Configuring MAXMIND for reverse IP lookups

What is MAXMIND and why would I want it?

Discourse uses MAXMIND to provide geographical information for reverse IP lookups.


Without Maxmind’s database you’ll see something like this:

Or perhaps you’ve noticed this message fly by when you rebuild your container:

MaxMind IP database updates require a license
Please set DISCOURSE_MAXMIND_LICENSE_KEY to one you generated at

Why Would I Care?

It’s often useful for moderators to see where someone is logging in from to determine if the person is who (and where) they say they are or to diagnose problems with your site. ("Oh, we frequently see problems with Special-ISP".)

Also, as of 2.2.0.beta4, Discourse also uses this information to notify admins if a login is seen from a new location. Without the Maxmind database, Discourse cannot provide this notification.

What if I don’t get a key?

You won’t be able to do reverse lookups. If the issues above do not concern you, then it is a good bet that nothing bad will happen if you just ignore this.

How Do I Get a Key?

See Maxmind’s How do I generate a license key? page for up-to-date instructions, but you need to

  • register for a free account
  • generate a license key on the “My License Key” link on the left navigation bar once you’ve logged in.

You then add that key to the ENV section of your app.yml with a line like this:


Or via discourse-setup when prompted.


Is this the link for that? GeoLite2 Sign Up | MaxMind


Doh! Thanks, @Jonathan5! I added the link.



Which option should people choose when asked “Old versions of our GeoIP Update program use a different license key format. Will this key be used for GeoIP Update?” yes or no?

Thank you


When in doubt, I checked no (and it works)… :sweat_smile: