Technology has evolved massively over the past few decades. From computers that we can carry anywhere we want and smartphones that are capable of completing just about any task we need, technology has truly made our lives much easier, faster, and more convenient than ever before.
This ease and convenience have led to several different innovations, from video calls that allow you to get in touch with your friends and family on the other side of the planet to working remotely from anywhere in the world. Even entertainment has changed — you can find any more or series in the world at the click of a button!
In recent years though, the location of a device has become more and more important in terms of how it performs. Between geo-blocking and internet censorship, it can be frustrating to have such a smart device handy. But, luckily there is a way to hide your device’s location. All you need is a cybersecurity tool known as a VPN, and we’ll show you all the tricks on how you can use the ability to change your location to your advantage. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about VPNs and masking your location!
What is a VPN
Let’s first dive into the details of a virtual private network, more commonly known as a VPN! A VPN is a cybersecurity tool first and foremost, and it’s used to encrypt your internet connection. While your internet connection is encrypted, no one can see what you are doing on your device while surfing the web — not even your internet service provider or the government can keep track of your internet traffic!
Why is it important to have an encrypted internet connection? Internet privacy has become crucial in this day and age. With so many websites collecting your data and information, you never know who is tapping into your personal information and sharing it with others.
Moreover, there is even more danger out there in the form of cybercrime. You might have come across some public WiFi hotspots in the past — as convenient as these connection points are, they are also often hotspots of criminal activity. Public WiFi hotspots such as the ones found at airports, hotels, and restaurants usually use unsecured connections. This allows a skilled cybercriminal to “listen in” on other devices using the same connection as they send and receive data through the internet.
This form of “digital eavesdropping” is extremely dangerous and a hacker can steal crucial information such as your details, login credentials, and even your banking details. They can use this data to sell on the dark web, commit fraud, or even identity theft.
How Does a VPN Hide Your Location?
While the security and privacy that a VPN provides you by encrypting your connection, it surprisingly isn’t the main reason why the cybersecurity tool has become so overwhelmingly popular in recent years. A VPN has another great feature — the ability to spoof your real location! You might be wondering how a VPN hides your location, but let’s first investigate how websites can pinpoint your physical location.
An IP address is the element in question here. It’s a unique string of numbers used to identify your device on the internet, and one of its primary roles is to share your physical location with websites. Why? Websites use your location to send you targeted ads based on your location — have you ever scrolled the internet only to see several ads from your local grocery store pop up? Websites will also use this information to determine whether to block you from accessing specific content on their website too — this is known as geographical blocking.
In theory, then, you should be able to bypass geo-blocking and internet censorship simply by hiding or altering your IP address. That’s where a VPN comes in handy. VPNs allow you to connect to a secure global server in another country or city around the world. Once you’re connected to one of these servers, your real IP address will be masked, and your device will adopt the IP address of the server that you have chosen to connect to.
Doing so will trick websites into thinking that you are accessing them from elsewhere. For example, if you connect to a server in Thailand, you’ll start seeing Thai advertisements while browsing the internet rather than ones from your local city. You’ll also be able to access the internet as if you were physically located in Thailand.
This feature is useful for overcoming geo-blocking, which you’ll be all too familiar with if you enjoy live streaming sports, watching Netflix, or even browsing YouTube. Using a VPN with Netflix allows you to gain access to new movies and series which might not be available in your country due to licensing restrictions, and the same goes for sports live streams.
How to Choose a VPN
Before you rush off to install the first VPN you can find on your device, there are a few guidelines to follow when choosing a VPN! The golden rule of VPNs is to always choose premium VPNs. Free VPNs come with several drawbacks that will have an impact on your experience with them. When using a free VPN you can expect slower connection speeds, fewer global servers to choose from, less security, more ads, and even daily data limits!
It’s also important to keep in mind that not all VPNs have been created equally. Some VPNs have better connection speeds, others have better encryption capabilities. At the end of the day though, it’s not about which one is better than the other, it’s more about which VPN fits your needs and preferences. We’re not talking about color schemes and cool names here either. Some VPNs don’t work with Netflix for example, so if you’re looking for a VPN to unblock new movies and TV shows, you want to make sure that whichever VPN you choose can work with Netflix. You also want to have a VPN that has excellent connection speeds and stability.