If you’ve ever tried to use streaming sites such as Netflix or the BBC iPlayer to view content not licenced in your country, you’ll be familiar with seeing a message along the lines of “This content is not available in your region.”. Such messages can also be found on other websites, such as US-based websites that have chosen to block access from the EU rather than comply with EU privacy requirements. The best way to bypass this sort of location filter is by using a VPN, or Virtual Private Network.
How to Spoof your Location with VPN
One of the main reasons people use a VPN is to bypass location-based content filters. Using a VPN to change your location is simple, you just need to turn the VPN on – and use a VPN based in the right location. With the VPN on, your web traffic will appear to come from the location of the VPN server. To make your traffic appear to come from the specific country you want, you may have to select a different VPN server. Most paid VPN providers have servers in a wide range of countries, often with fifty or more options to choose from. You simply need to pick one in a region that works for your purpose.
The country is the most important factor when trying to pick a VPN server to connect to for geo-spoofing, as almost no content is region locked to individual cities. To be able to access the BBC iPlayer for example, you want to pick a server in the UK – it doesn’t matter if it’s in London or Edinburgh. If you’re wanting to pick a server location for Netflix however, you’re better off picking a location in the US, which has access to the largest Netflix library.
Tip: Not all VPNs are capable of accessing some sites like Netflix, even if they’re in the right location. This is because these sites actively try to block VPN servers from accessing their content to prevent people from bypassing their location-based filter.
How it Works
Geo-spoofing or location-spoofing with a VPN works because the VPN server sends the web request to the web server with its own IP address rather than yours. As far as the webserver is concerned, the request to access the location-restricted content was sent by the VPN server, it has no awareness that the request really came from you.
IP addresses can be used to get a general location because they’re assigned in multiple stages through groups that are responsible for certain regions. The location will usually be precise down to the city but can vary a bit more than that, especially for mobile data connections.