As the title says, I was wondering that when I’m using VPN could the modem or my ISP detect if I’m downloading torrent?

  • The modem? Or are you concerned about your ISP telling if you're torrenting? Nov 2, 2017 at 22:24
  • Both of them actually.
    – Drago
    Nov 2, 2017 at 22:31
  • 3
    You should be more worried about your VPN provider telling your ISP. Your VPN provider will tell your ISP the monument they are required to identify you as a customer. So stop downloading illegal torrents.
    – Ramhound
    Nov 2, 2017 at 22:38
  • 1
    You should edit your question to clarify this. Including some information about the reason for this question may help us provide a clearer answer. Nov 2, 2017 at 22:42
  • @Ramhound I'm not downloading illegal torrents. I was having an argument with someone. They claim the modem can detect that you are downloading a torrent while under VPN. I personally think it depends on what VPN protocol is being used. With protocols like OpenVPN, IPsec(some version), Wireguard, etc it should not be possible for the modem and ISP to detect that I'm downloading a torrent.
    – Drago
    Nov 2, 2017 at 22:59

3 Answers 3


The answer is NO - your modem, nor your ISP can not see what you are doing as your traffic is fully encrypted between the PC and the VPN server.

For more info look into end to end encryption.

However, as pointed in the comments, the VPN provider can provide info such as your local IP and a timestamp, which is enough to identify the activity. This is how the stalker was taken to custody few months back, in the now famous case.

Details here: https://torrentfreak.com/purevpn-explains-how-it-helped-the-fbi-catch-a-cyberstalker-171016/1

  • Happens if you use TOR also, Boston student sent a bomb threat to get out of a exam by email, but was the only student connected to TOR. Student was identified by school.
    – Ramhound
    Nov 2, 2017 at 23:11
  • yes, at some point there is always a connection or a log somewhere. The question is how much time and resources will be spend to find it. But for the original poster - the ISP and "modem" don't have the visibility...
    – TomEus
    Nov 2, 2017 at 23:29

While the traffic is encrypted upto the VPN server what gets missed out sometimes is DNS leaks, depending on your system and configuration a lot of times DNS resolution may be attempted over multiple interfaces, if that happens it can atleast be shown that you tried going to a torrent site. After that it's also possible to look at patterns of encrypted traffic going out to deduce that you might now have started downloading a torrent.

In short its not easy to but it is also not full proof.


TomEUS' answer is correct. However, that doesnt mean someone doesnt know you are downloading a torrent. Your ISP can still see what websites you are connecting to, even if they cant see the traffic. You can hide your DNS queries with DNS encryption, but thats not the only issue. Its a common misconception that torrents are completely anonymous. Many torrent programs do not hide the IPs of clients from other seeders. You might think you are safe behind a VPN, but your torrent client is providing your real IP.

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