What is Geo-Spoofing and What Are The Benefits in 2019Last Updated by Denise Sullivan on April 10, 2019
Looking to hide your location online? Then geo-spoofing is for you.
Geo-spoofing is pretty self-explanatory, it simply means hiding your geographic location online. We all do it when using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), the provider will allow you access to their server so you can access content that would otherwise be geo-restricted.
While traveling abroad, you might find that content you can access at home won’t be available elsewhere. But it’s not just streaming sites facing this problem, government agencies are also geo-restricting news content and banning important information from reaching the masses. By using a technique called geo-spoofing, we can easily get around geo-blocking limitations.
Geo-blocking is a method of limiting access to the internet based on your location. Any user that is trying to log in from outside a country’s geo-location will receive an error stating that the programs are only available in that region. For example, YouTube restricts content to its US-based viewers while BBC iPlayer is only available in the UK.
Example of Geo-blocking limitations message
Every computer system, be it a laptop, desktop, smartphone or tablet, has a unique internet identification number, the Internet protocol (IP) address. Every time you open your web browser and begin surfing the net, that address transmits to whatever server you connect with.
To get around a geo-block, many consumers opt to geo-spoof their location. Advancements in APIs make it easier for search engines and websites to pinpoint your exact location. All it takes is gathering information from data-rich areas, such as cell phone towers, and sharing it with search engines and sites. Those location tags included in the IP address help web pages know exactly which location you are in.
There are a couple of different ways to spoof your location, but the most common option is by using a VPN.
A VPN service spoofs your geo-location in two ways:
- The first is by tunneling your data through one of their servers in a different location to your computer. This tunneling method changes your IP address so that the sites you access believe you are in a different place.
- The second thing it does is encrypts your data stream, making it impossible for hackers to access your web searches or determine where you are.
Why Geo-Spoof Your Location
The most important reason someone would choose to geo-spoof their location is to access popular streaming services blocked in any specific location.
Netflix is incredibly popular right around the globe, but its libraries vary from country-to-country. If you want to watch a show available in their US library but not available in yours, you will need to change your geo-location to gain access. Services like BBC iPlayer and YouTube are only available to residents in their respective countries.
While watching your favorite show is the number one reason most people geo-spoof, it’s not the only reason. Some people like to search the internet without fear of big brother watching their every move.
Another reason some users may choose to geo-spoof their location is to get around censorship. Many countries restrict content on the internet, in the Middle East, Russia and China. Users in those countries may choose to geo-spoof so they can find out what is really going on online and in the world around them.
Use a VPN to Geo-Spoof
Using a VPN service is the most common way to geo-spoof your location. There are many different providers to choose from, and their prices vary.
Once you decide which VPN service to use, download and install their software before connecting to the server in the country of your choice. VPN services mask your IP address making it appear like you are in the country where the server is situated. Choosing the right VPN provider comes down to a matter of taste and how well their service works for your needs.
If you’re not brave enough to take the VPN leap, there are ways to mask your location in your browser.
- Click the menu button in the top right corner of your Firefox window
- Click Options
- Select Privacy and Security
- Under Permissions select Settings to the right of Location
- Check the box that says “Block new requests asking to access your location”
- Click Save changes
- Click the menu button in the top right corner of the Chrome window
- Click Settings
- Navigate to Advanced Settings
- Under Privacy, select Content Settings
- Turn off Location
- Click on Preferences
- Select Privacy
- Choose Deny without prompting
Geo-blocking and tracking software will only improve over time. Therefore, using a geo-spoofing technique is the only way to truly enjoy online privacy and beef up your security at the same time.