Can Wifi Admin See Your Browsing History? Truth 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 administrator can see a lot of things.
If the URL shows http://, the network admin can make sense of all the data using a packet sniffer. The end result is that they can actually see each and every web page you have been visiting while connected to their network.
If the URL in your browser, however, shows an extra “s”, https://, then you are hypothetically safe. The traffic is encrypted, so the WiFi admin cannot see what web pages you have been browsing. They can still see what website you opened though, so your browsing history is not all hidden. For example, you opened the web page https://www.limevpn.com/how-vpn-works/ . The network admin won’t see that you read the How VPN Works web page, but they can actually see that you visited https://www.limevpn.com/ .
Apart from the websites and web pages (for URLs that start with http://), the WiFi admin can also see the duration of time you spent on a certain website or page.
So can wifi admin see visited websites? The answer is a big YES.
How to Hide Your Browsing History from WiFi Admin?
Deleting your computer’s browsing history and clearing all cookies and cache is not enough to hide your browsing history. If the WiFi Admin has installed all the right tools, then they can retrieve all the data they need.
The only way to hide your browsing history 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 from your network admin. When you connect to a VPN before connecting to a website, these two things will happen: data encryption and IP address change
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
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.
LimeVPN, one of the best VPN service providers, can give you these two features and many more including the following:
- Speed of up to 10gbps
- Unlimited bandwidth
- NAT Firewall
- 25/7 Live Support
- 8 VPN Protocols
- In-house VPN solution
- Zero Logging and Zero DNS Leak
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 in 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.
So what if they can see my browsing history? The longer version of the question can be: what can happen if the WiFi admin sees my browsing history?
Remember that apart from your browsing history, the network admin (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 in each website;
- How long you were online;
- How long you visit websites;
For those who are also using your mobile phones, ISPs can obtain the following:
- Your call logs – everyone you talked to using the internet;
- Your text logs – everyone you exchanged text messages with, online;
- Your actual text messages – if your ISP is Verizon;
- 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.
The Bottom Line
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.