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How to Change Your VPN Location

Headshot of Top10VPN.com Site Editor Callum Tennent

Callum Tennent oversees how we test and review VPN services. He's a member of the IAPP, and his VPN advice has featured in Forbes and the Internet Society. Read full bio

Our Verdict

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can change your virtual location by replacing your public IP address with the IP address of a remote server. This will prevent online services from identifying your location via your IP or DNS information. To change your VPN location, simply subscribe to a VPN service and connect to a VPN server in a different geographical area.

What can someone do with your IP address header image

Your IP address reveals lots of information about your approximate location. It exposes the city, state, and time zone of the router you are connected to, as well as the ISP you are using.

Used alongside other information such as your DNS address or GPS data, it’s possible for the websites you visit and other third parties to find your exact location.

Some services – especially streaming services like Netflix – will use your location data to restrict the content you can see. In some countries, it can even be used to remove your access to certain websites altogether.

Using a VPN, you can connect to a remote server and hide your real IP address, making it appear as if you are in a completely different location. Most VPNs even offer access to a global network of servers, which means you’ll have dozens or even hundreds of locations to choose from.

SUMMARY: How to Change Your VPN Location

  1. Subscribe to a VPN with a global network of servers. We recommend Surfshark.
  2. Download the VPN client to your device and sign in.
  3. Choose a location from the list of servers and click “connect”, or use the “quick connect” button to connect to the nearest server automatically.
  4. You can now browse using a different IP address and virtual location.

VPN services are the easiest way to change your IP address location and unblock geographic restrictions. However, It’s still possible for GPS, HTML5, and DNS data to leak your true location.

To prevent this, you’ll need a VPN that can spoof your GPS location and the location in your browser, or you may need additional tools.

In this guide, we’ll explain how to change your location using a VPN on several different devices. You’ll learn how to change your VPN location if you’re already connected to a server, what to do if it’s not working, and which alternatives you can use to change your location without a VPN.

EXPERT TIP: Based on our testing, the best VPN to change your virtual location is Surfshark. It offers access to over 3,200 servers in 95 countries, all of which are free from IP, DNS, and HTML5 location leaks.

Surfshark is also one of very few VPNs to offer both Smart DNS and a GPS spoofing feature on Android. This allows you to change your GPS location and unblock streaming services on devices where VPNs don’t work.

You can sign up to Surfshark for $2.49 or get it free for 30 days by using its risk-free money-back guarantee.

Can A VPN Change Your Location?

When you visit a website or use an online service, they can see your public IP address, which reveals your approximate geographic location. Sometimes that location can be accurate down to your city and even your zip code.

You can use a VPN to change your online location to virtually anywhere in the world. VPN software works by connecting you to a remote server in a location of your choice. When you visit a website or use an application, the website or service provider will see the IP address and location of that VPN server instead, making it appear as if you are browsing from a different location.

how a virtual private network (VPN) works

VPN software replaces your IP address with the IP address of a remote server in a different location.

Most VPN services allow you to choose from hundreds of different servers in dozens of countries, and the very best VPN services even let you connect to servers in specific cities.

Some VPN providers will offer a mixture of physically-located servers and virtual server locations. However, the final effect is always the same: your IP address is temporarily replaced, and your virtual location is changed.

Using a VPN can help you replace or change other types of location data, too:

  • The Global Positioning System (GPS) uses a network of satellites to work out the location of a mobile device. Your GPS location can reveal your true location, but VPN services like Surfshark can spoof it on Android devices.
  • HTML5 geolocation data can reveal your location to websites via your browser. You can deny websites permission to see your location, but some sites might not work without it. Most VPN services block HTML5 data, and some VPN browser extensions can actively spoof it.
  • The Domain Name System (DNS) translates domain names into IP addresses so your browser can find a given website’s server. Your DNS server can reveal your real location, but the best VPNs use their own first-party DNS servers to prevent this from happening.

Can a VPN Change Your GPS or Phone Location?

A VPN changes your IP address, which many online services use to identify your location. However, there are other ways that your location can be traced, and many VPNs do not block all of these.

Most phones have GPS built-in, which uses a network of satellites to work out your geographic position. You can use a VPN to change your phone’s IP address location, but most VPNs will not change your GPS location. VPN services will not change your device’s MAC address, either.

A small number of VPNs do offer GPS spoofing on Android devices. While this will not literally change your GPS location, it can intercept the request for your GPS location and report the same location as your VPN server. The only VPNs with this feature are IVPN, Windscribe, and Surfshark.

