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How to change location with a VPN: make your IP address anywhere in the world

change location with a vpn
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

No matter what you're intending to use your VPN for, the basic premise will always remain the same. That is the ability to change location of the IP of your laptop, mobile - even your entire router - to somewhere entirely different.

In internet slang, this process is often called ‘geo-spoofing’, but don’t worry – geek lingo aside, it’s very straightforward and we’re going to show you the easiest way to change the location of your IP address.

It's one of the basic things that every Virtual Private Network user should know how to do - and this guide will tell you the simplest way to do it.

The best VPN in the world right now is ExpressVPN
Of the hundreds of VPNs that we have reviewed, ExpressVPN tops the lot. Its pure speed and watertight strength are a great start, and then there's the sheer amount of global servers it has and adaptability to tonnes of devices and streaming boxes.

It also comes with a 30-day money back guarantee and if you use the following link, you can claim 3 months FREE with an annual plan.

Why would I want to change location of my IP address?

First, let’s take a look at why you might want to change the location of your IP address to another country, or ‘geo-spoof’.

Probably the most common reason is to access region-locked content. 

For instance, some of the best Netflix US shows aren’t available to the streaming service’s subscribers in the rest of the world, while BBC iPlayer is similarly blocked for American netizens. A number of other content providers, such as Spotify and YouTube, also geo-restrict certain content. And then there may be certain sporting events you want to see that simply aren't being broadcast where you live.

To learn more about streaming Netflix wherever you are, check out our guide to the best Netflix VPNs. But be aware that this practice is in direct contravention of Netflix's - and those of other streaming services - terms and conditions.

What else are VPNs good for?

Quite a bit, actually.

Some countries censor popular websites entirely – China’s outright ban on Facebook and Twitter being one of the better known examples - that's why our best VPN for China guide is such essential reading.

In other cases, you may not want search engines logging your online activity. The data gleaned from such tracking helps advertisers target you with what they consider to be relevant content across multiple platforms.

Sometimes, this can be helpful, but it can also mean a one-off Google search for protein supplements clogs your Facebook feed with laughable bodybuilding promos. 

Alternatively, you may be the proud owner of a shiny tinfoil hat and convinced that your government is spying on you. And it may well be, at least to some extent...

While we can’t offer any legally binding promises, changing your location using a VPN is usually enough to cover your ass by maintaining your online anonymity and encrypting your data. 

change IP on a mac

(Image credit: Future)

So how do I change location and IP address with a VPN?

Believe it or not, this is actually the easy bit.

However, it’s worth noting that to get the best experience when using a VPN, you may need to pay a small fee to subscribe to the service’s full offering. Free VPNs are all well and good, but they simply don’t offer the same reliability or limitless usage. 

Those looking to save should check out our guide to the best VPN deals, which is regularly updated with all the latest offers on quality Virtual Private Network services.

Here’s how to use a VPN to change your location and IP address in six simple steps:

  1. Find and download a reliable VPN  – or simply head straight to ExpressVPN
  2. Open the download package and install it on your computer 
  3. Once everything is ready, open the VPN application
  4. Log-in with your details, follow any welcome prompts, and you should soon be offered a list of VPNs to connect to
  5. Pick the country you want your computer to change location and click the appropriate button – the screenshot above shows my Macbook on holiday in Switzerland
  6. That’s it – it may take a few seconds, but your chosen VPN’s servers will do the grunt work for you and give you a new IP address

The steps above are based on a macOS computer, but you'll be able to follow a similar process on other desktop operating systems and will also find VPN apps available for Android and iOS mobile devices. The very best software will make this nice and easy for you, that's why we like ExpressVPN so much.

Sounds easy enough – is there anything else I should do?

You can make things even easier for yourself by installing a VPN extension in your browser. 

As it’s the internet’s most popular browser, we’ve tried and tested all the best Chrome VPN extensions – and we’ve also got a guide explaining how to change an IP address in Chrome in more detail.