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10 Things You Need to Know About Using a VPN To Change Your Location

Nadav Shemer
Use a VPN to change your location
If you’re the type of person who regularly streams content online, then you’re probably familiar with the message, “Sorry, this content is unavailable in your location”. Any time this message pops up on your screen, it means you are the subject of geo-blocking, a tool used by content providers to block people in certain locations from viewing certain content.

Almost all the top streaming providers use geo-blocking to one degree or another. For example, Hulu is only available in the U.S. and Japan, and its service is blocked in every other country. Netflix is available almost everywhere, but Netflix US subscribers have access to 5,000+ titles while subscribers in other countries can typically access only around 1,000-3,000 titles. Despite expanding outside of the U.S. in recent years, Spotify is still not available in more than 100 countries.

Fortunately, there is a way around geo-blocking–and it’s called geo-spoofing. In this article, we’ll teach you how to use a VPN as a location spoofer and say goodbye to that dreadful “sorry, this page is unavailable in your location” message for good.

5 FAQs About Geo-Spoofing:

1. What Is Geo-Spoofing?

When you access a website or app, the provider can see your real-life geographic location from your IP address. Some websites and streaming providers use this ability to ban users from certain geographic locations, what’s known as ‘geo-blocking’. The only way to get around geo-blocking restrictions is to fake where you are, known as ‘geo-spoofing’. People geo-spoof for many reasons, such as accessing geo-restricted content and protecting their browsing activity from snooping by governments and other sources.

2. How Does Geo-Spoofing Work?

If you’re wondering how to fake your location with geo-spoofing, the easiest and most common way is with a VPN. A VPN, short for virtual private network, does two things: it tunnels your internet data through its own servers, changing your IP address so that it looks like you’re in a different location; and it encrypts your signal, making it almost impossible for websites and streaming providers to know that you’re faking your location.

3. How Can I Change My IP Address with Geo-Spoofing?

Changing your IP address with a VPN is simple to do and takes a matter of minutes. Whether you’re wondering how to change your IP address on an iPhone, Android, computer, or other device, the process is straightforward and generally universal across all devices and VPN providers. Simply register for a VPN, choose a server in the network, and connect. And that’s it. Your top VPN provider will assign you a new IP address, and you’ll be free to surf the web, stream content, access your favorite websites, and continue all web activity without having to worry about geo-restrictions or prying eyes. 

4. Do all VPNs Let You Geo-Spoof?

In brief, yes, all good VPNs enable you to comfortably get around geo-location restrictions. The moment you connect to a server using a VPN, it masks your IP address, showing your location as wherever your server is instead of your actual location. Of course, it pays to shop around for the best and most secure VPNs before signing up for one.

5. Is Geo-Spoofing Legal?

VPNs are legal in most countries, with only a handful of authoritarian countries like China, Russia, and Iran either banning or restricting their use. Using a VPN to geo-spoof a content provider is probably against the terms of service of the provider, and it could get you banned from the site if you’re caught. However, the general principle in many countries is that accessing geo-restricted content is not the same as accessing copyrighted content, and therefore isn’t necessarily prohibited. It’s also worth noting that because you’d be using a VPN to access restricted content from another country, there’s little incentive for your own country to crack down on this activity. Of course, you should always know the law in your country before proceeding.

5 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Geo-Spoofing:

6. Using Geo-Spoofing to Stream Geo-Blocked Content

The main reason people use a fake country on the internet is to stream geo-blocked content from popular services like Netflix, Hulu, or HBO GO or watch geo-blocked live sport from providers like fuboTV, YouTube TV, and ESPN+. Let’s say you want to view Netflix US from outside the United States. With a VPN, you simply connect to a server in an American city, open up Netflix, and you’ll see the full content library that people see when they open Netflix from a location that is physically in the U.S. 

7. Using Geo-Spoofing to Avoid Prying Eyes

It’s a sad fact of the era we live in that many countries–dictatorships and democracies alike–have given themselves the power to force internet service providers to hand over details about people’s browsing history. The only way to completely protect yourself from the possibility of your private data being given to the government or other actors is by using a VPN to change your IP. With a VPN, you can pretend you’re browsing from another country or even browse from a server in your country–but one that’s different from the IP at home, so it cannot be connected to you.

8. Using Geo-Spoofing to Avoid Targeted Ads

Knowing your location helps Google, Facebook and other giant online corporations target you with ads. Using a VPN to change Google location or Facebook location doesn’t eliminate these ads; however, it does cause the ads to become less geographically targeted (or to target you for products and services in the location of your VPN server, rather than your physical location). This has the benefit of potentially lessening the distractions to you as you go about your usual internet activity.

9. Creating a Fake Geo-Location to Book a Trip

Even if you like targeted advertising, geo-spoofing can still be helpful for saving money on things like flights and hotels. Airlines and travel sites know when you search for flights and they use this information to hike up prices every time you come back to search for deals. If you use a VPN before booking, they won’t know this isn’t your first visit and they’ll be less likely to raise the prices.

Note: Check out our list of the best hotel booking sites

10. Using Geo-Spoofing to Save Money on Streaming

It’s a poorly kept secret that many streaming services charge different prices, depending on the user’s location. For example, NBA League Pass International is significantly cheaper in some countries (e.g., India, Indonesia) than in others (e.g., Australia, UK). To find the lowest prices for your favorite streaming service, use a VPN to check out the pricing from multiple locations. Once you find the cheapest location, keep your geo-location in that country to purchase.

Connect to the Internet From Anywhere

Your geographic location has an impact on many aspects of your life, but thanks to VPNs it doesn’t have to impact your internet usage. A VPN allows you to connect to the internet from anywhere, letting you get around geo-blocking restrictions and opening up a world of opportunity.

Nadav Shemer
Nadav Shemer specializes in business, tech, and energy, with a background in financial journalism, hi-tech and startups. He writes for top10.com where he discusses the latest innovations in financial services and products.