Does Using A Vpn Hide Your Ip

What does a VPN hide? | NortonLifeLock

A virtual private network (VPN) can hide a user’s internal protocol address (IP address) and block their location and browser history, allowing them to share and receive information on public internet networks more privately.
Whether you’re searching something online or communicating via social media, you’re leaving digital footprints in the form of your browsing history, cookies, and cached data.
Your Internet Service Provider (ISP), the government, and other third parties can track what you search, visit, and download.
Even if you use a private browsing mode, your IP address can still be collected.
When you download and enable a VPN prior to browsing, a VPN can offer online privacy and increased security by helping hide your online identity and encrypting your traffic. Hackers and third parties will only be able to see the IP address of the remote VPN. This prevents them from accessing your location, browser history, or the personal information you may have sent or received during that browsing session.
Here are the seven main things that a VPN hides:
1. Search History
You can clear your cookies and search history from your browser. But chances are your ISP has recorded the websites that you’ve visited. VPNs can hide your search history and other browsing activity, like search terms, links clicked, and websites visited, as well as masking your IP address.
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Can you truly remove your search history?
No. You’re removing the file references from your directories, but your operating system won’t simultaneously erase this data. It only moves the information to a special area on your Mac or PC’s hard drive.
If you use a VPN each time you browse, third parties will only be able to see the IP address of the remote VPN. This disables them from pinpointing your location, ISP and, potentially, other personal information.
2. IP Address
Your IP address identifies your device on the Internet or a local network. It’s the key data that connects you to your location, ISP, and web search history.
IP addresses can share sensitive information about you that includes your physical location such as your city, state, ZIP code, and country. It can trace back to your home ISP, which could reveal your name, home address, phone number, and credit card numbers.
Instead of sending information directly from your IP address, the VPN server’s IP address is associated with your activity.
For example, if your VPN service provider has servers around the world, you could appear to be connecting to the internet from a different country.
3. Medical Diagnosis and Health Conditions
Medical providers often operate through private client portals. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has set standards in the exchange of protected health information (PHI). This is the diagnosis, procedures, and counsel between doctors, clients and medical facilities.
HIPPA requires healthcare facilities to operate on private networks. These secured portals encrypt your medical information from outside parties. VPN networks allow medical professionals and patients to safely access confidential medical information untampered.
4. Travel accommodations
Travel and airline websites associate the information that you’re researching with your IP address. When you visit online travel booking websites multiple times to find better deals, a cookie has likely already locked into a price.
A cookie is data sent from a user’s computer to a website. They can identify your past travel searches, online profiles, all the way to your home address. Any action like clicking on a link can trigger an “event. ” Marketers use analytics tracking tools to track website traffic and user behavior. It only takes a short amount of time for advertisers to bombard you with retargeting ads.
VPNs can block tracking technologies, allowing you to search travel websites anonymously and avoiding advertisers altogether.
5. Geolocation
We already mentioned that your IP address can identify your geolocation. Browsers and websites use this information to map web traffic from different cities, states, and countries.
For example, when you use Google Maps, you must enable your phone to detect your location. Websites use the same technology.
One side benefit of using a VPN is known as geo-spoofing. This means a VPN “fools” websites and other online services into thinking you’re in one location when you’re really in another.
This could provide access to geo-restricted services or help save money while doing online shopping. But remember to always check your service agreement rules and observe government laws and regulations.
6. Personally identifiable material
A VPN can hide your online identity by masking your IP address. It encrypts your location and the data you send and receive, helping protect your personal identifiable information (PII). This data can come in the form of your bank information, as well as Social Security and driver’s license numbers. If a hacker gains access to your computer, your PII is could be vulnerable via audio files, messages, and passwords.
Even secure websites can become vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Using a VPN network can increase your protection when you go online, from hackers and cyber thieves.
7. Torrenting
BitTorrents (torrents) are metadata files and folders that are shared and downloaded between users on a network. This gives users access to movies, music, and other forms of media content.
Though torrenting isn’t illegal, downloading copyrighted material like movies or songs is a violation. Since your ISP can track your activity, so can the government. Using a torrenting service without a VPN can sometimes lead to warning letters or even hefty fines from the government.
