Ever used a VPN to unlock blocked content and failed? Well, you are not the only one. Among the myriad functions of a VPN is to unlock geo-restricted content. A VPN achieves this function by using a location and a respective IP address for the specified location. For instance, if you want to access a UK TV show and you are not in UK, you select a UK server, and then the VPN automatically assigns you a UK IP address. But at times, even with everything set right, you get an error, and you can’t access the content.
This issue can overly be frustrating if you like streaming and let’s say you use Netflix, Hulu or even BBC iPlayer. It’s more annoying when you have a subscription, and you are on a vacation where the content is geo-restricted. Good news is, this location issue can be addressed, and you can get your VPN to circumvent geo restrictions. Here is what to do;
Try another server
A VPN server contains a lot of IP addresses, and that might be the problem. You may get an IP address, but it may belong to the same range of a blocked VPN server, and hence you will still experience restrictions. For instance, you might have a UK address, but you still can’t access BBC iPlayer. Try switching the ip location with your vpn.
With a VPN like NordVPN you can switch to another server with ease.
Verify your VPN location
To verify the VPN location, you must first know what location the VPN client has assigned you. VPNs sometimes fail and may allocate the wrong IP address instead of the one you had selected. Sometimes the VPN might be just a bad VPN, and it might not show you when a connection has dropped. Mostly when there’s no kill switch and your connection drops, the machine picks up its original IP address assigned by the ISP. This automatically tells services such as Netflix your exact location, and then you get errors in your content.
If it’s not the latter and assuming that you have a good VPN, then you must check your location. To do this, open your browser, and go to IP Location to find the location your VPN has assigned you. This site is good for providing geo-location services as it collects information from several web location services. Although it may be not precise, it will point you to the nearest city. If the VPN is running and let’s say with a, assigned IP of Germany and the location services say you are in Boston or on your home location, close the VPN client and restart it again. Check the location and if nothing has changed, reboot your machine, connect to different servers and check again the location to determine whether it’s the VPN service fault. If the problem persists, contact the VPN provider or change the VPN service.
If you use a VPN like NordVPN however, you can see the ip you are connected too and what country. We know this sounds like an advert, but it´s true.
Clear cookies cutting and other collected information
Most of the times, the VPN might not have anything to do with problems regarding geolocation. Even if you try to connect to different servers, you will land on the same location. This usually happens after performing activities such as logging into social media accounts from a previous location. Other sites may also store cookies, and when you visit the site, you will get your previous location.
If this might be the problem, log out from all accounts before connecting your VPN. You can also go a step ahead and clear cookies and other browser state information. Alternatively, use incognito mode so you won’t have issues from previous loggings.
Turn off geolocation API and location services
Cookies may not be the culprit for geolocation information; it’s either us or our machines. Our machines are equipped with location services in which they use to identify our location when, i.e., we are using apps such as maps. With location service on, no matter how many times you try to change VPN servers, you will still get the same location.
Other times it’s our fault when we do not take into pop-ups into consideration and just want the pop up asking for location permission to disappear, instead of clicking don’t allow/refuse, at times we may click allow. When this happens, the websites use the HTML Geolocation API to map our location for functionalities such as ad targeting.
To make sure your location is off, click on your device’s settings and search for the location setting and turn it off. For browsers; in chrome, click Settings > Advanced > Privacy and Security > Content Settings > Location and in Firefox, Options > Privacy and Security > Permissions > Location. Once you have cleared the location permissions, now proceed to connecting your VPN to your desired location.
Check for IP leaks
Your real location can be revealed to websites as a result of IP leaks from your machines. IP leaks is a situation where your machine uses its default assigned IP address by the ISP instead of the one the VPN assigned it. Most IP leaks originate from browsers due to something known as Web RTC. Web RTC is an interface browsers use to carry out special functionalities such as filesharing, video calling, chats and other many activities. It is hard to determine a leak unless you are motivated to find it. In that case, visit doileak.com and click Start Test. If tests show a different IP from the one assigned by the VPN server, then you have an IP Leak. To avoid leaking, use different browsers to see which one doesn’t leak.
For best results on the best way to solve the location issue, is to try all the above methods before connecting your VPN.