How to prevent your ISP from snooping on you

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 30, 2017
Updated • Apr 2, 2018

Internet Service Providers may be able to sell your web history in the United States without you giving your consent. The new ruling passed the US Senate and the House of Representatives already, and the last thing standing in its way is the President of the United States.

Assuming that the change in privacy rules will pass, ISPs may sell your browsing data to third-parties. Since you interact with the ISP directly when you are using the Internet, data that may be included in the package may include your browsing history, general usage information, location information, interests (based on sites), searches, and more.

Since you may not want the data to be sold in first place, one of the best courses of action is to prevent the ISP from knowing much about what you do online in first place.

How that is done? Glad you asked.

Encryption is the way to go

The best option that you have, without doubt, is to use encryption. A VPN service is ideal, as it encrypts traffic between your computer and the Internet destinations. While your ISP sees that connection, it won't know anything about what happens afterwards.

This means that the ISP does not know which sites you visit on the Internet, what you do on those sites, which searches you run, or what your interests are other than that you are using a VPN to protect your Internet data stream.

Note: Depending on the VPN, you may need to change DNS servers as well to avoid that the look ups use the ISPs DNS server. Good VPN services use their own DNS servers, and/or offer DNS leak protection. It is suggested not to use DNS servers from a company that either admitted openly to selling usage data, or is a known advertising company.

You may want to check out FreeDNS, they state no registration and logging on their website, Verisign Public DNS, also with the promise that they don't sell your public DNS data to third-parties or redirect queries to ads. (If you know of others, let us know in the comment section below please). Note End

While you can use free VPN services, most do sell your data, anonymously or not. It is advised therefore to get a paid VPN service instead.

You can check out Ghacks Deals for VPN service offers, or use the Internet for that. A service that I can recommend is Private Internet Access. You can get a 2-year subscription for $59.95 currently on Ghacks Deals.

If you are on a tight budget, you may want to consider using Opera's built-in browser VPN instead. The main advantage here is that it is free and easy to setup as you only need to flip a switch. Opera VPN is available for desktop browsers, but also for Opera on iOS and Android.

The downside is that you need to take Opera's current situation into account. The browser was sold to a Chinese consortium, and the VPN is managed by SurfEasy, a Canadian company. Canada is part of Five Eyes, an intelligence alliance that Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK and the US are members of.

Another downside is that Opera's VPN protects only the web browser but not other traffic. If you use Netflix's app or other applications, P2P, FTP, email desktop clients, chat programs, or any other program that runs outside of the browser, you need to be aware of that those are not protected.

Additional tips

Another thing that you may want to do is connect to HTTPS versions of sites whenever possible. The HTTPS connection is encrypted. This means that your ISP does not know what you do on the site, only that you connected to it.

How to prevent your ISP from snooping on you
Article Name
How to prevent your ISP from snooping on you
The guide provides you with information on how to prevent your ISP from snooping on you, and selling your data to third-parties without consent.
Ghacks Technology News

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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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