6 Things A VPN Hides and Protects And What it Doesn’t

Feeling watched when you’re online? We’re all familiar with the feeling. You can never really tell when someone’s tracking you.

Consider investing in a virtual private network (VPN)! A VPN hides your web activities and improves your digital privacy.

In this article, I’ll go over what exactly a VPN hides, and clarify just how anonymous you really are when you’re connected to a VPN.

Hide your online activities and protect your privacy with CyberGhost VPN.

  1. Subscribe to CyberGhost VPN. It’s fast and easy!
  2. Connect to any server.
  3. Stay safe online.

6 Things a VPN Hides

1. Your IP Address

The VPN app changes your real IP address and assigns you a new one from its database. That’s how you go invisible online.

What does hiding your IP address look like?

Internet communication relies on exchanging IP addresses. Your IP address reveals details about you like your Internet Service Provider (ISP), city, region, and country.

It isn’t enough to pinpoint your exact location and physical address, though. Snoopers would know you’re in the US, but no one can know your street address.

That said, your ISP, websites you visit, online apps, and even governments can track everything you do online if they know your IP address. Powerful loggers connect the dots to create a personalized digital profile. Your digital profile contains everything about you and your online activities. This includes how often you use Facebook, when you apply for a new job, and where you go for vacation – just to name a few. Third parties can then use this information to spam you or send targeted ads.

Hiding your IP address helps you stop online tracking. That way, no one can ever trace your activity back to you using your IP address.

2. Your Geo-Location

A VPN also conceals your real physical location since you connect to a server from a different country. If your real location is in Austria and you connect to a US VPN server, anyone sticking their nose will think your location is somewhere in the US.

Spoofing your location also allows you to:

          • Bypass online content restrictions – some websites or apps place geo-restrictions, only allowing users from specific countries to access or view their content. When you connect through a VPN server, you can change your IP address to bypass censorship or retain access to your favorite websites from abroad.
          • Enjoy support for worldwide streaming services – no matter where you are in the world, you can keep watching your favorite shows. You might use a VPN to watch streaming services if you’re on a restricted network like at work or traveling abroad.
          • Avoid online purchase price discrimination – websites or services show you different prices for the same items based on your location. Change your IP address to one located in a different location and you’ll discover the best possible prices or deals.

3. Your Search History (Not Entirely!)

A VPN hides your search history from your ISP, governmental entities, and cybercriminals. Once it encrypts your internet traffic, your online data going through the VPN server turns into indecipherable codes. It’s practically impossible for anyone to crack the code and figure out what you’re doing online. That said, your default web browser can still see your online searches when you connect to a VPN.

Here’s a good example: if you own a Google account, every time you’re logged in and search for something on Chrome, the web browser can see your online searches even when you’re connected to a VPN. Websites can’t make connections between your searches and your IP address, though.

To maintain your browsing security, select a more private browser and be sure to clear your cookies. Cookies expose what you’ve been doing online!

Use CyberGhost VPN’s free Cookie Cleaner add-on to ensure browser privacy!

4. Your Downloads

When you share or download files, your identity isn’t private. Your IP address is the first element that turns up into your ISP’s data detectors since you’re using up too much bandwidth. Apart from your ISP, the government and advertisers can also track your download activity. Depending on what you download, you might get warning letters, fines, or legal actions. All these risks go away when you connect to a VPN! Hide your IP address and encrypt your data so no one can ever check when, what, or how much you download.

5. Your Streaming and Gaming Activities

Streaming and gaming are notorious for their massive data consumption. That’s your ISP’s nightmare since data-heavy activities strain its network. ISPs tend to throttle bandwidth during data-heavy activities and especially during peak hours.

When you hide your streaming activities with a VPN, you get to enjoy countless streaming hours. Once the VPN hides your IP address, your ISP can’t track or see what you’re up to online and can’t throttle your bandwidth! That way, you can challenge your friends to play online games whenever you want.

