VPNs are an important tool if you want to keep your privacy intact; for some, it’s also a matter of life and death. Therefore, you just don’t settle on any VPN to keep you safe, you need the best no logs VPN.
If your online activity is logged, there’s a chance that any information you share, upload, or download might be traced back to you. In other words, if you’re an investigative journalist, a political activist, a hacker, or a privacy-conscious user, you can be located physically, and your online activities can be linked to you personally based on the logs.
If you want to keep your online presence private and protect your personal information, then a no logs VPN is your best bet. Nevertheless, most VPN providers keep some kind of a log mostly because they couldn’t optimize and keep up the quality of their services otherwise. Unfortunately, some of the logged data could actually harm you if it landed in the wrong hands.
No time to read? Here are our best VPNs:
1. ExpressVPN ‣
In other words, this strict no logs policy has passed the real-life test and proved to be true to its promises. No wonder why ExpressVPN is among the most dependable premium VPN services on the market today and how it ended up at the top of our list.
2. NordVPN ‣
NordVPN’s base in Panama is a testament of the highest and most strict Privacy Policies you can expect in any VPN. And, the provider proudly makes its stance on logging known to all who care to find out. For privacy-conscious users, it’s nothing short of a lullaby that will sing you to surf any site on the internet with confidence.
The reassuring statement on NordVPN’s privacy statement reads:
NordVPN guarantees a strict no-logs policy for NordVPN services, meaning that your activities using NordVPN Services are provided by an automated technical process, are not monitored, recorded, logged, stored or passed to any third party.
Because it’s based in Panama, NordVPN doesn’t have to comply with any data reporting or storage laws. This means you can rest assured that Nord is a no-logs VPN, and hence, your privacy won’t be compromised.
In addition to optimized servers that enable fuss-free streaming and access to torrent sites, other features include:
- Kill switch – to prevent unintended IP leaks
- OpenVPN support
- Double VPN
- Dedicated IP
In the world of VPN, perfection is a rare thing, and Mullvad isn’t the one to achieve it. But it makes up for its shortcomings (no native iOS or Android apps, no live chat support, troubles unblocking Netflix) by delivering one of the strictest and most dependable no logs policies in the industry.
For starters, Mullvad VPN doesn’t require any personally identifiable information to sign up to its services. You are attributed a randomly generated number, and that is pretty much all they know about you. This VPN also accepts anonymous payment methods, making it as anonymous as possible.
Mullvad VPN only uses a few essential cookies to ensure that its website functions properly, but the majority of those expire as soon as you close your browser window. This is how a VPN should always behave when it comes to its no-logs policy. Mullvad will ensure you are hidden as well as the little subterranean mammal on their logo.
Although some users might find Private Internet Access’ location in the US as a cause for concern, nothing proves that this no logs VPN walks the walk more than proof. PIA’s track record is unbelievably spotless as far as privacy and no logging is concerned.
Later in 2016, Russia passed invasive laws affecting data privacy. As a result, and in a show of their commitment to protecting their users against any form of surveillance or censorship, Private Internet Access swiftly shut down its Russian servers. This was a relief among its users and a testament to the provider’s stance on how serious it takes its no-logging policy. Additional wins for PIA include:
- It’s on the cheaper side for a no logs VPN
- It supports P2P connections
- Has a kill switch
- It allows cryptocurrency payments (Zcash and Bitcoin Cash)
5. VyprVPN ‣
The saying goes that a snake cannot refrain from biting. But VyprVPN proves it can certainly learn to refrain from logging. Up until the summer of 2018 you wouldn’t have found this VPN anywhere near a top 10 no-logs VPN list. Because until then, it would log, and log quite a lot.
It is now safe to say that VyprVPN has a proven VPN no-logging policy, and, with the great suite of safety and privacy features it already offers, can be considered a great no-logs VPN choice. We can only regret its slightly below average speeds and the fact that you cannot sign-up anonymously.
This relative newcomer in the world of VPNs has already caused quite a stir. Fast, well equipped security-wise, user-friendly, and capable of unblocking Netflix among other streaming platforms. What about its no logs policy? Can Surfshark be trusted at all?
Well, Surfshark wouldn’t be on this list if it was unduly spying on you. This VPN is based in the British Virgin Islands — just like ExpressVPN – and therefore benefits from the privacy-friendly legislation of that country. There are no data retention laws to worry about, and the service doesn’t limit the number of connections per account. Combined, these facts mean Surfshark can boast a real no-logs policy.
