It’s common for your Internet Service Providers, or ISPs to track and record your online activities. They are able to keep logs of your online data because on one hand, they are able to. Your IP address is assigned by your ISP, after all, and it leads your online activities to be tracked. On the other hand, the government in some countries or regions require ISPs to keep logs of their users’ online data so that illegal activities can be found and stopped in time.
To privately browse the Internet, a VPN works because it hides your real IP address so that none of your “footsteps” are left on the Internet. However, you may wonder “Can My ISP See I’m using a VPN?” or “Can my ISP block the VPN I’m using?”
Then what on earth can your ISP see as you’re using a VPN? This article will tell you.
Seeing Browsing History and Spying, how “Scary” is Your ISP?
Your ISP as a company allows you to get access to the Internet. ISP is the part you won’t bypass if you want to use the Internet.
The main service your ISP provides is an IP address through which you are able to connect to the Internet. The “IP” refers to Internet Protocol while “address” refers to the unique identity number correlated with your online activities. As you send emails, shop or chat through the Internet, your request should be transmitted to the exact “destination” and likewise, the reply should be transmitted back to you exactly.
Nevertheless, can you imagine the massive work when millions of devices are connected with the Internet through a single ISP and how do they accurately work? Actually, it’s unnecessary and difficult to understand the working scheme behind it. To put it simply, the IP address makes it flawlessly work since each device has its unique IP address.
However, your IP address can be used to track your geological position, visit your personal data, see your browsing history, or get your networking devices hacked. Based on your IP address, all your communications with the Internet can be known. Therefore, you’ll be “naked” as you use the Internet to shop, browse websites, and check social media as long as your IP address is known.
Because your IP address is assigned by your ISP, then your unique identity is naturally known by your ISP. That’s why your ISP is so “scary” and why a VPN should be used.
To Block ISP Spying, why a VPN is the Best Tool?
Since your ISP can see your browsing history and spy your online activities, a VPN should be used to protect your cybersecurity and online privacy.
Firstly, a VPN can hide your IP address from ISP.
A VPN allows its users to connect their devices with VPN servers located at different places around the world. Once a device is connected with a VPN server location outside the current geological position, the IP address will be labeled as the VPN server location so that your real IP address will be hidden from ISP.
Secondly, a VPN can block your ISP from seeing your browsing history.
Why is your ISP able to see your browsing history? Yes, based on your IP address assigned by ISP. Now that all your communications with the Internet depend on your IP address, all the information from and to your Internet protocol address will be naturally known. When a VPN is used, however, your IP address assigned by your ISP is replaced by a virtual one so that your ISP doesn’t know YOU wearing a mask and the virtual IP address is beyond the reach of your ISP. Therefore, all your online activities including browsing history, habits and online information will be protected from ISP’s spying.
Thirdly, a VPN is still necessary even if your ISP doesn’t spy you on the Internet.
Not all monsters are evil. Not all ISPs would like to show interest in my online activities. Do you hold the same thought?
You’d better abandon that if you do since such an opinion is so risky. Even if your ISP shows no interest in your online status, the ISPs in some countries or regions are required by the local government to log users’ data in case users’ online illegal activities can be found and tracked.
Does Your ISP Know if You’re Using a VPN?
There’s denying that as a VPN is kept on, your ISP definitely fails to see all your online activities, including your IP address, the websites you visit and your position. When a VPN is used on your device, what your ISP can see is nothing but encrypted data transmitted to remote servers.
Some ISPs may be able to determine that the server is part of a VPN, but there’s no issue with that. Using a VPN is perfectly legal in most countries, and ISPs aren’t legally permitted to throttle VPN connections if they recognize them.
Essentially, all your ISP sees when you use a VPN is a blur — they know someone is connected, but they don’t know who or what they’re doing.
What does Your ISP See when a VPN is Used?
A VPN can protect your browsing privacy and stop your ISPs from tracking your online activities. The following information about your online activities will be known by your ISPs when you use a VPN:
- The fact you’re using a VPN
- The IP address of your VPN server
- The fact VPN protocols are being used
- Your real IP address
- Connection timestamps
- Amount of transferred data
- Encrypted data
Just as what’s mentioned above, your ISP can recognize the traffic through a VPN. It’s not difficult to see the IP address you’re connecting with belongs to a VPN service provider. However, your ISP can only see the connections with a VPN server but fails to see which websites you’re visiting.