Even if performed legally, torrenting can be dangerous. Downloading unknown files can result in you downloading malware. These viruses can infect your computer and corrupt your files. VPNs can prevent online peers from seeing your IP address, which could help prevent hackers from singling you out.
How to choose a VPN
When choosing a VPN, consider your needs for the device. User-friendliness, speed, secure encryption, and price are all important factors to examine. You also want reliable customer service, should anything out of the ordinary occur.
Consider using a secure VPN network that provides powerful protection and is capable of connecting other devices in your home. Research online reviews, but be careful of sites that promote affiliate websites. You can also talk to your tech-savvy friends and get their insight on recommended products.
Most importantly, when purchasing a VPN, it’s best to buy from a software company that you trust. So, no matter where you are, you can search the internet knowing that your connections are safer.
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Can You Be Tracked If You Use a VPN? - CactusVPN

Can You Be Tracked If You Use a VPN? – CactusVPN

VPNs are an excellent way to protect your online privacy and data. Besides unblocking geo-restricted content, that’s probably the second main reason people use VPNs in the first place.
There’s just one thing that’s probably on your mind – can you be tracked if you use a VPN?
Let’s find out in this quick article.
Can You Be Tracked If You Use a VPN?
Yes and no.
No, your web traffic and IP address can’t be tracked anymore. The VPN encrypts your data and hides your IP address by routing your connection requests through a VPN server. If anyone tries to track them, they’ll just see the VPN server’s IP address and complete gibberish.
Yes, there still are some ways your online browsing might be tracked even if you use a VPN:
1. Malware
Malware is malicious software and code that were programmed to take over a network or device. Unfortunately, VPNs can’t protect you from malware infections. They can only protect your online data, not your hardware.
The best a VPN can do is offer a firewall-like feature that blocks connections to malicious domains. But even that’s not enough to stop malware infections. You might just accidentally download a malicious file from a legit site or interact with a phishing email, for example.
If that happens, hackers can use the malware to track everything you do – what you browse online, what passwords you type, what files you save to your hard drive, what you talk with your friends, etc.
The best line of defense against malware is a strong anti-malware program (also called anti-virus software). If you’d like some recommendations, try Malwarebytes or ESET.
Besides that, do the following to further protect your data from malware attacks and phishing:
Use password managers like LessPass and 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication) or MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) on all your script blockers like uMatrix and uBlock anti-phishing browser extensions like NetCraft, MetaCert, and PhishDetector. Alternatively, use Stanford’s Anti-Phishing Browser our anti-phishing protection tips.
2. Cookies
Cookies are small text files that websites place on your device whenever you visit them. Most cookies are harmless and necessary to help sites run well. However, some persistent cookie and third-party cookies are pretty bad for your privacy since they let sites and advertisers track your online preferences and behavior.
Due to how cookies work, VPNs can’t protect you from them. They’re not programmed to intercept files that download to your device, after all.
On the plus side, VPNs should protect you from ISP supercookies – tracking files that are stored on your ISP’s servers, and get inserted into your data packets when you go online. Since a VPN encrypts your traffic, your ISP shouldn’t be able to insert supercookies into it anymore.
Besides that, VPNs should theoretically stop hackers from intercepting your cookies and creating forged ones over unsecured WiFi by encrypting your traffic.
Clear your cookies whenever you use a VPN. Here are some guides for the most popular browsers:
Besides that, you should also use incognito/private mode in your browser (it automatically deletes cookies when you close a tab), the Cookie AutoDelete (Firefox, Chrome, Edge) and Self-Destructing Cookies (Opera) browser extensions, and CCleaner (a cool tool that removes cookies across all platforms, and only costs around $25 per year).
3. Browser Fingerprinting
This is a tracking method websites use to monitor visitors by linking behavior patterns to them. Browser fingerprinting does that by assigning a unique identifier to you every time you visit a site. Said fingerprint can contain a lot of data – your time zone, screen resolution, web browser and OS version, system fonts, etc.
For a complete list of all the data browser fingerprinting collects about you, check out Device Info.
Unfortunately, browser fingerprinting is a pretty accurate tracking method. According to the EFF’s research, only one in 286, 777 other browsers will share the same fingerprinting with a different user. So, your own fingerprint has a very good chance of being unique and standing out.
Because so much data is collected, a VPN can’t stop websites from tracking you with browser fingerprinting. The most it can do is hide your IP address, but that won’t really make your fingerprint less unique.