Surfshark will not log anything other than your email address for registration and your billing information. You can also use cryptocurrencies to pay for your subscription, adding an extra layer of privacy.
Windscribe VPN wins in all the right security battles. When it comes to VPNs and privacy, users want to be as anonymous as possible, and Windscribe does that effortlessly.
When this no logs VPN collects information, it records minute elements like:
- OpenVPN username
- VPN servers connected to
- Connection duration
- Amount of data transferred
And even after collecting these small details, this information expires and is discarded within three minutes.
Windscribe is also versatile in that it allows users to connect an unlimited number of devices and does not compromise on performance. The client platforms are basic and easy enough to use for most of your general needs.
8. ProtonVPN ‣
Whether VPNs are truly logging-free is debatable depending on who you ask. And, only in a few instances has this been proven with real-life examples.
However, if a provider’s word is anything to go by, then ProtonVPN holds its own when it comes to privacy. First, it’s based in Switzerland. Second, it was founded by the creators of ProtonMail (the world’s largest provider of encrypted email service).
These two facts alone are a testament to the potential of this no logs VPN. ProtonVPN only keeps a login timestamp, which is overwritten when a new successful login takes place. Thus, IP and traffic logs are non-existent. And, with Switzerland not bound to US or EU regulations coupled with its lax data retention and P2P policies, you can be confident that your privacy is a top priority for ProtonVPN.
That said, Switzerland recently passed somewhat unfavorable surveillance laws. These laws require major telecoms and internet service providers to keep connection metadata for a year. Proton Tech AG (ProtonVPN owners), however, cleared the air stating their exemption from the list citing they are not considered a major telecom company.
9. AirVPN ‣
If you’re not looking to spend too much and just want to browse, stream on Netflix, download torrents, or circumnavigate censorship, then AirVPN offers good value for your money.
AirVPN is run by believers in internet neutrality and uncensored online freedom. Their security and privacy practices are out there for everyone to see.
What’s more, AirVPN guarantees a minimum of 4 Mbps for both downloads and uploads. And with its affordable plans, AirVPN sits comfortably amidst the best 10 no logs VPNs.
10. Ivacy VPN ‣
Unfortunately, the issue with Ivacy VPN is twofold. First, it’s based in Singapore, which is a Five Eyes partner, and that is always something to take into consideration when choosing a no-logs VPN. And second, its real parent company — as revealed in our exclusive VPN ownership research — is Gaditek. This is the Pakistani company behind PureVPN, which is another service that used to boast a great no-logs policy right up until they delivered logs to aid an FBI investigation some years ago.
Therefore, we include this VPN on this list but would recommend thinking twice before you entrust your privacy to Ivacy. Particularly if your online activity could get you in trouble with the authorities.
VPN logging practices
- Usage logs: this information includes your online activity ranging from connection times, browsing history, metadata, and IP addresses (your originating/true IP and visited IPs). When a VPN logs this information, your privacy is not guaranteed. As a matter of fact, these logs can have serious consequences if forced by the authorities to be shared; you can be identified and located. That’s not what a political activist or hacker would want, right? Most free VPNs are spyware as they collect usage logs, which are then sold to third parties. In essence, “free VPN” services are monitored and thus, are far from anonymous or secure.
- No logs: simply put, no logs VPN offers the only total guarantee of privacy on the internet. However, implementing a completely no logs policy is an uphill task as providers also need to enforce device connections and bandwidth. No logs or zero-log policy has also become a marketing weapon for VPN providers. Therefore, you need to make sure you choose a service that walks the walk and not just talks the talk.
Verifying no logs VPN claims
From the research conducted to come up with this list, contradictory claims and false promises have come out as a mainstay in most Privacy Policies, if read carefully. The reality is that the VPN logs issue is a grey area, and it’s almost impossible to verify the validity of the provider’s claims. The non-existence of a widely-recognized no logs standard does not help the matter, either.
To put that into perspective, Cody Kretsinger (alias recursion) a former member of LulzSec, a black hat group of hackers, comes to mind. While using a popular VPN (HideMyAss), his activity linked him and his persona to a number of high profile hacks. This included illegal access to Sony Pictures’ servers. HMAs logging policy reads, “We DO NOT store details of, or monitor, the resources (including websites) you connect to or any of the data sent or received over our network, when using our VPN service.”
Just stay away from “free VPNs” altogether if what you’re looking for is complete anonymity!