ExpressVPN is a very competent VPN provider with server locations across the world. The company currently has 148 VPN server locations in 94 countries and that number seems to grow steadily. You can change your location in ExpressVPN depending on what you’re doing and what kind of content you want to access. This tutorial will show you how.
Depending on what you’re doing, your choice of VPN location can influence the type of content you can access. For example, if you’re outside the US and want to access US Netflix, selecting a US location makes sense. If you’re using bit torrent or other streaming application, you may want a non-US location as many ISPs throttle bit torrent traffic. You get the idea.
If you’re an ExpressVPN customer, you have a couple of ways to change your location. You can let the app do it for you with Smart Location or manually configure it. I’ll show you both. VPN locations are often referred to as endpoints. An endpoint is where a private network such as a VPN meets the public internet. I use the two terms interchangeably here.
ExpressVPN Smart Location
ExpressVPN Smart Location can automatically configure your endpoint. It uses network metrics to decide which is the fastest, most stable route for your traffic to take and then selects an endpoint from there. For privacy purposes, this is fine. The app knows the network, it knows which endpoints and routes are currently the fastest or have the lowest latency and selects it accordingly.
If you’re just using your VPN to hide your traffic, ExpressVPN Smart Location works just fine. Your traffic is still encrypted and you get to use the fastest route currently available. If you are trying to access geo-locked content or using bit torrent, ExpressVPN Smart Location may not be the best idea.
To use ExpressVPN Smart Location:
- Open up the ExpressVPN app.
- Connect to the VPN using the power on button.
You should see the server location underneath the button under Smart Location and you should connect almost immediately. Use the Choose Location button next to the country indicator to change the location.
Manually configure your location in ExpressVPN
If your VPN requirements are more involved you may want to manually configure your location in ExpressVPN. As mentioned, if you’re trying to access a specific country’s content such as US Netflix or circumvent blocks in certain countries you may be better off manually choosing your endpoint.
ExpressVPN does not guarantee that its servers won’t be blacklisted by services such as Netflix or Hulu but it makes every effort to remain available. Manually switching your VPN endpoint can help if one server becomes blacklisted and others are not.
To manually configure your location in ExpressVPN:
- Open the ExpressVPN app on your device.
- Select the icon or button beside the country in Smart Location.
- Select an endpoint depending on your needs.
Depending on the device you’re using, the icon could be a three button menu type button or a Choose Location button. Either way, you should select it and you will be presented with a list of available endpoints. Select one as close to you as possible while achieving the goals you set and power on the VPN.
Using a VPN to change your virtual location
There are two main reasons why you might want to use a VPN. The first and most important is privacy. The second is to circumvent geo-restrictions. Privacy is something we all have to take active steps to preserve as our rights are gradually being eroded. A VPN is an effective way to do that.
Privacy can come down to a number of things. It can be as simple as stopping your ISP from seeing what you’re doing online and collecting data to sell to marketers. It could be to protect yourself while you download or it could be something as serious as preserving your life while you perform investigative journalism or blog about your home country.
Circumventing geo-restrictions is equally important but for different reasons. Some countries restrict what their citizens can access online and actively block content. A VPN is a way to access that content as long as the VPN endpoint has not been blocked too. Geo-restriction is used a lot by companies to control who can see content. It’s an antiquated model that only benefits the company and using a VPN is a way around that.
For example, Netflix offers more content here in the US than anywhere else in the world. This is controlled by the movie and TV studios and not by Netflix. If you live somewhere else, you may not get the same content yet will still be expected to pay the same price. Use a VPN to fool Netflix (or other service) into thinking you’re in the US and you get access to that content.
If you need to change your location in ExpressVPN, you now know how. I regard using a VPN as important as using a browser. As far as VPNs go, ExpressVPN is pretty good and is one of the fastest out there. Try it and see for yourself!