We all know that VPN services will hide your browsing history and whereabouts from your ISP (internet service provider). But do they even care and can it cause any problems to use a VPN?
In this article, we’ll answer all your questions about this.
Do Broadband Providers Care If You Use a VPN?
Broadband providers have no issues with VPN services. Unless you are based in a country where VPNs are forbidden, in which case the USP may get in trouble as well. VPNs are very common today and there’s nothing uncommon about using a VPN anymore.
Let’s dig into the details here.
There is some interesting stuff to uncover regarding these things!
Before we start, let’s find out whether your ISP even knows that you’re using a VPN.
Can My Broadband Provider See That I’m Using a VPN?
Your ISP can typically see that you’re using a VPN. They can detect that your traffic is hidden from them and they can also see the IP you’re connecting to. The IPs you get with VPN services give away that you are using a VPN.
So yes, your ISP provider can actually tell that you’re using a VPN service for your traffic. But that’s all they can see. They cannot see which websites you visit or in which countries you’re browsing for that matter.
Exactly like we want.
That’s the main point why we use VPNs. Besides the ability to access content that has geographical restrictions such as the content on streaming services like Netflix.
What Can an ISP See When I Use a VPN?
Your ISP can see that you’re connected to an IP address owned by a VPN service. They might also see that you’re using a port that’s typical for VPN traffic. That’s all they should be able to see when you use a VPN service.
Your ISP basically connects you to the websites you want to visit. They get a request from you in the form of a data package and send it where you tell them to. When you’re using a VPN you basically tell them to send that request to the VPN server.
The VPN server will take it from there without letting the ISP know where that data package goes.
To sum it up. The ISP can only see this information when you use a VPN:
- The IP of the VPN provider you’re using.
- The timestamp of when you’re connecting
- The port you’re using
- Unidentifiable nonsense text traveling between you and the VPN server
So the answer is: Not much.
And that’s the whole point.
We don’t want anybody to know what we’re doing online. There are way too many examples of private data ending up in the wrong hands for a ton of reasons. But always reasons that don’t benefit you as a user.
That’s why VPN services are on the rise. Check out this graph from Google Trends. It shows the number of people over time who search for the term “Best VPN”:
As you can see there’s a pretty good rise for that search term.
People want to find out what’s the best VPN service for them to use. These people are not considering if they should use a VPN or not – they are ready to find the best one.
What Can the ISP NOT See When I Use a VPN?
Your internet service provider cannot see which websites you visit. They can only follow your tracks to the VPN server. Everything beyond that point is hidden from the ISP.
All your browsing activities will be a big blur for the ISP.
Here’s what the ISP cannot see:
- Which websites you visit
- What you download
- How much data you transfer
- Which country you connect to
Since the ISP cannot see which websites you’re visiting you need to think about who else might be looking. Your VPN provider absolutely has access to your data so you need to use a good VPN that you trust not to keep any logs.
All they will see is a long list of characters that makes absolutely no sense at all.
Can Anybody Else See My Internet Activity When I use a VPN?
Your VPN provider will have access to all your internet activity. They will need to know which URLs you visit in order to send it back to you. However, most VPN providers tell you that they don’t keep any logs.
There’s no way a VON provider can work without knowing where you want to go. In a way, they become your ISP. So, you need to be cautious when you choose your VPN provider.
So, it’s important to use a good premium VPN service that you feel like you can trust. You need to do some background checking online.
In fact, we’re in the process of testing 8 of the most-talked-about VPN providers.
Click over here to see how the VPN providers stack up when it comes to security, speed, support, apps, servers, etc.
Are VPN Providers Required to Keep Logs?
VPN providers are not required to keep logs of the activity of their users. Most VPN providers will also state that they keep no logs of the activities of their users.
As we told you above, you need to do some background checking on the VPN providers before you trust them with your data. There have been examples of VPN providers showing the records of individual users’ internet activity when requested to do so from authorities.
So, do your homework!
Be Aware of “Free” VPN Services
The so-called free VPN services often do more harm than good. Even though they might let you access a foreign Netflix content library you cannot be sure there’s any protection going on at all.
In fact, they are probably making money off of your data. How else would they be making money? They are not offering this free service out of their big hearts. Trust me on that one.
You should ALWAYS choose to go with a trusted VPN provider that lets you pay for the service. That way you will know exactly how they make money and that they don’t need to sell your data to make a living (profit).
There are countless examples of bad VPN services that sounds too good to be true (if you don’t believe me just google “Free VPN”). And they are in fact too good to be true.
Because as always, “Free” comes with a price.
When products online are free YOU are the product.
A VPN provider with free services will typically sell or leak your data to a third party. So, even though your ISP might not see your browsing history and online whereabouts someone else probably will.
So be aware of these providers and spend those $5-10 to get a decent VPN provider.
Not only will you actually be safe and have your data encrypted but you will also get much better bandwidth as you’re no longer sharing your connection with thousands of other people.
2 Reasons To Care About Who Sees Your Browsing History
Let’s look at some of the most important reasons why everyone should hide their internet browsing history.
1) Your ISP Might Sell Your Data
There are many examples of ISPs (Internet Service Providers) selling information about their users. That means that your browsing data might very well end up in the hands of a third party company that wants to use you as a target for advertising.
That’s very hard to track and it’s virtually impossible for you to figure out why you’re seeing the ads you do.
The best way forward here is to always use a VPN no matter what you’re doing online. That’s why more and more people use VPNs and it’s also why you shouldn’t turn it on and off. Just keep it on.
2) Cut off the Surveillance
Cybersecurity has quickly become one of the hottest topics around the technology world over the last couple of years as more and more data is being leaked.
We’re talking private photos, personal information, etc.
What you do and what you communicate about online shouldn’t be openly accessible to anybody who comes knocking at the ISP’s door.
You might not feel any need to hide your whereabouts today but you never know what tomorrow may bring. Maybe the future has plans that don’t fit with your current interests online.