By Praveen Kannan and Anna Strokolyst The Hotspot Shield team believes the internet should be open and secure …
Online stores in the United States have some of the largest and best selections on the web, so it’s little wonder that they attract shoppers from all over the world. The only problem is that these sites don’t show the same products and prices to all visitors. The prices and products online retailers show you depend on your IP address, which reveals your general geographic location.
That’s right: Your IP address can result in higher prices and limited access to certain products. Fortunately, there is a way around this geo-discrimination that is simple, fast, and free. Read on to find out how you can enjoy international online shopping freedom.
IP Addresses and Online Shopping
When you visit an online store, it interprets your IP address to deliver a location specific version of the site’s content. For example, if a person browsing in Canada visits a U.S. retail site such as Nordstrom, that person will only see merchandise available to Canadians. The site will display prices in Canadian dollars and will reflect Canadian shipping charges.
Geographically informed sites become a problem, however, when e-tailers use the information to charge more or show fewer goods. The fact that online stores do this is no secret; almost all shopping websites change their pricing and promotions based on the customer’s IP address. While it might not be fair to charge someone in the United Kingdom more for the same item of clothing than someone in the U.S., it happens all the time.
Bypassing Online Shopping Geo-Restrictions
Your IP address is what gives away your location to online stores. With Hotspot Shield, you can conceal your IP address and browse anonymously. Hotspot is a VPN, or virtual private network, that hides your IP address so you don’t fall prey to geo-restrictions. With Hotspot, you can even trade your IP address for that of another country, enabling you to shop as a local.
For instance, if you live in Australia but don’t want to pay more for books and music on U.S. sites than Americans do, Hotspot Shield can help. When you download it, you’ll be able to surf the web with a U.S. IP address, allowing you to see the same products and prices as someone in the U.S.
Steps to Local Prices from Anywhere in the World
Getting local deals at online stores from anywhere in the world is a simple, three-step process that we’ve outlined for you below:
1) Download Hotspot Shield on your device. The app is available for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android devices. By default, it will automatically makes you browse the web as if you were in the US (while granting you a US IP address).
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You may subscribe to Hotspot Shield Elite (premium version) to unblock up to 18 virtual locations. The Elite membership gives you unlimited and unrestricted access to your favorite content, an ad-free browsing experience, and the ability to safeguard up to 5 devices simultaneously. You can upgrade directly from the app or by visiting this page.
2) Open Hotspot Shield on your device, whether it is a phone, tablet, or computer. And turn on the protection inside the app.
With the Elite subscription, you can change your virtual location at any time, so you can always go back and unblock content from countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, France or many other countries. Make sure you are log in to your Elite account in order to access all 18 virtual locations.
3) In your web browser, go to the e-commerce websites of your choice and start looking for enticing bargains.
While changing your computer’s IP address you will be able to score some good deals but did you know that the same process will get you access to geo-restricted content?! By switching your browsing location, you’ll be able to access music and videos that you could never view otherwise. See here for some suggestions of content you can unblock from anywhere with Hotspot Shield Elite virtual locations.
If you have difficulties using Hotspot Shield and need support or have questions, contact us via our help desk. We will be happy to help!