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Can My ISP See My Internet History if I Use a VPN?

Justin Oyaro

By Justin Oyaro . 3 July 2024

Cybersecurity Expert

Miklos Zoltan

Fact-Checked this

A premium VPN encrypts your internet traffic; therefore, your ISP cannot see your internet history and what you do on the internet.

However, your ISP will know that you are using a VPN due to the encryption involved. Additionally, there are some details your ISP can discern when using a VPN.

In this article, I’ll tell you what your ISP can see when you are using a VPN.

Summary: The article clarifies that using a VPN prevents your Internet Service Provider (ISP) from seeing your internet history and the specifics of your online activities. This is because a VPN encrypts your internet traffic, effectively masking the data you transmit and receive.

However, it’s important to note that your ISP can still detect certain aspects of your VPN usage, such as:

– Your own IP address
– The IP address of the VPN server you’re connected to
– The type of VPN protocol and port being used
– The timestamps of your connection
– The amount of bandwidth you consume

While a VPN is a powerful tool for circumventing internet restrictions, censorship, and ISP bandwidth throttling, it’s crucial to select a premium VPN service. A high-quality VPN should have a strict no-log policy and robust privacy features to ensure maximum protection of your online activities.

Continue reading below to know more!

What Can My ISP See When I’m Using a VPN?

The VPN encryptions bar your ISP from knowing what you are doing online.

Besides the encrypted VPN traffic, your ISP will know the following details associated with your VPN connection.

  • Your actual IP address: Since your ISP facilitates your connection to the internet, it must know your public IP address. After all, the ISP assigns you the IP address in the first place.
  • Your VPN server’s IP address: Your ISP will also know your VPN’s IP address to make the initial connection. After your connection has been tunneled through the VPN server, your ISP won’t know its destination.
  • VPN protocol and port in use: Your VPN protocol and port determine how your VPN connection is made. Your ISP must know these details to facilitate your VPN connection over the internet.
  • Your connection timestamps: ISPs worldwide monitor internet connections from their subscribers. Thus, they must log your timestamps to know the peak hours for diagnostics purposes and improve your internet quality.
  • Bandwidth usage: Your ISP must know the bandwidth you have used for data capping and speed throttling.

Other than the above details, there’s nothing else your ISP sees regarding your internet history and your online activities, such as browsing, torrenting, and streaming.

Is it legal to Use a VPN to Hide My Internet History from My ISP?

The legality of using a VPN generally depends on the land’s laws. In most countries, using a VPN for privacy and security is legal. In other countries, VPN usage is a gray area.

Some authoritarian countries don’t allow VPNs unless the state sanctions them. These VPNs allow your ISP and the state to know what you are doing online.

Nonetheless, even in countries where VPNs are legal, using a VPN for internationally recognized crimes puts you on the spot, and the authorities will do everything in their power to get you.

Therefore, always use a premium VPN with a no-log policy and impeccable privacy. Additionally, a VPN alone cannot make you anonymous on the internet.

Benefits of Hiding your Internet Activities from Your ISP

Other than protecting your online privacy and security, hiding your online activities from your ISP will allow you to avoid the following:

Restrictions and censorship

Some online services, such as streaming, are unavailable in all geo-locations. Your ISP may also try to restrict access to some sites as authorized by the state or the governing bodies.

By hiding your online activities behind a VPN, your ISP won’t know if you are accessing restricted sites.

Also, you can connect to other geo-locations and avoid geo-restrictions. A VPN achieves this feat by hiding your actual IP address with that of the VPN server.

Nonetheless, some ISPs and online services block VPN connections. In this scenario, use a premium VPN with features that make your VPN connection undetectable.

Bandwidth throttling

Some ISPs are known to cap your internet speeds during peak hours. Others throttle your speeds when engaging in activities that take up much bandwidth, such as streaming, torrenting, or gaming.

By hiding your VPN traffic, your ISP won’t know if you are engaging in heavy bandwidth activities.

Nonetheless, your connection will show you are using a lot of bandwidth, and your VPN connection will get throttled. When this happens, you need to make your VPN undetectable.

Wrap Up

In a nutshell, your ISP cannot see your internet history and your online activities when you are using a VPN. This is because the VPN encrypts your online traffic.

However, your ISP can see details related to your VPN connection, such as your IP address, the VPN server’s IP address, connection timestamps, and the amount of bandwidth you have used.

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