I use virtual private network (VPN) services to protect my online privacy and security. But you can also use these services to change your virtual location. That’s the location that websites, apps, and other parties perceive where we are. In this guide, I'm explaining step by step how to change your location with a VPN.

Changing our virtual location doesn’t just enhance our privacy. It also enables us to overcome certain limitations.

For instance, it allows us to bypass geographic restrictions. These restrictions are usually imposed by some streaming services. You can change your location to unblock Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and so on. Similarly, changing location helps prevent websites from blocking based on your location data.

Changing location will also help you avoid pesky ads that target you based on your location data. You’ll be able to stay away from location-tracking people and organizations. 

I'm a full time digital nomad and global food vlogger.  So my physical location is mostly away from my home country. I’m from Canada. But I spend a lot of my time in Asia. And I like to consume many US, UK, and Canadian-based streaming content. I use a VPN to help me achieve that and to just navigate the internet freely and securely.

In this article, I'll show you how to use VPN services to change your location. But before that, let's discuss some background information first. If you want to skip to the meat of this article, just click your desired topic in the table of contents to your right.

Ready? Let’s get this show on the road!

How to change your location with a VPN

How does a VPN change your location?
VPN service providers use a couple of methods to change your location. These methods include the following:

By changing your real IP address

Your device holds the public IP address your internet service provider (ISP) assigns to it. I won’t bore you with technical discussions about private and public IP addresses. Just know that every time I mention IP (internet protocol) addresses here, they’re going to be public IP addresses. Let’s call your device’s ISP-designated IP address its real IP address.

Now, when you connect to websites and online services, some of those sites can tell where you’re located. They can tell through what is known as geolocation. Geolocation is a process that determines a device’s location based on its IP address. Geolocation systems associate public IPs with cities, countries, and continents. Once a site knows your location, it can impose limits based on that information.

So how does a VPN change your virtual location? Let me explain.

VPN providers have expansive networks of servers spanning multiple countries around the globe. When you connect to a VPN server, you'll get a new IP address. Your VPN provider will change your real IP address with an IP associated with that server.

Since that server is hosted in a particular city and country, the new IP address your device acquires will inherit that server’s location. As a result, your device also acquires that location. So, if you’re connecting to a VPN server in the United States, your device will get both a US IP address and the corresponding IP address location. Pretty cool, right?

By using smart DNS

Besides a VPN service, some premium VPN service providers like ExpressVPN, Surfshark, and NordVPN also offer a smart DNS service. It’s another way to change your IP address. You normally use smart DNS if you want to change your IP location on a device that can’t support a VPN. 

A smartDNS service essentially combines the capabilities of a DNS server and a proxy server. I won’t go too deep into the technical details, but here’s what each server does. 

A Domain Name System server or DNS server plays a key role in connecting you to the websites you want to visit. It’s responsible for converting domain names to IP addresses and vice versa.

A proxy server, on the other hand, acts as an intermediary between you and whatever site you want to visit. In doing so, the proxy changes your IP address to its own IP. 

So, a smart DNS service will change your real IP address with the DNS address of your VPN provider.

If you’re thinking, “Doesn’t that sound like a VPN?”, you’re right.

Yes, smartDNS services operate almost like VPNs. But there’s one major difference—they can’t encrypt your internet connection like a VPN does

So, even if DNS proxies can change your IP address, they can’t protect your online privacy and security like VPNs. I’ll talk about encryption later. For now, let’s talk about the third and last method VPN services use to change your location. 

By spoofing your GPS location

Some mobile apps and services don’t obtain your location through your IP address. Rather, they get it from your phone’s Location Services. Location Services mainly gets location data from Global Positioning System (GPS). It also gets data from sources like cellular towers, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.

To work around this, some VPN service providers employ yet another method to change location. Some people call this method GPS spoofing or geo spoofing. GPS spoofing doesn’t change your IP address. Rather, this method involves your device’s Global Positioning System location or GPS location.

Your device obtains its GPS location from a system of satellites. A GPS spoofing app or feature overrides your actual GPS location and replaces it with a fake one.

Not all devices support GPS spoofing though. Apple devices, for instance, don’t support GPS spoofing. Not all providers offer this feature either. Among the providers I recommend for changing location, only Surfshark offers a GPS spoofing feature

Surfshark calls it GPS override. That said, Surfshark’s GPS override feature is only available on Android. 

