creative designer is a useful service that offers up geolocation data at no cost, and no advertising built in. That's pretty cool, but just because it's there - and free - should you actually use this service on your live production site or ecommerce store? Quick answer really...


First up let me give full respect to anyone that's hosting a geolocation service and letting anyone on the planet use it for free. That really does blow my mind.

Any free and popular net service that are without financial backing or some revenue generation is going to have downtime. That's just a reality of server and bandwidth costs. No one should be shocked or angry when it happens. The free geolocation servers must get hammered super hard by millions of users every single day so something has to break eventually. 

Other free services no doubt started to see the same influx in use so had to switch to a paid model to ensure the servers continued to run well. No idea if this is why Telize pulled their free service, but wouldn't be surprising if that's the case. 

Servers cost cash, and when you're operating on a zero dollar budget finding reliable servers able to host that load can be hard.

Does it matter if they go down?

This really depends on the code you've got in place and how critical it is. I've seen (and fixed) plenty of code added to websites that didn't have smart fallbacks in place so when the geoip service went down, it broke other JavaScript in the process. Blame the dev on this one.

You might have a Shopify store that redirects users to a specific page, or secondary site based on location. Obviously when the service fails that redirection won't happen. Do you care? Your answer here should drive what service you use.

Thankfully most commerce stores are realising that the auto-redirection might be bad for conversions so we're seeing that usage drop a lot, and replaced with simple menus asking the customer to choose. That's smarter.

Give me the bottom line...

If you're running a commercial site, app, store, some kind of critical service - whatever - dip into the wallet and pay for it. The alternative would be to use one of the open source options out there and host it yourself.

So what are some paid options?

Since I've used Telize before I'd say give them a try. For another option try maxmind. Don't worry, there's no affiliate action going on here. They are just two services I've used before that worked well. If you've go others, post a comment and I'll add them to the list.

Any other option?

Yes, take a look at HTML geolocation.

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