Due to how it works, you can’t completely protect yourself from browser fingerprinting – unless you were planning on going off the grid and living in the woods any time soon.
Still, there are some things you can do to make your fingerprint less unique:
Use Firefox since it blocks third-party fingerprinting resources. If you’re feeling up to it, use it with the file from ghacks which is optimized for privacy (here’s the guide). Alternatively, use Brave since it has a built-in option to block all fingerprinting. Another option is to use the Tor Browser. You’ll have the same fingerprint as all users as long as you don’t change the default browser window size. Try using it with the Tor network disabled if possible since it’s not ideal for anti-fingerprinting browser extensions like Chameleon, Trace, or Canvasblocker. Try using just one, though. Otherwise, your fingerprint will be more unique. Disable Flash if you use older browser versions (newer ones should have it disabled by default). Disable JavaScript in your browsers. If you don’t want to do it manually, use uMatrix or NoScript. Just keep in mind some sites might not work properly without a VM (Virtual Machine) like VirtualBox or VMWare Workstation Player to emulate an OS within your current a separate browser for each type of activity (Firefox for online banking, Chrome for streaming, Opera for Facebook, etc. ). If you’re really hardcore and you can afford it, use a different device for each activity (maybe even burner devices).
If you post personal information about you on social media (email address, phone number, whereabouts, etc. ), someone can still track you even if you use a VPN. Please understand there’s no way a VPN can hide all the information you voluntarily make public.
Even worse, somebody could use all that information to dox you.
For starters, don’t post (too much) personally identifiable information on social media. And definitely don’t tell random people on the web your current whereabouts. Do strangers really need to know your home is empty on weekend nights or that you’re very drunk at club X or bar Y?
What’s more, you should also take steps to make your social media account more private. Here are useful guides for most platforms:
5. VPN Logs
VPN logs contain data about how you use a VPN. There are two types of logs:
Usage logs – They track your IP address, the sites you visit, and the files you download while using the nnection logs – They track timestamps, bandwidth usage, and your IP address while you use a VPN.
Both types of logs are bad for your privacy. After all, you’re using a VPN to stop ISPs, advertisers, and governments from tracking you. What’s the point of doing that if the VPN will track you instead?
The best thing you can do is use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs. If you’re looking for one, we have great news – CactusVPN stores zero logs.
6. VPN Leaks
A VPN leak is when your IP address or DNS queries leak outside the VPN encrypted tunnel. If that happens, anyone can track your web browsing and IP address even if you’re using a VPN.
There are different types of leaks:
WebRTC LeaksDNS LeaksIPv6 LeaksTraffic Leaks
But they’re all equally disastrous for your privacy.
Test the VPN to make sure it’s not leaking. You can use our testing guide to check for all leaks.
If the service is leaking, consider switching to a VPN that offers leak protection (like CactusVPN). You simply turn on the DNS leak protection switch from the CactusVPN app.
Also, here’s what else you should do to prevent leaks:
Disable Teredo and SMHNR on Windows 10 (they cause DNS leaks). Disable IPv6 if your VPN doesn’t support IPv6 traffic. Disable WebRTC in your browser + use uBlock the kill switch to protect yourself from traffic leaks.
Can VPNs Be Tracked by ISPs?
Contrary to popular belief, your ISP can actually track your VPN connection. It’s not invisible on their network.
Here’s what they can see:
The source of the connection (your IP) connection’s destination (the VPN server IP) long you’re connected to the you connect to the much data you exchange with the port your connection uses. Whether or not you use OpenVPN (if they use DPI).
So quite a lot of things. They’re only concerning if your ISP plans on blocking your VPN connection, though.
If they use IP blocking, you just need to connect to a different VPN server to get around it. And if they use DPI to drop or block your OpenVPN connections, just use obfuscation (available in CactusVPN through obfsproxy).
Do ISPs Usually Track VPNs?
Not really. They don’t have much of a reason to bother with tracking VPN connections across their networks. It’s a time investment that doesn’t really pay off.
However, there are some situations when they might focus on VPN connections:
When the law forces them to do it. Basically, when governments ban VPN usage or censor certain sites (so they force ISPs to monitor and ban VPNs to make sure people don’t unblock them) they’re worried their users are using VPNs to do illegal things (like illegally downloading copyrighted content) they don’t like that their customers are using VPNs to bypass bandwidth throttling.
