Geo-spoofing: How to change your location online
If you want to unblock region-locked websites and services, you’ll need a VPN. We’ll show you how to pretend to be in a different country and let you know the best VPNs to fake your location.
Geo-spoofing is the process of changing your location or country online so you can appear to be in a location of your choosing. It’s hugely popular and usually achieved by using a VPN. There are lots of reasons to use geo-spoofing but the most common are to access blocked content, apps and streaming services or to conceal your real location to protect your privacy.
Chances are you’ve come across geo-blocked content online. This is often due to copyright and licensing issues, which is why streaming services such as Netflix or Disney+ have different content from one region to another. Additionally, some countries have very strict online censorship, which might mean that anything from online gambling to political blogs could be blocked. Fortunately, a VPN lets you fake your location, providing you with access to otherwise restricted content. This means if you travel abroad you can still connect to your usual home streaming services, websites and apps.
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, offers a number of benefits. First, it lets you fake your location which enables you to view content that’s usually inaccessible in your current location. However, VPNs also offer several security advantages. In particular, they encrypt your internet traffic and hide your real IP address and location. As such, you can enjoy greater online freedom and improved privacy and anonymity when using a VPN.
How to pretend to be in a different country (fake your location) with a VPN
The process of faking your location is the same whether you’re connecting to a server in the US or Australia. Below is our short step-by-step guide explaining how you can quickly and easily spoof your location.
Here’s how to fake your location with a VPN:
1. First, sign up with a VPN provider – we particularly recommend NordVPN. However, Surfshark and ExpressVPN are two strong alternatives.
2. Next, download and install the appropriate VPN app for your device. Many of the best VPNs also offer browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
3. Open your VPN app (or browser extension) and connect to a server in the country from which you want to browse. For example, you’d use a server in the US to unblock Netflix US.
4. You now have a new, temporary IP address which you can use to unblock geo-restricted online content.
5. Still finding blocked content? Try clearing your browser’s cache and cookies. You may also connect to another server in case the IP address you’re using has been blacklisted. Alternatively, contact your VPN’s customer support for further guidance.
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How to fake your location in Google Chrome
Some browsers such as Google Chrome use the latest geo-location API which means they may be able to detect your location even if you’re connected to a VPN. The best way to protect against this is to connect to a VPN’s browser extension. However, you can also block location sharing by turning off geo-location settings within your browser.
Here’s how to fake your location in Google Chrome (with a VPN):
1. Click on the three dots in the top right corner of your Chrome window and select Settings.
2. Click on the Advanced tab on the left hand side of the screen.
3. Select Privacy and Security and then Site settings.
4. Select Location underneath the Permissions section.
5. Finally, click the toggle button so that location-sharing is blocked. Now you can simply follow the steps above to set up the VPN of your choice.
How to fake your location on Android
It’s also possible to fake your location on your Android device. However, it’s worth knowing that this is more difficult on iOS as it requires the phone to be jailbroken.
Here’s how to turn off location tracking on Android:
Go to Settings
Search for Security and Location.
Turn off Location.
Note that the menu layout and titles vary from phone to phone. As such, it may be easier to simply type ‘location’ in the search bar in order to quickly find what you’re looking for.
Best VPNs to fake your location
Ready to unblock geo-restricted content while enjoying greater online privacy? Here’s our list of the best VPNs for faking or spoofing your location:
NordVPN: Best VPN for faking your location. Unblock Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Offers over 5, 000 servers including P2P and Double VPN servers. 24/7 support and a strict no-logs policy.
Surfshark: Budget choice. Secure an unlimited number of devices simultaneously. Unblock Netflix and Disney+. No-logs VPN with Double VPN servers. Includes 24/7 live chat support.
ExpressVPN: Good all-rounder with consistent connections and servers in over 90 countries. Secure with encryption and very user-friendly. Unblocks Netflix and includes 24/7 support.
CyberGhost: Easy for beginners. No-logs VPN with very fast servers in 90 countries. Connect up to 7 devices simultaneously. Includes 24/7 live chat support and very strong security.
IPVanish: Servers in 15 US cities for watching Netflix US abroad. Allows up to 10 simultaneous connections. No-logs policy and encryption for your online security.
PrivateVPN: High-speed VPN for streaming and torrenting. Easy-to-use apps and live chat support. Protects your privacy with a no-logs policy and encryption.
Hotspot Shield: Fake your location with 70 countries. Servers in 27 US cities for watching Amazon Prime Video. Beginner-friendly apps and secured with encryption.
