One of the safest methods of protecting your information online is by using a VPN. After all, one of the main reasons people use VPNs is for safety and security as they allow you to hide internet activity from ISPs.
But when was the last time you checked how your VPN provider processes and handles your information? While VPN providers excel in hiding our information from other companies, it’s worth noting that they can see what their users are up to.
If you’re using a VPN for online anonymity but your provider is logging your every online move, you’re not really anonymous, are you? Thankfully, there’s a long list of VPN providers that operate with a no-logging policy.
This means they don’t log information on your browsing habits. While many VPNs state they operate with a ‘no-log’ policy, the actual context of this policy, and what obligations they’re under to share this information with specific organizations, will vary dramatically from company to company.
Why is a No-Logging Policy Important?
What’s the point of paying for a service that encrypts your information if the provider of that service is logging your online activity and is willing to hand this over to any organization that asks? A no-logging policy is important because it means your VPN is doing everything it can to protect your anonymity.
A no-logging policy is also an assurance that companies aren’t profiteering from your data. Be wary of companies that offer free VPN services. Everybody knows that data is a commodity and VPN providers offering free services may sell the data they’ve logged to third parties and advertisers.
In a worst-case scenario, this data could fall into the hands of hackers and criminals: the very people you were using a VPN to protect yourself from in the first place.
Different Log Types
VPNs with a no-logging policy won’t log all of your information. We say all of your information because there are various types of data logs. There are some data logs which wouldn’t compromise your anonymity in the slightest if it was shared, while others are able to reveal your name and location.
‘Connection logs’, also known as metadata or diagnostic logs, are used by VPN providers to improve and maintain the standards at which they operate. They usually don’t contain sensitive information. ‘IP address logs’ are the logs that you should be concerned about your VPN provider sharing. If this was attributed to a timestamp, it would be easy to trace specific activity and link it back to the IP you were using.
More worrying than IP address logs are ‘traffic logs’. These logs include which websites you’ve visited, what messages you’ve sent and any files you’ve downloaded. If you’re using a VPN that’s logging your traffic history, it’s time to choose a new VPN.
The Best Three VPNs for Privacy
We’ve rounded up a selection of the best VPNs with no log policies. Their privacy policies have been checked and verified by our experts, as well as any data processing laws they need to abide by depending on the country their business is registered to.
This means you can trust the websites listed below to value and respect your privacy. They won’t supply your information to any third parties – and are under no obligation to do so.
NordVPN guarantees a strict no-logs policy. This means that your activities aren’t monitored, recorded, logged or stored under any circumstances and your information will never be passed to any third parties.
As NordVPN is registered as a business address in Panama, it doesn’t abide by the rules that Five Eyes and 14 Eyes Countries have to follow. VPN providers located in a Five Eyes or 14 Eyes country must cooperate with sharing their users’ information when such requests are made by the relevant authorities.
ExpressVPN is another reputable provider you can trust with your information. It’s based in the British Virgin Islands, which means it doesn’t need to abide by data retention rules. Third parties won’t be able to access useful information that could reveal your identity – if ExpressVPN even stored it in the first place.
The company doesn’t keep any traffic logs, IP logs nor does it monitor its users’ activity, although it does keep connection logs. If you’re concerned about this, you can simply pay for your subscription using a cryptocurrency such as bitcoin for complete anonymity.
Hong Kong operates as a separate country to China so isn’t subject to the same strict surveillance rules.
That’s quite an extensive list and after an independent audit from Altius IT revealed there was no evidence of any logs that could be found to identify its users, you can trust PureVPN with your information. Click here to read why PureVPN can’t even see what you get up to online. If that’s enough to win you over (and it should be) prices start at $3.25 a month.
We hope this article has explained the importance of no-logging policies and how dramatically these can vary from company to company. For added reassurance, make sure you always read the privacy conditions and terms of service of your VPN provider to see how they’re logging your information.