Hosting vs ISP? How we decide the IP connection types

With bot detection issues becoming more prevalent these days, many users and AS organizations have reached out to us to shed some light on false flagging hosting types. Sometimes AS organizations are frustrated with this issue because their IP addresses consequentially users are being tagged as “hosting” even though they are on an ISP/residential connection. Even though our users, and AS organizations are happy with us as we always provide accurate data for them and support their correction requests (as long as the requests pass our checks), they sometimes have a hard time with other IP data providers. We will discuss how we are always correct with IP connection type data and address the industry issue at large.

How do we determine an IP address connection type?

We recognize 4 types of IP address connections:

  • ISP/Residential connection: isp
  • Hosting/Cloud provider/Data center connection: hosting
  • Business/Organization connection: business
  • Educational/Research institutes: education

Although we can identify organizations based on domains such as government institutes, military organizations, big tech, proprietary TLDs, etc., we recommend users make those identifications themselves.

These are the four broad types used for the classification of internet connections. We make these identifications based on:

  • IP address behavior that matches certain network attributes and public internet records
  • Aggregation of IP address ranges into assigned IP range types
  • Those IP range types are further aggregated into company range types or ASN range types.

IP to Company and ASN data is available as a standard API and data downloads solution. However, the more granular IP range type database is a custom database available through requests.

Industry challenge 1: ASN range type

The industry largely uses the ASN data downloads and consequently the ASN type to determine IP address classification. The challenge is that some smaller internet service organizations may use one ASN to provide residential/ISP and hosting services out of the IP ranges under that ASN. Mixing ISP and hosting services within one AS IP range results in IP data providers (not us) choosing one broad type to identify all IP addresses within that range with a binary type declaration of either hosting or ISP.

This results in ISPs being wrongly recognized as hosting IP addresses and hosting IPs being recognized as ISPs. When the IP data provider sells bot detection, privacy detection, or fraud detection services, they are incorrectly marking residential IP addresses as hosting services. When they sell this data to other fraud detection services, this results in a GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out) scenario.

Industry challenge 2: Corrections

Most IP data providers do not care or have the facilities to provide granular corrections of IP connection types. For some, their correction system can handle only location corrections and not any other IP metadata-related information. Moreover, when they sell the data to third-party fraud detection services, they essentially say it is what it is.

Why IPinfo’s connection type is always accurate? How IPinfo handle IP connection type corrections?

Our IP address type checking mechanism is sophisticated enough that we do not receive IP connection type issues, but we still built facilities for adding manual corrections. We have the capacity and mechanism to make range-type corrections. You can reach out to our support team, and we will assign appropriate IP connection types if the request pass our checks. This correction will reflect in our data and, consequently, any third-party services that use our data.

We have seen users and AS organizations (ISPs, hosting providers) praise us for our promptness in providing accurate data. However, they are confused as to why other providers fail to make corrections or be proactive like us. For some IP data providers, they do not have the facilities to make granular changes to the ASN database. In those instances, if the problem is critical enough for the AS organization, it is best to isolate types of IP addresses to their respective ASNs, i.e. ASN for hosting type IPs, ASN for residential type IPs etc.

Let me know if you have any questions or feedback regarding this PSA.