Can You Be Tracked If You Use a VPN and It Disconnects?
Yes, there’s a chance you can be passively tracked if that happens. And, unfortunately, VPN disconnects can happen no matter how good the service is.
Basically, if your VPN disconnects, and you visit a new site before it can reconnect, the site will track your real IP address. Also, your ISP will be able to track your connection to that site.
The best way to protect yourself from this is to use a VPN with a kill switch. That’s a feature that completely shuts off your web access when your VPN connection goes down. Your Internet access will only resume when the VPN connection is up and running again.
If you’re looking for a VPN with a kill switch but are bummed out you can’t find one, we have good news – CactusVPN offers a built-in system-level kill switch. Simply turn on the Stop internet traffic if VPN connection is dropped toggle from the CactusVPN app Settings.
What’s more, we also offer an app-level kill switch, so you can selectively pick which apps can’t access the web when your VPN connection goes down.
Can You Be Tracked If You Use a Free VPN?
There’s a pretty good chance that might happen. While free VPNs are appealing, they’re not 100% reliable or trustworthy. We outlined why in our guide to free VPNs vs paid VPNs, but here are the highlights:
Free VPNs might have poorly-configured encryption or protocols, resulting in VPN VPNs might sell your bandwidth to third could also log your data and sell it to might expose you to malware.
Can You Be Tracked If You Use a VPN Server in Your Country?
No, using a server in your country is just as safe as using a server in any other country.
What If You Live in a Country with an Oppressive Regime?
As long as the VPN doesn’t keep any logs, you’ve got nothing to worry about. Even if the authorities were to seize the VPN server, they wouldn’t be able to find any of your data on it. There isn’t any to begin with.
Need a Hard-to-Track VPN?
CactusVPN is the right tool for the job. We offer powerful encryption, secure protocols (OpenVPN, SoftEther, SSTP, IKEv2), DNS leak protection, a kill switch, and obfuscation.
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Can You Be Tracked If You Use a VPN? What Do You Think?
Are there any other ways you might be tracked when you use one? If you know any, please tell us about them. Also, don’t forget to include ways to prevent or limit that kind of tracking.
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What Does a VPN Hide? (And What It Doesn't) - CactusVPN

What Does a VPN Hide? (And What It Doesn’t) – CactusVPN

What does a VPN hide, exactly? And what doesn’t it hide?
We’ll do our best to answer those questions in this guide. We have a full FAQ section down below, so feel free to skip to the question that interests you the most.
What Does a VPN Hide?
Here’s a list of the main things a VPN hides:
1. Your IP Address
When you browse the web without a VPN, everyone can see your IP address – websites, hackers, surveillance agencies, advertisers. The list goes on and on, really.
You don’t need us to tell you why that’s a big problem … but we’ll do it anyway.
Basically, it takes all the fun out of going online. What you browse on the web isn’t just between you and your screen. Pretty much everyone can associate your IP address with your online preferences.
For example, online advertisers will know that your IP communicates often with sites that sell craft beer or Christmas decorations. So, they’ll start spamming you with targeted ads about those things. The sites you visit know your IP, so they can deliver those ads to you.
Some people might find those ads useful. But, for most of us, they’re downright creepy and annoying.
Well, if you use a VPN, that’s no longer a problem. The service hides your IP address by routing your traffic through a VPN server. Basically, your connection will look like this:
You → ISP Network → VPN Server → Internet
You’ll essentially communicate with the web through the VPN’s IP. So, any site you visit will only see the VPN’s IP address.
Oh, and here’s another cool thing – by hiding your IP address, VPNs help you bypass firewalls. You’re not browsing the web through an IP that has firewall restrictions linked to it anymore, after all.
2. Your Geo-Location
When websites see your IP address, they don’t just have a way to track you online and associate your online preferences to you. They’re also able to tell exactly where you’re from. In case you didn’t know, your IP actually reveals a lot of data about you:
What country and city you are your ZIP code is (not all the time, but still) your ISP is.
If you’re not concerned about your online privacy, that seems pretty harmless, right?
