Whether you’re a gamer, streaming aficionado, or simply a frequent traveler, it’s helpful to know how to spoof your location online. We’ll show you how to make it happen in just a few quick steps using a VPN, guiding you through process step by step and even recommending the top 5 VPN providers to make it that much easier.
Spoofing your location online has several advantages. First, it lets you remain as anonymous as possible. When you go shopping at a major online vendor, do you really need–or even want–them to know where you’re located? The only time they need to know your location is when they need to ship something to you and even then, you might not even want it shipped to where you are. But that’s not all. Some sites and online services can only be accessed from certain locations. The US Netflix, for instance, is only accessible from the US. To address all these issues, you need to spoof your location online, and we’re about to tell you how.
Today, we begin our journey by telling you about two ways you can spoof your location online, proxies and VPNs. Since VPNs are far better than proxies, we’ll go into greater details on what Virtual Private Networks are, how they work and how they allow you to appear to be somewhere else. We’ll finally introduce you to the top 5 VPN providers to spoof your location online.
The Best Way To Spoof Your Location Online
Most of the time, our location is revealed by our IP address. This is similar to a postal address and it’s a number–or rather a series of numbers–that uniquely identifies each computer connected to the Internet and allows data to be routed from one computer to another. By knowing your IP address, the website or online service you’re trying to access can have a pretty good idea of your location.
How do they know your IP address, you may ask? Well, it is added to every request you’re sending them. This is how they’ll know where to send the response. It like a return address on a piece of mail.
So basically, what you need to spoof your location is to change the return IP address the other end sees while still being able to receive the response. It may sound easy (and it is for end-users thanks to VPNs and to a lesser extent, proxies) but it’s no small feat of technological wizardry.
Several systems and devices can help you accomplish that. One that used to be popular but has recently fallen out of favour called a web proxy. The way it works is that any request is sent to a proxy server which in turn sends it for you to the destination. When the proxy server receives the response, it sends it back to you.
It works but it is, however, far from a perfect solution. First, it is horribly insecure. All the data from your computer to the website or service goes through the proxy where it is exposed to multiple risks. It’s also quite slow as the proxying process does add a considerable overhead. It was a great solution several years back but nowadays, there are better to ways to spoof your online location and at the same time get several additional benefits.
CHECK OUT: How to unblock websites without a proxy
Virtual Private Networks
Although it comes as a side effect, a VPN is the best tool for spoofing your location online. It is the best tool because it does much more than just that. One of the primary benefits of virtual private networks is that they allow you to bypass Internet access restrictions.
You’ve most likely been in a situation–whether at a public WiFi hotspot, office, or school–when, while trying to access a specific web page or online service, you instead got a message telling you that this site was not accessible from there you were for this and that reason. Actually, sometimes it just doesn’t work and there isn’t even a message. The same kind of thing also happens in some countries like China, for example.
Another major benefit of VPNs it the increased security and privacy they provide. They encrypt data using algorithms that make it virtually–no pun intended–impossible to crack. They are, therefore, one of the best tools for anything related to security, and privacy protection.
How VPNs Work
Virtual Private Networks build a virtual–hence their name–tunnel between your computer and a VPN server. All data in and out of your computer is encrypted before being sent to the VPN server through the tunnel. At the other end, the server decrypts the data and sends it out on the Internet.
With the data between your computer and the VPN server being encrypted, you’re protected from anyone capturing your data. Even if they did, all they’d see in unidentifiable data going to the VPN server. They wouldn’t be able to know what you’re doing or where you’re going online.
Of even more interest when it comes to spoofing your location, the website or online resources you’re accessing would see your requests as coming from the VPN server’s IP address rather than yours. By carefully choosing the location of the server you connect to, you can appear to be located elsewhere.
As for performance, just like proxies, VPNs have some impact but it is much smaller because the VPN server does not read and interpret the request to sent it in your name to the server. It only decrypts it and sends it out.
What Makes a Great VPN
With so many VPN providers to choose from, picking the right one can turn into a nightmare. We’ve assembled a list of the most important factors one should consider.