Why use a VPN connection to change your IP address?

A VPN server isn’t the only type of server that can change your IP address. As mentioned earlier, you can also use proxy servers for this purpose. In fact, that’s how smart DNS works, remember? VPN servers have one major advantage though. They provide much better online security. You see, every connection between a VPN client or app and a VPN server is encrypted. 

By using encryption, a VPN hides your IP addresses, passwords, and other data. Anyone who intercepts your VPN connection can't get any information from it. Not a hacker, the government, or even your internet service provider.

Proxy servers, on the other hand, can only change your IP address and location, but they can’t encrypt your data. For that reason, you’ll be much safer if you change your location with a VPN. 

How to choose the best VPN service to change your location

There are so many VPN services out there. I’ve been changing my online location with a VPN for about 10 years now. In my experience, only a few VPN services are really worth your time. Let me share with you my top criteria for choosing a VPN location changer. 

1. Network coverage

This refers to the geographical reach of your VPN provider’s network. It involves the number of countries and continents where a provider’s servers are located. The more countries and continents it supports, the wider a provider’s reach. Why is that important? A provider with more server locations will have a greater chance of fulfilling your change location requests

2. Country selection

While the quantity of a VPN’s country list is important, it’s also important to consider the quality of that list. You probably already have a specific location you want to change to. Make sure the countries where you likely want to change your location to are included in that list. 

For example, I’m from Canada and I have subscriptions in major streaming platforms. Most of these platforms are based in the United States. So I always prefer providers that at least include Canada and the US in their country list. 

3. VPN connection quality

These are attributes that you really have to test yourself. You have to test if a provider’s VPN connections are fast and reliable enough. If you can change to different countries, but the connection is always slow and intermittent, that’s not good. Also, some VPN services take forever to connect. That’s definitely not good either. 

4. User interface

VPNs aren’t supposed to be complicated. Unfortunately, some VPNs are just so poorly designed. Choose a provider whose VPN app is easy to use. The first time you launch the app, you should be able to figure out immediately how to change to your desired virtual location. 

If it takes more than a few seconds to do that, that’s not a good sign. And if you have to fiddle with VPN configurations to make things work, forget about it. Look for another VPN

5. Trial period

It’s crucial to test the quality and capabilities of a virtual private network before committing for the long haul. So, you have to find a provider that offers a trial period. Some VPN services have 30-day money-back guarantee offers. Grab that opportunity! If you cancel within 30 days, you’ll get a refund. That’s super cool!

During the trial period, put the VPN through its paces. Hop from one IP location to another and see how quickly it connects. And then once connected, check the speed of the connection. Better yet, connect to streaming platforms and check the quality of the streamed content. Also, see if it can bypass geo restrictions. That way, when the trial period ends, you’ll be ready to make the perfect decision.

Top VPN location changers in 2024

While all VPN services are theoretically capable of changing your location, they’re not created equal. Some VPNs are just way better than others. In my most recent tests, I found ExpressVPN, Surfshark, and NordVPN the top VPN location changers. These three topped the criteria I outlined earlier. 

ExpressVPN, Surfshark, and NordVPN have many similarities. All three premium VPN services have a VPN app for desktops, laptops, and mobile devices. They all support major operating systems. Windows, Linux, Mac, iOS, and Android are all supported.

They also support multiple simultaneous connections. This is really useful if you want to share a single account to other family members. It can also come in handy if you own multiple devices. As long as you’re within the device limit, all devices can change to a different IP address location at the same time. 

All three providers offer a 30-day money back guarantee. All are highly secure VPN services. And although ExpressVPN has a much easier to use interface, the interfaces of NordVPN and Surfshark are also intuitive enough. Their country count and selection are all solid. In my experience, there never was a country I wanted to change to that wasn’t supported. 

Here are some brief overviews of ExpressVPN, Surfshark, and NordVPN.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN has the easiest-to-use interface. It’s just super easy. The moment you launch its app, you’ll know exactly what to do. Its servers are located in 100+ different countries. That’s very solid when it comes to network coverage. Most of all, the user experience on this service is simply the best. 