Well, it isn’t. If websites know your geo-location, they can do this:
Use geo-blocks to stop you from interacting with various content – like watching specific titles on Netflix or using sites like Hulu and geographical price discrimination to display different prices to you based on your geo-location. For example, if you’re from the US, you might see higher prices than if you were from Poland or India.
Since VPNs hide your IP address, nobody will see your geo-location anymore. Any site you visit will just think your location matches the geographical range of the VPN’s IP address. So if you use a US VPN server, it’ll look like your traffic is coming from the US.
Translated, that means you can use a VPN to unblock any content you want (movies, TV series, radio stations, news sites, etc. ) and even save money (on car rentals, bookings, video games, or airplane tickets, for instance).
3. Your Traffic
When you go online at home or use public WiFi, your ISP and cybercriminals can eavesdrop on your Internet traffic. That way, they can see your online activities. Hackers can use that information to target you with MITM attacks. And your ISP can use that knowledge to selectively throttle your bandwidth.
All in all, it doesn’t sound good for you.
So how can a VPN help?
It’s simple – the service encrypts your traffic end-to-end. That’s just a fancy way of saying that nobody will be able to spy on your traffic anymore. If they try to do that, they’ll just see gibberish.
Let’s say you’re visiting Facebook while using a VPN. Anyone who tries to monitor your traffic won’t see connection requests heading to Instead, they’ll just see this: Bi1spxg7jr6pkgaX7tjzZQ==.
The perks are pretty obvious: with a VPN, hackers can’t steal your data, and your ISP can’t lower your speeds for specific online services.
If you’d like to know how the encryption-decryption process works with a VPN, here’s a brief overview:
You use a VPN app to connect to a VPN two establish an encrypted connection. Any data that passes through it is you visit a site, the app encrypts your traffic and sends it to the VPN server receives your traffic, decrypts it, and sends it to its destination (the site you want to visit), the VPN server receives the content you requested. It encrypts it, and sends it to the VPN app receives the data and decrypts it so that you can view it.
It sounds like a lengthy process, but don’t worry – in reality, it’s very quick. It won’t even take a second!
4. Your VPN Usage (Maybe)
We say maybe because not all VPNs can do this. But if the provider uses obfuscation, their service can hide the fact that you’re using a VPN in the first place.
Basically, your ISP and government won’t see that you’re using the OpenVPN protocol. Instead, they’ll just see regular HTTPS or HTTP traffic (depending on which obfuscation method the VPN uses).
Overall, this is a pretty handy perk that helps you stay under the radar if your government doesn’t approve of people using VPNs. Or if your ISP has a problem with VPNs and throttles VPN traffic.
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We offer powerful encryption, secure protocols (IKEv2, SSTP, OpenVPN, SoftEther, WireGuard), and user-friendly apps with an intuitive design for pretty much all platforms.
And on top of that, we also offer obfuscation through obfsproxy. So you can easily keep your VPN activities on the downlow!
Oh, and to make sure you get a really enjoyable streaming experience, we also offer high-speed servers, unlimited bandwidth, as many parallel connections as you want, and a Smart DNS to boot that instantly unblocks 320+ sites from around the world.
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Common FAQs
What follows is a list of FAQs about what VPNs do and don’t hide. We included questions we got from our readers, and found on Reddit and Quora.
We realize we already answered a few of them at the start of the article, but we figured some readers might scan the article to the FAQ they’re most interested in. So we decided to answer them again in short to offer the most reader-friendly experience.
If your question isn’t on this list, please reach out to us in the comments. We’ll do our best to answer it ASAP.
Does a VPN Hide You from Your ISP?
A pretty vague question. VPNs obviously won’t hide your physical location from your ISP (your home address). However, they can hide you from your ISP by:
Masking your traffic, so that they can’t analyze your data packets anymore to see what web services you’re your browsing. Basically, your ISP won’t know what sites you’re visiting. They’ll only see that you’re connected to a random IP address (the VPN’s IP).
All in all, using a VPN will stop your ISP from learning what your online preferences are (and potentially selling that data to advertisers).
Does a VPN Hide Your IP Address?
Yes, of course. The VPN intercepts your connection requests (which contain your IP) with its VPN server, and then forwards them to the web using its server’s IP.
So whenever you’re online and are using a VPN, any site you visit will only see the VPN’s IP address. Yours remains “hidden. ”
Does a VPN Hide Your IP from Your ISP?
