Can my internet service provider (ISP) track me down if I’m using a VPN? Do VPNs hide all online traffic from ISPs? These questions are commonly asked by people weighing their cybersecurity and online privacy options. In this article, we will explore what your ISP can see with a VPN on.
Can my ISP see that I’m using a VPN?
When you connect to a NordVPN server, your ISP can see that you’re connected to an IP owned by a VPN service — in this case, NordVPN. It might also know the time of your connection and the port your VPN protocol is using. Plus, the provider will see the amount of traffic traveling to and from your device.
What does a VPN hide from my ISP?
In essence, your service provider only knows that your actual online traffic is hidden from them. That means it loses access to the following information:
- The websites you visit
- The specific web pages you browse and the time you spend there
- Your browsing and search history
- The files you download from or upload to unencrypted websites
- The info you type on unencrypted websites
Why does the ISP still see some information?
Your ISP still sees some information because your service provider connects you to the websites you want to visit. You send it a data package, which works as a request, and the ISP sends it to the correct destination. When you connect to a VPN, you tell it to send that request to the VPN server.
But from that point on, the VPN server takes over the package, and the ISP will never know its final destination.
To sum up, the ISP sees the following information when you use a VPN:
- The IP address of the VPN server
- The timestamp of when you connected
- The port your VPN protocol is using
- The amount of data you’re sending or receiving
- Encrypted and unreadable data traveling between you and the VPN server
So use a VPN to block ISP tracking and protect your privacy
Tip: Your VPN connection safety depends on your account password too. Don't forget to use a strong password on your account, because it will help you to avoid credential stuffing attacks and will keep your connections safe and uninterrupted.
Because generating and remembering strong and secure passwords is not an easy task, we recommend downloading our free password manager — NordPass. It generates secure passwords for you and stores them safely, letting you avoid time-wasting password resets in the future.