What does a VPN hide

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Using VPN can hide many things including your location, IP Address, identity, the websites you visit and makes it hard for government and ISP to trace you. However, it is not that straightforward as it may seem and some exceptions apply. So how extensively using VPN hides you?

Yes, it does. Using a VPN hides your external IP address from the public. When connected, all traffic from your device travels to VPN server first and only then to the domain you try to access, therefore only the VPN server’s IP address is publicly visible. However, be aware of possible IP leaks some services might have.

Usually, it does. When connected to a VPN server in a specific country you appear to the public as if you were browsing from that country. However, if you allow location detection or have specific locally-stored browser cookies with your location information from other websites your true location might be revealed.

In general, VPNs do not mask MAC addresses, but even without it, the MAC is unknown to the website you visit since it is used only between your device and the first router encountered. However, there are ways to reveal your MAC address by running malicious scripts as well as there are tools to mask it.

VPNs definitely hide your browsing activities and history from your ISP, however, the browsing history is locally stored on your browser and if an incognito window is not used this history is available on your device. Also, it is important to make sure your DNS requests are also routed via the VPN tunnel.

This service not only hides your browsing history but also can hide Google searches. However, this Google search history can be traced back to you if you were logged in with a Google account while searching.

Routers can be set up to log all IP addresses, it is indeed possible to find out the browsing history that way, but with established secure connection the router only sees the VPN server’s IP and therefore it is not possible to tell where you tried to connect. It is important that DNS requests also routed via the VPN tunnel.

ISPs usually are obliged by law to keep the browsing logs and monitor internet traffic, but when using VPN the ISP only sees a connection to the VPN server and therefore does not know where exactly you are trying to access. VPN does not hide you, but rather hides what you do online from ISP.

VPN services use very strong encryption algorithms to hide what you are downloading, therefore torrenting activity stays hidden from your ISP when connected to a VPN server. Many ISPs can detect torrent traffic, but not when using a VPN.

VPN traffic can definitely be detected since it uses specific protocols to establish a connection. While VPN traffic itself can be monitored, but that’s just that – you can only tell that’s a VPN traffic but nothing about your private data inside the tunnel.

ISP can see that internet traffic is routed to a VPN server, therefore it knows your IP and server’s IP, but it does not know where exactly you are connecting and cannot access any content inside a strongly encrypted VPN tunnel, therefore hiding your activities online.

Some countries such as China or Turkey definitely implemented measures to constantly monitor internet traffic, but only the fact that VPN is used can be detected and nothing more. Some VPNs do not have a no-log policy and log traffic on their server, making a possibility for the government to trace you.

VPNs definitely hide your public IP address and location, besides that it encrypts all private data sent over the internet including torrents and files downloaded, this way masking your online activities. It does hide your browsing history from your ISP and prevents Google from tracing the search back to you unless you were logged in with google account during that search. However, the usage of VPN itself can be detected and even blocked by such country as China. VPN services are a very good choice to keep what you do online private and secure.

SubjectDoes it hide?Comments
IP addressYesBe aware of IP leaks
LocationYesBe aware of locally stored cookies and locations APIs
MAC addressNoMAC stays invisible to the website you visit anyways
Browsing historyHides from ISP, but not the one stored locallyBe aware that DNS requests are routed through VPN tunnel as well
Search historyYes, but not the one stored locallyDon't be logged in with google account while searching
Browsing history on a routerYesBe aware that DNS requests are routed through VPN tunnel as well
Downloads and torrentingYes
Can it be monitored or tracedYes, but only the fact of usage of VPN, not tracing it to youContents within VPN tunnel can not be monitored
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