No, VPNs can’t do that (no tools can, really). We saw a surprisingly big number of people that actually thought that if they use a VPN, their ISPs won’t know what their original IP addresses are.
It just doesn’t work like that. VPNs can only hide your IP from the rest of the Internet. Your ISP will always be able to see your IP while you’re using a VPN. Their dashboard might show something like this:
Source IP (Your IP)Destination IP (The VPN’s IP)1. 2. 3. 45. 6. 7. 8.
Plus, don’t forget – your ISP is the one who assigns you your IP address. They obviously have a database where they keep track of which customer gets which IPs.
You don’t need to worry about that, though. Just because your ISP can still see your IP when you’re using a VPN doesn’t mean you don’t get any privacy. They still can’t see your online browsing.
Does a VPN Hide Your Search History?
Yes, you can say it does that in a way. Since your ISP won’t be able to see what sites you browse, they won’t know what you’re looking up on the Internet. Also, websites and advertisers won’t be able to link your searches to your IP address.
But using a VPN won’t hide your search history from your browser or any cookies sites might place on your device. To protect your privacy from that, you should also use incognito/private mode. Or, at the very least, you should clear your browser’s cookies and cache regularly.
Does a VPN Hide Torrenting?
Yes, a VPN can make torrenting more private by stopping your ISP from seeing that you’re downloading torrents.
Don’t forget – your ISP can detect torrent traffic if they’re actively searching for it. High bandwidth usage, multiple TCP connections, and parallel upload streams are usually a dead giveaway.
If you use a VPN, though, they can’t see any of that. The service encrypts your traffic, so your ISP won’t know you’re using torrent services.
Does a VPN Hide Your Location?
Yes. VPNs hide your IP address, which reveals your geo-location. Anyone who tries to look up your geo-location while you’re using a VPN will only see the location of the VPN server you’re using.
Does a VPN Hide the Websites You Visit?
Yes. Your ISP and network admin will only see that you’re connecting to the VPN’s IP address. They won’t see the final destination of your connection (the sites’ IP addresses).
So if you’re visiting Facebook, your connection will look like this:
Your IP Address → ISP Network → VPN Server IP Address → Facebook IP Address
Your ISP and network admins will only see this:
Your IP Address → VPN Server IP Address
They won’t see this:
Your IP Address → Facebook IP Address
Does a VPN Hide Your MAC Address?
No, a VPN can’t do that. Unlike your IP address, your MAC address isn’t assigned to you by your ISP. Instead, the manufacturer of your device assigns it. And also unlike your IP, your MAC address doesn’t travel to the worldwide web. It only stays on your local network. So, the VPN can’t route it through its servers to hide it.
But the problem takes care of itself as you can see. Your MAC address isn’t visible to websites, so your privacy isn’t at risk even though a VPN can’t hide it.
People used to be concerned that IPv6 addresses could leak MAC addresses some time ago. But the Privacy Extensions update for IPv6 took care of that. If you’re still worried about that, no problem – here’s how to disable IPv6 completely.
Does a VPN Hide Your VPN Usage?
Yes, but only if the VPN uses obfuscation to mask its traffic. And usually only if you’re using the OpenVPN protocol since it has a unique digital signature which obfuscation can mask.
You can also get some obfuscation if you use the SSTP protocol since it uses port 443 (the HTTPS port) and SSL encryption. However, it’s not a very popular option since it’s closed-source and only owned by Microsoft. Also, it’s only available on Windows devices.
If you use other protocols, obfuscation wouldn’t really help since most of them use dedicated ports (L2TP/IPSec uses UDP ports 500, 4500, and 1701, for example). And some protocols weren’t intended to be used with obfuscation (like WireGuard).
Does a VPN Hide Your Phone Location?
Not really. Sure, a VPN can hide your phone’s IP to hide its geo-location. But even then, there are still plenty of ways to track your phone’s location:
WiFi networks that are in range. Cellular sensors and data.
Maybe you could spoof the GPS data with some apps, but there’s not much you can do about the WiFi networks and cellular towers.
Does a VPN Hide Your Browsing History from Routers?
Yes. VPN encryption starts at your device and lasts until your data reaches the VPN server. Before it does that, your traffic passes through a router. So it (the router) can’t see your browsing history because it’s encrypted.
