It can be difficult to maintain a sense of online privacy and security nowadays, especially with the pandemic seemingly sending cyber criminals into overdrive. A decent no-logs VPN is a great start, but you’ll need to vet them properly as well.
Or, you could skip all the hassle and check out this curated list of ten no-logs VPNs from ProPrivacy. It includes all the details you need to know about each provider, including whether they can unblock major streaming platforms.
Scroll on if you like to be especially thorough in your research, though. You’ll find the most essential questions you need to ask yourself before committing to a subscription.
Keep in mind that “logging” refers to long-term data storage. A VPN that doesn’t keep logs is still able to monitor your traffic in real time – they simply don’t hold on to it like your ISP does. Of course, this also depends on which jurisdiction the VPN is based in. See the next section for more details.
What Is Your VPN Provider’s Jurisdiction?
The usual no-logs VPNs you can find on any top 10 list are based in countries like Panama, Switzerland, and similar areas with privacy-friendly laws.
Another aspect to consider is whether the VPN is based in of the countries that are part of the 5/9/14 Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance(s). These governments (which include the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and more) are typically involved in mass surveillance and share information about their own citizens amongst themselves.
As such, some people may find it difficult to trust a VPN based in one of these locations. There is one way to put those doubts to rest, at least.
Has Your VPN Been Independently Audited?
What better way to be sure that your no-logs VPN isn’t up to any shenanigans than through an audit by an independent third party? If you’re not sure where to check, don’t worry. ProPrivacy’s list mentions this info for each provider.
Alternatively, your VPN could prove their privacy prowess through a legal document. See the case of Private Internet Access (PIA), which have had their no-logs policy proven twice in court. In both cases, PIA were served subpoenas to share information about some users. Naturally, they couldn’t provide anything since they don’t log any data.
No-logs VPN: Free or Paid Subscription?
Right from the start, you’ll find that not many free VPNs claim to keep no logs. That’s because many of them actually make money off selling your data to advertisers, much like ISPs do nowadays. Even if they do, you should take those claims with a pinch of salt. In July 2020, seven free VPN providers leaked the data of 20 million of their users. All of them were supposedly “no-logs” VPNs.
There are, of course, some VPNs with a free option that don’t retain user data. Still, they come with many restrictions that severely impact your online experience, such as:
- Limited number of servers, leading to congestion and slow speeds if you don’t live close to any of the server locations
- Throttled speeds in general, regardless of server population
- Data caps of up to 10 GB per month. Admittedly good enough if you just plan on using it for light browsing, but insufficient for much else.
In the end, all these limitations are meant to make the premium version seem more appealing. You might as well take advantage of the providers’ 30 day money-back guarantees and go for the complete package.