Can ISP see/store browsing history? [Privacy Guide]

Vlad Constantinescu
by Vlad Constantinescu
VPN Expert & Privacy Advocate
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  • Your ISP is a direct line between you and the world wide web. You depend on its services and their quality to take your daily dose of information, entertainment, and even socializing.
  • However, most of the time things are not exactly as they should be. Given the power to snoop on virtually anyone who goes through their servers, ISPs often take advantage of this situation.
  • Check out our best VPNs to secure your online privacy.
  • Visit our VPN Hub to discover more tools and guides to protect your digital life.
Can ISP see your browsing history?

Your ISP is a direct line between you and the world wide web. You depend on its services and their quality to take your daily dose of information, entertainment, and even socializing.

So it makes perfect sense that your ISP should be some entity you trust, something you’d easily hand out your most private secrets to, hoping it would be but a passive observer and not share them with anyone else.

However, most of the time things are not exactly as they should be. Given the power to snoop on virtually anyone who goes through their servers, ISPs often take advantage of this situation.

Subpoenas, court orders, and privacy law loopholes don’t make the situation any easier, either. Your own government might coerce ISPs to hand over information about you on their demand. And most of the time it works.

All in all, nowadays our world starts to resemble an Orwellian parody, with several agencies set to annihilate free speech and privacy, while passionately promoting anti-values such as heavy censorship, content control, and total surveillance.

However, in the midst of chaos, there’s one beam of light shining bright: cyber-security solutions such as VPNs.

How to stop your ISP from seeing your browsing history

Your ISP is but a relay that enables every device on its network to connect to the Internet. Imagine it as a huge X-Ray room within an airport. Your ISP might suddenly feel like taking a peek at you, and there’s no one there to stop them.

That’s approximately how easy it is for them to track every movement of their customers. Now imagine wearing a suit that blocks the effect of the X-Ray machine and shows you as an amorphous blob. A trustworthy VPN can easily play the role of the suit.

Best VPN to stop ISP tracking

  1. Download Private Internet AccessPrivate Internet Access
  2. Install it on your computer
  3. Launch it and log into your account
  4. Connect to a fast server of your choice (location is not really important)
  5. Enjoy private, secure, and uncensored Internet browsing

Now that we’ve established that VPNs are some of the best online-counter-espionage tools you could have under your belt, let’s see which one is the most effective against ISP snooping.

We believe that Kape Technologies’ Private Internet Access, as its very name not-so-subtly suggests, can help you keep your online business private and to yourself. After you deploy it on the desired devices, you can even forget it’s there.

You merely have to connect to a server of your choice (location doesn’t matter in this case, so you might as well choose a fast server) and let it work its magic.

Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access

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The way a VPN works is that it takes your whole web traffic and routes it through its own array of private servers so that your ISP can’t access your browsing history any longer.

Aside from using a different route, VPNs also encrypt your whole traffic. Therefore, even if your ISP (or a hacker, for instance) could be this cunning, so as to identify you in a sea of anonymous connections, the interception would be useless.

Your traffic will look all scrambled and even if they would be able to single you out, it would be almost for nothing.

Prevent ISP monitoring with the use of VPN

To sum it up, we can safely conclude that VPNs such as PIA can make sure you’re browsing the Internet safely, privately, and without geo-restrictions.

More so, your ISP could have some more dirty tricks up their sleeves. For instance, throttling your bandwidth would be an excellent way to cut costs, even though it’s not fair.

So even though you purchased and currently pay for a 100 MBps Internet subscription, bandwidth throttling might limit it to a few MBps, just for the sake of cutting costs.

VPNs can help you avoid this unwanted situation easily by forcing your traffic to take a different, un-throttled route. This could help you curb packet loss and improve ping in no time, and without any additional action other than normal VPN usage.

FAQ: Learn more about preventing ISP monitoring with VPN

  • Does VPN prevent ISP tracking?

Yes, it does. While you’re connected to a VPN, your ISP only sees that encrypted data gets sent to a server, but is unable to decrypt the content of your traffic.

  • Can ISP tell if you’re using a VPN?

Yes, your ISP can figure out almost immediately that you’re using a VPN by merely taking a look at your IP address. Also, encrypted traffic gives it away quite quickly.

  • Can police track VPN?

There are some countries whose governments may coerce VPN companies into monitoring you, keeping logs of your activity, and handing any useful info to them upon request.