberish?

Not at this time. We hope to have gibberish detection in the future.

Does MaxMind provide an address verification service?

No.