Virtually changing your location is one of the VPN’s features. It masks your IP address to allow you to connect to websites using a VPN server.

You can change the location to gain access to restricted content or browse anonymously. It hides your location, but is it always there?

You may have noticed that some websites still know your exact location, even though you are using a VPN. Why is VPN not hiding your true location?

Let’s find out why and how we can solve it.

Why does VPN not hide your location?

For a few reasons, a VPN might not be able to hide your location. The VPN you use may have IP leaks which reveal your true location. Websites track you using cookies, browser fingerprinting and the browser’s geolocation API. These methods can be used by VPNs to hide your exact location.

Let’s look at some reasons VPN may not be able to hide your location.

Your VPN leaks IP address

There are three types: IP, DNS and WebRTC leaks. A VPN must protect IP from leakage in order to conceal your location at all time. It’s possible to expose your IP temporarily, which can reveal your location. This is a serious privacy problem.

  • IPv4 leaks and IPv6 leaks today your ISP assigns two types of IP to you – versions 4 or 6. VPN services mainly use IPv4 addresses and block IPv6 addresses. If one of these is leaked, your location will be visible to the websites.
  • DNS leak: Before connecting to a site, your device runs a DNS query. This DNS query converts a domain name to an IP address. If a VPN isn’t properly configured, these queries can be leaked. DNS leaks can expose your true location and reveal the visited sites to your ISP.
  • WebRTC leaked: This type of leak is browser-specific. VPN apps do not have any control over this and must be disabled in your browser settings. Below are some suggestions for how to disable it.
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Websites use tracking cookies

Cookies are used by many websites for tracking and functionality. Cookies can store information about your location, identity, and previous visits to websites.

A VPN cannot block cookies because they are files that are downloaded within a VPN tunnel. Even though your IP has been changed, they may still reveal information about you.

Third-party cookies are used by some websites to track your movements across the internet. Advertisers use these cookies to determine your exact location.

Browser fingerprinting is another tracking method. This technique uses the parameters of your browser to identify you and approximate your location.

The browser geolocation is

Your browser’s GPS functionality may reveal your location. Websites may ask for permission to use the geolocation API of your browser to find you. Because all coordinates are transmitted over the VPN’s encrypted tunnel, a VPN cannot protect against this. As a VPN cannot control it, you should manually set browser location permissions.

Browser Geolocation

Websites usually detect your IP address to determine where you are located. However, browser geolocation can reveal your location even if you’re connected to a VPN server.

You can test how this works at https://www.where-am-i.net/

Use a VPN to hide your location

You still have options to hide your location using a VPN. It is possible to avoid IP leaks and tracking as well as deal with geo-location issues with just a few steps.

Here are some ways to hide your location using a VPN.

Check for IP Leaks

You must test for IP leaks to ensure that your VPN works properly. The easiest way to do so is to visit IP leak testing websites: www.ipleak.net or https://browserleaks.com/ip

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These will show you your IPv4, IPv6, DNS addresses, and other information. It will also display WebRTC leak results. If you suspect that WebRTC is being leaked, install the VPN browser extension to disable it. These extensions are included in the best VPNs.

If one of these tests fails, it means that your VPN is leaking your true location. It is worth changing your service provider as soon as possible. NordVPN and ExpressVPN have the best IP leakage rates in the industry.

Tracking Cookies

An VPN does not provide protection against tracking cookies on its own. Some services offer features that can block malicious sites and advertiser tracking. They protect against third-party cookies.

An incognito browser is another great tip. This privacy window deletes all cookies when you close it. It restarts your browsing session each time you close it. You can find it in every browser.

By using keyboard commands, you can open Private Incognito Window from any browser.

  • Chrome: Command + Shift + No
  • Firefox: Command + Shift + p
  • Safari: Command and Shift + + N

Disable geolocation in your browser

You must set your browser’s location permissions to hide your location when using a VPN. Even when you are connected to a VPN, geolocation is the best way to reveal your coordinates. This can be done on any browser.

Disable browser geolocation API On Chrome:

  1. Navigate to Menu > Settings
  2. Choose Privacy and Security > Site Settings
  3. You can also find us at the following location
  4. Turn on “Ask Before Accessing”.

Disable browser geolocation API On Safari:

  1. Visit Preferences > Privacy
  2. Track Websites
  3. Click on the “Prevent cross site tracking” and “Ask sites not to track me” buttons.
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Disable browser geolocation API On Firefox:

  1. Navigate to Menu > Other Options
  2. Choose> Privacy and Security
  3. Then Permissions > Locate
  4. Checkmark “Block new request” or Manage permissions

Conclusion

Your location may not always be visible when you use a VPN. Your VPN could leak your true IP address. One possible reason could be the use of browser geolocation APIs and cookies.

It is usually enough to use a VPN and block your browser GPS settings to hide your location.

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Evangeline Christina is a Cyber Security Enthusiast, Security Blogger, Technical Editor, Certified Ethical Hacker, Author at Cyberspecial.net. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter in a reputed news agency.

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