Surfsharks GPS Override feature

The GPS Override feature on Surfshark’s Android app.

Even when connected to a VPN, your cell phone provider can always tell where you are because it knows which cell towers you are connected to at any given time. If you want to receive calls or receive SMS messages, you can’t stop your service provider from knowing your location.

Can a VPN Change Your Browser Geolocation?

HTML5 geolocation data, also known as browser geolocation data, refers to your device’s geo-coordinates as detected by a browser API.

Your browser can use this data to estimate your location based on the WiFi network you’re connected to, the device’s GPS, and any cell towers that might be nearby. This data can then be shared with third-party websites on request.

HTML5 geolocation data can be very accurate – sometimes to the street-level, depending on the availability of this information.

A HTML5 leak can expose your precise location even if your VPN is hiding your real IP address. If your IP and HTML5 locations aren’t the same, it’s possible that websites will know you’re not really where your VPN server is.

VPN services cannot change your browser geolocation, but most top VPNs include leak protection to prevent the data from being exposed. Some VPN browser extensions also include built-in HTML5 leak protection to help avoid this issue.

ExpressVPN chrome extension HTML5 settings

You can spoof your HTML5 geolocation using ExpressVPN’s chrome extension.

Fortunately, HTML5 geolocation is also strictly permission-based. That means websites have to request permission to get your location, usually via a browser pop-up. If you deny this request, your HTML5 location won’t be shared.

Can a VPN Change Your Location on Social Media Apps?

Most social media apps use the GPS feature of your phone, and not just your IP address, to work out your location. That includes TikTok, Snapchat, and dating apps like Tinder.

Using a VPN might be enough to change your location on some social media websites, but it will not prevent mobile applications from collecting other data through your phone. This could include your GPS information, device ID, contacts, and billing address – amongst many other things.

To change your location on social media apps like TikTok or Snapchat, use a VPN that also supports GPS spoofing.

Why Change Your VPN Location?

Changing your VPN location protects your privacy and unblocks geographically restricted content.

Your real IP address can be used to find your approximate location, which can be dangerous for users sending sensitive personal information or living in highly-censored countries. That location data includes your country, city, time zone, and sometimes even your ZIP code.

Your location data can also be used for targeted advertising, surveillance, and some forms of online harassment. By hiding this essential information, you can stop doxxing and DDoS attacks, avoid copyright trolls, and even prevent your ISP from seeing your browsing history.

Changing your location also lets you access geo blocked content on streaming services. For example, if you live in the US, you can use a VPN to access Japanese Netflix from home. If you live in Europe, you can change your Netflix region to the US by choosing a VPN server in America.

How to Change Your Location Using a VPN

Using a VPN service is the easiest and most reliable way to change your IP address and virtual location, especially on desktop and mobile devices.

VPN software works by replacing your IP address with the IP address of a server in a different location. When you connect to a VPN server and visit a website, the website will see the IP address and location of the VPN server instead of your real physical location.

With the right VPN, you can choose from servers in dozens of different countries. You can switch between VPN locations by simply changing servers in the app.

Here’s how to change your location and IP address with a VPN:

  1. Subscribe to your chosen VPN service. We recommend Surfshark, as it includes Smart DNS and a GPS spoofing feature on Android.
  2. Download and install the VPN application onto your device.
  3. Open the VPN client and connect to a server in a location of your choice.
  4. Open your web browser or application. You can now browse from your chosen location. To verify this, check the location of your IP address.
  5. If you wish to change VPN locations again, repeat step (3) and then refresh your browser window. Be mindful that your connection may be insecure while the VPN switches servers.

Watch the video walkthrough below to see how to change your location using a VPN. If you’re already connected to a VPN server, you can also use these instructions to switch servers and change to a specific VPN location:

How to change your IP address and virtual location with a VPN.

How to Change Your VPN Location for Free

Windscribe Free is the best free VPN overall, and the easiest way to change your IP address and location. The VPN offers a custom app for most platforms, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS.

The free version of Windscribe allows you to connect to servers in 11 countries, including the US, UK, France, Hong Kong, and more. However, not all of these servers work with streaming services.

Windscribe Free does come with a 10GB monthly data cap, but its default AES-256 encryption makes it significantly more secure than free web proxies such as HMA’s web proxy, which only works to redirect your browser traffic.

