If you want to view sites visited on a wireless network, you can check the logs stored by the wireless router to see what information is available. You may need to set your logging settings to capture the data you want. You can also check browsing history on individual computers and other devices if you have access to them.
Accessing Router History Data
If you want to see what people are doing on your Wi-Fi, you can sometimes access this information in your wireless router's internal log. Generally, you can connect to your router with a standard web browser and enter an administrative username and password to get access to whatever information the device logs. This can include internet protocol, or IP, addresses accessed by computers on your network, when the addresses were accessed and how much data was transferred.
On some routers, you may need to turn on logging to store the information you want. Check your router's manual or online documentation or contact the router's manufacturer, or your internet provider if that company provided your router, to see what information is available.
Limitations of Router History Information
Routers may not have access to exactly what websites were viewed over your network since it's often the case that many sites share servers at web-hosting companies and might have the same IP address. An IP address is a numerical code similar to a phone number used to identify a computer.
You will also need to use an IP address lookup tool to do this. Common free examples are the Windows program "nslookup" and the Mac and Linux command line tools "host" and "dig." You can also find an online tool to attempt to match the IP address to a human readable domain name such as www.example.com.
Your router also often won't be able to access the actual webpages, files and images that are sent back and forth by computers on your network and across the internet, since much internet traffic is encrypted. This means that you may get a sense of what sites are accessed from computers on your network but not exactly what kind of material was viewed.
Check Browsing History on Computers
If you have access to the computers running to your network and their owners' permission, you can access the browsing history from the web browsers on those machines, which will give you a lot more detail about exactly what data was accessed.
All modern web browsers log sites that were accessed, making them available through a "History" menu. On Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari, "History" is one of the main menus on the menu toolbar, and you can click it to see sites viewed on that browser. On Microsoft Edge, the "History" menu is found within the "Favorites" menu.
Note that all browsers make it possible to delete browsing history entries, so the entries you find on a computer may be incomplete. Browsers also provide private, or "incognito," browsing modes that don't store history information.
- Spyzie: How to Use Router to Monitor Which Websites Are Visited
- Linksys: Enabling the Logs Feature Using Your Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Account
- MX Toolbox: Reverse Lookup
- Microsoft: NSLookup
- Internet Systems Consortium: Dig
- Internet Systems Consortium: Host
- Google: Delete Your Chrome Browsing History
- Microsoft: View and Delete Browser History in Microsoft Edge