Can WiFi Hotspot Owners See My Search History? [ANSWERED]


When we connect to others Wifi (or mobile hotspot), the first thing that comes to our mind is, can the WiFi owner see my browsing history and activities?

If you have the same question in mind right now, then I’m going to clear all your doubts in this quick post.

So, Can wifi hotspot owners see what you search?

Absolutely Yes. There are various ways to track your search and browsing history for the Wifi Hotspot owners. However, they would need to install additional programs or software to track it and configure it accordingly.

Okay. Let me explain everything in detail so that you can understand how the Wifi owners can track your history and how you can prevent others from tracking your search and other activities.

How WiFi Hotspot owners can see my search history?

As I said, there are a number of ways to track the user’s history If you are the WiFi owner.

They can easily monitor the traffic coming from your Wi-Fi router by just installing the right program on their computer.

Let me show 2 popular programs to track it.

  1. OpenDNS

As you may already know, all the network traffic goes through your WiFi router first, then it goes through your IPS’s DNS provider, and then finally the destination website such as facebook.com loads from its IP address.

So, How do you track the history with OpenDNS?

You just have to replace your ISP’s default DNS server with OpenDNS to monitor the history and activities of other users connected to your WiFi. Don’t worry, OpenDNS has a free version and you won’t be charged anything. You just have to signup with your Email address and other details. And, that’s it.

Using OpenDNS is very easy and I would have loved to explain to you the entire process of setting up OpenDNS but I know that you are not here to learn about that. Still, If you are curious and would like to know the process, then you can read it on GroovyPost. They have explained everything in detail. I would highly recommend it.

One of the best things about using OpenDNS is, you can use it online with any device and you don’t have to install any software. Pretty cool, right?

Now, let’s see the other method to track the user’s activity on your Wi-Fi network.

  1. WireShark

WireShark is again one of the best tools to find out the activities of other people in real-time who are connected to your network. Unlike OpenDNS, you need to download this software to access the history of others. It is available on Windows, macOS, and Linux platforms and is completely free to use without any restrictions at all.

WireShark might be easy to use but for a beginner, who hasn’t used this type of software earlier, this might seem like a daunting task because of lots of technicalities. When you launch this software, it’ll show the IP addresses of all the devices in a list that are connected to your Wireless network. And this is the part where a lot of people get confused.

If you are having trouble using WireShark, then I would highly recommend you read this extensive post or watch this amazing video tutorial by Vinsloev Academy.

Can the WiFi owner see what sites I have visited in Incognito?

Yes, with the knowledge of the right tools and networking, the Wi-Fi owner can track which sites you are visiting in the incognito mode.

However, it is not going to be an easy task for an average user to do that.

Can the Wifi owner track my YouTube history?

No, the Wi-Fi owner can’t see what you are doing on YouTube unless they have access to your Google account.

Can I See What Someone Connected to My Mobile Hotspot Is Browsing?

The simple answer to this question is No. Currently, there is almost no way to find out what others are doing in your mobile hotspot due to a lot of technical complications.

Okay. Enough about the tracking and let’s move on to the main topic which is going to be really helpful to you.

How to protect your information and browsing history?

No matter what, your privacy is extremely important and no one likes it when someone invades their private space. And just like that, your browsing activity should stay only with you. Here are a couple of ways to protect your data from others.

1. Use Tor (The Onion Router) browser

If you haven’t heard the Tor before, let me quickly introduce it to you.

Tor is a browser client that helps to hide your browsing history from any wireless network and even from the ISP’s. Yes, you heard it right. It can also prevent Internet providers to track your activities when you are using Tor.

It may not be 100% perfect however, you can bet on Tor to protect your data in most cases. The encrypted browsing experience which Tor provides is unmatchable. Also, Tor is open-source software and you can use it for completely free.

Tor is available on almost all the major platforms such as Windows, macOS, and Linux. There’s an Android version of Tor too however you need to install an additional app called “Orbit” that routes the mobile data through the Tor network. You can visit the official of Tor to know more about that.

2. Using Virtual Private Network (VPN):

I know a lot of people who are reading this post may know about VPN already. For those who aren’t familiar with VPN, here’s a brief intro about that.

“A Virtual Private Network aka VP) is an encrypted connection over the Internet that gives you online privacy and anonymity by creating a private network from a public connection”

With the help of any VPNs, you can access almost all the blocked websites in your country.

For example, If you are located in the U.S, you can change your location to Canada and pretend to access it from there. This is one of the great advantages of VPN. Apart from hiding your history, you can also location which is really helpful in many cases.

VPNs are available for almost all devices and platforms such as Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.

I hope you may have understood what I’m saying, right?

Now, you might ask me what are the best VPNs to use in 2021?

Well, here is the list of the top 5 VPNs for each platform.

1. NordVPN (One of the best VPN for Windows)

2. ExpressVPN (The overall best VPN for macOS)

3. Surfshark (Top rated VPN for Linux)

4. CyberGhost (One of the top VPN for Android)

5. IPVanish (Highly reliable VPN for iOS)

If you can’t invest in premium VPNs, you can use free VPNs that are fast and reliable. The free ones also work perfectly fine.

Before we come to conclusion, I would like to give you quick tips If you are using any public Wi-Fi and want to secure your data and history.

Tips to Keep You Safe on Public Wifi

1. Use VPN whenever possible. It’ll encrypt your data from others.

2. Log in to only those sites which are fully encrypted and secure.

3. Change your device’s settings to prevent it connect to any nearby public Wi-Fi Network.

4. Keep your operating system (OS) and others updated.

5. It is highly recommended not to access your bank account details via Internet banking or any other way.

Final Words:

Tracking someone’s activity on your Wi-fi Network is possible, however, it isn’t a cakewalk to do so. You have to understand a few technicalities to track the history of others. I hope you may learn how someones can track your browsing history and how you can prevent them to do that in this quick post. Do let me know If you have questions in the comments below. Cheers. Also, before you go, check out how to fix spectrum router red light to get your Internet working again and how to trace a textnow number – check the guide here!

Christoffer K

Christoffer is the man behind Gaming Simplified. He has been an avid gamer and Tech lover and that has motivated him to share All Things Tech on this blog!

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