Can a VPN Be Traced Back to Me?
If you are a fan of tech YouTubers, you may have noticed just how many ads you see for VPNs.
These are tools that can help hide your IP and, in theory, make you anonymous, but how anonymous is it? Could someone track you down even if you are using one?
Whether a VPN can be traced back to you depends on the VPN provider you are using. Still, with our current understanding, if you are using a quality VPN provider that doesn’t log user data, it will be very hard, if not impossible, to be traced.
In this article, we will be going over how effective VPNs truly are in keeping you hidden. If you want to learn more, we encourage you to read further.
What Does a VPN Do?
A VPN stands for virtual private network, and they are relatively simple in how they work.
When you connect your computer to a VPN, you are accessing your network; thus, your device acts as if that distant network is, in fact, your own.
This is why when you go to check your IP address while connected to a virtual private network, you will see that it has changed.
What’s neat is that you can select the location of your choosing. If you want to appear as if you are in a different country, you can do that – just take your pick!
This is handy for privacy, but you can access content blocked in your region.
However, even though VPNs are generally good at what they do, there is a question surrounding if they can hide you completely. If someone wanted you bad enough, could they trace back to you?
How Anonymous Is a VPN?
A VPN holds its end of the bargain; when you access their networks, your online activity is encrypted, which means that you can’t be physically tracked with a VPN alone.
But there are some exceptions to this, so it is very important to carefully choose a VPN provider and don’t do anything that could make it obvious that it is you.
Do Not Use “Free” VPNs
Rule number one when using a VPN is not to use the many free ones available if you are truly serious about staying anonymous.
Some might be honest and just looking to make some money via ad revenue, but many of them are a bit sketchy since you don’t know the service’s motive.
Where is your data going? Do they store your data? These questions are cause for concern, and if you have to ask yourself this, then it is best not to use the service.
Data logging is particularly a problem with a VPN. While we don’t condone illegal activity, law enforcement is quite simple to catch you if your VPN provider keeps your logs and they want you badly enough.
All they have to do is ask your VPN for your data, and from there, they can go to your ISP. So, in this case, a VPN can be traced back to you.
A VPN service that doesn’t log your data has nothing to give to anyone that asks to see your IP address.
Even if you aren’t trying to hide illegal activities, it is better to use a service that truly believes in privacy. Sometimes the principle does matter!
Do Not Make It Obvious Who You Are
This is actually how many criminals get caught even though they are using a VPN. It wasn’t the VPN itself that did them in, but somewhat human error.
If you are trying to hide but tip-off to people you are, it will be easy for people to put 2 and 2 together.
If you are trying to stay hidden, then logging into your main social media profiles will be one of the worst things you can do. Remember when you want to use your VPN and when you don’t.
Bonus tip: we recommend getting a camera cover for your laptop’s webcam or phone’s selfie camera just in case.
Cloudvalley Webcam Covers won’t ruin your laptop’s aesthetics like tape will and are cheap enough for an accessible peace of mind.
Selecting a Quality VPN Service
As we stated above, do not just use any VPN service you come across because you have no idea if they leak your data, keep logs, sell your data, etc.
Many of the free ones do exactly these things but don’t think you are completely out of the waters just because you opt for a paid VPN service; you’ll still need to do your homework.
The big players such as NordVPN are instant recommendations as they are trustworthy, have good connection speeds, and don’t log, leak, or sell your data.
Usually, what is popular isn’t necessarily the best, but in this case, it kind of is!
Additionally, NordVPN includes a money-back guarantee promise so you can test drive it for yourself without making a real commitment.
Plus, it will work on both your computer and smartphone. We are so sounding like we are being sponsored here, but nope! It is just a good service all-around.
It is worth looking at other services, such as ExpressVPN, which is known for being faster and more suitable for online gaming and high-resolution video streaming.
You might be thinking, “that is too expensive just for a VPN! I pay that much for Netflix!” but trust us, it is worth it if you plan on using it frequently.
You’ll have peace of mind knowing that there is no way anyone can trace back to you, which is what this entire piece is about.
There are cheaper services, but they may not be user-friendly and may or may not log your data and keep you truly secure.
In most cases, you will get what you pay for, and when it comes to privacy, it is best not to cheap out if you can help it.
If you would like to learn about other quality VPNs, we recommend checking out this video:
Do Not Forget About DNS Leaks!
Just one last piece of advice. Another reason to choose a trusted VPN is to ensure DNS leaks don’t occur.
Not many people realize that a VPN can be virtually useless if it still leaks your DNS to your ISP and other websites. When this happens, your ISP can see which sites you have visited.
You can test for DNS leaks either on your VPN provider’s website or a third-party one.
You should try this every time you fire up your VPN just to be safe – it doesn’t take long at all, and you’ll know if you are truly anonymous if you pass the test.
You should be okay with the top VPN services such as NordVPN because they will connect you to their DNS servers.
A free/cheap VPN might be free or inexpensive because they cheaped out have you run on your DNS server, which gives you away. Just another reason to pay for quality!
If you would like to learn more about this topic, this short guide will get you up to speed if you aren’t already.
If you are using the right VPN provider that doesn’t log your data, sell your data, or leak your data, it will be virtually impossible for you to be traced.
After all, if even the best VPNs couldn’t do their job, they wouldn’t be used.
There are many, and we mean many poorly made VPN services out there, many of which are free – if you value your privacy to a high degree, stay clear of them and shell out the cash for a quality service such as NordVPN or ExpressVPN.