Whatever your reason for using a VPN, one of its main functions is to change your virtual location by changing your IP address to the internet.
This is often known as geo-spoofing and has loads of benefits, including helping you maintain your online anonymity, letting you access region restricted content and helping you to save money by bagging bargains reserved for other countries.
But how do you perform a VPN location change? Why would you want to? And what do you do if it’s not working? Read on for our complete guide to changing your VPN location.
How to change your location with a VPN
It’s actually really easy to use your VPN to change your IP address to another country. Just follow our simple step by step guide:
- First, choose a decent, reliable VPN if you don’t have one yet. There are loads of really good ones out there to choose from.
- Download your VPN and install it on your computer if you haven’t already done so.
- Open your VPN and login. If this is your first time logging into your VPN, you should be given a list of VPNs to connect to.
- Select the country you want to connect to – the server’s IP address will become your new IP address. It really is as simple as that.
Reasons to change your IP location
There are several reasons why you might want to use a VPN to change your location, such as:
- Accessing region-restricted streaming services. Many streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime offer different content in different regions. And if you use a VPN to change your location to provide you with a fake IP address, you’ll be able to access TV shows and movies that aren’t available for streaming in your country. You’ll also be able to access geo-blocked streaming services, such as Hulu, BBC iPlayer and NBC’s Peacock.
- Watching sporting events that are happening in other countries. Not all sporting events are shown worldwide. And if there’s a particular sport or team you want to watch, you might find you’ll need a fake IP address with a different location to access this content. Similarly, you might find it’s a lot cheaper to watch your favourite sports overseas. In which case, using a VPN to change your location will help you save money.
- Getting a better price on products and digital services. A lot of online businesses actually change their prices in different regions. And if you take the time to compare prices for products in different locations, you could end up saving quite a bit of money, particularly when booking travel or making expensive online purchases.
What to do if the VPN doesn’t help with geo-blocking
There could be lots of reasons why your VPN doesn’t work as advertised. Here’s what you can try if that happens:
- Verify your IP address is not leaking. Sometimes, a VPN client will show that it’s connected and you’ll see the VPN address, but actually your real IP may be leaking. You can check this by looking up your IP online via sites like IPLocation.net – if you see your real IP address, that means the VPN is not working properly
- Switch to another server. Even if your VPN has correctly allocated a new IP address for you, a website might recognise the use of a VPN address range and either limit your access or block it entirely. Switching to a different server could fix this issue for you.
- Check for a geolocation API. Websites and apps often use the HTML Geolocation API to find out where you are. And this can locate you even if you’re using a VPN, particularly if you’ve used that site or app before and given them permission to track your location. To fix this, check your browsers and apps for permissions you may have given and delete any you don’t want.
- Check your cookies. Replacing your IP address might not be sufficient to trick a website into thinking you’re in another location, especially if it’s a site you’ve visited before. To get around this, try removing any unnecessary browser information by deleting your cookies and browser history before you log in.
Is changing your IP country legal?
Masking your IP address is perfectly legal in most countries. However, what you do with a fake IP address might not be legal. Depending on the country you’re in, using a VPN to change your location so you can bypass government censorship could get you in trouble with the law.
More reasons to use a VPN
There are loads of good reasons to use a VPN. Here are some of our favourites:
- Safety and security is often the most important reason for using a VPN. After all, it encrypts all your online traffic, which gives protection from online hackers and third party snoops.
- Privacy is something we all have a right to. After all, you don’t want anyone being able to see what you’re looking at online. And a VPN will help you keep your activity free from prying eyes.
- Bypassing a government’s internet censorship can be incredibly important if you live in a country that closely monitors the online activity of its citizens. And by getting a VPN, you can bypass censorship and access the content you want without the government knowing.
- Accessing region restricted content is one of the most popular reasons for using a VPN. It can be really frustrating when the TV show you want to watch isn’t available in your country or if you want to access BBC iPlayer abroad. By using a VPN, you can watch content from other regions.
- Using public Wi-Fi without risks is another major benefit of using a VPN. After all, connecting to public Wi-Fi can leave your machine more vulnerable to hackers. But a VPN will keep you safe from these attacks by encrypting your traffic.
- Bypassing restrictions at work or school is a popular use of VPNs as it’ll help you bypass the network firewall and let you access any sites on the blacklist set up by your school or workplace.
- If you’re a blogger, activist or journalist, it’s vital that you keep your work and your location completely private. Very often, your work or even your safety could depend on it. A VPN will mask your IP address and keep your work and whereabouts safe.
- Making sure Google can’t track you is important to people who value their privacy. It can often feel like Google is tracking our every move. And you don’t want information about you being sold to third party companies. The use of a VPN will stop Google from being able to spy on you.
- You can save money on shopping and travel by using a VPN to access cheaper deals in other locations. Very often, global companies will offer different prices for products and services to different countries. This can help you save a lot of money, particularly on travel and online shopping.
- VoIP calls are a cheap but useful way to chat online. But without a VPN, these Voice over Internet Protocol communications can be acquired and analysed. A VPN will encrypt these calls and make them much more difficult for a third party to decipher.
FAQs on changing VPN location
Here, we’ll answer all your frequently asked questions about changing your VPN location.
If your VPN is not changing your virtual location, most likely there’s some technical issue or bug. For example, the VPN may be leaking your IP address or perhaps it’s being blocked by your firewall.
To change the VPN location on your router:
- Sign up for a suitable VPN provider if you haven’t already
- Follow instructions on the VPN’s website to set it up on your router
- Select the location you want to use
- Connect to the server
The answer depends on what content you want to access. If there’s a particular version of Netflix you want to access or a sporting event you’re desperate to watch, it’ll be really easy to choose the right location for your VPN.
There is no safe VPN that is completely free. Most reputable VPN providers simply offer a free trial period, or a certain amount of free data each month.