How to Find Your VPN Location

Once you’ve connected to a remote VPN server, you can browse the internet or use an application from that virtual location. However, you may want to double check which VPN location you’re browsing from.

There are three easy ways to find your VPN location:

  1. Open your VPN application to see which VPN server location you are connected to.
  2. Use our IP address checker tool. This will show you the IP address and location that websites see when you visit them.
  3. Use our VPN leak test. This will make sure your real IP address and location is hidden, and it will also check for HTML5 and other location leaks.

Where Should You Set Your VPN Location, and How Often Should You Change It?

The VPN location that’s best for you will depend on what you’re trying to achieve with the VPN. If you’re simply looking to protect your privacy, choose the VPN location closest to your physical location. This will reduce the distance your data has to travel, and improve your chances of getting the best speeds.

If you want to unblock geo restricted content in a particular country, you’ll need to connect to a VPN server in that country. Some streaming services block known VPN IP addresses, so if your chosen server doesn’t work, try another VPN server in the same location.

The most secure VPN services will not keep logs of your activity, so it shouldn’t matter how often you change VPN servers. However, you should switch if you notice a server getting particularly overcrowded or slow.

Every server is assigned a range of IP addresses, so it’s likely that each time you connect to the same server you will get a different IP address.

Can You Change Your Location Without a VPN?

A VPN is the easiest way to change your virtual location on mobile and desktop devices. However, there are alternative methods you can use to change your location on other devices, such as games consoles or Smart TVs.

SUMMARY: How to Change Location Without a VPN

  • VPN Service: Best Method Overall
  • Smart DNS: Best for Smart TVs & Games Consoles
  • Web Proxy: Best for Ease of Use
  • Tor Browser: Best for Anonymity

Web Proxy Servers

The simplest alternative to VPN services is to use a web proxy. Proxy servers are similar to VPN services in that they enable you to send your browser traffic through a remote server in a different country. This changes your IP address and apparent location, allowing you to unblock some geographically restricted content.

Screenshot of Hide.me web proxy.

Hide.me’s web proxy service.

A good web proxy will also encrypt your traffic using HTTPS, but many free web proxies don’t. In fact, many free proxy servers are actually dangerous to use, and even the encrypted services are far less secure than a trustworthy VPN.

Smart DNS Services

If you need to change your location on a different device, the best alternative to a VPN is a Smart DNS service.

Smart DNS services work by changing your DNS server location instead of your IP address. This allows you to bypass geographic restrictions on devices that are not compatible with VPN software –but it will not protect your privacy.

How Smart DNS works

By changing DNS servers, you can use Smart DNS to bypass geo-restrictions on content.

The benefit of Smart DNS versus a VPN is that it doesn’t require you to install any software. To use it, simply subscribe to the Smart DNS service and use their instructions to change the DNS settings on the device of your choice.

The Tor Browser

You can also use the Tor Browser to change your location and unblock restricted websites. Tor routes your traffic through at least three randomly selected servers. By the end of this process, your traffic will appear to originate from the location of the last server in the chain.

It’s technically possible to hide your true location with Tor, but it’s incredibly slow. Your traffic’s exact route through the network is also chosen at random, which means it’s difficult to choose the exact location you want to change to.

How to Change VPN Location on Different Devices

The best method to change your VPN location will vary depending on the device you’re using. In this section, we’ll explain exactly how to change your IP location using a VPN on every popular device.

Use the following links to skip to our instructions for a particular device:

How to Change Your VPN Location on Windows or MacOS

Follow these steps to change your VPN location on desktop devices:

  1. Subscribe to ExpressVPN. It’s the best VPN we’ve tested, and the Mac and Windows versions of the software are the same.
  2. Download and install the application for Windows or Mac.
  3. Open the ExpressVPN app on your computer and enter your activation code.
  4. Open the location menu to see your recommended server locations. To see every server, use the ‘All Locations’ tab at the top. You can also search for a specific location.
  5. When you select a location, you are automatically connected to it.
  6. You can disconnect and reconnect to the same location using the large, central ‘On’ button.

How to Change Your VPN Location on iPhone and iPad

To change your VPN location on iPhone and other iOS devices:

  1. Subscribe to ExpressVPN. It’s the top-rated VPN for iPhone and iPad, and it offers a 7-day free trial on iPhone.
  2. Download the iOS application to your device.
  3. Open the location menu to see your recommended VPN servers. To see every VPN server, use the tab at the top or search for a specific location.
  4. When you select a VPN location, you are automatically connected to it.
  5. To change VPN locations in future, repeat step (3).

