View Browsing History of Hotspot Network

While my hotspot data was getting wiped off too fast, I was looking for the logs to find out which sites are getting most of the requests from my hotspot server. Then I found the word 'DNS'.

To view the browsing history through your hotspot, you have to point your hotspot with a DNS server that allows viewing logs and requests made by the connected users. OpenDNS is one of those servers that can record the sites by list.

If you're finding the history to control over hotspot speed, you can follow hotspot speed increasing tips.

I wondered many times that if I can track down the history for other users on a hotspot to get the network controlled and this was only possible if I could get the details of sites from the connected users on my hotspot.

I found this technique that is actually done by the open DNS server and if you set the open DNS IP address on your settings by eliminating the default DNS IP address (provided by the ISP) you can track the historical data of other users on your hotspot network. But, you cannot find the specific user details, you’ll only be able to find out all of the websites that got visits.

Here, in this article, I will share the method I have used to track down the user's requests and get the list of sites opened in the past few hours.

Benefits of viewing browsing history on your Hotspot



If you are having a limited data usage on your hotspot then tracking the browning history of your connected users might help you understand if the data is used for the important purposes or not.

This system is normally introduced with the child control the parent that cisco offers with its OpenDNS servers.

With this system, you can see the browsing history what the connected users of that network requested. You will be able to see the details of websites that got the requests but particularly you cannot see the user. This is helpful in defining in case of a few users are connected to that network.

What I did for my personal purpose is that two of my friends connected to my hotspot and I was looking for what they search on my hotspot network and found that they requested 1342 of other requests which are out of our work and definitely they did this incognito window as I set my Gmail id to those computers for tracking but still this got caught in the open DNS server. OpenDNS can show all of the requests but you can understand who is that one.

All you can do, get multiple hotspot Network and connect different users to different network & you can check what they search through different OpenDNS accounts.


How to view browsing history of a Hotspot?

If you are going to track the history of your hotspot network then you can do this in two ways. As you know you can log in with a Google account on chrome browser and see the history that one browse with logged in that Google account. But, the OpenDNS works in a different way which we’ll discuss in this context.

Using Google Account: (Spying LEGALLY)

Just by logging into your Google account can see all the browsing data from that computer. You have to set a Gmail id on that computer that you want to track and turn on the 'Web & App Activity' option for that account. After that, you can track all of the data that person browse while logged in with that account on your hotspot network or any other network on that PC.



The drawback is if the person opens any websites through the incognito browser, then the tracking of Google account would not work and you have to take the help from the OpenDNS server on your hotspot network.

To view the history with Google Account:

1. Ask the users to login with a default google account.

2. Make sure your browsing history is turned on.

The process is instant once the person does any searches o Google or visit any websites the data gets recorded on the account and you can see it live.

Viewing History through DNS

Having a Gooogle DNS for your Static IP is safe and recommended. But, in case of whille you want to track the history of browsing statistics over the hotspot network you have to take help from the custom DNS servers that you need to set on your hotspot Static IP configuration.

opendns

After that, you have to create an account on the OpenDNS website with the static IP details and others to view the requests made from your hotspot network for every website to visit.

Here are the steps to follow:

1. Just create a hotspot network and use the OpenDNS servers IP addresses (208.67.222.222, 208.67.220.220).

2. Once you set the IPs on your hotspot network, create an account on OpenDNS with all necessary details to track down & view the browsing history from all connected users.

3. Now, after a few hours, you will see all of the requests made from the network and the list is auto-updated after a particular period of time.

You will be able to see the list of domain users visited but if it’s HTTPS server, you cannot see what they do after visiting that website. You will only see the direct requests made on the hotspot server with no user details. These details are enough if you are looking for the list of domains users visit every day i.e. Facebook.com (500 requests), twitter.com (104 requests), etc.

Precautions:

While you’re viewing data of other users, before that you have to take a few precautions and steps that make the process safe.

i) You have to show a notification to Allow to connect to your hotspot network if you’re going to track users data as per the privacy policy.

ii) You can store the data safely and cannot be used in the form of your personal use.

iii) While you’re using any third-party DNS, you also share the data with them. So, be cautious about this and do work wisely.

iv) While you want to turn off the browsing history always set the DNS server to default that provided by your ISP or use Google DNS to stop tracking browsing data.

The Bottom Lines:

If you want to view the browsing data from users on the network, you should take permission from the users. You can do this just by showing a notification to allow sharing browsing data and if they allow then one can connect to the hotspot and you can view records. If you do in this way, it’s legit to use any DNS servers for tracking.