⏳ Short On Time? Here’s a summary
- Your VPN may fail to hide your location due to an IP Leak
- An IP leak can be dealt with by using a VPN with a Kill Switch – like NordVPN
- Other issues like browser fingerprinting or geolocation can also affect VPN function
- Follow the solutions below for all causes
The primary function of any VPN is to disguise your actual location with a virtual location. This lets you access all content that is banned or geo-blocked in your actual location. However, sometimes your VPN may not hide your real location – why is that?
Why Is The VPN Not Hiding My Location?
There can be many reasons why your VPN is failing to hide your location. The primary cause for this issue is an IP Leak, but that’s only scratching the surface. Let’s take a look at every possible reason why your real location is not hidden despite using a VPN.
1. IP Leak
An IP leak simply occurs when your real IP address is revealed even though you are using a VPN. There are three main causes of an IP Leak.
- If your VPN unexpectedly disconnects, your real IP address and location will no longer be hidden.
- If your VPN is not correctly configured, your DNS queries can start to leak, revealing your real IP address.
- If your WebRTC (browser-specific setting) is not disabled, you will experience WebRTC leaks that will reveal your real IP address.
How To Prevent IP Leak?
The first step to solving an issue is by identifying the cause. We aren’t yet sure if you are dealing with an IP leak, so follow the steps below to confirm.
IP Leak Test
- Google “what is my IP address” and mark the IP address down.
- Start your VPN, connect to a server, and head over to IPLeak or Browser Leak.
- If your real IP address (the one you marked in step 1) shows up in either of the tests, it means that you have an IP Leak.
- Most premium VPNs like NordVPN offer a kill switch that cuts your device off from the internet if your VPN disconnects. Make sure it is turned ON.
- Install your VPN browser extension – it provides the option to disable WebRTC. This will eliminate all WebRTC leaks.
- If you still have a WebRTC leak, download the uBlock Origin extension to ensure it is disabled at all times – not just when you are using the VPN.
If you are still dealing with an IP Leak despite trying the fixes above, we can safely conclude that your VPN is at fault – and it may be time to invest in a premium VPN that is well-equipped to hide your IP address without fail. We recommend using NordVPN as it hasn’t failed us once.
We’ve all heard about cookies, though many are not sure what they actually are. Cookies are files that are created by websites that store your data. These cookies can be sold to third-party advertisers that can target you with personalized ads.
Some websites even use tracking cookies that can track you across the internet. This means the website probably knows your real location as it is stored in the cookies. While you can always deny cookies when you are asked for permission, some cookies may still be downloaded.
Unfortunately, even VPNs cannot block cookies as they are files that are downloaded inside the VPN tunnel itself. Thankfully, there are ways to delete all the stored cookies that you may have accumulated over time by simply browsing the internet.
How To Delete Cookies
Deleting the cookies is an easy task. All you have to do is go to your browser settings and find the clear browsing data option. For example, here’s how you can clear your browser cookies and cache on Google Chrome.
- Open Chrome and Click on the three dots on the top right.
- Select History and click on Clear Browsing Data
- Select Cookies and Cache
- Click on Clear Data
Ideally, you would clear your cookies after every browsing session. However, that seems like too much work and can be an annoyance. Instead, you can use browser extensions or add-ons like Cookie Auto-Delete that would get the task done for you.
While the VPN does hide your geo-location, your browser can still detect your real location. This is because most browsers use the Geo-Location API, which can gauge the following details from your browser
- Available Wi-Fi networks
- GSM/CDMA Cell IDs
- IP Address
If you have no IP leaks, then this could be the reason your VPN isn’t functioning correctly.
How To Disable Browser Geo-Location?
Here’s how you can disable the geo-location on your browsers.
- Click on the three dots on the top right and select Settings
- Click on Privacy and Security
- Click on Site Settings
- Click on Location
- Select “Don’t Allow Sites To See Your Location”
- Type “about:config” into the URL bar and hit enter
- Type “geo” into the search bar
- Find “geo.enabled”
- Double-click it to disable it
- Open the Apple Menu and select System Preferences
- Select Security & Privacy
- Select Privacy
- If the padlock icon at the lower left is locked, click on it to unlock it by giving admin privileges
- Select Location Services
- Uncheck Safari
- Enter “about:config” into your URL bar and hit enter
- Expand Geolocation in the Preferences Editor
- Uncheck Geolocation
- Hit the windows button, type settings, and hit enter
- Click on Privacy
- Click on Location
- Turn it off
4. Hop VPN Servers (For Netflix, etc)
If your VPN isn’t working with only some services, such as Netflix, then you can try this fix. What generally happens is that Netflix can detect the use of your VPN as they know that your (VPNs) IP address belongs to a VPN company. Netflix does have a strong VPN blocker, but that’s not a huge issue.
The easiest way to fix this issue is simply by switching to different servers in the same location. For example, NordVPN has multiple servers in most locations that you can hop to.
Obviously, for this trick to work the VPN will have to provide multiple servers in the same locations, so make sure that you are using a premium VPN like NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and SurfShark that offers great server location coverage throughout.
5. Free/Faulty VPN
If you’re using free VPNs instead of premium VPNs, you can face issues like VPN not functioning properly. It is advised that you use a premium VPN that actually offers security and privacy that you can trust. Most free VPNs end up collecting your data and selling them to third-party advertisers.
