May 27, 2010

Installing mod_geoip on Lighttpd

Filed under: Linux — Tags: , — hoball @ 7:12 pm


Geolocation software is used to get the geographic location of visitor using IP address. You can determine country, organization and guess visitors location. This is useful for

a] Fraud detection

b] Geo marketing and ad serving

c] Target content

d] Spam fighting

e] And much more.

mod_geoip is a Lighttpd module for fast ip/location lookups. In this tutorial you will learn about mod_geoip installation and php server side examples to determine visitors country.

mod_geoip uses the MaxMind GeoIP / GeoCity databases, which comes in two version:

* Free Version: Country and city databases are free with 99.5% accuracy.
* Paid Version: If you need 99.8% accuracy and other fancy details about IP address use paid version.

See this page for Free vs Paid version details.
A note about CentOS / RHEL / Fedora Linux users

If you are using 3rd party repo (see RPMforge and EPEL repo installations FAQ), you can install binary mod_geoip package as follows and skip directly to configuration part:

# yum install lighttpd-mod_geoip

Step # 1: Install C API for mod_geoip

Type the following command to download and extract MaxMind C API:

# cd /tmp
# wget http://geolite.maxmind.com/download/geoip/api/c/GeoIP.tar.gz
# tar -zxvf GeoIP.tar.gz

Configure, compile and install C API:

# cd GeoIP-1.4.6
# ./configure
# make
# make install

Configure GNU ld

You need link mod_geoip using C API. You need to configure dynamic linker run time bindings as follows:

# cd /etc/ld.so.conf.d/
# vi geoip.conf

Append the following configuration:


Save and close the file. Run ldconfig to activate configuration:

# ldconfig

Verify that the name of each directory including /usr/local/lib is scanned, and any links that are created:

# ldconfig -v | less

Sample output:

libGeoIPUpdate.so.0 -> libGeoIPUpdate.so.0.0.0
libGeoIP.so.1 -> libGeoIP.so.1.4.6
libmysqlclient_r.so.15 -> libmysqlclient_r.so.15.0.0
libmysqlclient.so.15 -> libmysqlclient.so.15.0.0
libmysqlclient_r.so.15 -> libmysqlclient_r.so.15.0.0
libmysqlclient.so.15 -> libmysqlclient.so.15.0.0
libsepol.so.1 -> libsepol.so.1
libtermcap.so.2 -> libtermcap.so.2.0.8

[Output truncated]

Step #2: Download lighttpd latest version

Type the following command:

# cd /tmp
# wget http://www.lighttpd.net/download/lighttpd-1.4.22.tar.gz
# tar -zxvf lighttpd-1.4.22.tar.gz
# cd lighttpd-1.4.22

Step #3: Download mod_geoip patch

Type the following command:

# cd lighttpd-1.4.22/src
# wget http://redmine.lighttpd.net/attachments/download/716/mod_geoip_for_1.4.c -O mod_geoip.c
Compile lighttpd with mod_geoip patch

Edit Makefile.am and add the following after the last module:

lib_LTLIBRARIES += mod_geoip.la
mod_geoip_la_SOURCES = mod_geoip.c
mod_geoip_la_LDFLAGS = -module -export-dynamic -avoid-version -no-undefined
mod_geoip_la_LIBADD = $(common_libadd) -lGeoIP

Save and close the file. Now compile lighttpd as follows:

# cd ..
# aclocal
# automake -a
# autoconf
# make clean

Now you must use –enable-maintainer-mode option:

# ./configure –program-prefix= –prefix=/usr –exec-prefix=/usr –bindir=/usr/bin –sbindir=/usr/sbin –sysconfdir=/etc –datadir=/usr/share –includedir=/usr/include –libdir=/usr/lib –libexecdir=/usr/libexec –localstatedir=/var –sharedstatedir=/usr/com –mandir=/usr/share/man –infodir=/usr/share/info –with-openssl –enable-maintainer-mode
# make
# make install

Step # 4: Download GeoLite Database (Free version)

Type the following command:

# wget http://geolite.maxmind.com/download/geoip/database/GeoLiteCountry/GeoIP.dat.gz
# gunzip GeoIP.dat.gz
# ls -lh GeoIP.dat

Sample output:

-rw-r–r– 1 root root 1.1M Mar 9 21:13 GeoIP.dat

Install GeoIP.dat file:

# mkdir /usr/local/GeoIP
# cp -v GeoIP.dat /usr/local/GeoIP

Step # 5: Configure Lighttpd

Open your lighttpd.conf file and append the following configuration. First, enable mod_geoip:

server.modules += ( “mod_geoip”)

Finally, set path to GeoIP.dat file and turn on memory caching for faster lookups:

geoip.db-filename = “/usr/local/GeoIP/GeoIP.dat”
geoip.memory-cache = “enable”

Save and close the file. Finally, restart the lighttpd:

# /etc/init.d/lighttpd restart

Step # 6: Test your setup

mod_geoip will set environment variable such as follows:


You can use any server side programming language to determine visitors GEO location. Here is a sample php code:

What is my IP address - determine or retrieve my IP address

Another example: Redirecting user to country specific URL

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