When you use a VPN, you can choose where you appear to come from by changing the VPN server you connect to. This is how – and why – you can change your location online.
When you go online, the services you connect to know your location based on your IP address. The accuracy of this information varies. At best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) they can pinpoint your location within a few steps from where you are. For example, this is how map services know to open up the right view even when you don’t allow the location services. You can try this out on Google Maps. Even if you don’t give the permission to use your device’s location services, their guess of your location is often surprisingly good.
Some services on the web behave differently depending on your location. It could be that they are showing you different content, different prices or even blocking you out of some content entirely. If you want the full internet experience, you want the freedom to choose where you appear to come from.
There’s another aspect to your location, too. It’s about privacy. Imagine that every service, every web page you visit, has the information of your location. All of them can log that information – even without your consent. Do you feel comfortable giving that information out and letting all the websites and services combine that with your browsing behavior?
A VPN such as F-Secure FREEDOME VPN makes changing your virtual location a breeze. You just choose the VPN server that matches your preferred location and you’re set.
The location can be in another country or another part of the same country. For example, if you choose the server in Paris, France – for all intents and purposes the services you connect on internet will think you’re French now.
When you turn on a VPN and you change your virtual location, services that base their location on an IP address assume you are in the VPN server’s location. The services won’t know your real location – unless you tell them.
An IP address isn’t the only way to decipher your location. Some services ask for permission to use your computer’s / phone’s / tablet’s location information. That is based on the GPS data, cell towers, nearby WiFi networks and not relying on the IP. If you give the website or app the permission to use your location, all bets are off. Your location is exposed.
Google up “where am I” and Google gives you a map view of its best guess of your location. If you have enabled location services for Google, it will use your device’s best estimation of your location and if not, it will base its assumption on your IP address.
So, to stay private, use a VPN to hide your actual IP address and disable location services on your device so your location can’t be pinpointed. You’ll be navigating the web like an online ninja. Nobody knows where you come from and where you go. You’ll be private and untrackable.
If you don’t use a VPN, your real location can be determined by your IP address, often with surprising accuracy. Every website you connect can potentially do this, even without your permission. The way out is to turn on your VPN. Then the website can only see that your traffic comes from the VPN’s address and location – which you can choose from several options. This is how you can appear to come out of Finland, USA, UK, Switzerland – or wherever you feel like.
We recommend our F-Secure FREEDOME VPN. You can try it 5 days for free, no credit card or even an email address needed.