There’s no denying that VPNs are one of the world’s most important modern-day tools. They allow users to easily circumvent geographical blocks to enjoy the internet without any restrictions, while at the same time increasing the level of anonymity by remaining anonymous to intrusive ISPs and others trying to snoop on their connection. But VPNs are not perfect, and what most people actually don’t know is that, even when connected, many times these tools still allow some sites to see the user’s real location. That’s because of the so-called HTML5 geolocation, a feature present in all internet browsers that is enabled by default and yet completely unknown for many.
Disabling Browser’s Geolocation for Good
Fortunately, taking care of this geolocation trick is relatively easy, but sometimes it does require diving in the uncharted waters of browser configurations. In Firefox you will need to type “about:config” into the address bar, which will open a massive window of configuration settings. Scroll down or search for the “geo.enabled” option and notice how it is probably set to ‘true’. Double-click on it to set it to false and HTML5 geolocation will be disabled. And since you’re already there, do the same on “media.peerconnection.enabled” to prevent any WebRTC leaks that also may be revealing your real location.
Other browsers don’t even require that much work: Edge, Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera and even Chrome keep this option on their corresponding settings pages, which makes everything much easier. Search for the location sections – usually inside either the advanced settings or the websites tab – and uncheck this option or change the setting to disable websites tracking your real physical location. At this point, changing your IP address will be enough to keep you hidden, meaning the VPN becomes reliable once again.
Altering Coordinates to Match VPN Location
Besides disabling these functions, there’s another trick that can be done that will work even if geolocation is still enabled, and this is by altering the latitude and longitude coordinates to match the location of the IP address attributed to you by the VPN. To do this you can use tools like Ctrlq.org to obtain the coordinates of the same city that the VPN is connected to by just searching for the name of the city, for example ‘London’ or ‘New York’. At this point, using Chrome as an example, you will need to open the Developer Tools menu.
On the bottom left there should be a “Console” tab, and within there select “Sensors”. This will take you to the geolocation tab where you should see some cities that are set by default on the browser. In here, select “Custom location” and the latitude and longitude fields should appear.
Finally, just copy the geographical coordinates from the recommended site, insert them in the corresponding fields and refresh the page without closing the Developer Tools. To confirm that the changes were made successfully, visit Ctrlq.org again and run a test to see if both the VPN and the geolocation match the same city. However, note that this method will need to be followed each time you change the VPN location if you want your location to remain securely hidden.
If you don’t want to either mess around with the browser settings or completely turn the function off, then a lot of trouble can be saved by installing third party extensions like Location Guard or any others that are available for your corresponding browser’s store. These work in almost the same way, allowing fixed locations to be set for determined websites and therefore fooling them about your real location.