- Your ISP can see exactly what you're doing online, at any given time, except for data carefully encrypted by either your VPN or an HTTPS protocol.
- It's known that using a VPN is one of the best ways of keeping private data away from prying eyes. But can your ISP track it?
- Check out our best VPNs that can keep your data private.
- Visit our Security Hub to learn more about maintaining your device's security safe and sound.
For as long as we’ve been aware of, ISPs have played a huge role in being the silent (or not so silent) enforcers of lawful online behavior. Sure they might be guided by another hand, but they’re the ones wielding the sword.
In other words, your ISP can see exactly what you’re doing online, at any given time. Except for personal encrypted data (such as username, passwords, and messages you post on HTTPS websites), things are quite transparent.
They know what websites you’ve visited, files you’ve downloaded, and if they’re determined enough to push you through a web proxy and make you use their proprietary certificate, they might be able to see the content of your traffic, too.
Some might not be bothered by their ISP’s interference, and for good reason. There’s nothing to worry about if you’re a law-abiding citizen who stays on the right side of the law. Right?
However, some ISPs get just a bit too drunk on power and start overstepping their boundaries. Being able to see one’s online whereabouts is one thing, but deciding to act on it is another.
That’s one of the many reasons why people started to consider shutting the door on their ISPs by using a VPN.
How to browse without being tracked by ISP?
It’s a given that VPNs are simply the best when it comes to keeping your online privacy safe. They take all of your private Internet traffic and route it through their own network of private servers.
On top of that, VPNs encrypt your traffic. Thus, your ISP can no longer see your actual web traffic, but an amorphous blob of data. Let’s make things clear by going into a bit more detail.
If you’re not using a VPN, your connection looks something like this:
Your PC – your ISP – destination website/service
While you’re using a VPN, however, things change dramatically:
Your PC – VPN client – encrypted tunnel – VPN server – destination website/service
It’s a bit inaccurate because your ISP is still a very important part of your connection, but try to picture it somewhere above the encrypted tunnel. Actually, the tunnel goes straight through your ISP’s infrastructure.
Note that, although your ISP can’t see your data anymore, your VPN provider can. However, trustworthy VPN providers have a zero-logging policy, so they won’t monitor or share your data with anyone, even if the need arises.
Can VPN be tracked by ISP?
Depends on what you mean by being tracked. If you’re wondering whether your ISP can figure out whether you’re using a VPN or not, then the answer is yes.
Your ISP can easily determine whether you’re accessing the Internet directly or through a VPN service. They can see that you’re passing encrypted data through their infrastructure, and that’s a pretty solid indicator.
However, what they can’t see any longer is your traffic. If you take a look at the scheme above, you’ll soon understand why.
While browsing, you send requests to a destination, whether it’s a website, a game, or an online service we’re talking about. If you’re using a VPN, the client encrypts your requests and pushes them forward through the tunnel.
The VPN server receives your encrypted data, decrypts it, and forwards it to the destination. The host then generates a response and sends it back to the VPN server.
Here, the data is encrypted once more, gets pushed through the tunnel, reaches the VPN client which decrypts it, and hands it to you.
Thus, the only two points throughout the entire connection where your traffic is not encrypted are your PC and the destination website. Therefore, we can conclude that your ISP can’t track your VPN.
Can ISP block a VPN?
Yes, in theory, an ISP is capable of restricting access to a VPN. But that’s a laborious process that can be easily bypassed. You see, an ISP needs to manually block all IP addresses of said VPN in order to restrict it entirely.
That, or disabling communication ports that you use to connect to the service. However, you can circumvent both of these situations easily by either switching the VPN server or picking another port.
You can also pick a service that offers obfuscated servers, which pass encrypted VPN traffic as regular traffic. That way, your ISP might not even be able to figure out you’re using a VPN.
What’s the best untrackable VPN?
We agreed that Kape Technologies‘ Private Internet Access is among one of the best VPN services that offer you unmatched privacy protection and great connection speeds.
Private Internet Access
Need a good, untrackable VPN? Check out PIA.
It passed all of our tests with flying colors and didn’t leak any of our data during usage. You can use PIA to browse the Internet privately, unblock geo-restricted content, limit packet loss, and also improve in-game ping.
- Download Private Internet Access
- Install it on your device of choice
- Launch it and connect to your account
- Connect to a secure server of your choice
- Enjoy browsing the Internet privately
Your ISP can’t track your VPN
To sum things up, if you’re still wondering whether your ISP can track your VPN or not, the answer is a hard no. Your VPN might be able to figure out that you’re using a VPN, but that’s it.
All of your traffic will be encrypted and inside a secure tunnel, away from prying eyes.
However, you should exercise caution when going online, even if you’re using a VPN. Using a VPN will encrypt your traffic, but it won’t hide your identity if you’re going to post revealing information online, all by yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are a few ways you could browse the Internet without being tracked by your ISP, but the most popular (and effective) one is using a VPN.
No. Your ISP can see that you’re using a VPN, but it can’t see exactly what kind of data you’re transmitting. However, VPNs can access the same data your ISP previously could.
Theoretically, it’s possible to be traced through a VPN, especially if you don’t take any online safety measures and are reckless with handling your personal data while online.