Top Recommended VPNs
1. Nord VPN
While the VPN follows a No-log policy and runs every server on RAM (Volatile), they are frequently audited by third-party companies like PwC. NordVPN encrypts your traffic with military-grade AES-256 bit encryption with perfect forward secrecy promises that no one can know what you are doing online and is free from all kinds of IP/DNS leaks (Tested).
NordVPN: Top VPN
- 5500+ Servers in 62+ countries.
- Unblock Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu, HBO, BBC iPlayer, and more.
- Superior Speeds with NordLynx and supports protocols like OpenVPN (TCP/UDP), L2TP, IPSec, and IKEv2.
- Military Grade AES 256 Encryption with DNS/IP leak protection
- Dedicated P2P Servers, Onion Over VPN, Double VPN with unlimited bandwidth.
- 6 Simultaneous device connections
- Diskless RAM Servers with proper Zero-Log Policy.
- Kill Switch, Split Tunneling, Ad-blocker, and Threat Protection (Cybersec).
- Compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Game Consoles, routers, and more.
- 24/7 Customer Support.
- 30-day money-back guarantee.
VPNhelper readers can get extra three months free with a 12-month NordVPN subscription, grab it now.
Surfshark keeps you safe from all sorts of leaks with its Kill Switch, SmartDNS, and CleanWeb features that block ads, malware, and phishing attacks. All these servers are 100% RAM Only (no data storing) and Surfshark promises that it doesn’t store any logs being from the Netherlands (privacy-friendly) and audited recently by Cure53.
|🌐Based in:||the Netherlands|
|🖥️Total Servers:||3200+ Servers in 65 Countries|
|ℹ️Support:||24/7 Live Chat|
|🔥Discount:||SurfsharkVPN coupon 81% OFF|
ExpressVPN is free from all kinds of IP and WebRTC leaks, based on the British Virgin Islands (privacy-friendly), and has a no-log policy. While this VPN does support the latest VPN protocol for premium speeds and ships with a handful of tools like Speed, and IP checker.
|🌐Based in:||The British Virgin Islands|
|🖥️Total Servers:||5000+ servers in 59 countries|
|ℹ️Support:||24/7 Live Chat|
|🔥Discount:||ExpressVPN coupon 49% OFF|
CyberGhost is packed with all the security features like Kill Switch and Split Tunneling along with an ad-blocker. Its specialized servers can unblock every streaming service effectively and its SmartRules settings are simply amazing. I never faced any issues accessing Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, etc.
|🖥️Total Servers:||9500+ Servers in over 91 countries|
|ℹ️Support:||24/7 Live Chat|
|🔥Discount:||CyberghostVPN coupon 82% OFF|
6. GPS Location (For Mobile Users)
If your VPN isn’t functioning very well on mobile, the reason could be the GPS. Most applications that ask for your location permission don’t get access to it by your IP address – they get it from the GPS in your phone. Hence, when you are using applications like Google Maps, Tinder, or Bumble, your location is being transmitted by your GPS and not the IP address.
If the issue is due to your phone’s GPS, you will have to spoof the GPS location.
How To Spoof GPS Location
Thankfully, SurfShark offers GPS Location Spoofing on their Android Application. If you do not have SurfShark VPN or your VPN does not offer this feature, you can get a standalone application instead.
- Search for GPS Spoofing Apps
- Download any reliable GPS Spoofing application
- Set the application up and change the GPS location to any location that you want
- Open your VPN and connect a server that matches the location of your GPS
7. HTTP Connection Leak
Another reason why your VPN may be revealing your real location is due to an HTTP leak. An HTTP connection is generally unsecured and unencrypted, and a leak can reveal your real location. The HTTP leak will also not be detected as an IP leak, so it will generally go unresolved.
How To Fix An HTTP Leak
The easiest way to address an HTTP leak is by using HTTPS instead. HTTPS connections are secured and encrypted, and generally more preferred overall. You can use HTTPS Everywhere – an extension available for all browsers which will let you access the HTTPS version of all websites.
If there is not an HTTPS version for a website, you will simply receive an error pop-up.
There are many reasons why your VPN can fail to hide your location. In most cases, it will generally be caused due to an IP leak, VPN Blocker, or a wrongly configured VPN. Thankfully, there are many ways to fix particular issues with ease.
If your VPN still isn’t working as intended after trying all of the fixes, maybe it’s time to switch to a premium VPN. You can access our VPN reviews and recommendations to find one that works for you – we cover all the premium VPNs based on the privacy and security they provide.
Does VPN Work On Mobile Phones?
Yes. A VPN does work on mobile phones. However, applications like Tinder, Google Maps, etc can’t be fooled by a VPN. This is simply because they use the mobile’s GPS instead of the IP address to detect the location. Only a GPS spoofing tool can work in such cases.
How Can Websites Know My Location Despite Using VPN?
Websites can know your original location due to browser fingerprinting. They can also gauge your real location if your browser’s geo-location is enabled. The easiest way to avoid issues as such is by disabling browsers geo-location, and deleting cookies and cache.
Can I Hide My Location Without A VPN?
Yes. You can hide your location without a VPN by using proxies. Proxy websites are like a browser within a browser – you enter a website address, they will access it for you, and you can access the website through them.