Geo-spoofing is the process of hiding a true location by making a device appear to be in a different location than it really is. The user can change locations or countries to be in the location of their choosing. Geo-spoofing is used to access blocked content, apps, and streaming services, protect a user’s privacy, or to simply conceal a location to avoid detection.

Geo-spoofing is valuable to combat geo-blocking, which is the act of preventing access to content based on the user’s geographical location. This can happen because of copyright and licensing restrictions, and is also how streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu have differing content from one region to the next. In addition, some countries have strict online censorship, meaning that things like online gambling or political blogs may be blocked. Geo-spoofing allows users to work around these issues when they, for example, travel abroad and still want to connect to their typical streaming service.

How geo-spoofing works

For geo-spoofing to work, a user has to change their IP address. To do this, the most popular method is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to fake a location. Similar to a proxy server, A VPN will make it look like traffic is coming from a different location with a new IP address. It will also keep a connection safe by encrypting traffic and directing it through a safe tunnel, meaning no one can spy on activities or steal information. If using a VPN during travel, this is especially valuable when connecting to an unsecured public wifi network.

How to change your location through a VPN

Change your location with a VPN through these steps:

  1. Choose a VPN service (our VPN definition lists several), and make sure it has servers to connect in the desired location. (Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services are getting better at detecting when a VPN is used.)
  2. Follow the VPN’s directions to download and install the provider on your device or browser.
  3. Select your location and wait for the VPN to connect to you.

Disadvantages of geo-spoofing

While a VPN aims to keep data secure, it’s possible to experience a domain name system (DNS) server leak. In some cases, geo-spoofing breaches international copyright laws. This could result in reputational damage or being banned from using certain software.

Webopedia Staff
Since 1995, more than 100 tech experts and researchers have kept Webopedia’s definitions, articles, and study guides up to date. For more information on current editorial staff, please visit our About page.

Top Articles

List of Windows Operating System Versions & History [In Order]

The Windows operating system (Windows OS) refers to a family of operating systems developed by Microsoft Corporation. We look at the history of Windows...

How to Create a Website Shortcut on Your Desktop

Website Shortcut on Your Desktop reviewed by Web Webster   This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a website shortcut on your desktop using...

What are the Five Generations of Computers? (1st to 5th)

Reviewed by Web Webster Learn about each of the 5 generations of computers and major technology developments that have led to the computing devices that...

Hotmail [Outlook] Email Accounts

Launched in 1996, Hotmail was one of the first public webmail services that could be accessed from any web browser. At its peak in...

Indicators of Compromise

When a system administrator finds anomalous or malicious behavior within network...

Disk Drive

A disk drive is a device that allows a computer to read from...

Firewall as a Service...

For the cloud-first organization, Firewall as a Service (FWaaS) brings all...