Why Is My VPN Not Hiding My Location? 8 Easy Ways to Fix It

Log out from the website, clear your browser history (including cache and cookies), close the browser, and then start again. You should ideally be doing this at the end of every browser session.

Why Is My VPN Not Hiding My Real Location? (Reasons & Solutions)

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There are a few reasons your VPN isn’t hiding your real location, such as IP leaks, cookies, and browser fingerprinting.

Luckily, there are also solutions.

And today, I’m going to share the best solutions I’ve discovered while working in the VPN industry over the years!

Let’s get started.

1. Problem: Your VPN Leaks Your IP Address

Location illustration

There are three ways a VPN can leak your IP address:

  • An IP leak happens when your VPN connection is interrupted, exposing your real IP address and location.
  • DNS queries are how devices and servers communicate, translating website addresses into their IP addresses and back again. If your VPN isn’t properly configured, it can expose these DNS queries.
  • WebRTC is a browser-specific setting that allows you to communicate over the web in real-time. You need to disable it in your browser to prevent WebRTC leaks.

Solution: Test for IP Leaks (and Solve Them)

If a website knows your real location even though you’re using a VPN, the first thing to do is a test for IP leaks.

I like to use BrowserLeaks.com, as it lets you test for IP leaks, DNS leaks, and WebRTC leaks – plus many others.

So, what if you find a leak?

  • Open your VPN app and make sure the kill switch is enabled. It’s usually found in the Settings tab.
  • Install your VPN’s browser extension and use it together with the VPN app. The browser extension should be included in your VPN subscription and have a setting that lets you disable WebRTC.
  • To block WebRTC consistently, use the browser extension uBlock Origin.

You might also need to consider upgrading to a better VPN – especially if you’re currently using a free one. NordVPN and Surfshark are two industry leaders I can confidently recommend!

2. Problem: Websites Use Tracking Cookies

No IP leaks? That’s great!

It also means the website probably knows your real location because of the tracking cookies they use. Unfortunately, even the best VPN can’t help you here.

This is because the website stored a tracking cookie on your device (or browser) on a previous visit. So even though you’re using a VPN to hide your IP address, the cookie or cookies are telling them where you really are.

Solution: How to Cut Off Tracking Cookies

Luckily, this is another easy fix.

Log out from the website, clear your browser history (including cache and cookies), close the browser, and then start again. You should ideally be doing this at the end of every browser session.

But if it sounds like too much work, an even easier fix is to use a browser add-on like Cookie AutoDelete.

Cookie AutoDelete extension

As the name implies, it automatically deletes all of the cookies installed by websites. By default, it does so every time you close a browser tab. You can also set it to wait until you close your browser instead, but I prefer the default.

When you use Cookie AutoDelete, websites can’t track you across the internet.

Now the only thing you need to remember is to use a different tab each time you open a new website!

3. Problem: Your Browser Geolocation Is Used

Website wants to know your location

Most browsers use the W3C geolocation API, which lets them see your real location – even if you’re using a VPN.

To make a complicated story simple, W3C doesn’t reveal precisely how their API works. But we know it relies on any combination of:

No IP leaks mean at least one of these methods is thwarted by your VPN!

But you still need to disable the geolocation API on your browser, as a VPN won’t prevent it from using any of the other methods.

Solution: How to Disable Geolocation on Your Browser

Ideally, you should be using Firefox, as it strikes the best balance between user friendliness and online privacy by default.

But just in case you’re not ready to switch browsers, I’ll walk you through how to disable geolocation on the five most popular browsers.


  • Type about:config into your URL bar
  • Type enabled into the search bar
  • Double-click on the geo.enabled preference to disable Location-Aware Browsing

Google Chrome

  • Open the Chrome Menu (the three dots in the toolbar, top-right)
  • Click on Settings to open it
  • Click on Advanced
  • Under Privacy and Security, open Site Settings
  • Click Location and change it from “Ask before accessing” to “Blocked


  • Open the Apple Menu and choose System Preferences
  • In the window that opens up, click Security & Privacy
  • Click Privacy
  • In the lower-left, you’ll see a padlock icon. If it’s locked, click it and enter your Admin name to unlock it
  • Click Location Services
  • Uncheck Safari


  • Type “about:config” into your URL bar
  • Expand the Geolocation section in the Preferences Editor
  • Uncheck Enable geolocation

Microsoft Edge

  • Hit the Windows button on your keyboard and open Settings
  • In the Privacy tab, under Location, toggle it to Off

4. Bonus Solution: Try a Different VPN Server

nordvpn servers header

Sometimes, especially with streaming services like Netflix, it isn’t that your VPN isn’t hiding your real location. Instead, the website knows you’re using a VPN.

There are a few ways they can do this, but usually, it’s as simple as recognizing the IP address you’re using belongs to a VPN. I talk about this in more detail in my recent post, Can You Be Tracked With a VPN? (7 Privacy Tips).

One way to fix this problem is to connect to another VPN server in the same location. This might take some trial-and-error, though typically, it’ll work by the time you’ve tried three servers. If not, you need a new VPN.