- Location And Number Of Servers: Since you want to spoof your location online, you need a VPN provider that offers servers in as many locations as possible. And the provider you choose should have as many servers as possible in each location. With more servers, each one is less loaded and consequently, offers better performance
- Performance And Stability: We’ve mentioned the overhead that VPNs add to your network traffic. You want to minimize it so you need a provider with fast servers. And since you want the service to be available whenever you need it, you need a reliable supplier with excellent uptime.
- Strong Encryption Parameters: Encryption is what makes your data almost impossible to crack. The stronger the encryption, the harder your data is to crack. Anything below 128 bits should be avoided at all costs. Any respectable provider will offer 256-bit encryption.
- Available Software For Your Platform: With the multitude of platforms in existence, you might want to use a VPN from any type of device, not just from a computer. You should choose a VPN provider that offers client software for all the platforms you intend on using.
- Strict No-logging Policy: Even if your VPN provider were hacked or were forced to reveal information about you or your online activities, you’d be protected if they didn’t have any. Pick a supplier that does as little logging as possible and, for the ultimate privacy, one that does no logging at all.
The Top 5 VPN Providers For Spoofing Your Location
At addictivetips.com, we’ve tested many VPN providers. Here’s a list of the top 5 VPN Providers for spoofing your location online. They were selected because they meet all our criteria and offer excellent value and performance.
ExpressVPN is one of the most recognized VPN providers for its strong encryption protocols, its servers’ impressive speed, and a worldwide server network of over 3,000 servers located in 94 countries. When it comes to spoofing your location online, chances are there is a server in the country where you need to appear. They have servers in several major US and Canadian cities, in almost every European country, in Australia and New Zealand, in Asia, Africa, Central and South America and even in the Carribean.
ExpressVPN uses the OpenVPN protocol with 256-bit AES encryption and perfect forward secrecy by default. It uses 4,096-bit DHE-RSA keys protected by the SHA-512 algorithm. One of the only drawbacks of this provider is its partial no-logging policy. However, while they keep some logs, the only data they admittedly keep are the servers users connect to and the dates which they do. It seems to be a low enough level of logging to keep your privacy protected. The Network Lock feature blocks all internet traffic if the connection ever drops, ensuring that your data is not put at risk.
ExpressVPN lets subscribers connect to the VPN from three devices simultaneously. There are desktop clients for Windows, MacOS, and Linux plus Android and iOS apps as well. You may also install the VPN software on a router to protect your whole house from a single point. The provider doesn’t offer preconfigured routers but provides detailed instructions on how to set it up on more than dozen models of routers from many popular manufacturers.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
- Unblocks American Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu
- 3,000+ super fast servers
- No DNS/IP leaks found
- Keeps no logs of personal data
- 24/7 Chat Support.
- Priced slightly higher.
Another excellent provider, NordVPN has a strict no-logging policy, traffic encryption using 256-bit AES and 2,048-bit DH keys over the OpenVPN protocol, in line with what the best providers offer. Another feature that is enabled by default and that many providers don’t even offer is DNS leak protection. Your NordVPN subscription lets you use their service from six devices, one of the highest number of simultaneous connections offered by any provider.
Contrary to many other VPN providers who favour a by-country approach, NordVPN lets you select a server based on intended use such as torrenting, anti-DDoS, or video streaming. For location spoofing, you can also choose a specific server location. Talking about server locations, there are over 5,500 of them spread across 60 countries, an excellent variety to spoof your location online. Client software is available for Windows, MacOS, Android and iOS. There is no dedicated Linux client but detailed instructions on how to set up the service on Linux are provided. And to protect your whole house, NordVPN offers four different models of preconfigured routers through a partnership with Flashrouters.
Read our full NordVPN review.
- Servers optimized for unblocking Netflix
- Most VPN servers with different IP addresses
- No IP/DNS leaks found
- Based in Panama
- Customer Service (24/7 Chat).
- They can take 30 days to process refunds.
