An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is the company you pay for your internet connection. When you connect your digital devices to the internet, they all connect through your ISP’s server(s). After that, your ISP can easily monitor all your online activities, including streaming, browsing, calls, emails, and so on. Using a fast and secure VPN would increase your privacy. VPN dramatically restricts what your ISP sees when using the internet because of the dedicated servers and encryption features that quality VPN services offer.
This article will attempt to unveil what your ISP can see when you are not using a VPN and what you expose to your ISP when you surf without one.
What is The Role of an ISP?
An ISP is a company that provides services to connect us to the internet. To access the internet, you just need to simply call your ISP through your ISP’s modem, and your computer will handle the details required to connect to the internet, such as the cost of the connection. Depending on your needs and budget, your ISP can provide you with an internet connection in various ways.
For example, ISPs can give dial-up access, broadband, cable, DSL, and other types of access. In addition to internet access, ISPs can also offer additional services such as web hosting, data center services, and email solutions.
However, despite the privacy precautions you take, there is someone who can see everything you do online, that is, your internet service provider (ISP).You can take many steps to clean up your browsing history and prevent websites from tracking you regarding online privacy. For example, most modern web browsers include different privacy modes that allow you to browser cookies and temporary files without storing browsing history on your computer. In addition, many browsers also have a “no tracking” mode that automatically notifies websites to opt-out of tracking cookies used for advertising purposes.
These solutions can prevent advertisers and anyone using a computer from viewing your browsing history, but your ISP can still monitor almost all of your online movements.
How ISP Tracks You and Why Should You Be Concerned?
This is not surprising as all internet activity goes through your ISP. It is challenging to hide something from your ISP as your ISP can log your connection data whether you’re using your home computer, game console, or mobile device? The short answer will be, yes. But that doesn’t seem to be what you might imagine.
ISP tracking is a major concern for many, especially if internet usage neutrality is eliminated.
Personal data to third parties is one of the most frequent activities done by almost all ISP. Selling your customers’ personal information to advertisers and other third parties is very beneficial to modern internet service providers, and that’s why they are really interested in monitoring your internet traffic. It’s important to note that online traffic contains many details about online browsing and shopping habits. This is invaluable for marketers to send “personalized” ads. Given that advertisers are willing to pay a fortune to get your personal information, your ISP will be happy to sell it as soon as possible.
To make matters worse, data sales practices are believed to be acceptable in countries like the United States. This means that you cannot even protect your right to privacy in court.
You can set firewall-like protection against cookies and other forms of tracking, but your ISP will know what you are doing when you log in. In addition, many advertisers will say that the information they use is personally identifiable. An ISP can make a lot of money just by selling these collected data to advertising companies. These companies can use complex algorithms and targeted advertising to perform an in-depth analysis of internet browsing habits to find more effective yet highly intrusive marketing methods.
What can your ISP see when you are using a VPN?
So, now the question is, can your ISP see that you are using a VPN? The answer could be yes, and no. When you connect your devices through a VPN, your ISP can see an IP address that does not have the same pattern as other users connected without a VPN. Your ISP can definitely recognize this unusual IP address.
Still, they cannot necessarily tell which VPN you are using or even using a VPN at all since the same server that your VPN service uses may host hundreds of other online services. Your ISP can also determine some additional basic info about your bandwidth usage. But this is where their superhuman(!) spoofing capabilities end, especially when browsing the internet with a fast and secure VPN app.
Although your ISP can know you are using a VPN, they can only learn a few things about your internet activities unrelated to your data safety and online anonymity. These are:
The duration of your connection
As your ISP provides your internet connection, they can log your connection initiation and termination time every time you connect to the internet. As a result, your ISP can still see the duration of your connection even if you are using a VPN.
Your connection ports
A network port is a virtual location within an operating system where a specific network connection is established. For example, your ISP can see the port you are using to establish a connection with a VPN server because it exists in your ISP’s network server.
How much bandwidth you are using?
