Will A VPN Hide My Location Or Can I Be Tracked
- by Ross Ricky
I get it.
Many people feel insecure when theyre using the internet. Theyre unsure whos tracking their activity and what theyre doing with it.
The scary news is, you should feel insecure about using the internet. After all, everything you do is being tracked.
Your browsing history, your Google searches, the videos you watch online? These things are all tracked.
Your geographic location, the type of device youre using to access the internet and the time youre using it? This information is also collected.
All of this information is sold to third parties in exchange for money. You have no idea whos collecting your data, and who theyre selling it to.
On the bright side, there are things you can do to make your internet usage more private from prying eyes.
One of these options is a VPN. So the question stands: will a VPN hide your location or will you still be tracked by third parties?
Lets take a closer look.
Privacy Tip #: Always Clear Cookies
I love a box of peanut butter cookies as much as anyone else.
However, I dont like the type of cookies that websites install on your computer
Granted, some cookies are necessary for helping sites run smoothly.
But many especially persistent, advertiser, and other third-party cookies destroy all online privacy because they continue tracking you online, whether or not youre using a VPN.
Clearing your browser cache after a session is one solution but you need to do this every time. A second, easier solution is installing the Cookie AutoDelete browser extension.
Whether youre using Firefox, Chrome, or any other browser based on these two, Cookie AutoDelete automatically deletes cookies for you.
You can choose if you want cookies deleted after you close the tab or after closing your browser. For the best privacy, I recommend opting for the tab version.
And remember always open new links in a new tab!
What Limitations Do VPNs Have
A VPN has a lot to offer when it comes to privacy and security. However, its not the end all be all of cybersecurity and privacy. To browse the web safely and anonymously, youll need to observe some extra privacy measures, on top of using a VPN connection. For instance, youll still have to clear your cookies regularly. Moreover, there are also things a VPN simply cant do.
Say youre logged in to your Google account, you can be connected to a VPN on the other side of the world, Google will still be able to create a profile of you as an internet user. After all, theyll simply correlate your search history with your account information, regardless of whether you change your IP address or not. The same is true for services like Facebook.
There are more ways in which online entities can determine your identity which a VPN doesnt protect you from. When using Google Maps, for instance, youre often required to turn on GPS. This means Google Maps can see exactly where you are. There are also more advanced ways that are used to identify internet users, such as browser fingerprinting. This method uses your browsers and devices settings to distinguish you from other internet users.
Moreover, a VPN can slow down your internet. Your data has to be sent through the VPN server, which means it can take slightly longer to end up where it needs to be. However, there are several effective ways to increase internet speeds while connected to a VPN.
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Can I Ask My Isp For Internet History
Internet service providers in the USA are not prohibited from collecting or sharing information and data about your internet activity, including your browsing history. Your ISP might or might not keep a record of what websites you visit and other online activities. Most websites you visit require sending a DNS request to your ISP, which it can then log and store indefinitely.
Depending on what state you live in and the ISP’s internal policies, you might have a right to know what information your ISP has about you. In California, for example, you can request your ISP hand over any personal data it holds about you.
Can Wifi Provider See Your History On A Phone
Yes. If you use a smartphone to surf the Internet, your WiFi provider or a WiFi owner can see your browsing history.
Except for browsing history, they can also see the following information:
- Apps you were using
- Unencrypted HTTP websites data
However, lets assume your WiFi admin wants to see everything you do online bad enough, and he’s invested some resources into a logging infrastructure.
Then, even your delicate data can be subject to monitoring.
Thats, of course, more than enough to completely ruin your privacy and personal life.
But, everything can be even worse if hackers intercept the traffic you transmit over WiFi.
Then they may easily steal your account credentials, passwords, credit card details, and other valuable information no matter what device you use to access the Internet.
The truth is that WiFi is flawed and, by its nature, open technology.
So, unless you protect yourself with VPN encryption, you can never be confident in the security of your data.
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Can Employers Track Employee Activities
This is largely dependent on the VPN youre using. Commercial VPNs serve a different purpose than business VPNs. Your company could undoubtedly watch you if youre linked to a business VPN provided by them. Most corporate VPNs keep track of their users activity and do not provide complete anonymity from their employers.
