It’s no secret these days that when you perform an Internet search, the browser you are utilizing is most likely keeping track of the searches you perform, and in turn using this information to target ads specifically to you. For example, let’s say you are shopping for a new kitchen table. After searching online for kitchen tables, there is a strong likelihood you will start seeing ads for kitchen tables in your social media feed and your Google browser. So how does this happen? Search engines have the ability to link your searches with your computer’s IP address and determine your exact geographic location. In other words, it sees that you are looking for kitchen tables using a computer with a specific IP address from a specific location.
While you might find this type of ad targeting to be helpful, what you might not realize is that web sites that have kitchen tables for sale could be notified that your IP address has been used to search for a kitchen table, and these companies might see this as an opportunity for them to display different information just for you, such as an increased price for the kitchen tables you are viewing.
To prevent this from happening, there are a few different methods available that allow you to hide or fake your geographic location from search engines – this practice is known as “geo-spoofing.”
One way to do this is to perform searches in a Google Chrome incognito window. This allows you to perform searches in Chrome on any of your devices in private. While Chrome will not save your browsing history, cookies, or information that is entered in forms, your internet activity is not hidden from any web sites you visit or from your ISP (Internet Service Provider) – you can still download files and bookmark web sites.
If you would prefer a more secure solution for geo-spoofing your location, consider using a VPN (Virtual Private Network). In addition to keeping your web site searches private, a VPN changes your IP address so it looks as if you are browsing from a different location.
Keep in mind that if you choose to utilize a VPN to disguise the location you are searching from, there will be a small cost involved (either a monthly or quarterly fee).
To set up a VPN for geo-spoofing, do the following:
Some VPN services allow you to choose a city for emulating a geo-location. For example, Nord VPN has remote servers in over 60 countries, and you can select a server in a specific country or region. This is useful if you are traveling outside of the United States in a country that blocks certain web sites – by connecting to a VPN located within the United States, you will still be able to access the content you need.