Free yourself from IP throttling and install a VPN!

6. Your Personal Data

Data breaches, malware attacks, and other online threats expose your information. They threaten your sensitive information like your login information, credit card details, and email conversations.

A VPN is the most efficient tool to help you protect all this personal information. It uses a secure tunnelling process and impenetrable 256-AES-bit encryption for added security. Even the fastest and smartest computers would find it challenging to crack this encryption.

The ultimate benefit? You get to keep all your data for yourself and away from snooping eyes.

Evade any unnecessary surveillance and choose CyberGhost VPN!

Next, let’s find out what a VPN can’t hide and what you can do to preserve your privacy even in exceptional situations.

3 Things a VPN Can’t Hide or Protect

1. Your Account Activity

A VPN connection won’t stop platforms from seeing your account activity when you’re logged into an account on a website, app, or online service. Platforms can understand you have a different IP address and see you’ve spoofed your location, but that’s the farthest the camouflage can go. Keep this in mind and pay attention to what you do and how much personal information you share online.

Pro Tip: If you want to keep a low profile, don’t use your real name and use a separate email address for non-essential accounts.

2. Your Device from Online Threats, Viruses, and Infections

Another common misconception is that a VPN protects you from online threats or cyberattacks. A VPN helps you stay invisible and behind the scenes, but it doesn’t give you immunity against online risks like malware, ransomware, phishing attacks, or even computer viruses. That’s where your antivirus software comes in.

Pro Tip: Look for a VPN that offers antivirus or malware cover within its services. Take advantage of CyberGhost VPN’s security suite that covers both privacy and security.

3. Your Entire Online Identity

Remaining anonymous is the dream for anyone online. Unfortunately, it isn’t 100% possible.

Cybercriminals and intelligence agencies use complex methods to get to your valuable data. This includes browser fingerprinting, background scripts, and other wicked measures. A VPN can’t do anything against this.

How much and what you share online also plays an important role. A VPN can never revert the information you post on social media.

Pro Tip: Think through what you post or share online. It’s better to set some boundaries, so check your privacy settings. Toggle off all unnecessary boxes or any icon you think could invade your privacy.

The Bottom Line – A VPN is Your First Digital Defense Line

A leading VPN like CyberGhost will keep you secure online and help you maintain your privacy.

With our stress-free 45-day money-back guarantee, you’re not risking a thing! Get a premium VPN now!

No-Logs Policy

CyberGhost VPN’s strict No-Logs policy is no marketing hook. Whatever you do online is your business, and we’re here to support that. That’s why we don’t track your online activities and keep zero logs. You get a private and secure digital experience.

NoSpy Servers

We’ve got NoSpy servers that operate under strict security and quality standards. CyberGhost VPN crafted these servers specifically to reduce hardware attacks to zero. We’ve maintained direct control over these servers, ensuring seamless encryption.

Automatic Kill Switch

Our automatic Kill Switch feature helps you avoid any data exposure. If your VPN connection ever drops, the Kill Switch shuts down all internet traffic until the VPN resets. That way, you’ll keep your data, IP address, and location private.

Though a VPN is highly accurate and efficient, you shouldn’t rely on it to fend off all online privacy and security risks. To guarantee your security, follow these instructions:

          • Use strong passwords: set up strong, hard-to-guess, and unique passwords.
          • Pay attention to common WFH app privacy risks: manage a safe work-from-home environment and check the privacy settings on Zoom, Slack, Google, and Microsoft.
          • Keep your email addresses safe from data breaches: Use CyberGhost VPN’s ID Guard and regularly check your email addresses to see if they were involved in a data breach. ID Guard offers a continuous inspection service and will notify you if anything compromises your accounts.


What does a VPN hide?

A VPN encrypts and conceals your entire online traffic. It hides your IP address, location, and all digital activities, including downloads, streaming, and gaming activities. A VPN hides your browsing history from your ISP, websites, online snoopers, and even the government.

What doesn’t a VPN hide?

