There are a variety of use-cases for a VPN, but no matter which VPN provider you use or what reason you're connecting to a VPN for, the underlying technology remains the same — changing the location of the IP address of your computer, phone, or even your router.
Known as 'spoofing', changing your IP address to somewhere else in the world is really easy to do with a VPN meaning you can access content not usually available in your own location. The best way to achieve it is to subscribe to a reputable VPN provider and use their apps on your devices. While you may have to pay a monthly or annual fee to use a VPN, these services are usually more feature-rich than free VPNs and you can always save on VPNs with our best VPN deals guide.
How to change location with a VPN
Though it might sound complicated, it's actually pretty easy to spoof your IP address location. The first thing you'll need to do is sign up for a reputable VPN. We recommend ExpressVPN — the top pick in our best VPN guide — since it's so easy and reliable to use. Once signed up, download the relevant app for your device and sign in.
ExpressVPN, like other providers, then presents you with a list or geographical map of possible server connections you can take advantage of. It's then as simple as finding the country you want to appear to be located in and choosing to connect. The screenshot above shows how easy that is to do in ExpressVPN with recommended servers, the option to view all locations, or a search function to find a specific city or country. Most other VPN apps work in much the same way.
Once you've clicked the correct country, that's it! It'll take a couple of seconds to connect but your VPN provider will then give your device a new IP address and any sites you visit will view you as a visitor from your chosen location until you disconnect your VPN.
Why change the location of my IP address?
The most popular reason for changing IP address location is to gain access to region-restricted content. If you are abroad and want to access the U.S. Netflix library while on vacation, you can do so by using a U.S. IP address. Sometimes, content is only available in select regions like Studio Ghibli movies or BBC iPlayer. Sporting events not being broadcast where you live is another common reason for changing your location.
If streaming is your priority, check out our guide to the best VPNs for Netflix for everything you need to know. It's worth noting, though, that this practice goes against the terms and conditions of Netflix and other streaming services.
There are tons of other reasons to use a VPN, from added security and privacy to finding cheap flights. We've put together a guide for what you can use a VPN for to help you figure out if you should be using one.
We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:
1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service).
2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad.
We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.
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