graphic illustration of a person using a VPN

Can a VPN Make Your Connection More Secure?

Featured image by Arthur Bowers via Pixabay

With news of data leaks and compromised systems frequently popping up, you might be considering options to make your online activity more secure. A virtual private network, or VPN, is a widely used tool that ensures data encryption and a safer internet connection. Let’s go through some commonly asked questions about VPNs and find out why you should install a free VPN download today.


Do VPNs Really Hide Your IP?

Your IP (Internet Protocol) address is a unique string of characters that identifies a device and its location. Your IP address ensures that you receive the information you require, such as search results, websites, and emails. Understanding how IP addresses work might help you make better online security and privacy decisions.

We need IP addresses for our computers to communicate with other internet devices and networks. The objective of IP addresses is to map the internet and send data to the correct location. The internet would be unable to fulfill your data requests without this important protocol address.

However, cybercriminals can cause significant damage with limited access. If your IP address becomes public, it can serve as a conduit for unlawful and malicious activity. As a result, savvy internet users frequently conceal their IP addresses and use a VPN to browse the internet securely. Professionals using company devices may want to strongly consider using a VPN given numerous emerging and ongoing cyberthreats.

Using a VPN hides your IP address. It encrypts all of your internet traffic, not just your browser data. A VPN is a good idea while using public Wi-Fi or other open Wi-Fi networks. When you are using public Wi-Fi, you are more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

VPNs can also mask your location by hiding your IP address. Many people use VPNs to avoid censorship of media outlets and websites that are restricted in their location. You can also bypass geo-restricted content on streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. You can thereby gain access to entire libraries by appearing as though you are accessing the internet from another country.  

Does a VPN Hide Your Browser History?

In short, VPNs do hide your browser history. However, the level of privacy may differ depending on who exactly you are hoping to hide your browsing history from.

Your ISP will be unable to see your browsing and search history if you use a VPN. VPNs utilize high encryption to ensure that only connections to the VPN server are visible to your ISP. Your browsing history and search history are absolutely private. The only thing your ISP can see are the times you attempted to connect to a VPN.

For search engines such as Google, a VPN can only conceal your search history to a limited extent. Even if you are using a VPN, Google can still identify you when you type search queries. As Google controls their search engine and because they gather previous searches, your search history will remain visible and linked to you.

If you are using a company device, you should be wary that an employer can watch web traffic just as an ISP would. The device may have a logging system that allows your employer to see your browsing history. But a VPN can mask your browsing activities from your employer, so long as the VPN is not affiliated with your company’s network.


What Does a VPN Not Hide?

When you log into an account on a website, app, or online service, a VPN connection will not prevent platforms from viewing your account activities. For example, this could be something like your Google account. Platforms can detect that you have a different IP address and that your location is disguised. But that is the extent of the concealment. You should always be mindful of what you do and how much personal information you share online.

Moreover, along with other common VPN myths, many people think that VPNs provide complete online anonymity. This is not the case. They can only disguise it to a certain extent. Basically, they prevent anyone from monitoring your IP address and viewing your data.

Websites, hackers, and surveillance agencies can still monitor your online identity using malware, background scripts, and browser fingerprinting. Even social media platforms could leak important information if you’re not careful about what you post and share. After all, VPNs have no access to your Facebook or Instagram accounts.

VPNs will also not hide already-existing cookies. These are text files that include small amounts of data, such as a login and password. They identify your device when you connect to a computer network. You are best clearing them if you want to further increase your online privacy.