Unraveling the mystery: Why browsers see your actual location with VPN

This article discusses how browsers can inadvertently expose a user's true location even when a VPN is in use. It explains the underlying mechanisms of this issue and provides solutions to mitigate it.

is*hosting team 20 Feb 2024 3 min reading
Unraveling the mystery: Why browsers see your actual location with VPN

It's no secret how important it is to protect your personal information online. Data breaches, theft of personal accounts, and hacker attacks can make anyone's life much more difficult, both online and offline.

In today's reality, users want or need to hide some of their activities on the global network, but not all methods are foolproof unless you know the pitfalls.

For example, if you often use incognito or private mode, you should be aware of the amount of data your ISP and others will still know. In the article "Incognito Mode Anonymity: How to Delete Incognito History and Keep Sessions Private", we explain how private this browser mode is.

A popular and secure option currently available is a VPN. Various protocols and providers offer choices catering to personal and professional needs.

When is it profitable to hide your actual location?

When is it profitable to hide actual location

Here are the most common reasons for hiding your actual location.

  • You need to access restricted content. Some sites and services are inaccessible in certain countries; therefore, enabling a VPN allows you to bypass these restrictions.
  • Maintain security on public networks. Public Internet access points increase the risk of traffic eavesdropping, and a VPN protects personal information through tunneling.
  • Protect against DDoS attacks. Sometimes attackers target an IP address, and a virtual private network can provide an extra layer of protection.
  • Online activity precautions. No one likes to be easily tracked by their IP address. Using a VPN or proxy can help maintain anonymity online.

A large digital footprint can be a problem, and it can pose significant risks to the use of your data. Using online security measures can reduce these risks.

However, VPNs, proxies, and browser plugins cannot permanently hide your location 100% of the time. The flaw is not in these services but in how, for example, Google tracks geolocation by collecting geographic data through your device's browser, applications, and settings.

How does Google track your geolocation when you use a VPN?

So, Google has multiple sources that will reveal your location even if you are using a VPN.

  • Browser data. Your browser may transmit information about your location, such as your IP address, time zone, and language settings, which can be used to determine your location.
  • GPS. If GPS and location services are enabled on your device, Google can access your precise location even when using a VPN.
  • Cookies. Websites commonly use cookies to store user preferences and data, such as location. If a website stores location cookies, Google may access this data to estimate the user's location.
  • Location history. If you have enabled location history in your Google account, Google may record your movements. Even if you use a VPN, Google can determine your location by analyzing the stored information.
  • GSM cell ID. When using a mobile device, Google can determine your current location based on the GSM cell ID of the nearest tower. Although less accurate than GPS, this method can still provide a general idea of your location.

It is important to note that the effectiveness of these methods may vary depending on your device, settings, and VPN service. Some VPNs offer features to protect your location privacy, such as masking your IP address and spoofing your location. It is essential to take advantage of the following steps.

How do you prevent Google from tracking your location?

How to prevent Google from tracking location

To prevent Google from accessing your geographic information, it is recommended that you disable specific permissions and adjust your settings. While it is not necessary to completely restrict location-tracking apps, you may follow these steps if needed:

  1. Turn off location tracking in your Google personal account. Go to Data & Privacy, My Activity, and Location History. From there, you can view and delete your history at any time. Additionally, you can set your location history data to be automatically deleted after a certain period.
  2. Turn off the geodata collection in your browser. Go to Privacy and Security in Chrome and select Site Settings to make it. Then, revoke permission to collect geolocation data.
  3. Restrict access to location in map applications. You can either automatically disable or limit access to geodata depending on the app you are using on your device.
  4. In Settings, iPhone owners can turn off location services entirely.
  5. To reduce the accuracy of geodata transmitted and prevent some apps from collecting such information, Android users can go to Settings - Location, turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth scanning, or revoke all permissions altogether. Additionally, Google Location Accuracy can be disabled.

A well-configured VPN can help you hide your location, access blocked online resources, or ensure security during other activities. You can hide your IP address and encrypt the transmitted data using various protocols and bundles. is*hosting offers its own VPS with a personal VPN, a stable and secure solution without bad neighbors and leaks.

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