What Does a VPN Hide?

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Updated September 14, 2022

If you’re considering a premium VPN, you may be wondering, “What does a VPN hide?” VPNs offer strong encryption to bolster your online privacy and hide your real IP address. Additionally, VPNs can prevent bandwidth throttling from your ISP (Internet Service Provider). That said, knowing what your VPN protects is essential to understanding the wide variety of online security benefits that VPN services offer.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • VPNs hide your actual IP address to prevent hackers from finding your geographic location and personal information.
  • Your internet activity is encrypted with a VPN, and your ISP cannot see what you’re doing.
  • Your search history and social media activity will still be visible with a VPN.

What Does a VPN Block?

Unprotected internet traffic can reveal your online identity and real location. Online privacy tools like VPNs help mitigate security risks while users connect to the internet. Especially on public Wi-Fi hotspots and unsecured networks, a VPN encrypts your online traffic and geographic location, making it impossible for third parties to monitor your activity if you know how to use a VPN.

Insider Tip

Pick a VPN server close to your physical location to maximize your internet connection speed.

While you won’t be invisible online, VPN providers protect internet users in multiple ways. For example, if you don’t know what a VPN kill switch is, it essentially blocks any unprotected connections if your VPN suddenly drops. Of course, if you’re ever unsure whether your VPN is working, you can check to see what your IP address is before running the VPN, then check again with it running to see what your IP address is on a VPN.

IP Address

A VPN routes your connection through a remote server and encrypts your online activity. If your internet provider or hackers look, they will see the VPN’s IP address, not yours. Users cannot see your location or home address with your IP address hidden.

Internet Activity

Your internet activity is encrypted while you connect to a VPN. Whether downloading torrents or checking your email, your ISP cannot see what you’re doing. That said, your browser history will remain unless you’re using a private browsing mode. Additionally, network administrators can still track your activity on registered accounts like social media or message boards.

Warning

A VPN will not hide your search history unless you use a private browsing mode.

Personal Data

Bad actors can get a lot of personal information with your real IP address. Since your VPN provides a new public IP address that links to a different location. Additionally, hackers cannot access your data because the VPN encrypts it as it flows between your device and online services. The data encryption keeps your information from hackers, trackers, and even your ISP.

STAT: A 2021 Pew Research Center survey showed that 37% of urban Americans reported being online almost constantly. (source)

Prevents Bandwidth Throttling

ISPs (Internet Service Providers) track your internet traffic for illegal downloads and high-bandwidth activities like streaming or gaming online. Since your ISP cannot see what you’re doing, they will not throttle your speeds.

What Does a VPN Hide FAQs

What if hackers have my true IP address?

Bad actors can do actual harm with your real public IP address. For example, advanced users can find your exact location down to your street address with your IP. Additionally, they can frame you for cyber crimes by routing their browsing activity through your network.

Do I need a VPN for public networks?

On a public hotspot, advanced users can spy on all of the connected devices on the network. VPNs provide an extra layer of security thanks to robust encryption protocols. Experts roundly recommend VPNs for unsecured networks so you can avoid security threats like background scripts and identity theft.

What is a digital footprint?

A digital footprint is the data trail internet users leave behind while connecting to online services. A VPN will help hide most of this data trail, but your internet history will remain on registered accounts.
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