Can You Be Tracked If Using VPN

Last updated: April 30, 2024 Reading time: 6 minutes
Tracked If Using VPN

Virtual Private Network (VPN) is in itself a privacy tool that has a long list of features that are known to many. However, there are questions regarding the authenticity of a VPN and the concern whether a can VPN be traced or not.

Trusting every VPN in the present era isn’t a good idea. This is because; there are many malicious entities that could use the VPN popularity for a virulent purpose and also the snooping techniques are becoming advanced. In this article, we will discuss some of the major reasons which have.

Do VPNs work in every case?

A VPN uses the principle of encryption and IP obscuring to provide a secure connection between the device and the VPN server. All the user data is encrypted through VPN tunneling and is sent to the internet, which prevents malicious activity due to data snooping.

Due to these VPN features, it is used for many reasons such as website unblocking, secure torrenting, bypassing ISP throttling, remaining secure while being on public Wi-Fi, and other reasons.

Anonymity doesn’t mean your activity becomes invisible, yet it could not be traced back to you. For instance, your torrenting is visible to anyone, including your ISP, but they could see it with a false VPN IP address, and nobody could track back to your actual IP address if your VPN is working fine.

Unfortunately, certain flaws could make your actual IP address visible even with a VPN connection. If you have previously searched for VPN details then you might be aware of these flaws and if not, here is a quick glance at it.

IP Leak

IP leak occurs for many reasons but with a VPN, IP leaks are mainly due to DNS requests. Most devices have a default setting of ISP DNS server through which all the internet DNS requests are processed, and the internet provider can monitor all the user activity.

However, when a VPN is connected, it changes the device’s DNS settings to the anonymous VPN DNS servers. Through such settings, it is made sure that the website you are accessing and your internet provider remain unaware of your actual IP address.

Unfortunately, sometimes your device settings revert back to the default ISP DNS servers in the presence of a VPN, and it remains ignored. This makes your IP address visible to the internet provider and the online entities.

There are many reasons for reverting the default DNS settings. Yet, a VPN with DNS leak protection could avoid this issue by continuously monitoring whether the VPN DNS produces every DNS request.

This type of leak is also known as a DNS leak.

WebRTC Leak

WebRTC leak is not a VPN fault, but it could make your IP visible in the presence of a VPN provider, and you can be traced.

It is a relatively new browser feature that helps real-time communication without an added extension or plug-in. The WebRTC working and phenomenon is a bit complicated as well as deep, which you can get in detail here.

Yet, the main thing to know is that a website could take advantage of the WebRTC feature to access IP details from the STUN server using a simple script. VPN also uses the STUN server to translate a local IP address to a new public IP address and vice versa. Through this procedure, the STUN server creates a table containing VPN-based public IP and the user’s actual IP address in the presence of a VPN. Therefore, with the help of JavaScript, these requests could be used to get the user’s local and public IP address.

Also, this feature is default enabled in most popular browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. That’s how you are unwittingly leaking your IP address in the presence of a VPN.

Who can Trace you while connected to a VPN?

The above examples of IP leak and tracing possibilities are when a VPN is lacking somewhere. However, we often neglect some aspects of VPN tracking as a VPN user.

Almost all VPN providers sell the point that they are entirely safe and secure with a zero-logging policy. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to figure out or confirm such a claim from a VPN service. There is no VPN provider which doesn’t keep a single piece of data, but it is crucial to know the kind and the amount of data stored.

VPNs mainly state that they don’t keep logs; further, in their privacy policy, they state the details of the data they store. Also, they keep such clauses vague, so most users neglect them.

VPN providers log users’ web activity, login, and log-out times. They also keep IP addresses, and the duration of browsing could be more than what should be stored. However, according to them, logging user details enhances the customer experience. Also, to make sure that no illegal activities are being carried out. But is it definite that the information retained will remain with the VPN provider only?

The surveillance agencies such as NSA could force VPN management to provide them with user information. That’s why some reputable VPN services don’t keep logs to vanish the possibilities of such compelling.

How could you lessen the chances of VPN Tracing  

The possibilities of VPN tracking could be reduced through some considerations before selecting a VP service.

Check out the VPN’s Home Country

Before selecting a VPN, you should check the “About Us” page for information regarding the VPN. Knowing the home country of the provider is essential. It is because the location determines privacy laws which could force the provider in the future.

Must read the VPN’s privacy policy carefully

It is important to read the details of a VPN’s privacy policy before selecting it. The VPN service, which cares about users’ privacy, keeps the policy clear and simple which is easily understood.

Legitimate VPN providers keep as fewer data as possible. For instance, they could only demand the name, email address, payment data, and billing address. They do this so that they can proceed with a VPN subscription. Also, they clearly mention in their privacy policy that they wouldn’t log the user’s IP address, connection times, and bandwidth usage.

Remember to use additional privacy tools to check VPN efficacy

With the other entire pre-to-do list, you should take the assistance of additional privacy tools. By doing so, you can check whether you are being tracked in the VPN presence. Tools such as DNS, IP leak, and WebRTC leak tests could provide details about VPN’s performance.


Anyone concerned for their privacy and VPN efficacy must have a question: can VPN be traced or not?

A loyal answer to this is yes, a VPN could be traced. There are numerous VPNs out there, and very few are authentic, along with reputable features. The VPN provider could anytime see the data and traffic of a user. Thus, you have to trust the promises made by a VPN.

VPNs are good in many ways, but nothing is perfect. Therefore, remember to check the earlier details before selecting a VPN provider.

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About the Author

Rebecca James is an IT consultant with forward thinking approach toward developing IT infrastructures of SMEs. She writes to engage with individuals and raise awareness of digital security, privacy, and better IT infrastructure.

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