It also only works if the VPN has enough servers to compensate for having some of their IP addresses blacklisted.

Another option is to use specialized servers, for example, those your VPN app marks as “Netflix Servers.” If you can’t see anything like that, look for an obfuscation setting instead.

Luckily, NordVPN offers nearly 5,500 servers in 59 countries worldwide – and many are optimized for special use cases (like streaming), plus they have an obfuscation setting you can enable!

5. Bonus Solution: Change Your GPS Location

surfshark page

This one is more for when you’re using an app on your smartphone that requires permission to access your location – for example, Google Maps or dating apps like Tinder.

These apps don’t use your IP address, so a regular VPN won’t help hide your location. Instead, they use GPS to track you down.

Luckily, some VPNs include a feature in their mobile apps that will change your GPS location.

My personal favorite is Surfshark – though the feature is only available for Android users at the moment. They also happen to be one of the best VPNs for privacy and even give NordVPN a run for their money!

6. Bonus Solution: Always Use HTTPS

https everywhere

Another reason websites might see your real location even when you’re using a VPN is because HTTP connections can leak your IP address.

I already covered the IP leaks issue, but IP leak tests use the more secure HTTPS connection and aren’t likely to clue you in if HTTP is to blame for any leaks.

Luckily, this one has an even easier fix – one you should be using anyway because HTTPS is the strongly preferred, more secure option.

Install the free HTTPS Everywhere browser add-on by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). It forces your browser to only load HTTPS websites by redirecting to them from the HTTP version, throwing up a big error page if a webpage doesn’t have an HTTPS version available.

How to Hide My Location With a VPN?

IP address and digits

I covered all the ways a VPN might not be hiding your location and provided the best solutions. Now let’s flip that question on its head and talk (briefly) about how you can use a VPN to hide your location.

As you’ve probably picked up by now, the most common way for websites to discover your location is through your IP address.

If you look at the image above, you’ll see the first several digits of an IP address called the “network part.” This identifies your network, including your country and ISP. The last section is the “host part,” which identifies the device you’re using.

Websites use the network part to determine your location.

When you use a VPN, your IP address is replaced by the VPN server’s IP. This means the network part reveals the VPN server’s location instead of yours.

So, how do you use a VPN to hide your location?

  1. Create an account with a reliable VPN, like NordVPN, and pay for a subscription. You can use this link to unlock a special discount!
  2. Download and install the VPN app on your device.
  3. Launch the app and log into your user account.
  4. Make sure the kill switch feature is enabled in the settings tab.
  5. Use the Quick Connect button to automatically connect to the fastest server or choose your preferred location from the app’s server list.

Why Is My VPN Not Hiding My Location? 8 Easy Ways to Fix It

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VPN Expert & Privacy Advocate

Elena started writing professionally in 2010 and hasn’t stopped exploring the tech world since. With a firm grasp of software reviewing and content editing, she is always trying. read more

Updated on August 31, 2022

  • If your VPN can’t hide your location, then it’s failing one of its main jobs so you can’t protect your privacy online.
  • We prepared an eight-step guide below to help you easily fix location issues with your privacy tool.
  • A practical and easy-to-perform method to fix your VPN would be to update it to its latest version.
  • There are full privacy tools that offer complete anonymity for your location as opposed to free VPNs.

fix VPN not hiding location

If your VPN doesn’t hide your location, it means that it’s failing at its job.

The main goal of a Virtual Private Network solution is to protect your online privacy. But it can’t do that without masking your IP address and geolocation.

Fortunately, this is a common issue that you can easily solve by exploring our solutions below.



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Why is my VPN showing my real location?

Usually, this situation arises when you experience connection drops and your real IP address gets exposed for any web service.

It may also be possible to involve your current browser. The IP address can be revealed by your browser even connected to a VPN.

The users reported issues with specific VPN clients such as ExpressVPN not hiding location and NordVPN not hiding IP.

You can stop this geolocation feature from your browser in order to use the VPN without showing the IP address while navigating.

How to tell if your VPN is leaking your location

  1. Without connecting to a VPN, ask Google what’s your IP address
  2. Write it down (that’s your true IP)
  3. Launch your VPN app and connect to a VPN server
  4. Go back to Google and ask the same question
  5. Compare the new IP address with the previous one

If the two IP addresses are the same, it means that your VPN is leaking your IP and location.

What can you do if your VPN isn’t hiding your location?

1. Avoid using free VPN

If you intend to remain anonymous when going online, you shouldn’t put your faith in a free VPN since it does more harm than good.

A free VPN may have faulty security features and leak your IP address and location. On top of that, it might monitor, collect and share your traffic.

But a paid VPN is another story. Because it’s continuously maintained by a development team, you will often receive updates with new features and improvements.

Take ExpressVPN, for example. It’s a premium VPN service with numerous servers in 94 countries worldwide.

It also passes all IP leak tests, so you can trust that this VPN won’t fail to hide your location.

And, if something like that happens, you can immediately get in touch with the development team, thanks to 24/7 live chat support.