No, a VPN cannot help you steal more bandwidth from your ISP than you pay for. However, a fast and encrypted VPN can often compress your incoming and outgoing data to browse the same websites using much less bandwidth. Just like your ISP can know the duration of your connection, it can also log precisely how much bandwidth you are using. However, it has no way to see what you are using it for. Often, ISPs enforce a Fair Usage Policy (FUP) if you are using a limited bandwidth internet package. A VPN service provider cannot help you bypass this limitation.
Encrypted data in your incoming/outgoing packets
A Virtual Private Network can encrypt your incoming and outgoing data through its secure tunnel, but it cannot make the encrypted data invisible! So, your ISP can still see that you are transferring data, but they cannot decrypt the information inside the packets.
So, How Can a VPN Protect Your Privacy From ISP?
As mentioned earlier, the ISP tracks and logs customer activity. As much money as an ISP makes on a monthly internet plan will dramatically increase the scale of data to advertisers.
Fortunately, VPNs help regain control of privacy from your ISP. Let’s see how a VPN protects your online privacy from your ISP.
Encryption of IP address
A lot of personal information is associated with your IP address. For example, it shows your geographic location and can be used to create a complete picture of your online activities. Many people choose to hide their IP addresses with a VPN for these reasons. The first and most important task of a VPN is to hide your IP address from your IS or other third parties. This allows you to exchange information online without being seen by anyone except for you and your VPN provider.
When you browse the web with VPN enabled, the connection constantly roams to a remote VPN server before moving to the web server hosting the desired website or service. When the webserver returns the information, it is sent to the VPN server, which transfers the data. This means that the websites you visit will never come into contact with your actual IP address.
Your search history and browsing details
You can clear cookies and search history in your browser. However, it may be recording the websites visited by your ISP. The VPN encrypts all Internet traffic and effectively hides your browsing history from your ISP. Premium VPNs can hide search history, search terms, clicked links, and other browsing activities such as websites visited and IP addresses.
However, this does not mean that your ISP is unaware of your activity. Based on the fact that encrypted traffic is sent to the IP address of the VPN server, you may be able to know that you are connected to the VPN and how long it has been. So, in other words, if your sole purpose is to hide your browsing history from your ISP, the VPN will do the trick.
Most ISPs strive to provide high-speed services, but the internet is slowing down intentionally to minimize bandwidth congestion and regulate traffic. It may be slow. This is known as “bandwidth throttling.” A VPN encrypts all information exchanged between the server and the recipient and hides it from your ISP. Your ISP cannot legally slow down all traffic to all websites. Also, if you don’t know where the traffic is heading, your ISP can’t slow down any of them. The ISP cannot distinguish between HD streaming and simple web browsing when using a VPN. This means you won’t experience throttle, and you can enjoy excellent performance on any streaming site.
Masking online activity against an ISP means that the ISP cannot suppress the activity, and The ISP cannot distinguish between HD streaming and simple web browsing. This means you won’t experience throttle, and you can enjoy excellent performance on any streaming site.
Secure File Sharing
File sharing is not legal in all countries. So, ISP generally monitors your connections to ensure they aren’t involved in torrents in places where copyright law is strict. If they find you downloading a torrent, they will probably send you a warning message. This is the best scenario. Your ISP may provide your details to the copyright agency and flood you with DMCA notices. To make matters worse, they can force you to pay hefty fines, and you can even appear in court.
A fast and secure VPN wraps your Internet connection in an encrypted tunnel to protect your online activity from monitoring. For example, a curious observer may know that you are connected to the internet, but not that you are torrenting files.
Your ISP may not see much of your online activities when using a VPN. Still, a malicious VPN itself may act as a ‘honeypot’ and sell your encrypted data to third-party hackers or government surveillance agencies. A trusted and secure VPN like Symlex guarantees your privacy by keeping your data safe and secure in any given scenario. In this challenging and confusing online era, losing your sensitive data to ISPs, hackers, or anybody with malicious intentions is easier than ever. A fast and secure VPN service strives to ensure that you absolutely control all your internet activities and nobody else.
Aynun Nipa is an expert Digital Marketing Specialist having 6+ years of extensive experience in different digital marketing channels and advertising industry. I am passionate to help B2B companies achieve organic growth and acquire new customers through the data-driven content marketing. Web design is another passion for sure.I am always enthusiastic about promoting business sites like https://symlexvpn.com/