What Does a VPN Hide and What Doesn’t? Get the Security Checklist

Updated on March 9, 2024
What Does a VPN Hide and What Doesn’t? Get the Security Checklist

If you have heard people talking about using a VPN to protect their data, a friend may have recommended it, or maybe you’ve seen ads for different VPN services. There are several benefits of VPNs. We must discuss what a VPN can do for your digital security and privacy.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) keeps your online activity hidden from outsiders, but there’s much more depth to it. We’ll see in detail how VPNs work and what they hide, and what they don’t hide so you can decide if using one is right for you.

What Is a VPN?

A VPN helps you to establish a secure connection to another network. It encrypts your data as it travels between two points, making it almost impossible for someone to intercept or track what you’re doing online. It also hides your IP address so that websites can’t tell where you are located and restricts access to certain services based on your location.

VPNs are important if you use public or unsecured Wi-Fi networks because they provide an extra layer of security while accessing sensitive sites. Sometimes, they can even bypass government censorship or access country-restricted content like streaming services. A VPN is a powerful tool that can help protect your online privacy while granting access to more wide-ranging online content.

Does a VPN Hide Your IP Address?

Regarding online security, a VPN is your first line of defence. But how safe is your data while using a VPN? What does a VPN hide? Does it hide everything or just some things?

Does a VPN hide your IP address? The answer is yes. A VPN will assign you a new, pseudo-anonymous IP address that masks your true identity and location data. This prevents hackers and other nefarious actors from tracking your activity and accessing sensitive information.

In addition to hiding your IP address, a quality VPN will encrypt all incoming and outgoing traffic. This ensures that all data flowing between your device and the network is secure, even if hacked by third parties. It prevents malicious actors from being able to intercept your personal data.

A good quality VPN can keep you safe online by hiding your identity and traffic data. If you’re looking for an extra layer of security for browsing the web, investing in a reliable VPN can make all the difference in protecting yourself online. Astrill VPN is a reliable VPN that hides your IP address and provides several features like kill/switch, port forwarding, VPN sharing, and tools like what is my IP, port scan, password leak test, and several others.

Does a VPN Hide Your Internet Activity?

The short answer is yes. Your online activities are encrypted and secured by a VPN, but it’s important to understand how it works. When you use a VPN, your data is encrypted through tunneling. This is the process of ensuring that all data sent or received is transformed into unreadable code before it leaves your computer. This way, even if someone were to intercept the data being sent or received, they wouldn’t be able to decipher its contents.

Encryption and tunneling work together to ensure your internet activity isn’t tracked or traced back to you. Once you end the session with your VPN provider, all traces of your activity disappear from their servers, so there’s no trace that you were ever there in the first place.

Does VPN Hide Search History?

When it comes to online privacy, one of the biggest questions is whether a VPN hides your search history. The answer is both; yes and no. A VPN encrypts the data that travels between your device and its destination on the internet, which ensures your data stays safe. But, your ISP (Internet Service Provider) or other third parties can still see some of your metadata, such as the websites you have visited.

Here are steps you can take to further protect yourself:

  1. Try using custom DNS settings, as these often provide better security than those provided by ISPs.
  2. Use an anti-tracker service that helps block tracking cookies and other malicious applications that could be used to monitor your online activity.
  3. Use a private search engine like DuckDuckGo, which does not store any user data.

Even if VPN can hide some of your search activity from ISPs or third parties, it’s important to understand its limitations and take additional steps to protect yourself further online.

Does a VPN Mask Your Location?

Yes, it does. When you use a VPN, all your data goes through an encrypted tunnel. The tunnel makes it look like you’re accessing the internet from a different location than your own. This is known as spoofing and is one of the best ways to hide your accurate location.

Why is masking your location important?

There are several reasons. When you use a VPN, you create an additional layer of security by ensuring nobody can see from where you’re connecting. This can be especially useful if you’re using public Wi-Fi networks. A VPN can also help bypass geo-blocking regulations without worrying about anyone tracking your location or activities.

Does VPN Hide your Streaming and Gaming Activities?

In many ways, yes. When you use a VPN, all of your internet traffic is routed through an encrypted tunnel to the VPN server. This means that your internet service provider and other observers can only see that you’re connected to the VPN – they can’t see the details of what you’re actually doing online.

This provides privacy for your streaming and gaming activities. Your ISP won’t know what websites, apps or games you’re using. They won’t know which streaming services you’re subscribed to or what shows and movies you’re watching. Any game servers you connect to will only see the VPN server’s IP address, not your actual IP address.

A VPN also provides a layer of anonymity. Your real IP address is hidden, and instead the VPN server’s address is used. This means that streaming services, game servers, and websites won’t actually know who you are based on your IP address. Your online activities will be associated with the VPN server, not you personally.

Using a VPN can help hide your streaming and gaming activities from your ISP, websites, and other observers on the internet. The VPN encrypts your traffic and routes it through the VPN server, obscuring what you’re actually doing and masking your real IP address. However, the VPN provider themselves will still see all your internet traffic since it’s passing through their servers. 

Do VPNs Hide My Browsing History From ISPs?

Yes, VPN can help obscure some of your online activity from your ISP. Here’s how it works.

  1. When you connect to the internet without a VPN, your ISP sees all the websites you visit and can track your browsing history. They can see every page you load, video you watch, and search you perform. Your ISP knows this information because you’re connecting directly to the internet through their network. 
  2. However, when you use a VPN, your internet connection is encrypted and routed through the VPN provider’s server first. From your ISP’s perspective, it looks like all your internet traffic is going to the VPN server’s address, not the individual websites you actually visit. The VPN acts as an intermediary so your ISP can only see that you’re connected to the VPN, not what you do within the VPN.
  3. A VPN essentially reroutes and “hides” your IP address, making it difficult for your ISP to monitor your browsing activity. Within the VPN, your traffic is encrypted end-to-end so that even the VPN provider theoretically cannot see the sites you visit.

