You may feel that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is watching you, or you want to hide something pretty embarrassing you may have looked up online and are wondering, does a VPN hide your internet activity from your provider?
A VPN will hide some things but not everything.
They are effective at keeping all that you browse online safe from search engines as well.
This does not mean a hacker can’t intrude on your privacy and steal data from your browsing history.
However, there are resources to keep you safe by increasing privacy, alerting you to ongoing cybercrimes and even preventing identity theft.
What is a VPN?
Also known as a Virtual Private Network, a VPN is a vital tool when you want to keep your data private and safe on home networks on a public WI-FI. It would be best if you had this versatile for many reasons.
You maybe be interested in being anonymous online, need privacy, freedom or security. a VPN can help you achieve all that. It can guard you against snoops and hackers on public networks, but they are best for keeping your browsing activity and IP address hidden.
What Does a VPN Help Hide?
It hides your browsing history from your internet service provider (ISP)
From the information above, we have seen that you can use a VPN to hide your browsing activity from your ISP. The fact that they act as a middleman between you and the internet means they can access your private information.
Though internet providers insist on not selling your browsing history, some do. They share information with data brokers who sell to advertisers, and in a short time, you become targeted by ads.
This is one big reason why you should use a VPN. However, there are some things they can still see though most data will be encrypted.
What your ISP can see when you use a VPN:
Your VPN server and its IP address.
Your actual IP address and the fact that you are using a VPN. Remember, they provide you with the internet, so they can tell your real IP address.
The amount of data usage
How long you stay connected
The type of VPN protocol
The websites you visit and when you visited them.
It helps hide your IP address from websites and apps
When you use a public IP address to connect to the internet, apps and websites, use it to serve you personalized content. You are issued a unique number as an IP address, and this unique number makes it easy for these parties find it easy to identify you.
Again, websites and apps can share or sell your IP address and all the data associated with it to data brokers or trackers. This will make you a target for ads which is quite annoying.
When using a VPN, websites and apps have no access to your IP address; instead, they see the VPN’s server IP address which cannot be used to identify you. This is called proxying, which is one of the advantages of using a VPN.
Hides your location from websites and apps
Your IP address also shows your general geographic location, such as the country, city, or neighborhood in which you are located. This forces your apps and websites to feed you localized content.
With a VPN, all they can see is the location of your VPN’s server IP address, throwing them off from your actual location. A VPN can help you decide where you wish your location to be for your apps and websites.
A VPN helps keep your personal data safe from attacks
A VPN is an effective tool for defending you against some kinds of data theft, such as “man-in-the-middle attacks,” in addition to hiding your data history. Such attacks often happen when you connect to public Wi-Fi in a hotel, an airport, malls and many more places.
The main reason is that when you are connected to a public Wi-Fi, you depend on the security offered by the operator, which in some cases is close to none. This allows hackers to access your unencrypted data easily and even redirect your traffic to phishing sites.
With a VPN, your traffic is safe from manipulation and tampering. Always connect to a VPN browsing on public Wi-Fi.
Things your VPN Will not Hide or Protect
Online platforms such as an online service, websites or an app will still see your account activity when you log on to any of their accounts. Even though you will have hidden your actual IP address, they can still see your actions.
Always keep this in mind, and make sure to share as little personal information as you can on such websites. For a low profile, try using a different name and email address for accounts you don’t consider essential.
Cannot protect your device from viruses and online threats
As much as a VPN helps protect your data, there is no defense line when it comes to cyber-attacks. Though you can maintain anonymity or remain invisible with a VPN, you are still prone to online risks such as computer viruses, ransomware, malware or phishing attacks.
Consider installing an antivirus on your device for such issues. You can also go for a VPN offering antivirus and malware covers.
The entirety of your online identity
We all have wished to be anonymous online. Though a VPN does help achieve it to a certain extent, your identity is never 100% hidden. People with advanced technology, such as intelligence agencies and cybercriminals, have complex ways to get valuable data they need from you.
A VPN cannot revert anything you post online. It is a good idea always to be careful about how much you choose to share online. Also, check on your privacy settings and toggle off any boxes you don’t find necessary or feel like they could invade your privacy.
The Bottom Line
As much as your VPN help hide your browsing history from your ISP, the pages you visit will still be stored on your browser. If your ISP can access your device (like your boss at work), they can still see your search history.
To best hide your internet activity history, always clear you’re your browser’s content or, better yet, use private browsing.