Surfshark

Of the three VPNs I recommend, Surfshark has the widest coverage. It has VPN servers in 95+ different countries. Surfshark also supports the most number simultaneous connections. In fact, it has no limit in that category at all!

NordVPN

NordVPN trails the two other providers in network coverage. I travel a lot. And yet, not once did I ever need to change my location to those missing countries. Of course, that’s just me. As for the other qualities, NordVPN holds its own pretty well

ExpressVPNNordVPNSurfshark
Brand
ReviewExpressVPN ReviewNordVPN ReviewSurfshark Review
Ratings
4.9
4.8
4.7
Price (lowest price per month)$6.67/month$3.99/month$2.19/month
Free VersionsNone, but has 30-day money back guarantee7 day free trial or 30 day money-back guarantee7 day free trial or 30 day money-back guarantee

Server locations
100+ countries110+ countries95+ countries
OpenVPN protocolYesYesYes
StreamingNetflix, Hulu, Amazon prime, Disney+, and moreNetflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and moreNetflix, Hulu, and more
AES-256 encryptionYesYesYes
LoggingNo logsNo logsNo logs
Simultaneous connections810Unlimited

Read my detailed review of ExpressVPN
Read my detailed review of Surfshark
Read my detailed review of NordVPN

How to connect to a VPN server to change location

Let me now share with you the general steps to change your location using a VPN. You can find more specific instructions in the succeeding sections. Do check them out!

Alright, here’s all you need to do.  

  1. Download and install a VPN app. I suggest you download a VPN app from any of the three VPN providers I recommended earlier.
  2. During installation, you may get a message that your VPN would like to add or create VPN configurations. Just tap Allow or any similar action.
  3. Launch the VPN app and then select the VPN location you wish to change to. That location is usually denoted as a country or city in the app.
  4. Once you’re connected to a VPN server, the VPN should change your real location to the new VPN location.

Sometimes, some locations don’t work. You can either retry the same server multiple times or try other locations in the same country until you finally connect.

That’s it. That’s all you need to do to change locations with a VPN.

If you want more specific examples, read on!

Change your location using ExpressVPN

In my personal experience, ExpressVPN is hands down the easiest way to change your location with a VPN. I rarely have to wait a long time before I can get a successful connection. And I rarely have to retry the same location before connecting either. Here are the steps to change location using ExpressVPN on an iPhone, Mac, and Windows device. 

How to change your iPhone location using ExpressVPN

  1. Launch the ExpressVPN app.
  2. Tap the ellipsis on the ExpressVPN app’s main screen.
  3. Once you get to the VPN Locations screen, you may search for the country you wish to change location to by typing it in the search bar. For example, if you wish to get a UK IP address, you can type “UK”. Once the country appears, just tap to connect.

    Or, you may also navigate to the country by tapping “All locations”, then the continent, and then the country. If you wish to select a specific location in a country, tap the expand icon to the right of the country. 
Screenshot of the ExpressVPN iPhone app's VPN Locations screen, with arrows pointing to United Kingdom and the expand tool beside it.
  1. Tap your desired virtual location. ExpressVPN should change your iPhone location to your chosen country. 

How to change your VPN location on a Mac using ExpressVPN

  1. Launch the ExpressVPN app.
  2. Click the ellipsis on the ExpressVPN app’s main screen.
  3. Once the VPN Locations window pops out, you may search for the country you wish to connect to by typing it in the search bar. For example, if you wish to change to a UK virtual location, you can type “United Kingdom”. Once the country appears, just click to connect.

    Or, you may also navigate to the country manually. If you wish to select a specific location in a country, just click the expand symbol (>) to the left of the country flag and then click a specific virtual location to connect. Otherwise, just click on the country to auto-connect.
Screenshot of the ExpressVPN Mac app's main screen and VPN Locations screen
  1. ExpressVPN should change your IP to a new IP address that’s associated with your chosen location. 

How to change VPN location on Windows using ExpressVPN

  1. Launch the ExpressVPN app.
  2. Click the ellipsis on the VPN app main screen.
  3. Once the VPN Locations window pops out, you may search for the country you wish to change your location to by typing it in the search box. For example, if you wish to get a UK IP address, you can type “United Kingdom”. Once the country appears, just click to connect.