But lets imagine youre using a paid VPN. VPN detection is possible if your company monitors employee online activities. To observe what you do online, they would need to install monitoring software on your work equipment. A VPN service, for example, will not be able to hide what you type on your device from your employer if your organization has installed keyloggers directly on your computer.
Can The Government Track You Through A VPN
Heres the thing: federal authorities dont waste their time on casual VPN users. There needs to be a legal foundation for them to take an interest in someones VPN activity.
When federal agents suspect someone of a crime, they go to an ISP to ask for connection logs. After detecting VPN connections, they might try approaching a VPN provider. If a VPN keeps no logs of users data, they will have nothing to offer even if they wanted to.
However, there arent many cases of authorities approaching VPN providers because they have multiple other methods of tracking a potential criminal down. It was recently revealed that the , which ask the tech giant to submit lists of accounts and IPs that searched for certain words online.
So a VPN will prevent your IP from being disclosed, but if you used your own Google account, that will be on record. Once again, privacy and security depends not only on technical means, but also on your own vigilance.
We have an extensive guide on Can police track a VPN that you might want to check out as well.
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Can Protocols Protect My VPN Connection
Lots of protocol options can help you with security. Some work faster than others while some are more secure than others. So you can get the ideal connection you want to suit your needs. For example, if you’re streaming in 4K or using your VPN for Netflix and want speed then you might use a different protocol to when you’re doing online banking or emailing sensitive documents, for example.
So looking out for a VPN that offers lots of protocols is ideal if you’re someone who wants to vary security and speed to suit your tasks.
The Ultimate Fool Proof Solution: Use A Faraday Bag
Info: For all the methods I’ve outlined above, they all rely on the honesty of the companies that are promising not to track you or on the companies that have manufactured the hardware.
Can you really know your phone is not transmitting GPS data when you turn it off? With specialized equipment, you could determine this, but there is a far easier solution.
The best way to protect you from cell phone tracking is by investing in something called a Faraday Bag, sometimes also called a cell phone pouch.
A Faraday bag is a cell phone signal blocking bag that prevents any kind of radio waves that your cell phone is built to receive from entering the bag, keeping your phone safe from tracking methods like those I described above.
Whenever you need your phone, you can take it out of the bag and use it normally.
Advice: One thing that the users should keep in mind with a Faraday Bag is that it will block all the signals in your phone, so if you are anticipating an important call, it is not the best idea to keep your device in a Faraday bag.
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How Browsing With VPNs Works
When youre browsing without a VPN, your internet traffic passes through your router and internet service provider before reaching the destination website. All three checkpoints can see the traffic coming from your computer.
A VPN adds encryption and a VPN server to the process. Heres how it goes:
Can VPN Be Tracked By Employers
Yes, everything you do while connected to the company VPN can be monitored by your employer.
You see, business VPNs are meant to help remote workers connect to the companys internal network as if they were physically on the premises while eliminating the risk of surveillance and data theft by hackers.
Unlike personal VPNs, which focus on the security and anonymity of an individual, business VPNs work towards securing the companys network. When using a company VPN, your browsing activities will be hidden from hackers, ISP, and the governmentbut not from the company itself.
I would, therefore, not recommend that you carry out any activity that could get you in trouble with your employer while on your work computer.
You could install a personal VPN on your work computer but in most cases, the companys IT department has administrative local access to your computer and all they have to do is log in to find out what you have been up to.
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If VPNs Dont Make Me Anonymous Why Do I Need One
|Without a VPN|
|Your real IP reveals your real location||VPN servers IP reveals VPN servers location|
Weve already established that complete anonymity on the internet is virtually impossible. But dont delete your VPN. Despite complete anonymity being unrealistic, a good VPN service helps you come closer to it by improving your online privacy.
A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel from your device to the destination youre trying to reach . As you connect to a server located in another country , your internet service provider and the site youre visiting think youre in France.
This connection to a VPN server creates a good degree of privacy, but I would be lying if I said you become 100% anonymous.
With a VPN, you protect your data. Some incredibly important components play a part in ensuring no information goes past the encrypted VPN tunnel.
Turn Off Location Sharing For Google Maps
Google tracks your location via Google Maps by default. It will anonymously store the exact coordinates of your location periodically. This information is used to improve Googles products and services.
