Can WiFi Provider See Your Browsing History? WiFi History Revealed
If you use someone’s WiFi, can they see your history? This is the hard truth: unless you direct your internet traffic through a VPN, the WiFi admin can see your browsing history. As a matter of fact, with the right tools, the WiFi provider can see your browsing history and a lot of things on top of that.
WiFi providers can see your browsing history, every web page you have been visiting while connected to their WiFi network. On top of that, if the URL shows Http://, and the website doesn’t use encryption, the network admin can make sense of all the data using a packet sniffer. That data can include, personal profile data, login, password, etc.
If the URL in your browser, however, shows an extra “s”, https://, then you are hypothetically safe. The traffic is encrypted, so the WiFi admins cannot see the web pages contents but WiFi provider can still see your browsing history and all the pages you have been browsing.
Table of Content
- If you use someone’s WiFi, can they see your history?
- WiFi history view: What gets exposed
- Can a WiFi provider see your phone history?
- If you use someone’s WiFi, can they see what you’ve searched?
- How to hide browsing history from WiFi router
- Why do I need to hide my browsing history?
- WiFi VPN : How to browse securely?
If You Use Someone’s WiFi Can They See Your History?
Do wifi routers track internet history? Yes, WiFi routers keep logs, and WiFi owners can see what websites you opened, so your WiFi browsing history is not at all hidden.
For example, you opened the web page https://www.limevpn.com/how-vpn-works/. The network admin will see that you read the How VPN Works web page, but they can’t see the exact page content when https enabled. Then you enter your private info on HTTPS website WiFi admins can’t see it.
Apart from the websites and web pages, on HTTPS websites a WiFi admin can still see the duration of time you spent on a particular site or page.
So, can WiFi track websites visited? The answer is a big YES.
Routers keep logs to store WiFi history, WiFi providers can check these logs and see WiFi browsing history. WiFi admins can see your browsing history and even use a packet sniffer to intercept your private data.
So what if the WiFi owner can see my browsing history? The longer version of the question can be: what can happen if the WiFi owner sees my browsing history?
WiFi History View: What Gets Exposed
Remember that apart from your browsing history, the WiFi network admin (or your internet provider or anyone who has the right tools, actually) can see the following details:
- The exact time you connect to the internet;
- The websites you visit and their specific URLs;
- The specific pages you open on each website;
- How long you were online;
- How long you visit websites;
Can WiFi Provider See Your History on Phone?
For those who are also using your mobile phones, WiFi owner can obtain the following:
- Call logs – everyone you talked to using the internet;
- Text logs – everyone you exchanged text messages with, online;
- Actual text messages – if you don’t use encrypted messaging;
- The apps you are using and how much time you spend on these apps;
- How frequently you use your apps.
These things are enough for cyber criminals to attack you through ransomware, phishing, or other crimes. It is enough for them to be able to steal your identity or get into your financial accounts.
And then there is the case of advertisers as well. They can see what things you bought online, or even the items you are interested in but did not actually buy. They can create a profile of you using the data they collect and then bombard you with advertisements every single time you use the internet without the protection of a VPN.
If You Use Someone’s WiFi Can They See What You’ve Searched?
— Can WiFi owner see what I search?
The answer is “NO” unless you use some outdated search engine from the past. Today all contemporary web-searches have HTTPS enabled on their sites so all data inside all of the search engine pages are encrypted and no WiFi owner can see what you searched. So, if you ask yourself can WiFi see what you Google, we can assure you that Google always use HTTPS encryption and all your search history is hidden from WiFi provider.
How Can WiFi See What You Search
If you use old versions of websites that only have non-encrypted HTTP versions and doing a website based search, then with using of all the data using a packet sniffer this data can be intercepted, and in such case, WiFi admins can see your search history.
How to Hide Browsing History from WiFi Router?
Deleting your computer’s browsing history and clearing all cookies and cache is not enough to hide your browsing history. If the WiFi owner has installed all the right tools, then they can retrieve all the data they need.
The only way to hide your browsing history from a WiFi router is by getting out of the WiFi network. But how will you be able to connect to the internet if you get out of the network? What we are suggesting is not a physical or literal break away from the network, but a virtual one.
With a VPN or Virtual Private Network, you can hide browsing on public WiFi. When you connect to a VPN before going to a website, these two things will happen — data encryption and IP address change.
Data Encryption: Hide Your Browsing on WiFi
Everything you do in the internet becomes data packets that are sent and received through the network. WiFi network administrators use tools that can intercept these data. They can then reassemble them and see what you have been doing online.
With a VPN, however, these data packets that are being transmitted will be encrypted. This way, it will be next to impossible for the network admins, and even your ISP to crack the encryption and see your browsing history. LimeVPN, specifically, uses a corporate-class 256-bit encryption, far from the standard 128-bit encryption offered of other VPN providers.
IP Address Change: Get an IP beyond Your WiFi Provider
Aside from data encryption, the most attractive feature of a VPN is its ability to change your IP address. Since you are getting out of the WiFi network virtually, you will be assigned a different IP address, one that does not belong to the network. Thus, the network admin won’t be able to know who is using the new IP address.
Why Do I Need to Hide My Browsing History?
Indeed, you may be asking why you need to subscribe and sign up with a VPN provider when you are not doing anything special on the internet? You are only using the usual stuff, like any normal person, such as buying from online shops, transferring money through your online bank account, browsing and posting on your social media accounts, reading the news, and the likes.
Does VPN Block WiFi History?
VPN encrypts all your traffic inside a VPN tunnel and directs it to a VPN server outside your WiFi provider or internet provider networks. When VPN is “ON” all that WiFi provider can see is that you connected to a VPN server. All the browsing history will be hidden from WiFi admins.
WiFi VPN: How to Browse Privately
We can never know if the network admin is looking at your browsing history. But the fact that they can, if they want to, should be enough for us to take precautionary measures. As they say, it’s better safe than sorry, and this is true in terms of your online activities.
In this day and age of cyber crimes, you can never go wrong with the protection that comes with a VPN. For as low as $1 per month, you can get a decent, if not one of the best, VPN service from LimeVPN. You can even get your money back if you are not satisfied with the service since LimeVPN is one of the few providers that has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
LimeVPN, one of the most loyal VPN service providers, can give you these two features and many more including the following:
- Speed of up to 10 Gbps.
- Unlimited bandwidth.
- NAT Firewall.
- 25/7 Live Support.
- 8 VPN Protocols.
- In-house VPN solution.
- Zero Logging and Zero DNS Leak.