Changing your virtual location allows you to overcome oppressive censorship, stay private online, and even get better prices for goods and services when shopping on the internet. Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is arguably the easiest and most reliable way to do it, but there are other ways to achieve similar results.
While a “VPN location changer” isn’t an actual product, a VPN is one of the best tools for changing your location and IP address. Follow along to learn all about the benefits of a VPN, as well as the Tor browser, proxies, and other ways to change your virtual location.
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Does a VPN change my IP?
A VPN changes your IP (Internet Protocol) address to that of a VPN server. In order to achieve that, a VPN sends your traffic through a VPN server. As a result, the websites or apps that you use see the VPN server’s IP rather than your actual IP address, effectively hiding your location.
We’ll dive deeper into this later, but in short, this is how to change your VPN location:
- Get a VPN, preferably Surfshark;
- Download and install it;
- Log in to the app;
- Select the server country to connect to;
- There you go, your IP address and location are changed.
How does a VPN change my IP?
A VPN changes your IP by encrypting and routing your traffic through a VPN server. Since your data goes through the VPN server before it reaches the internet, any apps or websites you visit see the VPN server’s IP address instead of your actual IP.
Let’s take a look at the steps that a VPN takes to change your location and IP address:
- A VPN allows you to choose from a list of VPN servers to connect to. As soon as you connect, your IP changes to that of the VPN server. Surfshark has servers in 100 countries, with more than one location in some, giving you plenty of choices for changing your IP and location;
- A VPN encrypts your data by creating a tunnel and running your data through it. This way, your data gets encrypted and stays safe from snoopers;
- Your data is decrypted when it reaches the VPN server. The server then sends your decrypted traffic to the website you’re visiting. As a result, any websites or apps see the VPN server’s IP and location instead of your actual information.
Why change my online location?
Safety, privacy, and convenience are the main motivators behind changing your location. It shouldn’t be anyone’s business what you’re up to, and you should have a choice of whether or not you want to disclose your location and other sensitive information online.
To stay private
Your IP address acts as your internet ID wherever you go. It means that by looking at your IP, a person can tell your current general location. Also, websites and third parties track your online activity. Using a VPN and changing your location can stop them from doing that.
When you use a VPN, it encrypts your data on top of changing your IP. This means that anyone snooping on your traffic can’t actually see your activities. It doesn’t let advertisers see your shopping habits and hides your activity data from anyone trying to snoop on your traffic.
To stay connected to the web
You should be able to surf the web freely. The internet was intended for everyone, but the difference between governmental and institutional policies has led to a divided internet. Search results differ or are removed, and some parts of the web are completely inaccessible based on your location or network.
Changing your location with a VPN allows you to surf the entirety of the World Wide Web with total freedom. This is particularly useful for users in countries with oppressive internet restrictions. Just connecting to a VPN gives you access to global news or social media platforms, which may otherwise be blocked.
To get a better price
By changing your location, you can fight price discrimination. Most internet vendors vary their prices according to your location and the info saved in the form of cookies. A VPN can help you save money and avoid unfair pricing by changing your IP.
A VPN comes in particularly handy for travelers since flight tickets and accommodation tend to have some of the biggest price differences based on your region and prior activity.
How to change your location
Changing your location on the web typically refers to changing your public IP address. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ways to do it:
Use a VPN and change your IP
Using a VPN is probably the most popular way to change your IP address. It is simple, fast, and doesn’t require tech knowledge. Moreover, a premium VPN like Surfshark will provide more privacy and security benefits than any other IP-changing method.
Here’s all you need to do to change your IP with a VPN:
- Subscribe to a VPN service
Choose a VPN service and pick a subscription plan that works best for you. Premium VPNs are really affordable nowadays, so there’s really no reason why you should risk your online privacy and security just to save a couple of bucks.
- Download and install the VPN app
Download and install the VPN app on your devices. Surfshark offers unlimited simultaneous connections, so you can keep all your devices protected at the same time (check out the download page for a full list of supported devices).
- Log in to the app.
After installation, open the VPN app and log into your account.
- Connect to a VPN server
Choose one of Surfshark’s 3200+ servers in 100 countries to connect to. If you’re having a hard time with your choice, simply tap Quick-connect, and the app will do the work for you, connecting you to a fast and uncrowded server nearby.
Use a VPN to change your location to a specific country
The Quick-connect method connects you to the closest available location, but if you want an IP address from a specific country, you’ll need to take a few additional steps:
- Log in to the app;
- Go to the Locations tab;
- Find the location (VPN server) you want;
- Click on the location to connect to it.
Use the Tor Browser
While it does have some disadvantages, using the Tor browser to change your IP might be the only method that’s actually easier than using a VPN. All you need to do is simply use the Tor browser, which will do all the work for you.
- Download and install the Tor Browser;
- Launch it and click Connect;
- You’re done!
Quick, right? Unfortunately, it comes with a few downsides:
- Picking a specific location requires rummaging through the settings;
- Tor only encrypts traffic that goes through the Tor browser — other apps or searches will not be encrypted;
- The Tor Browser is slow.
Generally speaking, Tor is a great anonymity tool. However, we recommend using a VPN. This way, you won’t have to risk exposing your location via unencrypted data traffic or suffer long loading times.
Use a proxy server
The precise steps for setting up a proxy server will depend on your system. We’ll provide the basic steps below, but you might also want to check the specifications for your devices.
