Can a VPN be traced? What’s the safest, untraceable VPN?

Vlad Constantinescu
by Vlad Constantinescu
VPN Expert & Privacy Advocate
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  • Despite their evergrowing popularity, VPNs are also a concern for many. One of the most pressing issues is whether or not you could be traced while using a VPN.
  • While possible, tracing someone through a VPN is not very probable, especially if you're ready to follow some safe practice suggestions.
  • Check out our best VPNs that are less likely to be traced.
  • Visit our Security Hub to learn more about keeping yourself safe while online.
Can you be traced through a VPN?

Starting a few years back, VPN services started gaining popularity, and the trend never stopped. Nowadays, our online privacy is at stake more than ever, and it seems that VPN is one of our best fighting chances.

A VPN has a broad usability range, as it can not only protect our online privacy and secure our connection.

It can also help you circumvent geo-restrictions that might keep you from enjoying your favorite online content or access censored websites.

Last, but not least, if used right, it can help you curb packet loss, and even reduce in-game ping. Therefore, you can use a VPN in several, various connection-related situations.

But there are a few concerns that haunt the mind of end-users all around the world. We’ve already established whether or not VPNs can access your data, and if you can get hacked through VPN apps.

However, there’s one theory that, if proved correct, would shatter the whole purpose of getting a VPN in the first place. And that’s whether or not you can be traced while using a VPN.

How does a VPN work?

The way a VPN works is that it encrypts all of your network traffic, from the device you’ve installed it on to the exit point. The exit point is usually within the VPN network.

Therefore, a VPN could only protect you from MITM (Man-In-The-Middle) attacks, where the perpetrator is located somewhere between you and your VPN provider.

If the attacker intercepts your Internet traffic, there’s pretty much nothing they could do about it.

For instance, when you access a website through a VPN, you’re most likely to use a VPN client for this.

Thus, all of your requests go through the client, which encrypts them, and forwards them to the VPN server through a secure, encrypted tunnel.

The encrypted data reaches the VPN server, which hides important details about you such as your geo-location and IP address. While inside the server, your data gets decrypted and forwarded to the website you wanted to access.

The website generates a response, which follows the same path, only backward. The response gets encrypted by the VPN server and forwarded back to the VPN client, through the same secure tunnel.

Upon receiving the encrypted data, your VPN client decrypts it once more and lets you access it.

Although this process might seem lengthy and tedious, it happens in a few moments. You might not even be able to notice any slowdowns, either, since the process’ execution time is near real-time.

Can you be traced through a VPN?

If you’re wondering whether it’s possible to be traced through a VPN, then the answer is yes. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration, and some of them are strictly related to your online behavior.

Therefore, if you’re using a VPN in an attempt to hide your online identity and post details about your real identity on various websites, not only can you be traced, but you also made it extremely easy for anyone to trace you.

The same goes for VPNs who, upon being pressured by government agencies, agree to deploy backdoors within their service, to facilitate monitoring.

Last, but not least, even non-compromised VPNs can leak your DNS or IP address from time to time. The leak might be a matter of nanoseconds, but for someone who tries to figure out your real identity, it’s more than enough.

So, to recap shortly, here are some cases where you can be traced through VPN:

  • You reveal your real identity (or even just details) by yourself while using VPN
  • The VPN provider agrees to install backdoors in their service, which facilitates tracing
  • Your VPN might leak your IP/DNS address, which also leads to uncovering your location and possibly your identity, too
  • If your machine is compromised (malware is installed on it), your real IP address is revealed to the attacker

What is the best VPN that can’t be traced?

There’s no such thing as a VPN that can’t be traced if you’re careless about your digital footprint.

However, there are a few VPN services that go out of their way to keep your online privacy intact by avoiding IP leaks and not installing backdoors in their service.

For instance, Private Internet Access is an excellent VPN service offered by Kape Technologies. It did great on all of our tests, security– and speed-wise, and yielded zero IP/DNS leaks during our advanced security assessment.

  1. Download Private Internet Access
  2. Install it on your PC
  3. Launch it and log into your account
  4. Connect to the server of your choice
  5. Enjoy browsing the Internet privately
Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access

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However, you must remember not to engage in any reckless behavior that would jeopardize your privacy and/or security. Not even all the VPNs combined can help you if you’re handing out your private details freely online.

Yes, you can be traced through VPN, but it’s not likely

To wrap it up, it’s not impossible to be traced through a VPN. However, the odds of that happening are slim, and you can help keep them that way. For instance, never post your real identity online if you want to keep it hidden.

Additionally, try not to access any shady, malware-ridden website. Malware can easily compromise both your privacy and your device.

More so, it will also render your VPN useless, as it won’t be able to hide you from potential attackers if your machine is compromised from the inside.

FAQ: Learn more about being traced through a VPN

  • Can VPN users be traced?

Yes, some sketchy VPN providers can engage in such shameful behavior with their customers. Make sure you always pick from the best VPN services when you make your choice.

  • Can my IP address be traced if I use a VPN?

Usually, your VPN should hide your IP address at all times, so nobody should be able to trace it. However, some VPN services might leak your IP address from time to time, so it’s best to be cautious about the service you rely on.

  • What is the best VPN that doesn’t trace users?

We agreed that PIA is among the best VPN services that do a great job of protecting your online privacy. It doesn’t log Internet traffic or user activity, has no backdoor in its service, and doesn’t leak your IP/DNS address.