Most Internet users know what a VPN is and why people are using one – to increase security and privacy online. Every VPN will encrypt your Internet connection and hide your activities from prying eyes, but you might be unaware that not all of them will completely protect your privacy. A large number of VPN providers will track and record your activity. If you are concerned about privacy a no log VPN is your only choice.
Logging vs. No Logging
There are two kinds of VPN services: logging and no logging VPN. A logging VPN keeps information such as: your IP address, your sign-in and sign-off times, maybe even details about what you were doing while signed on. In contrast, a no log VPN doesn’t keep any or only a small amount of this information or purges the information often enough to effectively maintain no logs.
Why No Log VPN
Privacy and security are the main reasons to use a VPN. Using a logging VPN can decrease your privacy and contradict with what VPN is used for: “anonymous browsing”. Because if someone knows what you’re doing online and records your online activities, it certainly is not anonymous. Shouldn’t it be considered a fraud to advertise protecting your privacy while maintaining logs that can be used to to identify you? Bluntly put, information logging is big problem, because you can’t have both privacy and logs. This became rather obvious when HideMyAss handed over information to law enforcement that led to the arrest of Cody Kretsinger, the LuzSec member aka “recursion” who was involved in hacking into Sony Picture’s website. Granted he was breaking the law while most of us have no such intention; however, it should make you think twice when deciding which VPN service to purchase. If you are spending money to protect yourself, why not buy the service that is more likely to protect your information?
Choosing a No-logging VPN
Purchasing a VPN service is an important decision, not unlike buying insurance. Sure, hopefully you will never have to use your insurance, but when you do, you are glad you paid for it. When it comes to your highly valuable personal information, it is wise not to take any chances. Better safe than sorry!
Whenever you go online you are sharing information about yourself, from login credentials, Google searches, to sexual preferences or purchase patterns. It is naive to think that your online activities are of little interest to others or that you don’t have anything to hide, nothing could be more misleading. Entire industries made it their goal to learn as much about everybody as they possibly can (governments included) and I am not just talking about shopping preferences. Your activities drive the (Google/Bing/etc.) search results you see, the advertisements that appear on your screen on many websites, the offers that come via mail and email, sometimes even the price you have to pay for online purchases.
By using a VPN you can disguise your online activities, but you must entrust the VPN provider with your personal information and by virtue of the technology with the things you do online. It would almost defeat the purpose of paying for a VPN if the VPN provider then logs your every move and can potentially hand this information over to a third party. So, when it comes to choosing a great VPN, here are some essential aspects you must consider:
A Matter of Trust
A good question to ask yourself is: How much do you trust the statements of any VPN provider and their claims of either not having any activity logs or purging them frequently enough to protect your anonymity? Statements similar to “we don’t keep any logs” followed by “we will suspend any user’s account if we determine they engage in illegal activity” make me wonder…
One important, but often overlooked, aspect when selecting a VPN is the location of the VPN provider, not just where they have servers, but where are they legally located and where they store their data.
A VPN provider has little choice but to comply with the law if presented with a proper warrant or subpoena; however, the process of obtaining such a proper legal document ranges from easy to almost impossible depending on the jurisdiction. For example a company located in the Seychelles can safely ignore a US search warrant, because it is not legally applicable. Only a court in the Seychelles has jurisdiction over a company located there.
Think about it this way: To protect your privacy you want to make it as difficult and as expensive as possible for someone, some company or some government to get access to your data.
Sign up and Payments
Another important point to pay particular attention to is what information is required to sign up for the service and what payment methods they accept, Bitcoin being the most desirable in this regard because they offer the most anonymity.
Terms and Conditions
No Log VPN Providers
Without further ado, here is a list of VPN providers that do not log user identifying information, hence, at least conceptually, will protect your online identity. With hundreds, if not thousands, of options to choose from this list is understandably incomplete. We’ve looked at payment options, location and if they allow torrents, key aspects when choosing a no-log VPN for most people. We are confident in each provider’s ability to protect your privacy.
|Service||Keep logs?||Jurisdiction||Torrents||Payment options||Price/month|
|Private Internet Access||No Logs||U.S.||Yes||CC, PP, GW, AZ, BC, CU, LR, OP||6.95 $|
|TorGuard||Purged daily||Panama||Yes||CC, GW, PP, BP||9.95 $|
|BTGuard||No Logs||Canada||Yes||CC, PP||9.95 $|
|PrivatVPN||No Logs (N)||Sweden||Yes||CC, PP||7.5 $|
|TorrentPrivacy||No Logs||UK||Yes||CC, PP||7 $|
|ItsHidden||No Logs||Seychelles||Yes||CC, PP||9.99 $|
|Ipredator||No Logs||Sweden||Yes||CC, PP, PaySon, PZ, PS, BC||7.5 $|
|VPNAir||No Logs||EU||Yes||CC, PP, BC||7 €|
|PRQ||No Logs||Sweden||NA||CC||13 $|
|VPN4ALL||No Logs||Seychelles||Limited||CC, PP||9.95 $|
|OkayFreedom VPN||No Logs||Germany||Yes||CC, PP||69.95/year $|
|VPN Area||No Logs||Switzerland||Yes||CC, PP, LR,||11.90 $|
Image Credit: joannapoe