Virtual Private Networks

Is there such a thing as a completely undetectable VPN? I know they hide your real IP address but it appears some sites are equipped with tools that can detect when someone is using a VPN. I have only tried free ones but are the paid ones worth the subscription?

Undetectable by whom?
You will be generating internet traffic, so it’s pretty hard to be invisible.

A VPN per se is not necessarily designed to be steganographically “undetectable”, but it certainly does increase privacy and security over an insecure internet. As for whether the paid ones are worth it, without getting into details I am inclined to say “yes”. Compare to how paid-for, and especially business-grade, ISPs compare to whatever Internet (if any) you can pick up for free.

I don’t think that they are “detectable”. It’s just that some sites make the effort to catalog the IP addresses used by commercial VPN services. So they know the traffic is coming from a VPN service, but they still don’t know who you are. I think if you VPN’ed non-commercially (using a friend’s machine, say) then the target site would just see your friend’s IP address and have no way to infer anything at all.

If I’m wrong about that, I’d be interested to hear from one of the experts about how they would know?

Oh, I thought they gave you anonymity. No?

Okay, thank you. :slight_smile:

Me too. :o


But I seem to to recall reading that VPN’s have a specific protocol when connecting to a site involving certain ‘ports?’ So perhaps this is another way the use of them can be detected.

Whenever you make contact with a site, you are detected by it in a myriad ways.

A VPN hides your IP behind the IP that the VPN uses to contact the site because you contact them via the VPN.

You can see what IP is used to contact a site by making contact with a website that tests what kind of information you’re giving away.

Even if you use a VPN, you will likely still leak crucial identifying information via your web browser or other tools used for communication via the internet: WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) and WebGL are among the most notorious leakers that render privacy services useless - unless you make sure that such protocols or standards are disabled in your browser.

If you want to disable WebRTC in Firefox, I’ll cite the highly(!) recommended website Privacy Tools:

BUT even if you use a highly secure VPN and use only communication tools that are considered privacy-oriented and disable any known way to leak information about yourself, you can still be identified statistically in far too many ways over time by your browser fingerprint, your behaviour, your writing etc.

And, of course, that are ways to detect you that are kept out of the public’s eye.

And don’t forget that the VPN provider does know your IP! You could use two by using virtual boxes (I recommend using one in any case whenever you contact the internet to have an additional buffer between your real OS and the nasty things that want to infect it), but the first VPN in line is still going to know your true IP.

Anonymity is impossible. Privacy is a much more reasonable goal. But its degree depends on you.

Also consider that Windows 10 especially, leaks private data like a sieve - although only to Microsoft. (Go into settings and turn off all that crap). If you use services like Dropbox, or login to Facebook, or Google - they all track things like cookies, or you login. They may track all your IP addresses, so they can know you by two different IPs, your home IP and VPN IP. Ditto for advertising sites - they dump cookies on your PC. So close down those background services, don’t login both ways to various sites, use anonymous browsing for what it’s worth.

I think the OP ought to tell us what his concerns are

Is he trying to prevent 3rd parties reading his traffic?
Is he trying to prevent 3rd parties from knowing that he’s connecting to a particular site?
Is he trying to prevent the site he’s going to from knowing who he is? where he is?
Or is he just trying to do what his OP suggests, prevent his target site from knowing that he’s using a VPN for some unexplained reason?


There are lots of different tools that each solve a part of the total security/ privacy / anonymity puzzle.

As pointed out above, the idea of achieving sustained untraceable absolute anonymity on the commercial /public internet is substantially impossible. That doesn’t mean you need to give up entirely, but you do need to have a realistic expectation about what can be done.

For certain consume-freebies-only operations you can get close to anonymous if you’re willing to work hard enough. For pretty substantial levels of “hard enough.” And assuming of course that you’re not already targeted by some agency watching you.

Moderator Action

While VPNs are a legitimate thing that have legitimate uses, too often these days they are used for IP concealment for the benefit of things like spamming and trolling. I have tried in the past to allow discussions of VPNs as long as the discussions remain on the legitimate side of things, but too many of those threads have been problematic and end up pushing too far into abuse territory.

These past thread problems have forced me to rein in VPN threads in general due to their conflict with our rule against discussions of IP hiding and IP spoofing (technically a VPN isn’t a spoof but many folks call it that).

Since the OP is about a method that could be used to hide one’s true IP from a message board like the SDMB, even though not explicitly stated as such, this thread is closed.