A VPN doesn’t hide your activity from online registered accounts. Anyone can still see your social media shares, posts, and pictures. A VPN is also different from antivirus software; while it boosts your online security, it doesn’t protect you from cyberattacks.

Does a VPN hide your IP address?

Yes. Hiding your IP address is what a VPN does. The VPN reroutes your connection requests through a remote VPN server. It then sends all your requests to the web using an IP address from the VPN database. That way, the websites you visit will only see the VPN’s IP address and your real IP address becomes invisible.

Can anyone track you if you’re using a VPN?

In some cases, yes. Your ISP can detect you’re using a VPN because they can trace the VPN IP address. Streaming services can also tell you’re using a VPN since they can see that you share the same IP address with other VPN users. That’s one reason why you sometimes can’t access streaming channels even if you’re using a VPN.

ISPs also can trace your VPN connection through port numbers. VPN protocols use specific and unique port numbers; for example, the IKEv2 protocol links with port 4500. Websites and ISPs can even dig deeper and use the more complex deep packet inspection system to uncover VPN connections. They use sophisticated algorithms to discover VPN servers.

Can your ISP see what you’re doing while using a VPN?

No. The VPN software encrypts your online connections. That makes it impossible for anyone to see what you do. The ISP can tell you’re using a different IP address from the one it assigned you and figure out you’re using a VPN. It can’t monitor what you’re up to online, though.

Leave a comment

Home computer and 2 phones use one wifi provider. If a private network is set up on the home computer and is listed under available networks will it or can it be listed on one or both phones’ available networks?


Hi, Judy,
Thank you for your question! You can set up a home Wi-Fi network to either be seen by all devices or by no devices – note that someone with a bit of networking knowledge will still be able to scan all available networks manually or by using a tool like inSSIDer.
You can configure a network to not broadcast its SSID and still be able to connect to it if you know its exact name and password. You can also block certain devices from being able to connect if (easy) they are connected to it or (harder) know their MAC address and use a MAC filter/whitelist option for your network. Hope this helps.
Stay safe!


If I connect to a website with a vpn and have a created account in the website. And then at another time connect to the same website without vpn in an entirely separate account could they find a link between the two connections or would they appear effectively like 2 completely different users?



Hi, Sean,
It depends on what forms of tracking the website uses. Unfortunately, browser and device fingerprinting is quite common.
If the service in question is actively looking for the scenario you described, there’s a good chance they’re using device and/or browser fingerprinting to identify devices that might be associated with more than one account.
Stay safe,

Good articles and info guys keep up the good work. M


Hi, Ghostie
Thank you for the kind words and for being a part of team Ghostie!
Stay safe,

Hi! My friend told me he used the vpn to change the name of the device and the device type so it appeared as an iPhone 14 pro on my Xfinity account even though he was using a much older phone. Can a vpn do this, can it really change the type of device you’re using? Thank you


Hi, Jill
A VPN cannot make it seem that you’re using a different device. To achieve that, you’d have to not only completely block trackers, but also use third-party applications to spoof your device’s fingerprint.
Please note that masking/changing your device information might be against the ToS of various apps and platforms and that we do not support or condone breaking such agreements.
Stay safe,

I have a subscription account that’s preventing multiple device login. Can a VPN circumvent that?


Hi, Daisy,
It depends on how the service restricts other devices from connecting. Hypothetically, if a service restricts connections based on the IP (e.g. allowing just one IP to connect) then it might be possible to have simultaneous connections from different devices.
If you connect to the same VPN server on multiple devices, than your external IP will be the same on all of them.
Please note that we do not encourage or condone breaking the terms of any service.
Stay safe!

I work for a company that has video calls and phone calls built in to their platform. I am wondering if when I log into their websites/platforms with a VPN, can they see where I am physically or otherwise?


Hi, Ghostie,
That’s a great question! If the platform you mentioned uses the GPS capabilities on your devices to determine your location, then they will be able to tell your location.
If they’re using your device’s IP, then the VPN should successfully hide your actual location.
Stay safe!

