Geo-spoofing

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.

ExpressVPN signup

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.

ExpressVPN install

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 securely access Netflix US.

ExpressVPN connect server

4. You now have a new, temporary IP address which you can use to stream 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 Does Chrome Know Where You Are?

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.Google Chrome Settings

2. Click on the Advanced tab on the left hand side of the screen.

3. Select Privacy and Security and then Site settings.

Google Chrome Privacy and Security

4. Select Location underneath the Permissions section.

Google Chrome location settings

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.

Google Chrome block location

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:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Search for Security and Location.
  3. 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 access region-locked content while enjoying greater online privacy? Here’s our list of the best VPNs for faking or spoofing your location:

  1. NordVPN: Best VPN for faking your location. Works with 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.
  2. Surfshark: Budget choice. Secure an unlimited number of devices simultaneously. Securely stream Netflix and Disney+. No-logs VPN with Double VPN servers. Includes 24/7 live chat support.
  3. ExpressVPN: Good all-rounder with consistent connections and servers in over 90 countries. Secure with encryption and very user-friendly. Strong streaming abilities and 24/7 support.
  4. 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.
  5. IPVanish: Servers in over a dozen US cities. Allows any number of simultaneous connections. No-logs policy and encryption for your online security.
  6. 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.
  7. Atlas VPN: Offers high speeds and an impressive set of security tools. Works with plenty of popular streaming services. No connection limit whatsoever.

Finding the best VPNs for changing your location online: our methodology

You can use any VPN to change your location online. However, some VPNs make it easier than others! Furthermore, some offer more server locations, faster speeds, or stronger security. Our methodology for finding the best VPNs for geo-spoofing takes all of this into consideration:

  • Servers worldwide: The larger a VPN’s server network, the easier it is to change your location to your liking. It may be that you wish to connect to a server closer to your location for faster speeds. Alternatively, you might want to connect to one further afield to access a region-locked website or service. We’ve selected VPNs that provide servers across dozens of countries.
  • Speed: While a VPN may allow you to spoof your location, you may find it to be too slow for streaming or torrenting. Indeed, many free and even some low-quality paid VPNs have data limits. Not only have we found the fastest VPNs, we’ve chosen those that offer unlimited bandwidth so you won’t be limited as to what you do online.
  • Unblocking: One of the main reasons people wish to change their online location is to bypass geographic restrictions. These are common among streaming services (due to copyright and licensing) as well as in countries with strict online censorship. Our testing of many different VPNs allows us to find those that are most consistent.
  • Security: It’s worth knowing that not every VPN provides sufficient security from cybercriminals. This should include high-end encryption, a kill switch, and protection from DNS leaks. However, we look for VPNs that offer even more than this, be it Double VPN servers, a password manager, or auto-wifi protection.
  • Privacy: Some people need to change their location online to protect their privacy. This is particularly the case in countries with limited online freedom, be it China or Saudi Arabia. Having analyzed some 140 VPN logging policies, we know which VPNs allow you to stay anonymous.
  • Ease of use: It’s not at all complicated to spoof your location. This involves connecting to a VPN server and changing your IP address. The best VPNs have user-friendly apps so you can connect to a server in seconds. Indeed, they even provide 24/7 support via live chat and email.
  • Value for money: There are a lot of VPNs on the market so there’s no need to sign up for anything other than a plan that offers great value for money. This is particularly the case for the VPNs listed in this post, for which we offer VPN discount coupons. They even come with money-back guarantees of at least 30 days.

Looking for the above (and more) involves the hands-on testing of each VPN in areas including speed and security. Our VPN testing methodology helps us find only the best VPNs for changing your location online.

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.

Changing your location FAQs

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 securely access geo-restricted content. For many people, this means streaming services such as Hulu or BBC iPlayer. However, some countries have strict online censorship which can mean blocks for anything from social media (FacebookTwitterInstagram) 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 Arabiaa 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 won't work with 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.

Is changing your IP address illegal?

It’s perfectly legal to change your IP address. In fact, VPNs are legal in the vast majority of countries (with only a handful of exceptions). Many people change their IP address to protect their privacy and browse the web anonymously. Of course, it’s worth noting that it’s not legal for someone to change their IP address and then conduct illegal activities such as torrenting copyrighted material.

How do I change the VPN location on my router?

Unless you’re using ExpressVPN which offers custom router firmware, it’s not quite as simple to change the VPN location on your router (as opposed to on your desktop or mobile app). How you do this very much depends on the router firmware in question. The best place to look for instructions related to a specific router is on the website of the VPN service which you plan to use. It may also be worth asking about your VPN’s customer support.

Can I use a VPN to change my location on dating websites?

Yes, you can use a VPN to change your location on almost any website or service, dating websites included. Connecting to a server in another location changes your IP address, spoofing your location. However, bear in mind that some dating websites are only available in select countries and may request that you provide an address and even a credit card from the country in question.

Can you spoof someone's IP address?

Yes, spoofing someone's IP address is a relatively easy process. Most of the time, it can be done by simply changing your computer's network settings. However, spoofing someone's IP address can also be done using more sophisticated methods, such as using a proxy server or manipulating the Domain Name System (DNS).