There are plenty of factors to consider when choosing a VPN. These include the available server locations, connection speed, and security features. We based our selection of the best VPNs for faking your location on the following criteria:
Servers in dozens of countries
Fast, consistent connections
Protects your privacy with encryption
Beginner-friendly desktop and mobile apps
Offers live chat and email support
Supports multiple simultaneous connections
What is geo-spoofing?
You may have come across the term “geo-spoofing”. Spoofing your location is just another term for faking or hiding your location. This requires changing your IP address. One of the easiest ways to spoof your location is to use a VPN. This allows you to connect to a server in another country and obtain a different IP address.
Why would I want to pretend to be in a different country?
There are two main reasons to use a VPN to fake your location. The first is to access geo-restricted content. For many people, this means streaming services such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer. However, some countries have strict online censorship which can mean blocks for anything from social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to news and political sites. Connecting to a server abroad and obtaining a new IP address is a way around this.
The second reason to pretend to be in a different country with a VPN is security. A VPN helps protect your online privacy. In countries with limited freedom such as China and Saudi Arabia, a VPN can be essential for avoiding government surveillance. A VPN secures your data with encryption and hides your location, protecting you from hackers and snoopers. Plus, if you choose a no-logs VPN, you can rest easy knowing that your personal information stays private at all times.
Can I use a free VPN to pretend to be in a different country?
While there are plenty of free VPNs on the market, we recommend you stay away from them. If you want to fake your location, free VPNs can prove limiting due to the lack of servers and server locations. Furthermore, the average free VPN service is very slow. This is often down to heavy server load as well as bandwidth throttling by VPN providers.
The poor performance of free VPNs makes for slow browsing but is particularly frustrating when streaming and torrenting. Even if you find a free VPN that offers reasonable speed, it’s possible you’ll encounter poor unblocking abilities. For example, most free VPNs are unable to unblock popular streaming services such as Netflix and DAZN.
Despite all this, we still haven’t mentioned the biggest flaw of free VPNs — security. When you use a free VPN service your data may not be secured with encryption. The service may also lack a kill switch that protects your data from leaks. While some free VPNs make money through advertising, some log your browsing data and sell it to third parties.
How to Use a Fake IP Address and Mask Yourself Online
As the notion of privacy gets trampled on with each passing year, online privacy only becomes even more important.
That’s why many people use fake IP addresses. To be clear, “fake IP address” is a bit of a misnomer that implies creating a new one out of thin air. That’s not possible. The best you can do is hide your IP address behind someone else’s already-existing IP address. This is called IP masking. So how do you spoof your IP address?
1. Use a VPN
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, but is much simpler than it sounds. Basically, you can connect your computer or device to someone else’s network, then browse the web through it. Whatever activity you’re doing looks like it’s coming from them, not from you.
When you connect to a VPN, you’re masking your IP address with one of the IP addresses on that network. To trace the traffic back to you, the VPN would have to give you up (or your IP address would have to be revealed via DNS leak).
For best results, use a paid VPN service because free VPNs come with too many risks and downsides. The most important one is that you can never quite trust a free service. Are they selling your data? If asked, would they give up your true IP address? It does happen.
As such, we only recommend using a logless VPN. Such VPNs don’t keep activity logs, so they can’t give up your IP address even if requested. Plus, most logless VPNs encrypt all of your traffic to and from the network, preventing any snooping by ISPs or governments.
VPNs are useful in so many circumstances, but there are too many myths about them that might put you off; you should dispense with misinformation and use a VPN for secure searching.
Which Is the Best VPN For You?
ExpressVPN and CyberGhost are both excellent options. If neither suits you, have a look at our overview of best VPN services. Long story short: whichever service you pick, you just download the app, run it, and use it to connect to the VPN on demand. It’s really that simple.
Use this link for up to 49% off ExpressVPN plans!
2. Use a Web Proxy
A web proxy works in much the same way as a VPN. You connect to the proxy server, then all your web traffic flows through the proxy server. As such, your IP address gets hidden by the proxy server’s IP address.
But there are two major differences between proxy and VPN.
Secondly, some browsers let you route only browser traffic. To use a web proxy, you go into your web browser’s settings and manually input the proxy server’s IP address. This allows applications and devices outside the web browser, like Skype, to still use your actual IP address.
Find a free web proxy using a site like PremProxy or Proxy List. Using a proxy server in your country will keep it fast, but using a proxy server in another country can be useful for bypassing region-blocked content and adding a tiny layer of extra obscurity.
How to Set Up a Web Proxy in Firefox
In the browser, select Preferences from the dropdown menu in the top-left corner.
In the General section, scroll down to Network Settings.
Click on Settings.
Select Manual proxy configuration, then type in the proxy’s address and port in the HTTP Proxy field.
How to Set Up a Web Proxy in Microsoft Edge
On the homepage, click on three dots from the top-left corner.