If you’re having trouble picturing how that works, here’s a helpful image:
Does a VPN Hide Your Online Browsing at Work?
VPNs can do that since they hide the sites you visit. So your office’s network admins won’t be able to see that you’re browsing Facebook. But they will know you’re connecting to a VPN IP address (they know it belongs to a VPN because there’s no website name next to it).
However, that’s only true if you use your own device. If you use a work computer, your employer can still see your online browsing even if you’re using a VPN. Here’s how:
They could use spyware that records your might have remote access to your work boss might use keyloggers (like Teramind) to keep tabs on what you’re IT team could check your device after hours.
To learn more about using a VPN at work, please read our guide.
Does a VPN Hide Your Data Usage?
Contrary to popular belief, VPNs don’t actually do that. They only hide what web services you use. That’s what stops your ISP from selectively throttling your speeds.
For example, with a VPN, they won’t know you’re binging Netflix. So they won’t be able to slow down your Netflix speeds.
However, they’ll still know how much data you use. They’ll just see that you’re sending it to and receiving it from the VPN server, like so:
Source IP (Your IP)
Destination IP (The VPN’s IP)
1. 82 GB10 GB
Does a VPN Hide Your Account Activity?
No, VPNs can’t stop sites from seeing what you do when you’re logged into your accounts. For instance, if you log into your Reddit account while using a UK VPN server, the only thing that will be different will be that Reddit will think you’re connecting from the UK.
Other than that, the site can still see how you use the account. Plus, it can identify you thanks to cookies.
The only way a VPN can hide some of your account data is if you use a throwaway email to create a fake account. That way, the site can’t tie it to your IP address since a VPN hides it. Or, you know, don’t create an account to begin with.
Does a VPN Hide Your Whole Online Identity?
No, it can only hide it to a certain extent – by stopping anyone from tracking your IP address and seeing your traffic, basically.
But there are still plenty of ways sites, cybercriminals, and surveillance agencies can track your online identity: malware, background scripts, browser fingerprinting. Even social media can give away sensitive data if you’re not careful what you post and share on it. VPN’s don’t have control over your Facebook or Instagram, after all.
NOTE: Many people seem to think that VPNs offer complete anonymity. That’s false – they can only offer more privacy. To learn how to make up for what VPNs lack, check out our in-depth guide which covers that topic.
Does a VPN Hide You from Malware?
No, VPNs aren’t designed to prevent malware infections. Only antivirus programs can do that. So don’t think you can randomly download files from shady HTTP sites just because you’re using a VPN!
The only way VPNs can “hide” you from malware is if they employ firewall-like features that block your connections to malicious domains.
That, and they could theoretically protect you from some malware attacks by encrypting your traffic. Hackers won’t know what site you’re supposed to land on, so they can’t efficiently use fake sites infected with malware.
But, really, you’re much, much better off just using antivirus software (like Malwarebytes).
Does a VPN Hide You from Your Government?
Not completely, but it can create obstructions to make it harder for surveillance agencies to keep tabs on your online traffic.
Just be sure to use no-log VPNs (like CactusVPN). That way, the authorities can’t force the VPN provider to hand over logs containing user data.
What Does a VPN Hide? The tl;dr Version
VPNs are great online privacy tools that can hide your:
IP addressGeo-locationTrafficAnd the fact that you’re using a VPN
Overall, they’re great ways to bypass censorship and geo-blocks, protect your data from hackers and government surveillance, avoid annoying targeted ads, and make sure your ISP doesn’t know everything you do on the Internet.
If you know other things a VPN hides (or doesn’t), please tell us about them in the comments below.
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Frequently Asked Questions about does using a vpn hide your ip

Can you be tracked if you use a VPN?

No, your web traffic and IP address can’t be tracked anymore. The VPN encrypts your data and hides your IP address by routing your connection requests through a VPN server. If anyone tries to track them, they’ll just see the VPN server’s IP address and complete gibberish.Sep 15, 2020

What does a VPN not hide?

Since your ISP won’t be able to see what sites you browse, they won’t know what you’re looking up on the Internet. … But using a VPN won’t hide your search history from your browser or any cookies sites might place on your device. To protect your privacy from that, you should also use incognito/private mode.Dec 3, 2020

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