Home Technology Can Someone See My Internet History if I Use Their Wi-Fi With a VPN?

Can Someone See My Internet History if I Use Their Wi-Fi With a VPN?

wifi connected on a smartphone

There’s always this awkward feeling when browsing the internet using someone else’s Wi-Fi like you’re being monitored. This feeling only intensifies if you’re connected to a public Wi-Fi. In these situations, it’s completely normal to wonder if someone can see your internet history when using their network.

In this article, we’ll shed light on this matter. Read on to know whether or not Wi-Fi owners can see the internet history of devices connected to their network, mainly when using a VPN.

Can a Wi-Fi Owner See Internet History?

Yes, a Wi-Fi owner can see your internet history. This includes all internet activity, such as search history, the sites you visited, and even specific pages on a website.

The Wi-Fi owner can access the internet history of connected devices through the router’s admin panel. Routers save and keep a log of when devices are connected and what they do during their sessions. Anyone with the login credentials of the router’s admin panel can see these logs.

Routers save the internet activity of connected devices for several reasons. It’s a standard function in most routers that helps determine which device is browsing what content on the internet. Public Wi-Fi networks typically do this to collect and sell data, as well as to ensure you’re not using their internet for illegal activities.

Does Browsing the Internet on Incognito Hide Internet History?

The incognito mode is a great way to secure sensitive information when using someone else’s device. It also prevents unwanted cookies from being stored in your browser.

However, the incognito mode doesn’t hide internet history from the Wi-Fi owner. The router will keep logs of your internet session even if you use incognito mode on your browser.

It’s the same if you delete your browsing history from your device. The Wi-Fi owner can see internet activity performed as long as the logs are there, which you can’t delete without accessing the admin panel. Therefore, deleting browser history or using incognito mode won’t erase or hide internet history from the Wi-Fi owner.

Does Using a VPN Hide Internet History From the Wi-Fi Owner?

A VPN (virtual private network) hides a device’s IP address and connects it to a remote server. It essentially masks your IP address and creates a tunnel between your device, the remote server, and the online content you’re accessing.

The VPN hiding your IP address and connecting to a remote server enables accessing content otherwise unavailable in your location. For example, if a movie or TV show isn’t available in your country’s streaming platform, you can connect to a VPN server and access it as if you were there.

While a VPN is capable of various other things, it also effectively hides your internet history from the Wi-Fi owner. From the router’s logs, the Wi-Fi owner can only see the IP address of the VPN server you’re connected to – not the specific websites you visited.

Since this will hide your internet activity, a VPN offers much greater privacy. Whether you use a VPN for Chromebook, smartphone, or any other device, you can comfortably browse the internet without worry.

What About the Internet Service Providers (ISP)?

Internet service providers, such as AT&T and Verizon Fios, can also view your internet history, just like Wi-Fi owners. In addition to hiding internet history from the Wi-Fi owner, VPNs also disguise it from the internet service provider.

Once you’re connected to a VPN, the only activity visible to your service provider is going to be the IP address of the VPN server.

The Importance of Using a Trusted VPN

There’s no doubt that a VPN is the greatest weapon you have when it comes to taking charge of your privacy online. However, it’s important to note that, as you hide your internet activity from Wi-Fi owners, those running the VPN servers will be able to see your information.

For this reason, it’s crucial to use a trusted VPN that won’t use your data against you or engage in trades with it, like NordVPN. As you search for the best VPN for your needs, make sure to consider this above all else.

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