I am working on the early stages of a project which will invovle merging three regional sites into one large site with GeoIP functionality to redirect the user to the appropriate subdirectory which will serve them content specific to their region.

One thing has struck me and I'm wondering what the thoughts of the community are on this and best practices etc..

Currently I do the following:

  • Customer goes to www.mywebsite.com
  • I detect their country code based on IP (IE, GB, US, FR, ES....)
  • Redirect them to appropriate subdirectory (/ie, /gb, /fr, /es ....)

However the problem with the above is that what if someone from the UK is in the US or someone from France is in Spain??? Then doing it in the above way wouldn't really work.

I can't think of an alternative and would appreciate any feedback for best UX regarding this.


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    Disclaimer: I'm not a developer. You could set a cookie for the location. When a user visits the site form a different location, ask whether they want to see their usual site or the local site. But I don't know what I'm talking about, so let's see what UX solutions others come up with.
    – JeromeR
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 16:03
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    Thanks for that JeromeR, I've been reading about providing the user with a pop up box when they visit for the first time which will let them choose whether they want to go to their regional site or stick with the version they've accessed in the browser. At least it gives them a choice! Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 17:04

1 Answer 1


You could start playing around with browser languages, but you start to get too many variables and it probably wouldn't work well.

The simplest solution here is the one that's most conventional, that is provide an obvious way for a user to change their region.

Usually this is done in a secondary action area, often in the top right with other utility links (like account sign in, support, etc.)

Use a recognizable icon, like a globe or map (avoid flags as they are a minefield of language/region variation) The link should go to a list of region options.

When the user selects a new location, cookie them as having done so.

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    I like that solution, I think I'll experiment with this one!! Might be the easiest as well because it avoids having to check if the user has visited the site before and storing cookies etc... Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 17:43
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    Definitly provide an icon to change a region. Other than people moving about, you'll get a lot of people (your mileage will vary, obviously) using VPNs, Tors, proxies. You will want to let them switch the region. Good practice would also be to store their regional setting in a cookie and redirect them to their last user region next time they use your site.
    – boky
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 18:16

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