    Or, you may also navigate to the country manually by clicking All Locations. You can then click the continent, and then the country . If you wish to select a specific VPN location in a country, click the expand symbol to the left of the country flag. Next, click a specific location to connect. Otherwise, just click on the country to auto-connect. 
Screenshot of ExpressVPN Windows app's main screen and VPN Locations screen
  1. ExpressVPN should change your IP to a new IP address that’s associated with your chosen location. 

Change your IP location using Surfshark

Surfshark doesn’t provide the same seamless user experience as ExpressVPN. But it certainly has the widest global coverage. Here are the steps to change your IP address using Surfshark on iPhone, Mac, and Windows devices. 

How to change VPN server location on an iPhone using Surfshark

  1. Launch the Surfshark VPN app.
  2. Tap the Locations menu at the bottom of the Surfshark app’s main screen.
  3. Once you get to the Locations screen, you may search for the country you wish to change to by typing it into the search box. For example, if you wish to obtain a US IP address, you can type “US”. In some countries like the US, you’ll be presented with several locations, usually labeled as cities. Tap a city to connect.
    Or, you may also navigate to the country by scrolling down the list of locations. Tap your desired country-city combination to change location.
  4. Surfshark should then change your phone location to the one you selected.
  5.  Once you successfully connect, you’ll be brought back to the main screen, which will then display your fake location. In my case, that would be United States – Atlanta. You’ll also see your new IP address near the bottom of the screen. 
Screenshot of Surfshark iPhone app showing the phone's location to be Atlanta, United States

Here, my IP address is 156.146.47.229, which is a US IP address. If you still see the same IP address as when you first launched the VPN app, then you probably aren’t connected to a VPN server. 

Sometimes, some locations don’t work. You can either retry the same VPN location multiple times or try other locations in the same country until you finally connect.

How to change VPN location on a Mac using Surfshark

  1. Launch the Surfshark vpn app.
  2. Go to the left side of the Surfshark window and search for the country you wish to change to by typing it into the search box. For example, if you wish to get a UK IP address, you can type “United Kingdom”. Once the country appears, just click to connect.

    Or, you may also navigate to the country manually by scrolling down the list. Some countries, like the UK and US, have several locations. Click a location to connect. 
Screenshot of the Surfshark Mac app's main screen, with an arrow pointing at a UK server location
  1. Surfshark should then change your real location to your chosen location. 

How to change your remote server location on Windows using Surfshark

  1. Launch the Surfshark VPN app app.
  2. Go to the left side of the Surfshark window and search for the country you wish to change location to by typing it into the search box. For example, if you wish to obtain a UK IP address, you can type “United Kingdom”. Once the country appears, just click to connect.

    Or, you may also navigate to the country manually by scrolling down the list. Some countries, like the UK and US, have several locations. Click a location to connect. 
Screenshot of the Surfshark Windows app's main screen, with an arrow pointing at a United Kingdom server location
  1. Click your desired location. Surfshark should then change your IP address to one that’s associated with your chosen location.

Change your virtual location using NordVPN

NordVPN is the only VPN service with a map on its app. This can come in handy if you want a visual representation of the locations you want to change to. Here are the steps to change your IP address using NordVPN on an iPhone, Mac, and Windows device. 

How to change your VPN location on an iPhone using NordVPN

  1. Launch the NordVPN app.
  2. Tap and swipe up the lower panel on the NordVPN app’s main screen.
  3. Once the panel expands, you may search for the country you wish to change your location to by typing it into the search box. For example, if you wish to obtain a UK IP address, you can type “United Kingdom”. Once the country appears, just tap to connect.

    Or, you may also navigate to the country manually by scrolling the list of countries. If you wish to select a specific remote server in a country, just tap the ellipsis symbol to the right of the country. Next, tap a specific VPN server to connect. Otherwise, just tap on your desired country to quick-connect.
  1. If you choose to tap the ellipsis, NordVPN will also display the country on its map. If that country has multiple locations, you may tap a specific server on the map. Sometimes, you need to pinch-to-zoom on the map before you can see the other locations. 
Screenshot of NordVPN iPhone app showing the location on an iPhone to be United States
  1. Tap QUICK CONNECT. NordVPN should then change the IP address of your mobile device to one that’s associated with your chosen location. 