With a whopping 5,900 servers in more than 90 different countries, CyberGhost is simply impressive. Although this may not be as many countries as other providers on our Top 5 list, the number of servers in each location is higher which often makes for a better experience. And they have servers in all major locations.
CyberGhost uses the OpenVPN protocol with 256-bit AES Encryption and 2048-bit keys, like most of its competitors. Increased security is achieved through the use of perfect forward secrecy. CyberGhost as one of the best no-logging policy. The provider doesn’t even keep user’s email addresses. CyberGhost has all subscription purchases processed by resellers so they don’t even ever get your billing information, much less keep it. The only personal information CyberGhost is usernames, not enough to identify you. Other important features of CyberGhost include an Internet Kill Switch that disconnects the network whenever the VPN connection goes down as well as DNS and IP leak protection. On the client side, apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android.
Read our full CyberGhost review.
- LOW PRICE: 6 EXTRA free months (79% off - link below)
- 3,600+ servers in 55+ countries
- No leaks detected
- Zero logs and good privacy features
- 45-days money back guarantee.
- Sometimes experiencing average speeds.
IPVanish offers an excellent balance of high security and privacy. Boasting a full no-logging policy the provider keeps no data on users’ activities. Even employees can’t see what you’re doing or where you’re going online.
IPVanish uses the OpenVPN protocol with 256-bit encryption by default, as do most quality most providers. The service features SHA512 authentication and DHE-RSA 2,048-bit keys and uses perfect forward secrecy. IPVanish also features a “kill switch” that will disconnect the network should the VPN disconnect unexpectedly.
With more than 1,300 servers across some 60 countries including 400+ in Europe and 600+ in North America, chances are you’ll find a server in the right location for your needs. An IPVanish subscription allows up to five simultaneous connections. IPVanish has client software for Windows and Macintosh computers and the provider has detailed instructions on how to set the service up on computers running Linux. There are also very good Android and iOS client apps. IPVanish provides detailed setup instructions for most well-known router brands. But even better, there are partnerships with three suppliers offering routers with preinstalled IPVanish VPN software.
Read our full IPVanish review.
VyprVPN is said to have the best and strongest encryption protocols in the business. The service comes with 24/7 online customer support, a free 3-day trial, and features a vast server network of some 700 servers spread out all around the planet. Servers are mostly located in Europe and Asia but they have them in most major North American locations as well as Australia, New Zealand, Africa and Central and South America.
Unfortunately, VyprVPN is one of the VPN Providers who do the most logging. From what they’re saying, they store “the user’s source IP address, the VyprVPN IP address used by the user, connection start and stop time and the total number of bytes used.” Logs are admittedly retained only for 30 days and are mainly used to improve the service. Furthermore, no details of user activity are logged. This is probably an acceptable level of logging from a privacy standpoint.
VyperVPN encrypts data using the OpenVPN protocol with 256-bit AES encryption, 2,048-bit RSA keys without perfect forward secrecy and SHA256 authentication. An internet kill switch is also included.
A VyprVPN Pro subscription lets you use the service from up to three devices simultaneously. Client applications are available for Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS. For Linux users, detailed configuration instructions are provided. VyprVPN has a router app that installs over the Tomato OS, a customized operating system that runs on several routers from major manufacturers. Although some instructions about this setup are provided, the level of detail appears to be somewhat limited.
Read our full VyprVPN review.
A VPN is the best tool if you want to spoof your location online. Not only will it let you accomplish what you need but it will also enhance your privacy, allows you to bypass Internet access restrictions without having too much of an impact on performance. With so many VPN providers to choose from, we’ve given you five suggestions of the best ones to spoof your location online. They are all very good options and either one will give you a great and safe experience.
Have you tried to spoof your location online with a VPN? Which one did you use? What do you like most about it and is there something you really don’t like? Use the comments below to share your experience with us.
If you need a VPN for a short while when traveling for example, you can get our top ranked VPN free of charge. ExpressVPN includes a 30-day money-back guarantee. You will need to pay for the subscription, that’s a fact, but it allows full access for 30 days and then you cancel for a full refund. Their no-questions-asked cancellation policy lives up to its name.