Is there a way to find out on my computer if GPS is enabled or tracked? I am unclear as to how the GPS can detect my computer’s presence somewhere. It is not a work issued computer. It is my personal computer. Thank you.

Hi, Ghostie,
Microsoft has started implementing such features, but it would not be possible if your hardware does not have the embedded technology.
In Windows, you can check the Location Privacy Settings menu to see what apps are allowed to access your location.
Stay safe!

There may be an obvious answer to this question, but I have gotten two different opinions from local IT Professionals I respect. The question is does a VPN do anything to protect files or folders held on your local PC, regardless of whether you occasionally use the Internet?
If the answer is No, what do you recommend to prevent anyone having access to that local data? I back my local data up to an external backup drive and am considering backing it up to the cloud, if that would be a better option. While backup is very important, of course, it doesn’t prevent someone (usually a hacker whether for ransom or otherwise) from accessing the data on your local PC in the first place.
Any citations to others who have dealt with this question would also be greatly appreciated.


Hi, Dave,
VPNs are not made to protect local files and folders. If you’re looking to transfer sensitive files & information over the internet, then a good VPN can help keep them safe while in transit.
To protect files on your local PC, your best bet would be to make sure that information is password protected (which also includes encryption).
If you’re on Windows, try using the Windows Search function to look for “BitLocker Drive Encryption” and follow the instructions. This should work for both local and external drives connected to the machine.
Stay safe!

if using cyber vpn and downloading something, will my isp be aware of it?


Hi, Ghostie
When you use CyberGhost VPN, your ISP will not be able to see what you’re downloading.
Stay safe,

Sky TV…………..and others have the technology to know where you are whatever VPN you try to hide under, its false to say your location is hidden.


Hi, Garry,
If you’re logged into an online service and it uses GPS to determine your location, then you’re correct.
However, if the website uses your IP to determine your location, then your actual whereabouts are hidden. This is true for most websites on the internet.
Stay safe!

You’ve got my attention.
I’m also tire of talking about something and then Google starts showing adds for a product I’ve been talking about.. All this Listening and watching… There has to be a line Drawn somewhere. Thanks for all the Useful information. This has really been Helpful..


Hi, Bones,
The feeling is definitely mutual. Glad we could help!
Please stay safe,

Russell Schneider

Posted on 17/11/2022 at 22:13

When using the VPN, will download managers like IDM still initiate a download request from inside the VPN but download outside the VPN? How secure is that in terms of exposing IP address, etc.?


Hi Russell.
To secure your download, make sure to connect to a CyberGhost P2P VPN server from within our apps. You can find them under the For torrenting tab. As soon as you connect to a P2P server, your entire internet traffic will be encrypted. This means that the download will initiate from inside the VPN tunnel. CyberGhost VPN protects your IP address and browsing history in lines with our strict No Logs policy.
Keep in mind that our browser extensions only encrypt your browser’s traffic which isn’t ideal for download managers. We highly recommend using the apps.
For more details, please contact our 24/7 Customer Support team through email or live chat.

What I still don’t understand is this, I have to connect to the internet before logging into my vpn. Whether I’m at home, hotel, cafe or library, someone could tell where I am from the provider I used to access the vpn.


Hi, John
You are correct in regards to the fact that you have to use an ISP to connect to the internet. There’s no way around that
However, when you browse the internet with a VPN, your traffic is routed through a VPN server, which masks your real IP. This means means nobody will be able to tell where you are based on your IP.
Stay safe,

Clyde....possibly a pseudonym

Posted on 20/09/2022 at 22:32

Thanks for the info. I’m considering a VPN, but I already have trouble streaming Xfinity on occasion.


Hi, Ghostie,
You should be able to stream Xfinity with CyberGhost VPN without any issues. If you ever encounter any problems, our friendly customer support team is ready to lend a hand!
Stay safe,

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