How to change your VPN location on a Mac using NordVPN

  1. Launch the NordVPN app.
  2. You may then search for the country you wish to change your location to by typing it into the search box. For example, if you wish to obtain a UK IP, you can type “United Kingdom”. Once the country appears, just click to connect.

    Or, you may also navigate to the country manually by scrolling down the list. If you wish to select a specific VPN location in a country, just click the ellipsis symbol to the right of the country name and then click a location to connect. Hover your mouse over so that the ellipsis will show. You can also click on the country to quick-connect.
  3. Yet another option is to navigate to the country on the NordVPN map. On the map, click the location of your desired country. If that country has multiple virtual locations, you may click a specific virtual location on the map. Sometimes, you need to zoom in by clicking the plus (+) symbol on the lower-right corner of the map before you can see the other virtual locations.
Screenshot of the NordVPN Mac app's main screen. The left panel has an arrow pointing up and its search box is highlighted. In the map on the right, an arrow is pointing at the (+) symbol for zooming in.
  1. Connect to your desired location. NordVPN should then change your IP address to one that’s associated with your chosen location. 

How to change your VPN location on Windows using NordvPN

  1. Launch the NordVPN app.
  2. You may then search for the country you wish to change location to by typing it into the search box. For example, if you wish to change your IP address to a UK IP,, you can type “United Kingdom”. Once the country appears, just click to connect.

    Or, you may also navigate to the country manually by scrolling down the list. If you wish to select a specific VPN location in a country, just click the ellipsis symbol to the right of the country name and then click a location to connect. Otherwise, just click on the country to quick-connect.

    Yet another option is to navigate to the country on the NordVPN map. One the map, click the location on your desired country. If that country has multiple VPN locations, you may click a specific location on the map. Sometimes, you need to zoom in by clicking the plus (+) symbol on the lower-right corner of the map before you can see the other VPN locations. 
Screenshot of the NordVPN Windows app's main screen. The left panel has an arrow pointing up and its search box is highlighted. In the map on the right, an arrow is pointing at the (+) symbol for zooming in.
  1. Connect to your desired location. NordVPN should then change your IP address to one that’s associated with your chosen location. 

Can I use a free VPN to change location?

Yes, you can spoof your actual location with a free VPN. But the real question is: can that VPN change to all your desired locations? Most free VPNs have serious limitations. Among them are network coverage limitations. You can only change your location to a few countries. Many free VPNs also impose data caps. Meaning, you can only download and upload a certain amount of data per month. 

Unless you only intend to use a VPN on a one-off basis, I wouldn’t recommend free VPNs

How to change your Apple ID Region or Country

This one’s for iPhone users. You can actually download apps from other Apple App Store regions. To achieve that, you need to do two things. First, you need to change the location on your iPhone using a VPN. And second, you need to change your Apple ID Region. You already know how to change your location online with a VPN. If not, scroll back up! Now, I’m going to show you the steps to change your Apple ID Country or Region.

Let’s start with the preliminaries:

  1. Spend all your remaining store credit and cancel all your subscriptions
  2. Wait for any pending store credit refunds to process. Also wait for any memberships, pre-orders, Season Passes, and movie rentals to complete.
  3. Check if you have a valid payment method in your new country.

Once you’re done with the preliminaries, you can follow these steps on your iPhone:

  1. Launch the Settings app
  2. Go to your Apple ID Account Settings by tapping your name > Media & Purchases > View Account 


If you’re asked to sign in, enter your Apple ID password.

  1. Tap Country/Region
  2. Scroll down and tap your desired country or region.
  3. Review the Terms and Conditions and then tap Agree to confirm. You might have to tap Agree twice.
  4. Choose a payment method, input your new payment information and billing address.

Changing these settings AND using a VPN allows you to view and install apps found in your new Apple ID region.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 4.9 / 5. Vote count: 2214

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Share this on your social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

TREVOR JAMES

Full Time Digital Nomad

About The Author

Hi! I’m Trevor James, a Canadian YouTuber who travels the world full-time. I make videos about food, travel, and cybersecurity. I have been traveling the world and making videos for over 10 years. You can read more about me here.

expressvpn logo

ExpressVPN

Save 49%

Get Deal

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 4.9 / 5. Vote count: 2214

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Share this on your social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?