Disclaimer: Affiliate links help us produce good content. Learn more.
There are many different reasons why you would want to change your location and IP address. One of the main ones is security and privacy. Other reasons include getting around geographical restrictions, gaining access to more content, getting lower prices in online stores, and much more.
Whatever it is that you want to do – you’ll need a VPN. But not just any VPN. Ideally, you’d need one with strong security and privacy features, private DNS servers, and an ever-expanding network of servers. Luckily, I’m here to help you navigate this confusing landscape.
A quick guide on changing your IP and location with a VPN
- Subscribe to a top-of-the-line VPN. I suggest NordVPN, the best VPN provider
- Install the VPN app on your device
- Connect to a server in any country
- Breathe a sigh of relief as your real IP and location gets masked
How a VPN can change your device location
A VPN works by tunneling your entire internet connection through a remote server. Not only does this make it appear that you’re located in a different country, but it also encrypts your traffic. Encryption means that your connection becomes illegible to any unwanted snoopers. For example, all internet connections going through a public Wi-Fi hotspot are visible to the host. And even on your home network, your ISP (Internet Service Provider) can have a look through what websites you’re visiting.
Of course, connecting to a remote server and encrypting your traffic are just a few pieces of the puzzle. Nowadays, services have many methods of figuring out your actual location. This can depend on your device specifications or even your internet browser. That’s why I’ll go into more detail further below.
Desktop computers (Windows, Mac, Linux)
On desktop devices, a VPN will usually change your location without any issues. However, the emphasis should be on getting trustworthy service. Free VPNs will not work since they are prone to being inadequately secured and leaking your data. That’s why you can’t cheap out and instead should get a well-reviewed premium VPN, such as NordVPN.
Once you’ve picked out a VPN service, here’s what you need to do to change your location:
- Download the VPN app on your computer
- Connect to a server in another country
- Use an IP leak checker to verify that everything works
- Browse securely and privately
Mobile (Android, iOS)
Things can get a little tricky on mobile phones, especially on iOS. Here, using a VPN to change your location is not enough. Not only is your IP address used to figure out your location, but your GPS data too. You may also need an app to spoof your GPS information. Furthermore, not all VPNs have this functionality, so you need to pay close attention to which VPN you choose.
Luckily, the best VPN services can work around this issue if they have a built-in GPS-spoofing functionality. This simplifies the process as you can kill two birds with one app. My top recommended VPNs with fake GPS features are:
With one of these VPNs by your side, changing your location on your phone is a breeze.
Other devices (Smart TV, Fire TV Stick, and more)
Not all devices support VPN apps natively. Furthermore, not all VPN services have dedicated apps for specific devices. However, there is a workaround – installing a VPN on your router. This will secure your entire home network and change the locations of all devices.
Of course, there is a downside to this. All of your devices will be in the same, albeit remote, location. Plus, configuring your router each time you want to switch server locations can be a bit cumbersome.
Otherwise, you should choose a VPN provider that has dedicated apps for all of your home devices. This will ensure that you do not get affected by any geographical restrictions and your privacy remains secure. One such provider would be NordVPN.
Why would you want to change your location?
So what’s the point of this hassle anyway? Why would anyone ever want to change their online location to someplace else?
Here are just a few benefits of changing your location with a VPN:
- Reduced prices when shopping online
- Staying anonymous while browsing online
- Circumventing geographical restrictions
- Unlocking different libraries of streaming services, for example, Netflix
- Getting access to sporting event streams
- Security on public Wi-Fi
- Getting around internet speed throttling
Having trouble changing your IP and location?
Sometimes a VPN can have trouble changing your location efficiently. In other cases, a service, such as BBC iPlayer, is very capable of recognizing your real location. In any case, there are a few steps that you should take to change your location properly.
- Make sure that your real IP address is not leaking
- Try switching VPN servers
- Delete cache and cookies on your browser
- Restart your device
What else can a VPN do?
Naturally, a VPN is a powerful piece of software and can do so much more than change your IP. First and foremost, it’s a security and privacy tool, and so it has numerous features to improve upon that. Implementations will differ among the providers, but the main features that you should be looking for are:
- A kill switch – this feature ensures that your actual IP address doesn’t leak when the VPN connection drops. It disconnects your internet connection whenever the VPN is turned off.
- A variety of tunneling protocols – whether you need swift connection speed or extra security, a good selection of tunneling protocols shows how versatile a VPN app is.
- A huge number of servers – server coverage impacts your chance to get around various geographical restrictions. Also, servers influence the quality of your connection speed.
- Split tunneling – sometimes, you don’t need every application on your device to go through the VPN tunneling. Split tunneling allows you to pick and choose which apps should be secured.
- Port forwarding – this feature improves the speed and security of your P2P activities, especially if you need to seed before downloading.
- Dedicated IP – most VPN services rent out data centers filled with shared servers and IP addresses. However, you can get an exclusive IP address that is not shared with anyone else for an extra cost.
Whatever your reasons may be for changing your IP address and location – a VPN will have you covered. When connected, the most important thing is to check for IP leaks and to make sure that your location changed correctly. However, this is hardly an issue with the top VPN providers as they always work reliably.
Can I choose my location with a VPN?
Yes, most VPN services allow you to pick and choose your server location.
Can a VPN change my IP?
Yes, it can. When you connect to a VPN server, all of your internet traffic is routed through a remote server with a different IP address.
How can I change my mobile location?
On mobile, a VPN is just one piece of the puzzle. In addition to a VPN, you may need to get a GPS-spoofing app and turn off location permission from most apps.
Can you tell if someone is faking their location?
Not always. However, most VPNs use shared IPs. Free VPNs are especially notorious for this. If you want maximum confidentiality, getting a VPN with a dedicated IP will give you an exclusive IP address that no one else will use.
Disclaimer: Affiliate links help us produce good content. Learn more.
Ethan is a security researcher and digital privacy advocate. He spends his time unraveling various anonymity and security tools, plus contributing to open-source projects. Otherwise, he keeps a low profile by hiking or cycling around the countryside.