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What does your ISP see when using a VPN in the US?

What does your ISP see when using a VPN in the US?


You are probably aware that US ISPs will struggle with all their might to be able to sell your browsing habits for profit. If not, the best example of this behavior is when ISPs sued Maine for daring to protect the privacy of its citizens. Using a VPN in the US is pretty much a must if you don’t care about sharing your online habits with shady advertisers.

Of course, you will need a VPN capable of no logs for the job (such networks Otherwise, you risk running into the same problems with β€œfree” VPN service providers. Just last year, several of these providers leaked data of 20 million people online, despite claiming to keep no logs of user activity.

However, it is fair to say that even top-tier VPNs cannot make you completely invisible on the web. Sure, the data your ISP can see about you while using a VPN won’t put your privacy at risk, but it’s worth staying updated. Anyway, here’s what they know.

#1 Your IP Addresses and VPN Server IP Addresses

Your IP address can reveal a lot about your real location – your country, city, and even your zip code. VPNs hide your real IP address and assign a new one based on the server you are connected to. This is not only good for your privacy but also helps you bypass geo-blocking and access content from outside.

However, a US VPN cannot hide your real IP address and location from your ISP – after all, they are the ones who assign it to you. Also, they still know who you are and where you live (otherwise how are you going to pay the bills?)

They are also aware of the IP address of the VPN server your device is connected to. Fortunately, that’s it. For all intents and purposes, your IP only “connects” to the VPN server, and your ISP cannot see which websites and services are capable of the network you’re using.

#2 Encrypted data stream

Even if you haven’t seen the matrixYou probably know the distinctive green digital “rain” effect. Now, the data stream that makes up your online activity might not sound great to your ISP (or other third parties snooping on you), but it still sounds like crap.

In short, there is nothing to worry about. Your encrypted data is just as valuable to advertisers and hackers as the Matrix Rain Effect GIF.

The only country in the world that people will worry about is Kazakhstan. why? Well, in 2019, the government forced local ISPs to urge their users to install root certificates on their devices and browsers – lest they risk losing Internet access. These certificates would have allowed them to see all encrypted traffic, including HTTPS traffic. Fortunately, these plans were later abandoned.

#3 Which VPN Protocol You Are Using

There are quite a few VPN protocols, each with its own strengths, speed, and level of security. We will not go into detail about what each person does, as this is beyond the scope of the article. However, we will say that each protocol uses a specific port number, so your ISP can infer which protocol you are using. For example, OpenVPN – the most used protocol at the moment – runs on UDP port 1194 by default.

Some ISPs or public Wi-Fi providers may choose to block traffic for services depending on the port number. Say, block ports 27000-27030 on college Wi-Fi, to prevent students from downloading and playing Steam games.

Schools and workplaces may also choose to block VPN traffic in this way, although it is less likely. Fortunately, this can be easily avoided by setting up a VPN with port forwarding. Essentially, redirecting the traffic to a different port – usually port 443, which is used by HTTPS traffic. This makes it impossible to block VPN traffic without affecting most of the normal traffic.

#4 Metadata related to VPN

First, your ISP can know the exact time to connect to the VPN, as they can tell when your device starts connecting to the VPN server. Moreover, they can see how much data is being transferred between you and the VPN.

All of this data passes through your ISP’s servers in encrypted form, of course. They can see that you used up to 30GB of data on a given day; They can’t tell what it’s made of. There is no browsing data, nor any of the videos you watched, nor any of the files you downloaded. Just a big piece of chatter.

Unfortunately, this means that you can’t get around data caps with a VPN in the US. Yes, we know, setting data limits is a silly practice. Despite this, VPNs are still a useful tool, both for your privacy and entertainment needs – so give it a try using the link provided at the beginning of this article.

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