How to Change Your Virtual Location

Whenever you connect to the internet, your physical location makes a big difference to your experience.  For example when you use a search engine like Bing or Google have you ever noticed how it brings you in answers that are relevant to your location.  So if you typed in local plumbers you won’t get a list from the other side of the world or a completely different continent.

The reason is that the search engine has looked up your location when you connected, then provided results based on that location.  Mostly this is a positive experience because it brings you useful results that are based in your area.  The locations are not always perfect but generally they do a reasonable job.

So How Does This Happen?

Well basically when you connect to any web site, you make a direct connection from your PC to the web server hosting the site.  This allows the web server to access your IP address, which is tied individually to your computer uniquely.  This address can be looked up using a big database to see where it is located.  Now at this stage the IP address won’t give your exact location and address (although it can be used for this), just your specific location based on your ISP.

So for a search engine this is generally fine, after all it’s unlikely you want results based on Japan if you live in London.  Where it gets annoying is when you get blocked or rerouted simply because of your location by other websites.  For example if you’ve ever had that message on Youtube – ‘not available in your country’, or been blocked from watching something on Hulu or BBC Iplayer because you’re in the wrong country.

This is when it’s best to take control of your digital location and make it work for your.   Here’s an example of how someone is hiding their real IP address so they can watch BBC Iplayer abroad by switching to a UK IP Address such as this.

What they are doing is actually hiding their real location from the website they are visiting and instead relaying the connection through another server (proxies).  This means that the website only sees the location of the proxy server rather than yours, when you additionally use software with the ability to switch proxies it means you can change your location at will.

It’s also much more secure to relay your connection through another trusted server,  as well as allowing you hide your location it also means you can encrypt your connection too.  Using the right tools, you can bounce your connection through something like a secure Russian server like this, without affecting performance and ensuring nobody can access any of your data.