Does a VPN hide history from a router or ISP?

VPN and Search History

Written by: Per-Erik Eriksson

Many Internet users are concerned about their browsing history being visible to others. 

The reason for this is often benign, like not wanting your parent, sibling, or spouse to see that you have browsed for something you consider embarrassing. 

If you are wondering whether a VPN can hide your browsing history from others, the answer is yes. To an extent.

Read on to understand what exactly you can and cannot hide and from whom.

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How Browsing Works

This is how browsing without a VPN works: you enter the desired web address, word, or phrase into the search bar and click the Search button. Then, your request goes through your router and ISP (Internet Service Provider) and reaches its destination. Therefore, your router, your ISP, and the website can see your search.

Browsing with a VPN is different. First, your VPN encrypts your information before it leaves your computer. Afterward, the information passes through your router and travels to the ISP. Yet, because it is encrypted, the content is invisible to both the router and the ISP. The VPN server then decrypts the traffic and sends it to the destination site, which does not see your IP address, but that of your VPN server.

Who Can See My Traffic if I Am Using a VPN?

Only the VPN server can see your traffic because it decrypts it.

You cannot bypass being seen by the VPN server, but you can choose a reliable VPN provider. Check what kind of information it logs, how it secures data, and what it does with it.

Many VPN service providers claim they do not store and sell users’ information to third parties. However, before you choose a provider, read their privacy policy – just to be on the safe side.

Why Is It Important to Hide My Browsing History?

Hiding embarrassing browsing history from family members is the least of your worries. What you should be concerned about is what your ISP does with your data. 

ISP can use your information to target you with advertisements, sell it to third parties or turn it over to the government. What is even more dangerous is that hackers can breach your ISP’s databases, steal its users’ information and use it for fraudulent purposes.

A Word of Advice

Having a VPN can save you a lot of trouble. One of the useful things about it is that it disguises your browsing history from others by encrypting your content and hiding your IP address. Just don’t forget to delete the search history on your device.

For added protection, do your homework on VPN service providers and pick one with a strict no-logging policy. That way, you can be sure that your activities will remain private, whatever you choose to do. 

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