With the proliferation of technology, the internet, and connectivity, privacy has more or less been tossed out the window. That is why 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 is a chance that any information you share, upload, or download might be traced back to you. In other words, if you are 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.
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.
10 best no logs VPN providers
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.
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 is based in Panama, users revel in the knowledge that this provider does not have to comply with any data reporting or storage laws. In respect to this, users can rest assured that Nord is a no logs VPN, and hence, their privacy will not be compromised.
However, their website collects account and payment details of users, but this should not be cause for worry as this information does not pose any privacy risks. In the case that a user would rather not give this information away either, NordVPN allows anonymous payments by accepting cryptocurrencies. In addition to optimized servers that enable fuss-free streaming and access to torrent sites, other features include:
3. Private Internet Access (PIA)
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 is on the cheaper side of the price spectrum for a no logs VPN
- It supports P2P connections
- Has a kill switch
- It allows anonymity by allowing cryptocurrency payments (Zcash and Bitcoin Cash)
This fuss-free no logs VPN is especially ideal for technophobes or beginners who do not want to mess around with fancy interfaces or settings. It is just right for those internet users that care more about simple privacy than they do about the technicality of it all.
Based in Romania (one of the first countries to turn down 2012’s EU data retention law), CyberGhost has a stringent zero-logging policy. The provider does not store or monitor any traffic or connection data.
The only data this provider stores is the billing information including the IP address, but only for anti-fraud purposes. According to them, this information is stored in “anonymized format” and cannot be associated with user activity. Additionally, CyberGhost owns their own crowdsource funded servers which they manage on-site, a feature known to users as “no-spy servers.” This ensures there is no server access granted to any third parties, thus enhancing the security and curbing the risks that come with third-party access.
The client interface is neat and with ready-made profiles and P2P support, CyberGhost is a privacy and practicality champion; well, currently the 4th best.
This Virtual Private Network provider boasts of over 80 servers distributed in 52 countries worldwide. A power point for PrivateVPN is the provision of a firewall based kill switch as well as a per-app kill switch protecting users on all fronts. The providers’ client also has full in-built IPv4/IPv6 and DNS leak protection.
Additionally, PrivateVPN has an impressive customer service department which will remotely install the VPN for technophobes. It permits up to 6 devices to connect simultaneously and as a bonus, features SOCKS5 proxies, HTTPS, and port forwarding.
If P2P traffic is your cup of coffee, IPVanish is one of the best no logs VPN provider you should consider. It has a perfect balance of power and performance without compromising security and privacy. Whether you want to configure this powerful VPN on a mobile device or on a desktop, it has the best clients and tight security. Also commendable is their clear and concise no logs policy, which sets them apart from most other VPNs. The highly configurable native clients are feature packed and even have a mode for technophobes who would rather not mess around with technical settings.
The speedy performance and configurable client software set it a notch above competitors. With over 1,000 servers in over 60 locations, this VPN covers pretty much anywhere flawlessly.
Additionally, it does not keep records of any individual activities. When this no logs VPN collects information, it records minute elements like OpenVPN username, VPN servers connected to, connection duration, and 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.
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 is based in Switzerland, and 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 power and 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 regulation coupled with its lax data retention and P2P policies, users can be confident that their privacy is a top priority for ProtonVPN.
Although Switzerland, in the recent past, passed somewhat unfavorable surveillance laws requiring major telecoms and internet service providers to keep connection metadata for a year, Proton tech AG (ProtonVPN owners), cleared the air with an official statement stating their exemption from the list citing they are not considered a major telecom company.
If you are 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. Although the number of servers is lower compared to that of the major players on the market, this provider prides itself on the individuals behind the scenes.
This VPN service is run by believers of internet neutrality and uncensored online freedom. With this provider, you get to know all available servers and their loads in real time. Their security and privacy practices are also out there for users to see.
Although users need to familiarize with the AirVPN client interface, a bonus is that this provider guarantees an allocation bandwidth of a minimum of 4 Mbps for both downloads and uploads. And, with affordable plans including a short-term 3-day plan that is also payable with different cryptocurrencies, this VPN sits comfortably amidst the best 10 no logs VPNs.
10. Avast SecureLine VPN
Avast SecureLine VPN gets the honorable mention. Not because this VPN fails in any test; only because it’s fairly new and has fewer servers than most of the VPNs above. However, when it comes to speed, this VPN has everything going for it with speeds worthy of the top 5 spot! Avast VPN also features AES-256 encryption and DNS leak protection. Torrent downloads are also enabled, but what about Avast VPN logging?
The most important question, does avast VPN keep logs? According to them, “SecureLine VPN stores connection logs, which includes information such as the time you connect and disconnect, the duration of the connection, and bandwidth usage. This information is used for diagnostic purposes and to help prevent abuse of the VPN connection.”
It seems that the Avast VPN logging does not include activity logs, such as the websites you visit, what data is transferred, and which IP addresses are accessed and from where. This should be enough for you to guarantee your privacy and security online. Although SecureLine ended up at 10th on our rank list, we believe, it has a lot to be desired when it comes to anonymity. Your privacy may not be in the best hands with this provider; however, knowing their massive background in the cybersecurity field, we are sure that this VPN will only get better in the coming months and years regarding security and privacy.
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 are looking for is complete anonymity!