How to appear anywhere online in a pinch

January 1, 2015

Recently, a friend visiting Hong Kong needed to check an important email but wasn’t allowed access even with the correct password, since she was not in her usual location. She also forgot the password to the recovery email address. To make the website play nice, we had to appear to login page at her usual location. For the example below, I’ll pretend to be in Taiwan.

Solution 1: Free VPN

The easiest way to fake your location is a VPN, and free/paid VPNs abound. The problem is free VPNs usually exit from places like US, Canada, UK or Germany. If you’re trying to pretend to be in these places, nice! Read on if you’re not.

Solution 2: Paid VPN

Paid VPNs offer better speed, bandwidth and for our purposes a greater choice of exit points. You are quite likely to be covered no matter where you want to appear to be. If you’ll willing to pull out your credit card, great! Read on if you’re not.

Solution 3: Tor

Tor is actually much more complicated than a VPN, but for this post we can treat it as one. Why we’re using this is because it has exit points around the world (translation: you can appear anywhere you want to be). To make it do so takes some fiddling though:

  1. If you hasn’t downloaded it, download it here.
  2. Open your torrc file with a text editor (Notepad, TextEdit). Where is the torrc file?
  3. Find out the country code of the country you want to appear to be in. It’s two letters, and you can search for it here. For Taiwan, the country code is TW.
  4. At the bottom of the torrc file, add this line: ExitNode: {country_code} So for my case it says ExitNode: {tw}
  5. Save the torrc file.
  6. Start Tor Browser.

Before going to the site you want to visit, it’s a good idea to confirm you indeed appear in where you want to be. After you launch Tor Browser, you should see a page saying that the browser it configured to use Tor. Click on the link that says Test Tor Network Settings.

On that page you should be able to see your IP address. Now click on the link that says Atlas. Under country, you can see which country you appear to be.

P.S. Remember to delete that line in the torrc file after you’ve achieved your purpose.

Short URL: https://😂.cf/torvpn

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