For example, when I enter this URL: https://www.google.com/search?q=example or http://www.google.com/search?q=example I can see the word example that I was searching on Google. Can the ISP see this URL and so maybe register it in their logs?

  • could you state your country? theoretically yes. do they? maybe? the law in the UK is coming in for ISPs to save this information, though I think I may misunderstand the question.
    – TheHidden
    Dec 2, 2015 at 16:19
  • my country is Italy
    – Frank
    Dec 2, 2015 at 16:29
  • A surplus of questionable Root CAs in your browser compromises your trust in the secure session and may allow an ISP or any intervening router to engage in a MITM attack, thereby making all web traffic viewable. Solution is to remove unneeded and/or non-trustworthy Root Certificates. Dec 2, 2015 at 17:21

4 Answers 4



  • can see GET and POST Parameters of websites that don't use SSL
  • can see DNS requests (-> which domains did you visit)

So in your example the ISP would not see the search request as GET Parameters are encrypted with SSL (ref).

Conclusion: the ISP would know THAT you searched on Google but it wouldn't know WHAT you searched for.

  • thanks, and what about the DNS request if I use a software like DNSCrypt dnscrypt.org ?
    – Frank
    Dec 2, 2015 at 16:31
  • 1
    @Frank They also see the IP you contact, and can do a reverse DNS lookup.
    – Peter
    Dec 2, 2015 at 16:54
  • @Peter, are you answering to my question in comment here? In that case, so using DNSCrypt is not useful to mask the URL I'm visiting to my ISP?
    – Frank
    Dec 2, 2015 at 18:29
  • 3
    just to clarify as one of your examples does not use SSL, in that case they can see everything that you send/receive, unless google redirects to an SSL encrypted connection and even then they'll get the initial request in full. Dec 2, 2015 at 18:30
  • @Frank As usual, it depends. DNSCrypt prevents them from seeing you asked someone "what IP is google.com?". DNSCrypt on its own does not prevent them from seeing the IP addresses of the servers you talk to. After all you pay them to send messages to the IPs you tell them, so they have to know an IP to do that. The protection against that is to use one of the many forms of a proxy.
    – Peter
    Dec 2, 2015 at 19:00

The short answer is: Everything. When traffic leaves your house, it's in your ISP's domain, and there's no way of getting around that.

The long answer is more complicated. If you use encryption wherever possible, payloads would not be viable to view (it may be possible to decrypt a packet, with enough time and processing power, but it's not a viable use of resources).

What they can most definitely see is the information of where it's going. IP address, port number and below are considered to be public, for all intents and purposes. They can see where you went, and when, but not what you did.

The mitigating factor here is where you introduce an additional step between you and your destination. A VPN, for example, encrypts all traffic and passes it as is to the VPN endpoint. From there, it acts as if you were browsing from that endpoint. The ISP for the next step would see that someone visited Google, but you're account is separated from it.

  • "Everything" is plain wrong. On https, they only see the destination but no content of the request. Nov 24, 2017 at 15:02

The best way to learn about this is to mirror the port from your ISP and analyse it with Wireshark, applying the filters you need for the traffic that concerns you. Wireshark 101 there you will see what they see, and it will give you a scope to take the precautions depending on the layer you need (vpn, dnscript, proxychains, etc)


I would ask your ISP, and look further into any user agreements. Many ISP have recently been creating their own private subnets between your router and the WWW. Recently a ISP stated this is for IP4 addressing issues, such as running out. So, they have placed their private subnet right outside the router leased to customer. Which not to create a panic, this means they could technically monitor anything they want http or https. The average customer isn't looking for this. Just to point out, I would like to assume this is for safer traffic on the ISP or hosting companies infrastructure.

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