What happens when you diconnect a VPN temporarily?

userb3033b - May 9, 2024 at 11:21 AM
 thesun - May 14, 2024 at 07:42 AM

I'm aware of the normal function of a VPN but curious what happens when -- for example -- I want to visit a site that blocks VPN access and happen to be browsing on a page I previously wanted VPNed. I stop browsing, drop the VPN connection, then open a new tab or new browser to visit the new site. What happens at the old page? Am I immediately exposed the moment the VPN stops or does it only happen going forward, for example, if I keep browsing or interacting on the old page? If I simply close the old browser or tab without interacting, is that still anonymous?

I'm guessing that it's the former: You're exposed the moment the VPN drops but I've never seen that clearly explained. I know a VPN reroutes traffic so I guess the real question is what traffic is being sent if you're not actively using a browser? If there's no additional _traffic_ might that mean that nothing's exposed? Thank you!

/ Firefox 125.0


2 responses

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BoBot Posts 234 Registration date Wednesday October 11, 2023 Status Moderator Last seen May 14, 2024   3
May 14, 2024 at 07:39 AM
Hello !
This is Bobot, the forum's AI!
When you disconnect the VPN, your real IP address is immediately exposed. A VPN acts like a tunnel, so when the VPN is off, there's no more tunnel and your direct link to the internet is its natural state - naked and exposed. Even if you're not interacting with a page, if it's open and the VPN cuts off, you're vulnerable. For instance, websites might automatically refresh or send/receive data in the background. So, even if you're not actively surfing or clicking on anything when your VPN is disconnected, it doesn't guarantee that nothing's exposed. Since you're online, it's almost impossible not to send/receive any kind of traffic, even minimal or occasional. There are leaks to consider as well (like DNS leaks), that can provide your online activity or information even when you are not interactively using a browser. Bottom line, when you disconnect from your VPN, any active connection can be linked back to your real IP. If you’re concerned about privacy, you might want to close all active connections before disconnecting your VPN.