You might trust Google and be okay with this. But if you dont want Google to have access to your location 24/7, here is how to turn the feature off:
- Go to Settings > Location Settings
- Tap the Location History is on option
- Switch it to Off
You can also disable the Google tracking feature from Google Maps. Note that if you lose your phone in the future, Google wont be able to help you trace it without the Location History.
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Mask Your VPN Traffic With Obfuscated Servers
A VPN hides your online traffic, while an obfuscated server hides your VPN usage. Its like an invisibility cloak sometimes called a stealth VPN.
Where can you get those obfuscated servers? Well, some premium VPN providers use them. At Surfshark this functionality is called Camouflage Mode.
Obfuscation is great for bypassing various VPN blocks, like Hulu or Netflix, as well as the Great Firewall of China.
Which Is The Best VPN To Avoid Hacking
From our extensive testing we’ve found that the best VPN is ExpressVPN, with superb enterprise-level encryption security, great connection speeds across its many server and lots of protocol options.
ExpressVPN not only has lots of international servers, high-speed connections and strong security but also offers superb 24/7 live chat customer support which is great for finding the most secure setup for what you’re doing.
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Activate The VPN App And Start Browsing The Internet Safely And Freely
Activate the VPN by pressing the connect button, and the VPN connection will be established. Generally, you wont even notice its activated, since the software runs in the background of your device.
And thats all there is to it! While the VPN is enabled, youll be able to browse the web far more securely, privately, and freely. The illustration below will shortly review the steps youll need to take to set up a VPN on your computer:
If you want to learn how to install a VPN on a specific device, such as a smartphone or smart TV, have a look at our VPN setup section. The installation may vary, depending on your device and operating system. If you want to know exactly how a VPN works, keep on reading. Well explain that and more below.
Can VPN Be Traced
With a VPN you want to keep things secure and private from third parties. A VPN is a great tool for that, but you might ask can a VPN be traced? Can it be detected? Or even, can you be tracked with a VPN?
These are important aspects to discuss when you want to stay private online. Lets take a look if a VPN is traceable and if it is possible to track you down.
Check Out VPNs with NO-Log Policies:
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Collecting Data From The Websites You Visit
It is a well known fact that many websites sell their usage data. It is not so well known how promiscuously this data is shared throughout the advertising ecosystem.The songs you listen to on Spotify, the searches you conduct on Google, the items you buy on Amazon… all of it is for sale.
This data is aggregated into clumsy and insecure databases known as “DMPs” and tied to you through your unique audience identifier, a kind of digital social security number that you aren’t allowed to access. If you login to these sites, you typically agree to allow them to do whatever they want with your data. However, even sites that you don’t typically log in to, such as entertainment sites, newspapers and blogs also uniquely identify you using a variety of methods, such as cookies or browser fingerprinting.
Have you searched for anything related to medical symptoms? Your insurance company is willing to pay to find out. VPNs can’t protect you against this form of data collection, because their code is allowed to enter your network and run without any limits. Using these methods, it is relatively easy to identify an individual even though they are using a VPN. What’s The Solution?VPNs are useful for cloaking your IP address and are often ideal for file sharing services or accessing geographically limited content.
But for everyday internet use, you need something different:
Furthermore, these things matter a great deal for most people:
Shopping Online Turn Off Amazon Tracking And Google Ads
Now, lets say you turned the TV off. Now you open your laptop and decide to relieve some stress by online shopping. Surprise, surprise. Thats being tracked, too!
Have you ever noticed that Google always seems to know just what you want? Well, its not in your head. Of course, Google knows your every search, click, message and request.
Heres what you can do for more privacy: Check out the Activity Tracking page.
Here, youll see Googles detailed record on your activity. That includes your activity throughout the internet and other apps, location history, audio activity, and YouTube search and watch history.
You can change multiple settings to keep more of your data secret. You can even turn off Google ads. Scroll to the bottom of the activity page, and youll see this:
Slide the toggle to Off, and then click Turn Off. Now, keep in mind that youre not turning off all ads. Really, youre just turning off personalized ads.
You can use a similar trick to stop Amazon from tracking your browsing history. Just follow these steps:
Now, heres how to turn off targeted ads when youre shopping on Amazon.
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