can your isp see that you are using a vpn

Can Your ISP See That You Are Using A VPN Or Proxy? Get 100% Privacy

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Last Updated on March 11, 2021 by Calvin C.

Background of internet monitoring

Can your ISP see that you are using a VPN or proxy? Quick answer is, it depends and in this article, we explore the differences between the two.

When you use a VPN or proxy, usually one of the reasons is to hide your online activity from your ISP.

This is crucial in countries where there is restricted access to internet like China or institutions where traffic is monitored.

In this case, every site you visit on the internet is visible to anyone who monitors the network, so there is no privacy.

can your isp see that you are using a vpn

VPN vs Proxy

When you access a website on the internet, a server retrieves the website and sends the data straight to your IP address.

Your ISP is able to see both the site you visit and the traffic exchanged between you and the server.

There are tools that can change your IP address so that you appear to be accessing that site from another location.

Your actual IP address doesn’t change and your ISP can still see that your are connected to the internet.

In other words, your ISP gives you with the ability to connect to the internet.

In order to be identified on the web, your device has a unique IP address.

This means all your traffic passes through the ISP and if you remove the ISP from the equation, you have no internet.


A proxy changes your IP address at browser level such that whoever tries to pin-point your location on the internet sees a fake location.

Only browser traffic is secured by a proxy, otherwise all other traffic from other apps does not pass through the proxy.

The remote server where you find the website only sees a new IP address created by the proxy, not your actual IP address.

  • Take note that your ISP provides the internet service and can see that you are using a proxy.


A VPN is similar to a proxy except it works at operating system level, hence all the traffic from a device passes through the VPN.

You have to install a VPN client on your device so that all the apps are linked to the VPN.

In addition, a VPN encrypts all traffic before it is sent to the remote server you want to access.

Just like in a proxy, your IP address changes and you are connected to the internet via your ISP.

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Can your ISP see that you are using a VPN or proxy?

The answer is a big YES!

The difference is in what they are able to see as far as your traffic is concerned.

In a proxy, your ISP can see that you are using a proxy and the type of proxy you are using.

You can read more about proxies in another section. The ISP can see the sites you are visiting and even view your traffic.

In other words, you are exposed and the only comfort you have is that the remote site you access cannot see your actual location.

A proxy service provider can see everything and that includes your actual IP address, your traffic and sites you are visiting.

If you want to use a proxy, you can try proxy versions offered by NordVPN.

In the case of HTTPS proxy, there is encryption of browser traffic and your ISP cannot see what you are sending.

With a VPN, your ISP can see that you are using a VPN and the type of VPN you are using.

The remote site you are visiting cannot see your actual IP address, but that of the VPN service.

The VPN service provider in some cases can see your actual IP address, you traffic and the sites you visit.

That is why we encourage you to use trusted VPN services that don’t keep logs of your data and have strict privacy policies.

Your ISP sees only encrypted data when using a VPN and that means it is more secure than a proxy.


In conclusion, if you want total anonymity and security on the web, it is best that you use a VPN instead of a proxy.

Make sure you check out reviews of the best VPNs currently available and avoid exposing sensitive, personal information on the internet.

Share the information with your friends and leave comments below.

Tech writer and VPN expert. DIY enthusiast and loves anything to do with space science.

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