As a VPN is used as you browse the Internet, your traffic will be encrypted thanks to the VPN protocols. The protocols depend on strong encryption and the unique port they connect to. Based on port number, you’re allowed to know which VPN protocols are used.
Your ISP can also track transferred data and bandwidth consumption. Of course, the data might be insecure since downloading and general browsing are mixed. VPN encryption can also add expense and contort practical data.
Your ISP can never examine your online content. With a VPN used, what your ISP can see is nothing but gibberish data flow. The encrypted algorithm applied by the VPN can never be decrypted by your ISP so that your online data will be secure.
The table below summarizes the content what ISP can and can’t see when a VPN is used.
Can Your ISP Block a VPN?
A VPN is such an awesome tool that it unblocks geological restrictions, stops your bandwidth from throttling, protects your IP address or online activities from prying eyes, hackers, stops your ISP from seeing your browsing history etc.
Then, can your ISP block the VPN if you use for browsing? Since you hide your IP address from ISP and all your online data can be well hidden, then it’s not what your ISP expects to see and it’s understandable that your ISP tries to block your VPN.
To tell you the truth, your ISPs definitely can.
Why Would ISPs Block VPNs?
It’s a little hard to explain.
Mostly, your ISP blocks your VPN connections due to the following reasons:
- They worry their users are doing something illegal on the Internet.
- They believe you’re torrenting in an illegal way.
- Your ISP believes too much data is consumed by you.
- The government requires your ISP to do so.
- Your application of a VPN stops them from making profits by selling your data online.
How Can Your ISP Block VPN Connections?
Your ISP Can Block the IP Address of VPN Servers
Even though we don’t want to admit, it may really take place. Keep it in mind that your ISP can see your VPN server’s IP address, which can be checked in the summary table above. Perhaps your ISP fails to see the specific IP address of the VPN server you connect, but they can still block your VPN connections through a firewall to block the IP address so that you won’t be able to get your device connected to that VPN server.
Then how does your ISP know you’re connecting with a VPN server?
It’s not so difficult to understand. What your ISP can see is usually an IP address together with a DNS resolution (the IP address of a website) when they try to track your connection destinations. If an IP address alone can be seen, your ISP usually will believe you’re connecting with a VPN server, which is especially true when your traffic is found to be encrypted.
Moreover, your ISP can check who does your IP address belong to through IP checker. If a VPN is used, what they can see is a data center instead of a home ISP.
Your ISP Can Block the Port Used by the VPN Connection
Apart from the IP address of VPN servers, your ISP is also able to check the port used by the VPN connection. Once they believe the port is of little importance, they’ll possibly block it so that your VPN connections will be halted as well.
Your ISP Can Delete Your Connections with DPI Used to Check Your Traffic
DPI, short for Deep Packet Inspection, is a type of network analysis method, capable of letting your ISP deeply know your traffic. Once your VPN connections are found, they can be easily deleted or blocked by firewall.
How to Stop Your ISP from Blocking Your VPN Connections?
Not only does your ISP stop your VPN connections, but VPNs are usually banned by other organizations, like Netflix VPN ban. The equality of the Internet will be compromised along with such bans.
Try Numerous VPN Servers
If your commonly-used VPN server is blocked by your ISP, you can try another VPN server to avoid being blocked by ISP’s firewall.
If all the VPN servers are blocked, it’s time to say goodbye to your VPN service provider. Nevertheless, it will hardly occur because it’s not so easy for ISPs to conform to all VPN servers.
Use the Port 443
The port 443 is a type of HTTPS port that can’t be blocked by your ISP. After all, if it gets blocked, the whole network connections will be cut. However, not all VPN protocols can use the port 443.
Use Decentralized VPN
Compared with centralized VPNs, decentralized VPNs have obvious advantages. Then, what are centralized VPNs and decentralized VPNs? Most VPNs on the market are centralized VPNs and decentralized VPNs will definitely let you know they are decentralized, like BitVPN.
Centralized vs Decentralized VPNs, Decentralized VPNs feature the following advantages apart from the common features owned by both parties:
- Completely Anonymous Browsing
- Blockchain-based Technology
- P2P Mesh Network
- Higher Online Security
Obfuscation is capable of making VPN traffic seem like ordinary Internet traffic so as to avoid being blocked by your ISP.
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