Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
When you cancel your Internet service, your IP address is released and made available to others. But, in reality, that may have already been happening.
If I cancel my internet service completely, does my IP address then become null and void? And will the websites and search providers that I've visited and used still keep record of my visits?
Null and void? Certainly not. It's still quite a valid internet IP address. It just might be given to someone else.
As for the records of your visits... Well, let's just say that you haven't erased any of the tracks that might have been left.
When you disconnect from the internet by canceling your service, the IP address that was assigned to your computer or router is returned to the pool of available IP addresses. What that means is that your ISP is then free to assign it to another customer.
And, in practice, that's exactly what happens.
Perhaps the most important to realize is that, unless you specifically have a static or unchanging IP address, it may have already changed several times since you've had your account.
It's more likely that you have the more common dynamic IP address.
When you have a dynamic IP address, the ISP is free to change it. Often, the ISP will assign a new one each time that you connect to the internet. But that's not guaranteed. Your dynamic IP address could remain stable for a very long time, or it could occasionally change without you doing anything at all.
In almost all cases, you'd never notice or need to care.
There may or many not be logs of your visits to websites and search providers. Whether or not to keep logs at all is a decision made by each service. In addition, there's no standard as to how long those logs should be kept. It could be a few hours or it could be months or years.
If you're concerned about being traced by your IP address, you should realize two things:
If logs are kept, they keep not only your IP address, but the date and time of your access.
Your ISP may also keep logs of which IP addresses you were assigned and when.
Those two pieces of information can be combined to trace back to you, if there is a need, even after you cancel your account.
Now, before you start to feel paranoid, this kind of IP tracing is not available to the general public. The server logs and the ISP logs are generally considered private information and they would only be made available to law enforcement officials under whatever legal processes are in place for your location or the location of the service.
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