Whois contains information such as geographic locations of network owners, and not the geographic location of networks themselves. But these data are also often inaccurate, sometimes even intentionally erroneous.
Here are only a few cases with examples as disadvantages of such information.
- First and foremost, it concerns the global telecommunications giants, hosting providers and data centers.
For example, whois shows, the network 188.8.131.52 - 184.108.40.206 belongs to Uruguay(UY). Possibly, the office of the company is in Uruguay, but the servers are located in the data center of the company ThePlanet in Houston(US).
- Large companies with offices worldwide do not share information about their real location in whois.
- Exemple: Google Inc. has its data centers around the world, but whois always indicates its head office in Mountain View (California, USA). In reality, users from different countries will be send to the nearest data center. For a German e.g. the main page will be loaded from German data center (220.127.116.11).
- The same applies to small firms: in whois the location of the main office will be indicated, other offices around the world are not mentioned. For example, 18.104.22.168 is designated as US in whois, in fact, there is a branch of the company in Puerto Rico (PR).
- Human errors also happen:
- Network range is wrongly noted, example: in whois 22.214.171.124 - 126.96.36.199 is as Australia(AU), but should be 188.8.131.52 - 184.108.40.206. You can see the error looking at the address 220.127.116.11
- Common typing errors in the name of the country: the network 18.104.22.168 - 22.214.171.124 must be such as Serbien(RS), not Suriname(SR).
- Use of some abbreviations coincide with name of a country and get associated with this country. For example, one Ukrainian hosting provider indicates some customers and its networks as "NA". Maybe it means "not available". But the servers are not in Namibia :) 126.96.36.199 - 188.8.131.52
- "Dead" networks. For example, 184.108.40.206-220.127.116.11 belonged to the company Fisons (was purchased in 1997). In reality, this network range doesn't exist any more, but in whois it was not removed.
As already mentioned, these are only some particularly striking examples covering a fairly large percentage of IP addresses worldwide.