Even when connected to a VPN on iPhone, websites and applications may still be able to see your true location using GPS.

GPS spoofing is not supported on iOS – if you see an app in the Apple app store promising to spoof your GPS location, it’s probably false advertising.

How to Change Your VPN Location on Android

Follow these steps to change your IP and GPS location on Android phones:

  1. Subscribe to Surfshark and download the Android application. Alternatively, you can download the Surfshark app directly from the Google Play Store. Open the app and log in using your account details.
  2. Tap the blue ‘Connect’ button to connect to the fastest server location. In most cases, this will be in the same country as you are.
  3. If you want to choose a specific VPN location, tap ‘Locations’ and choose a specific server. Selecting a country automatically connects you to it.
  4. Give Surfshark permission to set up a VPN connection when prompted.
  5. To spoof your GPS location, tap ‘Settings’ then ‘Advanced’. In this meny, enable ‘Override GPS Location’. This will ensure any apps requesting your GPS position are given the same location as your VPN server.

Surfshark is recommended for Android devices in part due to its unique GPS spoofing tool. This prevents social media, dating, streaming, and other apps from using your phone’s GPS to detect your true location.

If your TV uses Android, you can also install ExpressVPN from the Amazon Appstore or Google Play.

How to Change Your VPN Location in your browser

To spoof your HTML5 geolocation on your web browser, you’ll need a VPN browser extension like ExpressVPN. Using it, you can bypass geographic restrictions on websites that use HTML5 to validate your location.

Here’s how to change your browser’s location:

  1. Subscribe to ExpressVPN and install its browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.
  2. You can change your VPN location by selecting a server in the extension’s interface. This affects all of your applications, not just your browser.
  3. To spoof your HTML5 geolocation, select the ExpressVPN icon in your browser, press the hamburger menu, and choose ‘Privacy & Security’.
  4. Enable the ‘Spoof Your Location’ and ‘Block WebRTC’ options. This ensures that HTML5 will not leak your true location.

Why Is My VPN Not Changing My Location?

If you find your VPN is not connecting you to a new location, try these troubleshooting tips:

  1. Make sure you’re using a reliable VPN service. Some poor-quality VPN services – especially free ones – simply do not work to change your virtual location.
  2. It may seem obvious, but make sure the VPN is turned on and you’re connected to a VPN server. Some VPNs can unexpectedly disconnect or turn themselves off altogether.
  3. Use a leak test to make sure your VPN is not leaking IP, DNS, or HTML5 data that could reveal your true location. If a website detects your public IP address or default DNS servers, your virtual location may not be changed.
  4. Ensure you’ve chosen a server in your desired location. Some VPNs will connect you to your nearest or fastest server unless you configure them otherwise.
  5. Try connecting to a different VPN server in the same location. Some servers may be unreliable if they are overloaded, and they may fail to unblock content if a particular service has identified that the IP address belongs to a VPN.
  6. Delete your browser’s stored cookies. Websites can use cookies to store identity and location data, and cookies are not blocked by running a VPN.
  7. Disable location services. Turning off location services prevents apps from asking where you are.

FAQs

What Is the Best VPN for Changing Your Location?

The best VPN for changing your location on desktop, iOS, and Smart TV devices is ExpressVPN. It offers one of the largest VPN server networks available, with 3,000 VPN servers in 94 countries.

ExpressVPN offers a Smart DNS service called MediaStreamer to change your DNS location on Apple TV and games consoles, as well as a fully-featured browser plug-in to spoof your HTML5 geolocation.

While ExpressVPN works well on these devices, Surfshark’s unique GPS spoofing feature makes it the best VPN for changing your location on Android.

Can My VPN Location Be Tracked?

It’s possible for your ISP, third-party websites, and other online service providers to see that you’re using a VPN. They will be able to see your VPN location, but they cannot trace your real IP address or location. Your real location could be exposed, however, if the VPN leaks your DNS address or GPS data.

How Does Google Know My Location Using a VPN?

Large companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft use cookies and device fingerprinting to identify your device. Google may be able to infer your true location from this information even if you use a VPN. Google also uses cell tower IDs and GPS in its Android operating system to track you.

About the Author


  • Headshot of Top10VPN.com Site Editor Callum Tennent

    Callum Tennent

    Callum Tennent oversees how we test and review VPN services. He's a member of the IAPP, and his VPN advice has featured in Forbes and the Internet Society. Read full bio