A VPN can help shield your browsing history and online activity from being monitored by your ISP. However, the VPN provider themselves could still potentially see what websites you access within their network. So using a reputable VPN service you trust is important to ensure your privacy is maintained.

What Doesn’t a VPN Hide, and how Can You Stay Safe Online?

When you use a virtual private network, or VPN, it encrypts your internet traffic and hides your IP address, giving you more privacy and security. But there are still things a VPN can’t fully protect you from. 

  • First, a VPN can’t hide everything you do online. It only encrypts the data traveling between your device and the VPN server. Any traffic outside of that connection, like the websites you visit, apps you use, and files you download, can still be monitored or logged by your internet service provider, employers, and websites.  
  • A VPN also can’t prevent malware, hackers, or data breaches. Using a VPN alone won’t protect you if a website you use has been hacked or has malware. You still need security software and safe online habits.
  • For starters, a VPN won’t cover your ISP name, which means that your service provider and government can still track your activities, such as the websites you visit. If you’re using a reputable VPN, the only information available to them is the IP address of the VPN server to which you’re connected.
  • It’s also important to remember that not all websites are safe for use with a VPN. Some websites might not accept connections from known virtual private network IP addresses. You may use an unsecured Wi-Fi network thinking it’s secure because of your VPN connection when such sites are not encrypted and are open to spying and theft of data. It’s better to research before trusting any online connection with sensitive data.
  • The key to staying safe online is vigilance. Stay aware of the sites that don’t accept connections from known private networks and don’t trust random unencrypted Wi-Fi networks when accessing sensitive data. Make sure to read up on any websites’ privacy policies before inputting any personal information into them.

Such measures can help ensure your data remains secure even when using a VPN!

Why AstrillVPN is best for digital defense?

When it comes to digital defense and online security, AstrillVPN is one of the best options available. Here are some reasons why:

  • AstrillVPN offers military-grade encryption to protect your data and online activity. They use the AES-256 encryption standard, which is considered the gold standard for data security. This means that your data is scrambled into unreadable code as it travels through the VPN, making it nearly impossible for hackers or snoops to access.
  • AstrillVPN has a strict no-logs policy. They do not track or store any of your activity data like IP addresses, browsing history, or traffic logs. This means that even AstrillVPN itself does not have any record of your online activity. This offers you maximum privacy and anonymity while using the VPN.
  • AstrillVPN has a huge network of VPN servers in over 58 countries worldwide. This allows you to mask your real IP address and assume an IP address from any of these locations. This is useful for bypassing geographic restrictions, accessing region-locked content, and hiding your physical location while browsing. 
  • AstrillVPN has a wide range of protocols for you to choose from like OpenVPN, IKEv2, SSTP, and L2TP/IPSec. This gives you flexibility in choosing the most secure and stable protocol for your needs and device type.

AstrillVPN provides an overall secure and private virtual private network that is a great choice for your digital defense and online security needs.

How to know if you can trust a VPN?

Using a VPN, or virtual private network, is a great way to protect your privacy and security online. But with so many VPN providers to choose from, how do you know which ones you can actually trust? Here are some things to consider.

  1. Security and encryption

 A trustworthy VPN uses strong encryption protocols like AES-256 to scramble all your data before it leaves your device. This makes it extremely difficult for anyone to spy on your activity, even your VPN provider. Look for VPNs that specify the encryption protocols they use.

  1. No logging policies

 Some VPNs claim they don’t log any of your activity, but others do log limited information. Check the provider’s privacy policy carefully to see exactly what data, if any, they collect on you. The less they log, the better.

  1. Independent audits

 Some of the most reputable VPNs undergo independent audits to verify that they’re following their own privacy and security policies. Look for audit reports from third-party organizations to give you more confidence.

  1. Strong apps and servers

The VPN’s apps and servers are the backbone of their service, so check reviews to see if they’re fast, stable and easy to use. Any history of security breaches or server outages is a red flag.  

  1. Cost

 A free VPN is often not as trustworthy as one you pay a few dollars per month for. Paid VPNs have a real business model that gives them an incentive to protect your privacy and data.

In the end, there are no guarantees. But by considering these factors and doing your research, you can find a VPN that you feel comfortable trusting with your online activity. 


Let’s answer some of the frequently asked questions regarding this.

Q: Will a VPN stop hackers?

A VPN should help to keep hackers at bay. As long as you are using reliable encryption protocols like the OpenVPN protocol and secure DNS settings, then your data should remain very safe, even if it is intercepted by a hacker.

Q: Does a VPN prevent my history from being found on public WiFi?

Yes! A VPN encrypts data traffic between your device and other computers. Your browsing sessions can’t be tracked or spied upon, making it much safer to use public WiFi networks.

Q: Can my VPN provider see my browsing history?

No, when you use a VPN, all Internet traffic associated with your online activity is sent through the encrypted tunnel. They cannot see what websites you visit or what content you view on those sites.


A VPN is a valuable tool for keeping your data safe and secure, but it has limitations. It can hide your IP address and encrypt your data but can’t mask some information. To stay completely safe and secure, pairing a VPN with other security measures such as a secure firewall, an anti-virus program, and frequent updates to your software is important. With these measures in place, you can rest assured that your data is safely and securely protected.

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About The Author

Bisma Farrukh

Bisma is a seasoned writer passionate about topics like cybersecurity, privacy and data breach issues. She has been working in VPN industry for more than 5 years now and loves to talk about security issues. She loves to explore the books and travel guides in her leisure time.

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