- Open your device’s proxy settings;
- Enter the address of your proxy server and the port number;
- Save the changes.
That’s it — your location and IP address are changed! Yep, it’s pretty straightforward. Still, proxy servers do not offer encryption, and although your location will be hidden, your data will not benefit from extra security.
Change the IP address manually
You can change your IP by hand, but it’s the least secure option since it doesn’t protect you from trackers or encrypt your data traffic.
Change your location on Windows:
- At the Start menu, go to Settings;
- Choose Network & Internet;
- Choose Properties under your local area connection;
- Hit Edit under the IP assignment and choose Manual;
- Toggle on IPv4, enter your desired IP address and click Save.
Change your location on macOS:
- Go to the Apple menu (Apple icon at the top left corner);
- Choose System Settings (or System Preferences) in the drop-down menu;
- Click Network;
- On the left should be the network list; pick your network and click Advanced on the right side of the table;
- Select the TCP/IP in the upper middle part;
- In the line Configure IPv4, select Manually;
- Enter your new IP and click OK.
Change your location on iOS (iPhone, iPod, iPad):
- Go to Settings on your device;
- Tap Wi-Fi;
- Choose the network you’re connected to;
- In the IPv4 section, tap Configure IP;
- Pick Manual and enter your desired IP address.
Change your location on Android:
- Go to your Android settings;
- Tap Wireless and go to Wi-Fi;
- Tap and hold the Wi-Fi network you’re connected to at the moment;
- Tap Modify Network and go to the Advanced options;
- Change the address in the IP settings from DHCP to Static.
We advise using a VPN as your location changer because changing your IP manually doesn’t offer the security or privacy that a VPN does. A VPN is the best option because it encrypts your data traffic, so even if someone manages to hack your connection, they’d have no way of understanding your data.
Unplug your router
Unplugging your router is the easiest way (even if inconsistent) to get a new IP address. Once you plug it back in, your internet provider’s DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) server may assign a new IP address to your router.
However, you may need to keep your router unplugged for several minutes or even hours, depending on your IP lease time. Also, your ISP (Internet Service Provider) could assign you the same IP address you had before.
This method is inconsistent and doesn’t provide the same privacy level as a VPN. Even if you manage to change your IP by unplugging your router, you’ll always get a new IP from the same region.
How do I know if my location has changed?
It’s a good idea to check your virtual location to see if your IP-changing method works as intended. An easy way to do this is to use an IP address detection tool.
After changing your IP, your virtual location shouldn’t match your actual location. For example, if you’re connected to a VPN, but your IP address still comes from your actual location, then the VPN service is not secure and not working properly. In this case, you should consider switching to a more reliable provider.
With a well-working VPN, your IP address location should immediately change to that of the VPN server rather than your actual whereabouts. Some services or websites may use your DNS address or WebRTC data to get your location data, but a good VPN also takes care of that.
Choose a location changing method that keeps you safe
Whether you want to protect your privacy or get around restrictive firewalls, the best option is to change your real IP address and location using a VPN. On this note, Surfshark provides an easy-to-use, safe, and cost-effective option for changing your IP location.
How do I change my VPN location for free?
You can change your VPN location for free by using a free VPN service. But just because you can doesn’t mean that you should.
Free VPNs might change your IP location, but they rarely, if ever, have the resources to actually protect you online. Over 25 million user records were leaked by free VPNs in 2022 alone. Needless to say, using a free VPN is a huge security risk, while a reliable premium VPN can keep you safe and private.
How often does a VPN change the IP address?
With Surfshark, your IP address will be rotated every five to ten minutes, thanks to Nexus technology. However, you have to turn on the IP rotator manually. To do so, follow these steps:
- Open the Surfshark VPN app;
- Click Settings on the left side of the screen;
- Choose the VPN settings tab;
- Toggle the Rotating IP feature under the Advanced settings.
Otherwise, if you don’t use this feature (or use another VPN provider), your IP will change every time you connect to a VPN.
Will I get a different IP every time I connect to a VPN?
Most likely, yes, you will get a different IP address whenever you connect to a VPN. To those wondering how a VPN gives me the same IP — only a certain number of IP addresses are assigned to specific servers, there’s a chance you might get the same IP.
If you don’t want the IP to change every time, you can connect to the same static IP server every time or get a dedicated IP.
Is it illegal to change your location with a VPN?
No, unless you live in a country where VPN use is illegal in general. Still, keep in mind that although it’s not illegal, it might be against the Terms and Conditions of the services you use.
Disclaimer: We prohibit using Surfshark services for any unlawful purposes as it is against our Terms of Service. Please be sure to act in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations of streaming service providers.
Is it safe to change a VPN?
It’s the same as asking if a VPN is safe to use. It depends on what type of VPN you’re using — the act is safe, but the provider may not be. So check out VPN providers’ policies, their prior history, and how they handle your data.
Can a VPN change a cell phone location?
A VPN will change your IP, but it can’t change your cell phone’s location because cell phone towers and mobile carriers will still detect your location. Cell phone communication is based on radio waves, and VPNs can’t encrypt radio waves. Yet.
Can a VPN change your city location?
A VPN can change your location to another city if your VPN provider has servers in the particular city you want to connect to. For example, Surfshark has servers in 25 major cities in the US, allowing you to choose which one you want to connect to instead of just offering the US as a single location option.