Search for proxy in search settings, and selectOpen your computer’s proxy settings.
In the Settings window, toggle the Use a proxy server option, and type in the proxy’s address and port in the Address field.
Click on Save to finalize your proxy setup.
How to Set Up a Web Proxy in Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi
In the main menu, select Settings.
Under Network, click Change proxy settings…
In the Connections tab, click LAN settings.
Enable Use a proxy server for your LAN, then type in the proxy’s address and port in the Address field.
Note: Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi, and other Chromium-based browsers do not have a built-in browser-specific proxy feature. Instead, they only use system-wide proxy settings. However, you can use an extension like Proxy Switcher & Manager to use web proxies that only affect browser traffic.
3. Use Public Wi-Fi
Instead of routing your traffic through another person’s network, you can opt to connect directly to their network—and the easiest way to do this is to hop onto public Wi-Fi.
The funny thing is that this is really the only way to hide your home IP address. When you’re on public Wi-Fi, there’s no way for someone to trace it back to your home. And if it’s a popular hotspot (e. g. Starbucks), your activity will be obscured by dozens of other users at any time.
But remember that public Wi-Fi has its risks.
By default, most public Wi-Fi hotspots are unencrypted. All your activities while connected can be seen by anyone else on the network (if they’re sniffing it out), which includes login details for websites like banks and e-commerce shopping. Public Wi-Fi hotspots can also spread malware infections to your device.
On top of this, there are several other ways for hackers to steal your identity on public Wi-Fi. So while you might be hiding your IP address, you’re still opening yourself up to a whole host of other privacy and security risks.
4. Use Tor Browser
Tor browser, sometimes also called the Onion router, is a free browser that hides your IP address every time you connect to the internet. It does this by connecting you with the Tor network at the start, which transmits your data through random relay servers hosted by worldwide volunteers.
For most people not living in authoritarian countries like China, Venezuela, etc. (where Tor is banned), it’s a handy tool to have in your arsenal of privacy solutions.
To get started, go to the official Tor website and install the browser from there. When the setup is complete, click on Connect. The Tor browser will then link up to the Tor network. This could take a few minutes, so you’ll have to wait a short time.
When it’s done, you’re free to browse the internet anonymously. If you’re using Tor for the first time, though, make sure that you read up on all the online security tips about using Tor efficiently. They are given on the homepage itself!
And That’s How You Can Hide Your IP Address!
Now you know all the different ways you can mask your IP address. If you’re like us, and just can’t accept that “big brother” is prying on you all the time, these tricks will be enough to get started with securing your online anonymity.
Privacy vs. Anonymity vs. Security: Why They Don’t All Mean the Same ThingWhat’s the difference between security, anonymity, and privacy? And when should you prioritize one over another?
About The Author
(1521 Articles Published)
Joel Lee is the Editor in Chief of MakeUseOf since 2018. He has a B. S. in Computer Science and over nine years of professional writing and editing experience.
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15 Things You’ve Done on the Internet That Are Probably Illegal | Complex
15 Things You’ve Done on the Internet That Are Probably Illegal | Complex
Image via Complex OriginalComplexCon returns to Long Beach Nov. 6 – 7 with hosts J. Balvin and Kristen Noel Crawley, performances by A$AP Rocky and Turnstile, and more shopping and your spot while tickets last! Often dubbed the modern Wild West, the Internet is a mind field of the addicting and the didactic, the legal and the illegal. When traversing the murky depths of the web, it’s important to be careful of these things, and keep in mind that what you’re doing exists in a public sphere, and can often be viewed by very public people. To know exactly what you’re doing that is illegal on the Internet, here’s a guide to what you’ve been doing on the Internet that is illegal (not that we’re asking you to stop), and some fun facts about these illegal activities you find and silly laws you find yourself regularly overstepping online. Sign up for Complex notifications for breaking news and stories.
Frequently Asked Questions about fake ip location
How can I fake my IP address location?
How to Use a Fake IP Address and Mask Yourself OnlineUse a VPN. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, but is much simpler than it sounds. … Use a Web Proxy. A web proxy works in much the same way as a VPN. … Use Public Wi-Fi. … Use Tor Browser.Jun 9, 2021
Can you fake an IP address?
Can IP addresses be falsified or spoofed? Yes it is possible for IP addresses to be falsified (also known as spoofing). In order to spoof an IP address, a user alters the source of a packet (information sent between computers) so as to appear to be sent from a different location than the actual location.
Is it illegal to have a fake IP address?
This also falls under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Just like creating fake Facebook profiles, changing your IP Address constitutes fraud online, so even though many of us do it to hide our identity,it can result in jail time if caught.Sep 20, 2013